Fun Home, the Tony-winning musical

Then again, I actually WATCH the Tonys.

Fun Home

My wife and I saw Fun Home at Proctors Theatre in Schenectady back in November, and it was revelatory. I was glad I got the tickets on Cheapo Ticketing, for it saved me quite some money and time. Fun Home is about a girl named Alison, played at three points in her life, by three different actors. Small Alison lives in a funeral home with her brothers, making up would-be commercials for the facility. Her father Bruce is a professor but also the funeral director. Helen, his wife, tries to keep the house up to his exacting standards or retreats to playing the piano.

Medium Alison goes away to college, realizes she is a lesbian but is not eager to share this news with her father. She sings my favorite song from the show, “Changing My Major,” a paean to her girlfriend Joan. The adult Alison ruminates on all of this, including the death of her father shortly after she came out; is there a connection between the two events? Sometimes, there are two or even three Alisons on stage simultaneously.

The musical was adapted by Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori from Alison Bechdel’s 2006 graphic memoir. It is not at all a linear telling but bounces back and forth in time, yet it works.

I’ve had the cast album for well over a year, so I knew the songs. “Ring of Keys” by Small Alison & Alison is another favorite. But “Days and Days,” sung by Helen near the end of the production, was particularly moving in the show I saw.

Considering that the show won the 2015 Best Musical Tony for Best Musical in 2015 and other awards, I was slightly surprised how many people are unfamiliar with the story. Then again, I actually WATCH the Tonys.

Not only that, one of my colleagues had a relative who played one of Small Alison’s brothers, so she’d seen the show on Broadway. She’s also seen a couple of other productions and shared with me the fact that the show can be performed “in the round” or on a traditional stage.

It’s an odd thing getting a subscription for Sundays when the shows only run six days, starting on Tuesdays. I see the last show before it leaves town, and can’t say, “Go see it!” And in the case of Fun Home, I’ve discovered that the touring company ended its run on December 3.

This means that perhaps some local theater company in your area will be doing a production. I imagine it will be worthwhile.

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