|Fun Home, a lesbian roman a clef, now at the Forrest Theatre
posted by Ralph Malachowski on Jun 16, 2017 10:30am | comments
Winner of five TONY Awards in 2015, Fun Home will be at Philadelphia’s Forrest Theatre until June 18, a presentation of the Kimmel’s Broadway Philadelphia season.
The musical by Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron was inspired by Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, published in 2006, which dealt with her life experiences with the family funeral home (explaining the “Fun” part), coming out as a lesbian in college, and her relationship with her closeted gay father who committed suicide. Alison Bechdel is known for her comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For which ran in LGBT publications from 1983 to 2008.
Dispel any notion that you may have about Fun Home being a dry and dreary exorcism of regrets. The musical is life-affirming and complex, as our lives are complex, and poignantly addresses the insurmountable “would-a, could-a, should-a” moments in everyone’s dealings with their parents. We experience the fact (often forgotten by many people) that everyone’s parents had an adult life before they came along. Fun Home is a beautiful musical every LGBT person should see. Indeed, Fun Home is that perfect reason to take your parents, grandparents, teen-aged children, your Aunt Mabel or Uncle Todd to see, since it masterfully walks us through growing up feeling different, alienated, coping with and finally succeeding with being a fully-cognizant gay or lesbian person.
The cast was perfect. Kate Shindle as the adult Alison Bechdel was everything she should have been and more: dispassionate when called for, and heartbreaking when she needed to be. A former Miss America, we are told, Ms. Shindle should also have a story to tell about her own personal journey. Alison was depicted at three life stages: child; collegian; and adult narrator. Listed for this performance in the program was Carly Gold as a spunky Small Alison who touchingly sung “Ring of Keys” when she realizes her connection to a very butch delivery woman. Singing this song, small Alison first called her “beautiful” then “handsome.” Medium Alison (the college student), Abby Corrigan, gave a touching, funny and sincere performance. Jadyn Schwartz is an alternative Small Alison for some performances.
Fun Home was performed without an intermission. The live orchestra played well and sympathetically accompanied the singers. Anthony Fortino is Dance Captain. Sam Gold directed with a subtle and assured touch.
Fun Home has but a short stay. If you identify yourself as lesbian, dyke, queer, gay, straight, bisexual, celibate, or no label at all, you deserve the sometimes shattering, often joyous experience of the musical Fun Home.
For further information about Fun Home and to purchase tickets, visit www.kimmelcenter.org