A Tony Award–winning musical is lighting up Washington, D.C.’s theater scene. Fun Home, a Broadway production based on Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir, takes audiences on a time-hopping adventure through Bechdel’s life, her coming out as a lesbian, and her father’s struggle with his secret identity. Directed by Sam Gold, Fun Home is an emotional roller coaster with the most adorable opening and an ending that leaves very few eyes dry.
The protagonist, Alison, is played by three actresses—Kate Shindle (adult), Alessandra Baldacchino (child), and Abby Corrigan (college)—who beautifully portray the various stages of growing up and coming out. They also humorously take us through the awkwardness and challenges that come with these stages, like first relationships and understanding our parents’ flaws.
Fun Home heartbreakingly and wonderfully tackles the challenges of both coming out and staying in the closet because of circumstances or fear. This causes difficult but familiar tension throughout the show. We watch Alison’s father Bruce, played by Robert Petkoff, fight through his personal and familial struggles and Alison come to terms with many childhood memories.
As far as musicals go, the vocals are mesmerizing and the songs are catchy. If the combination of singing and speaking is not really your thing, then go see it anyway. While the placement of the songs can sometimes feel random when they begin, you are quickly hooked a few words in. They even explain a few things, such as the importance of a ring of keys on a masculine-centered or butch woman and the beauty of good Irish linen. This fantastic fusion of plot and music will draw you in so quickly you won’t even notice there is no intermission.
Fun Home is a timely musical masterpiece filled with familiar characters and accented by phenomenal music. If given the chance I would happily see it again! Five stars from me, and may there be more awards in the future.
Catch the show in DC now until May 13 at National Theatre before it opens in Houston, Texas, on May 16.