In fact, “Fun Home” based on the graphic novel by Alison Bechtel, with music by Jeanine Tesoro, and book and lyrics by Lisa Kron, is absolutely brilliant. Yes, it’s fun and funny, but it’s also a fascinating, original and poignant character study about discovery, self acceptance and healing.
“Fun Home” was hailed as Broadway’s most original new musical in years, winning multi Tony awards. It started playing off Broadway at The Public Theatre in 2013 before it transferred to Broadway’s Circle in the Square Theatre and it became the year’s most atypical smash hit. After seeing it, I completely understand why.
This is the story of a woman, Alison, a writer, who through her childhood memories of her very dysfunctional family, comes to accept who she is and in the process, she is able to heal from a very traumatic event in her life.
We follow Alison, a lesbian cartoonist, as she draws cartoon sketches of scenes from her childhood in Pennsylvania. It’s her way of trying to understand her father’s suicide and his reasons for remaining in the closet.
Like Allison, her father was gay which is something Alison didn’t discover until her father killed himself during her college years. Her dad, Bruce, a teacher and funeral director, was a tyrannical control freak, prone to violent mood swings and bouts of depression. This was one guy in serious need of a good shrink, but sadly that never happened.
“Fun Home” (the name of the family’s nickname for their funeral parlor) has all the elements that make for a powerful theatrical experience; great vocals, excellent staging, as well as music and lyrics that bring to life this extremely relatable and moving story, no matter what your sexual presence might be.
The cast, including grown up Alison (Kate Shindle), Small Alison (Alessandra Baldacchino) and Medium Alison (the extremely funny, Abby Corrigan) are absolutely amazing, not only in their vocal ability, but all three have perfect comic delivery and absolutely nail their parts.
Robert Petkoff who plays Bechtel’s dad, Bruce, Susan Moniz, as Alison’s long suffering mother and Karen Eilbacher (Joan) Allison’s lover also give outstanding performances.
I must add that Alessandra Baldacchino, considering her young age, absolutely blew me away with her vocal power and acting chops.
‘Fun Home’ is a must see show that you will be thinking about long after the curtain falls. Do not miss it.
‘Fun Home’ beautifully directly by Sam Gold with choreography by Danny Medford. opened at The Ahmanson Theatre located at 135 North Grand Avenue, on February 21st and run through April 1, 2017.
Performances are: Tuesdays-Fridays at 8pm; Saturdays at 2:00 and 8 pm; Sundays at 1:00 and 6:30 pm.
Tickets are $25-$125
Information: 213-972-4400 or www.centertheatregroup.org.
The show runs: 1 hour and 40 minutes with no intermission.