If only there was a movie, too! Fun Home, the Tony Award-winning musical based on Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel/memoir of the same name, is a deeply emotional show centered around Alison’s discovery that she is a lesbian, amidst her own grief after her father’s suicide- which partially coincided with her coming out. This story, set in three separate times in Alison’s life (childhood, teenage, middle-age) displayed Alison’s growth alongside her father’s dissolution with perfectly balanced humor and raw emotion that I wish I could watch again and again.
The music in this show has been stuck in my head ever since I saw the show on Tuesday, and I am not mad. Normally, I dislike songs that are filled with proper nouns and specific situational descriptions that could not be sung without context, but this show may have changed my mind. Despite being hampered by proper nouns, these songs are incredibly relatable and have a vast emotional range- from broken sobs to air guitar-ing- that is perfectly executed by the cast. I will honestly never forget the scene for Come To The Fun Home, where young Alison (played by Alessandra Baldacchino) and her two siblings (played by Lennon Nate Hammond and Pierson Salvador) performed their idea for their family funeral home’s commercial while standing inside a casket, singing into pretend microphones and disco dancing. Shoutout to the lighting in that scene by Ben Stanton, where rainbow lights from above shine on the kids about halfway through the song- this only adds to the hilariousness of the absurdly blunt lyrics centered around death.
The performances of the deeper songs are just as effective, leaving me teary multiple times during the show with emotionally evocative phrasing and wishing that I could have a live recording to keep forever.
Not only are the musical performances incredible, but the straight acting performances were just as emotional. The dry humor of middle-aged Alison was perfectly executed by Kate Shindle, and garnered some real laughs from the audience. The breathy unsureness and naïveté of teenage Alison was so complete and all-encompassing that the character felt both caricature-like and entirely tangible all at once, a difficult task for Abby Corrigan to pull off. Every line was spoken like a conversation, and by the end of the show, I was blindly scribbling down quotes because every cast member’s performance was so ‘on’ that I didn't want to forget.
Lastly, I would like to mention the homey feel of the set that was eerily accurate for all vintage homeowners in the U.S. The wood scheme was exactly the same color as the wood in my 19th century home, and the set’s end table lamp looked very similar to the lamp that I have had in my family for generations. Obviously, David Zinn did his homework.
Overall, my only criticism for this musical is that it is not being adapted into a movie that I can keep forever.