Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Thoughts on Fun Home

I was thrilled to get a ticket to last night's second preview of Fun Home - I'm an enormous fan of the creative team and most of the actors (well, all of the actors now, after seeing them in the show).  Since it's so early, though, I'll only offer a few brief thoughts:

I think Jeanine Tesori is a genius.  Truly.  Her scores are some of my very favorite ever and Caroline or Change was one of the best theatrical experiences ever.  I was so looking forward to hearing new music by Jeanine - I just find her work to be so smart, engaging, specific yet sweeping.  Glorious.  And the music in Fun Home just continues in that vein.  I was captivated from the very first song and the final notes of music were just awe-inspiring.  I really really hope this piece gets a cast recording, because I would love to hear everything again now that I know the story and how it unfolds.

I didn't know the source material at all, so I didn't know the story going in. I found it very compelling and enjoyed the perspective of this particular family.  And, Lisa Kron is also a genius, in my humble opinion.  Speaking of smart and engaging.  Her libretto was impressive, using existing text from the source material and yet adding her own idiosyncratic touches.  Wonderful, wonderful work. And her lyrics were also spot on.

Sam Gold has directed the company of nine beautifully, keeping the episodic nature of the piece moving beautifully.  If there were some sluggish moments in transition, I put that down as early preview-ness and I'm sure they will tighten up as they continue the run.  The set was spectacular and the other design elements were terrific as well.  I think this show is in fantastic shape for so early in the preview process.

The cast is flat-out wonderful.  Do Michael Cerveris or Judy Kuhn ever put a false foot forward?  I don't think so.  These complex, flawed people are sympathetically and beautifully portrayed.  And they broke my heart.  The three gals playing our main character at various stages of her life are fantastic.  The little gal is especially impressive.  Everyone was very good, though, with very specific choices that made these people very real to me.

I really enjoyed myself at Fun Home and would be very curious to check it out again later in the run.  I'd love to see how clues set at the beginning pay off at the end, which I didn't notice as well as I should have throughout.  Because of one annoying thing.  My experience was definitely marred by how freaking FREEZING it was in the theater.  I'm not exaggerating - the fan was blowing above me, so strongly, that my hair kept flying into my face.  If I hadn't just recently gotten a haircut, I would've had to find a ponytail holder in my purse to keep it from flying around.  I was wearing a warm blouse and a blazer, but I wish I had taken a scarf, hat and gloves.  Yes, it was that cold in there.  I think the gal sitting next to me kept getting annoyed by how I was shivering.  There were points during the evening where I had to remind myself to get out of my freezing head and pay attention to what was going on on-stage.  That's never a good thing.  The house was full, and there was no intermission, so I couldn't ask to be moved.  I hate having been so bothered by air conditioning, but there you have it.  The fact that I remember any of the show, despite my frozen icicle brain, is probably a testament to how good it truly is.  You should definitely check it out.  Seeing Tesori, Kron, Cerveris and Kuhn at the top of their game is ALWAYS worth supporting...

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