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Fun Home: in brief
Three major artists—composer Jeanine Tesori (Caroline, or Change), playwright Lisa Kron (Well) and director Sam Gold (Circle Mirror Transformation)—collaborate on a musical adaptation of cartoonist Alison Bechdel's acclaimed memoir about death and her family. The cast includes Michael Cerveris, Judy Kuhn, Alexandra Socha and Beth Malone.
Fun Home: theater review by Adam Feldman
As gay men increasingly claim pride of place in musical theater, gay women remain largely invisible there. Among the many meritorious things about the graceful Fun Home, adapted from Alison Bechdel’s illustrated memoir, is the way that Lisa Kron’s direct, poignant libretto and Jeanine Tesori’s expressive, multifarious music make lesbian identity legible onstage. Three actors play Alison at evolutionary stages of dykedom—as a young tomboy (Sydney Lucas), a neurotic college student (Alexandra Socha, in a hilarious hairdo) and a grown-up butch (Beth Malone)—within a fluid memory-play structure in which the adult version, a cartoonist, tries to frame her family history in ways that make sense to her now.
At the core of the story is her relationship with her fussy, controlling father (Michael Cerveris), whose own tormented homosexuality drives him to suicide. (Judy Kuhn plays his harrowed wife.) It’s dark and emotionally complex material, but Sam Gold and his top-drawer cast don’t push too hard. They give the piece space to sink in slowly and spread, like a blot of ink.—Theater review by Adam Feldman
THE BOTTOM LINE A groundbreaking show brings Alison Bechdel’s deathly panels to life.
Follow Adam Feldman on Twitter: @FeldmanAdam
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