A powerful portrayal continues in this Tony-award winning play, as a new cast takes the stage to display the evolution of storytelling. Fun Home, based on Alison Bechdel’s bestselling graphic memoir, is showcasing key new cast members including Michael Cerveris, Jim Stanek, Lauren Patten, Gabriella Pizzolo, Roberta Colindrez, Zell Steele Morrow, Joel Perez and Oscar Williams. Veterans Judy Kuhn and Beth Malone preserve in their respective roles.
The impact of this heart-wrenching theatrical experience performed at the Circle in the Square Theater, has only matured after winning the Tony. In keeping with its no-holds-barred boundary pushing mantra, the show recently welcomed a group of UN ambassadors representing countries globally in an effort to further LGBT issues worldwide, culminating with a powerful discussion with activist and actor, Cynthia Nixon.
The show is told from the perspective of Alison during three stages of her life: childhood, college and middle age. Beth Malone, who originated the role of adult Alison, delivers a powerful performance as the glue that holds it altogether, poignantly touching upon those painful memories of adolescence, how she struggled with her own sexuality and how she eventually felt after her father’s suicide and the revelation that he, too, was gay.
The theater becomes home itself and brings the story to life as every member of the audience is immersed in this family’s world. We live through all of their joy and their pain, to ultimately come to the sad realization that words unspoken can be ever more dangerous than ones shouted out loud.
Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
You go to the show for the songs, but you stay for the story, or that’s at least how I felt about the thoughtful production of Beautiful, directed by Marc Bruni and staged at the Stephen Sondheim Theater. One might think it would be a wildly arduous task to take on the iconic role of living legend Carole King in any shape or form, particularly following Jessie Mueller who won a Tony for the same role, but Chilina Kennedy, singersongwriter in her own right, makes it look easy.
This score is one so powerful that you can’t help but choke back tears as the audience relives the music of husband and wife songwriter duo Gerry Goffin and Carole King and their fiercest competitors and eventually best friends, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. Arguably, the two most poignant moments of the play were delivered by Kennedy and signified the changes in King’s life. Firstly when she reprises “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” during the beginning of the end of her marriage to Goffin, and secondally when she learns to find her own voice with “It’s Too Late Baby”.
There’s a reason why Beautiful has broken box office records; it’s a narrative we can all relate to. The fact that we can identify with it amidst a score of songs that defined a generation, makes it even more poignant.