Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Jenna Glazier ’19 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
The Tony Award-winning musical finally touches down in Boston. Fun Home is just as magical, possibly even more so, than it was when it first debuted on Broadway in 2015.
Fun Home is a musical adaption of a graphic novel written by Alison Bechdel. It tells the story of a gay woman looking back on her relationship with her recently deceased, closeted gay father. The story is told by the character of Alison Bechdel as a child, a college student, and an adult. Jeanine Tesori‘s brilliant composition assists in creating a piece of theatre that takes the audience through a life story full of finding balance, discovering who you are, hiding who you are, and all the hearts that break along the way.
The National Tour of Fun Home provides its audience with the original, moving, and beautiful music paired with a particularly incredible lighting design. Especially during the number, Raincoat of Love, lighting designer Ben Stanton recreates the exact, almost inexplicable feeling of an after school special television show––which completely juxtaposes the story’s dark demeanor, making it all the more impactful for the audience. Along with the dazzling lighting design, the set of Fun Home is similar to the original production’s. However, it has more exciting, moving parts that help portray the story for the audience in the patchwork way Alison is telling it, as she compiles it into her graphic novel. David Zinn, the set designer of the production, wonderfully enhanced the shows pace and style with his entrancingly crafted set.
Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
As for the cast of Fun Home––they eradicate the stereotype of bad acting in a musical. Assisted by the direction of Sam Gold, this cast performed with incredibly raw, intriguing, and believable emotion. Though at certain times their acting took precedent over their vocal talent, the audience was so deeply under the spell of the story that they were practically unfazed. The entire ensemble exquisitely led the audience through the moments of heartache, comedy, frustration, love, and confusion. Medium Allison, played by Abby Corrigan, practically held the entire audience in her hands throughout the entire show. Corrigan’s portrayal of Alison during her college years––exploring and understanding her sexuality, her father’s sexuality, and the real life her mother has endured––was breathtakingly phenomenal. Her comedic timing made her moments of distress that much more relatable and powerful. And, of course, her rendition of Changing My Major brought the house down and gave the audience another look into Alison’s spunky and goofy personality. Supported by the rest of the incredibly talented cast, Abby Corrigan was an absolute thrill to watch and connect with throughout the performance. Besides Corrigan, the performance of Days and Days––by the character of Alison’s mother, Helen (Susan Moniz)––left the entire audience speechless and paralyzed with empathetic appreciation for what her character goes through. Days and Days is essentially Helen’s lament, but also a warning to her daughter not to “give away her days”, by denying who she, or the person she loves, truly is. Provided with a gorgeous piece of music, Moniz enhances the message within it, finally giving her character the day in the sun she has fought to be given for so long.
Experiencing Fun Home gives each audience member the opportunity to experience that one regrettably missed conversation with someone they didn’t understand until it was too late. By portraying one person’s very individual story in a way that is still universal, Fun Home allows everyone to leave the theater with a new perspective on a friend, family member, significant other, or themselves. The national tour of Fun Home is a prime example of effective collaboration between theater artists and should not be missed by a single person in the Boston area.