Turns out you can’t judge a musical by its poster.
The only thing I knew about the Broadway show Fun Home before I saw it last night was a) the critics loved it and b) the Tony voters did, too.
It scored 12 nominations earlier this week.
I didn’t know the soundtrack or the book upon which it was based. I walked in the theatre about as clueless as a person could get.
So imagine my surprise when the show wasn’t the singing, dancing Partridge Family parody that I had cooked up in my head.
If you too are in the dark (and wish to remain so), stop reading now.
Have they left? Okay. So the rest of you know why my mind is a bit blown right now.
The musical’s narrator is a lesbian cartoonist. (Yeah, this show’s no Cinderella.) With the help of her very young self and college-aged self — two incredible young performers — she tells her life story. With captions.
(‘Cause she’s a cartoonist.)
How her father was a part-time teacher and part-time funeral director — FUN HOME was the family nickname for the funeral home — and a closeted gay man who slept with lots of boys and committed suicide while she was away at college.
But that’s not to say there weren’t moments of humor and laughter. Her first girl-on-girl experience in college inspired “Changing My Major to Joan,” one of my favorite songs in the show. And the kids did do a little Partridge Family at one point, so the graphic designer gets to keep his job.
The cast is all-around amazing. I do wish I had seen the show off-Broadway before they were plopped down into this in-the-round venue. It has led to a lot of ‘singing to the audience’ staging that seems amateurish for a story of such complexity.
It is quite a ride.