At the beginning of 1973 a phenomenon was in the making. An incredible triumph of the Parisian stage.
And one night in January, at about half past eleven, three sacred monsters of the theater push the door of Coupe-Chou . They were Michel Serrault, Pierre Mondy and Jean Poiret. They were accompanied by the then director of the Palais-Royal, Jean-Michel Rouzière. They had their usual places at Coupe-Chou , Poiret, Serrault and Mondy... but that evening, they were going to stay until 6 o'clock in the morning!
They were in the middle of the rehearsal of a play that was going to celebrate the reunion of the famous duo. This piece was of course: "La Cage aux Folles". A triumph without precedent, and moreover, without a successor. "La Cage" will be performed 5 years in a row at the Palais Royal, then two years at the Variétés.
But let's not anticipate. For the time being, no one could predict the success to come. No one, not even the theatre director who had already planned a play for the next season. Besides, not everything was ready, there were still problems to be solved... " The Cage" was not ready.
And the working sessions continued at Coupe-Chou .
"In a back room to be quiet" claimed Poiret. Of course, they are set up in the Library. It's studious, a library. The last act of the play had to be reworked.
And while eating, Poiret and Serrault improvised the lines that were going to make a thousand people scream with laughter every night for seven years! And Serrault was rehearsing his role in the restaurant, he was gradually getting into the character of Zaza Napoli, he was working on his languid looks, his eyelashes fluttering, and he was making eyes at the customer at the next table... who was beginning to worry for good. This unfortunate customer would end up whispering to Christian and Francis, the restaurant managers:
"Has he changed sides, Serrault?"
"No, he's working. "
" Ah? Funny job!
" And the customer would put his nose back in his plate, while Serrault continued his eyeing. As for Mondy, he was pensive. He was discussing the costumes with Jean-Michel Rouzière.
"Serrault's dresses don't fit... the wig doesn't either... Excuse me, Michel, but you're too beautiful, you look like Edwige Feuillère. We must do everything over again. "
" You want me to look like Yvette Horner, right? " asks Serrault, falsely indignant.
" Don't worry, you don't have to start playing the accordion! "
In his corner, Rouzière didn't have a good appetite. As a good manager, he was calculating what this dress thing was going to cost him. He didn't know, of course, how much it would bring him. Ah, the torments of creation!... And then, he was worried, this director.
"My children," he said, "the title doesn't fit! "
Poiret worries: "What do you reproach the "Cage aux Folles"?
"It's vulgar! And then we're going to have the homos on our backs, we need something funnier, and more elegant too. "And you have an idea? "
" Rouzière's eye lights up. Obviously, he's been waiting for this. With a happy smile, he ends up saying:
"Yes, we should call it 'Prout'!
Mondy, who was holding his fork to his mouth, stops dead in his tracks. Poiret's eye gets rounder, Serrault doesn't know what to say... In short, everyone is stunned.
And Rouzière goes on: "That's funny, that, Prout, isn't it? but be careful, with an exclamation mark! "
" With an exclamation mark? "
" then, obviously, with an exclamation mark, it changes everything! "
" It's funny, isn't it?...isn't it?...well, it's an idea, like this... "
" And what were you saying, Pierrot, about Michel's dress?... " interrupted Poiret. In short, the idea of Rouzière was not retained ... This title is now free, notice to authors!...
And the working session dragged on that evening until six o'clock in the morning. Alone in the restaurant, they polished "La Cage aux Folles". Christian Azzopardi and Francis Nani went to bed very early that morning, but you don't build legends every night... Nor in every restaurant.
In the mid-60s, Coupe-Chou was already beginning to gain a reputation. Pierre Brasseur, Brigitte Bardot, Louis de Funès often came to dinner...
My father tells me that in 1965, Bruno Coquatrix phoned him to warn him of the Beatles' arrival in his restaurant after their concert at the Olympia, and my eyes lit up!
At the beginning of 1973 a phenomenon was in the making. An incredible triumph of the Parisian scene.
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11 Rue de Lanneau, 75005 PARIS
01 46 33 68 69
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Maubert-Mutuality, Line 10
Saemes Maubert Collège des Bernardins & Indigo Paris Soufflot-Panthéon
Station Vélib' N°5007 (Écoles-Carmes) 39 rue des Écoles
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French cuisine based on 100% home-made raw products.
Drinks are carefully chosen, craft beers, quality wines and craft spirits.
Business meals, meals with friends, special events and romantic dinners (birthdays and wedding proposals).