1-time Dance Teacher Gets 'La Cage' Role
January 24, 1985|GELIA DOLCIMASCOLO
'I'm a woman playing a man playing a woman.”
Standing tall in black leather pants, her dark-brown hair tumbling around her shoulders, Lynn Faro laughed as she discussed her role as one of the notorious Cagelles in "La Cage aux Folles," currently at the Pantages Theatre.
Faro is one of two female Cagelles in the Los Angeles company production who dance, sing and otherwise carry on in and out of drag throughout the show. The other 10 are male.
"The whole idea is that you can't tell (the men from the women) until we pull our wigs off. It happens at the end of the first number; it's in the nature of a transvestite revue. I pull this (wig) off, and then all my hair comes down."
Faro, 33, has been dancing for 23 years. Orange County dancers and audiences have known her as Lynn Rempalski--Santa Ana College dance instructor, modern dancer with the Gloria Newman Dance Company for 10 years and graduate of the UC Irvine dance department. She also has performed in the national touring company of "Dancin' " and the West Coast Rockettes Christmas show in Los Angeles.
Though she was born in Los Angeles, her family moved to Fullerton when she was in the third grade. She attended Fern Drive Elementary School, Wilshire Junior High and Sunny Hills High School.
When she was 10, Faro began her dance training at the Lois Ellyn Ballet School in Fullerton. "Lois Ellyn Smith--she was just wonderful. I started all ballet--no acrobatics, no tap, just straight ballet--because I was going to be a ballerina," she remembers.
Her balletic aspirations dissolved when Joyce Ward, then a physical education instructor at Sunny Hills High, introduced Faro to modern dance. Through Ward, Faro met modern dance company director Gloria Newman, who invited her to take company classes and attend rehearsals. She soon joined the troupe. "I was 16 years old or something. I got a lot of mileage out of being the really young 'prodigy.' “
After high school, Faro enrolled as a full-time dance major at UC Irvine. She received her bachelor's degree in fine arts and a teaching credential within four years. "I wanted those pieces of paper because I knew they were important; I was determined not to be a 'dumb dancer.' “
In 1969, after receiving her degree from UCI, Faro was hired as a full-time dance instructor at Santa Ana College. "I was the dance department," she said of her position, which involved teaching ballet, modern dance and jazz classes.
Four years later, Faro joined the national touring company of Bob Fosse's "Dancin.' " The tour ended after a year and Faro came home.
Unemployed when the show closed, she returned to Santa Ana College part time, supplementing her income with various jobs--making videos, performing on cable TV and dancing in Los Angeles with the West Coast Rockettes Christmas show for two seasons. It wasn't all glamour: "For seven months I worked in a restaurant, handing out menus for $3 an hour."
Last January, she auditioned for the West Coast company of "La Cage aux Folles." Faro got the part, left her teaching job once again and flew to New York for five weeks of rehearsals. The show ran in San Francisco for four months and opened in September in Los Angeles. (That's when she changed her name from Rempalski to Faro, her mother's maiden name).
Faro soon moved to Laguna Beach and has been commuting to Los Angeles for a minimum of eight shows weekly, six days a week (matinees are on Wednesdays and Saturdays). Some weeks the cast also performs for benefits and makes television appearances.
Faro has high praise for the company of "La Cage": "The production company is very generous and they are wonderful to work with. This show is composed of unusually nice and considerate people. They give us rehearsal shoes, and they do things they don't have to do.”
Although the pace can be hectic, Faro says she's happier now than she's ever been. "I'm here in Los Angeles, in a long-running Broadway hit, and for those two things to come together . . . I'm almost having my cake and eating it, too--maybe one of the few times in my life that things will ever happen this way."