Fun Home at Hennepin Theatre Trust
Fun Home played at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis December 13th through the 18th. This 2015 Tony Award-winner for Best Musical is based off of the autobiographical best-selling graphic novel by Alison Bechdel. The musical tells the story of famed cartoonist Alison Bechdel and what growing up was like living in a funeral home (which her siblings named "The Fun Home), having a strange, often rocky, relationship with her father and realizing at a younger age she was different. The musical is narrated by Alison as an adult as she looks back at herself as a young preteen (refereed to as Small Alison) and college student referred to as "Medium Alison," where she comes to grips with identifying as a lesbian.
Let's start by just saying that the musical was fantastic. The story, the music, the actors, the message and themes, everything. I absolutely loved it. What made Fun Home so outstanding was how beautifully the songs and funny dialogue are weaved effortlessly into a pretty serious plot. The song "Ring of Keys," which many were introduced to at the Tony Awards where Sydney Lucas gave us all chills, a lot of LGBTQ members can relate to. The song depicts a moment in Small Alison's life when she can't quite form the words that she feels after seeing an "old school butch." It is a moment of emotional and sexual awakening for her. The song was moving and the performance was amazing. Read here how the song writers approached writing the song.
Whether you're apart of the LGBTQ community or not, everyone can relate to a lot of the themes from this musical especially the one that comes across in one of the last songs "Telephone Wire." As Medium Alison is visiting home and goes on a car ride with her father (although during the scene, the older Alison acts the scene out) she is continuously lost for words as she tries to come out to her father in person. Previously in the musical, we discover that her father is also gay and while they each know about one another, they fail to say it out loud or confront it head on. The song is relatable to everyone as many can remember having a secret you want to tell your parents but can't manage to say it. The moment when you think you're going to and then bail out by bringing up a different topic.
Now without getting too political, let's point out the title of this specific blog post. Big capital screaming letters saying "THIS IS IMPORTANT." It is an important show for many reasons, one being the representation of the LGBTQ community. They have been underrepresented and now within the last few years have finally been included in the media and entertainment. So what makes this coming out and coming of age story different than the others?
Fun Home is an important piece of musical theatre, not only because it shows the very personal and intimate struggle of realizing your sexuality but also because the leading character is a lesbian and that was a breath of fresh air. It is not about a rugged gay male or a teenage boy coming out and realizing he likes RuPaul more than monster trucks. It's about a girl. A lesbian. She isn't a supporting character either. She is the main character. Earlier I did say that the LGBTQ community is finally being represented more and more in entertainment, however I should have said the G in LGBTQ is being represented more. I thoroughly enjoyed that the story was about a young gay woman and I can't wait to see some sort of similar musical come out within the next decade about a trans* person.
While this musical has left the Orpheum Theatre, it is still on tour. I highly recommend anyone and everyone to see it. It's also fairly short, and only runs about an hour and 45 minutes.