CMU School of Drama

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Stage review: The American musical comes of age with 'Fun Home'

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: The riveting modern musical “Fun Home” provides a fresh point of view on what Hollywood might label “a coming-of-age” or a “coming out” story. It’s both, plus a family drama with a sense of humor as we tag along on a daughter’s personal journey.

Alison Bechdel is the real-life out-and-proud lesbian cartoonist who set out to unearth truths about her past and those of her father, a closeted gay man who committed suicide in his 40s — shortly after she came out to her parents.


Evan Schild said...

Last winter I saw Fun Home on Broadway. Most of the original cast was still in it. I thought that Beth Malone was a star. The show would not be the same without her. I wonder how differently Kate plays it compared to Beth. Also the Broadway production was staged in the round. On tour they cannot do this, so I wonder how much has changed. Do the changes change the intimacy of the piece? When I first found out that it was coming to Pittsburgh I had assumed that it would be playing at the Benedum center which would change the whole show. You need to feel connected with the family as the story progresses and a huge theatre like that would ruin it. I am so happy that it is not playing there but at Heinz Hall. I have not been there yet but I don’t think it is as big as the Benedum center. Hopefully it will be as good as the Broadway production.

Claire Farrokh said...

"Fun Home" will always hold a very special place in my heart, and I wish I had the opportunity to see it in Pittsburgh. The first time I ever saw Fun Home was with my best friend who is a lesbian living with highly abusive and oppressive parents. She had been dreaming of seeing the show since she had first heard about it a year prior, and she had memorized all of the music. I got her a ticket for her birthday, and it was truly amazing to get to experience seeing the show with her. As a theatre major, it's pretty nice to be reminded that theatre matters, and that theatre can really help people in many different situations. I, personally, loved the show. I thought it was extremely well done and very touching, but I will never be able to connect with it on the same level as my friend or people who have gone through her struggle. Being able to witness that experience for her was really incredible, and winning the Hamilton lottery later that day made it even better.

Simone Schneeberg said...

I haven't had a chance to see the touring version, but I have seen the Broadway show twice and it's a beautiful show from the music to the emotion to the set and the tech. It's all extremely well thought out and creates this beautiful bubble of intimacy with adult Alison and her thoughts and memories. I really do wonder how that translates from in the round to proscenium. It said that what you lose in intimacy you gain in sight lines, and I wonder just how much that changes the feel of the show. On the one hand you feel more like an audience and more detached (typically) in a proscenium theater, but in the round, missing those facial expressions can detract from intimate moments (especially when you realize that you're looking at someone's back and you mind steps out of the show to go "hey wait I can't see".) I wonder if this staging creates a different sort of intimacy or ends up with the same effect, just gets you there in a different way.

Zak Biggins said...

I love Fun Home! One of my friends from camp (Alessandra Baldacchino) is in the touring company playing small Alison! Its so wild to see people you know perform professionally- I imagine after carnegie mellon that will be a feeling I become accustomed to pretty quickly. I have been fortunate enough to see Fun Home three times on broadway. I have not seen the touring company but from my understanding they had to make some changes because of the seating configuration. The space worked really well at circle in the square because of its level of intimacy. I heard they referred back to their original scenic design from their production at the public. I wonder if this changes the vibe of the show- because before I felt the show in the round was very representational- however the proscenium to me, makes it very presentational. I hope I am able to see this show!

Helena Hewitt said...

Fun Home is a truly important show to me. I went to see the show with my mom in New York a little more than a year ago. My sexuality was not something I had ever realised talked about with my parents, they simply accepted it without any fuss when I started going out with girls as well as guys. But because I never had a big “coming out” moment there was no need for they to acknowledge it in any large way. This show was the first time my mother and I ever talked about what being queer meant to me in any real way. And she shared that the plays family dynamics had touched her given her experience growing up with parents who were distant and struggling addiction. After a 2 pm matinee we both sat in a New York deli and broke down into tears, being able to share experiences with each other we had never talked about before. These are the kind of moments that remind me why what we do matters on a much larger scale than just the two hours of the performance.

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