Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Review of Fun Home (Broadway in Chicago)

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Fun Home. The book and lyrics were by Lisa Kron and the music was by Jeanine Tesori. It is based on the graphic novel by Alison Bechdel. It was directed by Sam Gold. The choreography was by Danny Mefford. The music supervisor was Chris Fenwick. It is about a family in the 70s and 80s and the father Bruce (Robert Petkoff) of the family is gay but is not married to a man, so he has to keep it a secret. Alison (Kate Shindle) is looking back on Medium Alison (Abby Corrigan), who is in the process of figuring out her sexuality, and looking back on Small Alison (Alessandra Baldacchino), who just kind of realized that she is attracted to women. She's remembering things from her childhood to put in the graphic novel she's writing. I really loved this story. It really spoke to me and it was really beautiful.

There is a song called "Come to the Fun Home" that is sung by Small Alison and her brothers Christian (Pierson Salvador) and John (Lennon Nate Hammond), which is all about the funeral home that their dad works at. I thought this was a really cute song, but it is about a funeral parlor, so when you actually think about it, it is kind of weird, but it is still adorable. Their dance was cute--that might have been the funniest part. The dance seemed very disco-inspired and they would be dancing on top of a coffin and that kind of stuff, but none of them were alarmed by that. The name Fun Home may be sarcastic, because this home is not very fun. Everyone is kind of sad. But it is still fitting, because the funeral home isn't a scary place for them. It is where they go to have a good time.

"Changing my Major" is such an adorable and hilarious song. It is about Medium Alison having her first sexual experience with Joan (Karen Eilbacher) who will become her girlfriend. By the way, the way Alison kissed was just the cutest. It was really cute and funny how after this one time she was like, "That was awesome and amazing and I am doing this forever with Joan. I'm changing my major to Joan!" You knew this was coming because after just a kiss she totally threw herself into it. That was hilarious. I thought Joan was amazing and hilarious and such a good person for a first girlfriend. And Alison was so lovably dorky in this scene. Words can't even explain how cute they were together.

My favorite song musically was "Ring of Keys." It is so catchy. I really want to learn how to sing it. It is about Small Alison realizing that there are people who feel the same way she does and don't try to hide it. I think that "Your swagger, and your bearing, and the just-right clothes you're wearing" is such a sweet line because you realize how, just looking at this person, everything she is wearing and doing is just right to Alison. I think she is attracted to her and she wants to be her, which is very complicated, especially when being lesbian wasn't even something that was on her radar. I think the ring of keys is what draws Alison's attention most because they are just out there for everyone to see and the woman seems so proud about herself and that is out there for everyone to see too.

"Telephone Wire" and "Days and Days" were the two saddest songs for me. "Days and Days" was a really beautiful song sung by Helen (Susan Moniz). It was about feeling like your entire life has been for someone and that person doesn't appreciate you. And I really felt for her because she just seemed like somebody who deserved better but didn't know that she did. But she wanted for her daughter to have better than she did and to do better than her dad had. "Telephone Wire" was a touching song about the awkwardness that happens in the car when she and her dad are trying to take a drive. The telephone wire is what they are passing as they drive along, and she is focusing on it so she can think of something to say. I was frustrated that they didn't even speak to each other about anything important and that made me feel bad for them.

People who would like this show are people who like sad songs about awkward car rides, rings of keys, and disco dancing on coffins. I thought this was a really moving and funny show. I really liked it!

Photos: Joan Marcus

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