A Bold New Musical
Adapted for stage by the playwright Lisa Kron, Fun Home is based on Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel and dramatizes her bittersweet journey from childhood to adolescence. The coming of age musical introduces Alison in three different stages in her life as she reminisces about her dysfunctional family. Director Sam Gold has done a wonderful job in bringing lucidity to the multifaceted stage mechanics that places the story in three different time frames. The emotionally powerful musical is performed throughout in the round at the Circle in the Square Theatre and brings the audience closer to the characters. Besides Alison and her brilliantly enigmatic father, the spectators are also introduced to her mother and brothers. Fun Home brings in a unique perspective into the theme of homosexuality and how a young girl discovers she’s lesbian. The plot takes the audience through three different times as Alison tries to solve the mystery of her parents’ unhappy marriage and her father’s eventual suicide.
The Three Alisons
The brilliance of Fun Home lies in the presence of three different aged Alisons and how they take the audience through a poignant, engrossing story. The small Alison is played by the charming Sydney Lucas who beautifully takes up the role of a doting and demanding child who has big dreams. Emily Skeggs plays the middle Alison who goes off to college and explores her own sexuality, as well as starts to understand her father’s behavior and his strange upbringing. Beth Malone steps into the shoes of a grown Alison and takes the audience back through the years. Through her the story unfolds and the spectators learn about other characters. Along with her family Alison lives in Pennsylvania in a home that’s more like a museum filled with historic preservations. It’s also a funeral home run mostly by her father by the entire family pitches in, and the audience also gets to see young Alison playing hide and seek near the caskets. Brilliantly intense actor Michael Cerveris plays the father Bruce Bechdel – a jack of all trades. He teaches English at a local high school, is the funeral director and also an obsessive home restorer. Helen Bechdel – the mother – is played by Judy Kuhn, who finds comfort in homemaking and is an obedient wife.
Powerful Music & Stage Design
Sam Gold’s direction deserves all the praise as he has wonderfully handled the rearrangement of set, smartly using the physical space in a relatively difficult round presentation. Scenic Designer David Zinn handles the furniture in a brilliant manner, making it appear and disappear through trapdoors where it’s cleverly hoisted. Creating visual harmony, his method makes a symbolic sense especially when Alison tries to refresh her memory. Tony Award nominee, Ben Stanton’s understanding of lighting and tone added clarity into the acts and even a bit of playfulness. His pop-art effects and the comic strip outlines brought in a lot of sophistication. Drama Desk Award nominee, Jeanine Tesori has been exceptional on the music front. Her powerful compositions have amplified emotionally charged scenes and she has matched the music beautifully with each character. An all round incredible production, Fun Home’s journey from paper to stage has been a stellar one, definitely worthy of a Tony Award. Buy your Fun Home tickets and make your own call.