Fun Home BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Sara Krulwich
  • NY TIMES

  • TIME OUT

  • HR

  • HUFFPOST

  • NBC

Opening Night:
April 19, 2015
Closing:
September 10, 2016

Theater: Circle in the Square / 235 West 50th Street, New York, NY, 10019

Synopsis: 

Based on the graphic novel by Alison Bechdel, Fun Home charts a girl's quest to come to terms with her father's unexpected death. As she moves between past and present, Alison dives into the story of her volatile, brilliant father and relives her unique childhood at her family's funeral home.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Fun Home

    ‘Fun Home’ at the Circle in the Square Theater

    Ben Brantley

    April 19, 2015: “Fun Home” knows where you live. Granted, it’s unlikely that many details of your childhood exactly resemble those of the narrator of this extraordinary musical, which pumps oxygenating fresh air into the cultural recycling center that is Broadway. Yet this impeccably shaded portrait of a girl and her father, which opened on Sunday night at the Circle in the Square Theater, occupies the place where we all grew up, and will never be able to leave. That’s the shifting landscape where our parents, whether living or dead, will always reign as the most familiar and elusive people we will ever encounter. Adapted from Alison Bechdel’s fine graphic novel of a memoir, with an incisive book and lyrics by Lisa Kron and heart-gripping music by Jeanine Tesori, “Fun Home” might be described as a universal detective story. Set in three ages of one woman’s life (embodied by three perfectly matched, first-rate actresses), it tries to solve the sort of classic mystery that keeps grown-ups in analysis for decades: Who are these strange people who made me? The focus of that question here is an especially knotty case. Meet Bruce (Michael Cerveris), who teaches high school English, restores old houses and runs a funeral home in a small Pennsylvania town. As the husband of Helen (Judy Kuhn) and a father of three, Bruce is as divided personally as he is professionally, a fastidious upholder of the perfect-family facade who picks up young men (all played by Joel Perez) on the down low.

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  • TIME OUT NEW YORK REVIEW OF Fun Home

    'Fun Home' Theater review

    Adam Feldman

    April 19, 2015: Alison Bechdel is a cartoonist: It’s her job to fit stories into boxes. But her own life story resists easy lines. Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori’s "Fun Home," based on Bechdel’s graphic memoir, gracefully and movingly contrasts two narratives. One is about Alison (played as an adult by Beth Malone, as a college student by Emily Skeggs and as a child by Sydney Lucas) and her nervous, joyous self-discovery as a lesbian. The other is about her fussy and controlling father, Bruce (Michael Cerveris), a small-town English teacher and funeral-home director whose own homosexuality—hidden and shameful to him and his wife (Judy Kuhn)—may have been a factor in his suicide, which happened shortly after Alison came out to him. "Fun Home" is a thing of rare beauty: a Broadway musical of enormous intelligence and sensitivity. Kron’s libretto grabs you with humor, irony and poignant detail; Tesori’s music, as in her classic score for "Caroline, or Change," moves with great skill from tuneful pastiche (there’s an irony-soaked "Partridge Family"–style number) to striking dramatic force.

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  • HOLLYWOOD REPORTER REVIEW OF Fun Home

    Cartoonist Alison Bechdel's "family tragicomic" gets inventive stage treatment in this bold new musical

    David Rooney

    April 19, 2015: Perhaps the most over-trafficked subject matter among contemporary American dramatists is the dysfunctional family. So one of the many wonders of the haunting musical "Fun Home" is the unique perspective it brings to that theme, in a deeply personal story that marries the specificity of individual experience with an emotional universality that will find echoes in many of our lives. Composer Jeanine Tesori and writer-lyricist Lisa Kron have done something extraordinary here, reshaping cartoonist Alison Bechdel's graphic memoir into an unconventional memory play that seamlessly integrates music and drama. Full disclosure: I'm a late convert to this show about coming out, coming of age and coming to grips with the past, having caught it midway through the fall 2013 premiere run at the Public Theater. While ecstatic reviews had built up my expectations, I came away back then admiring the creative team's craft, and their audaciousness in tackling such nontraditional material as a musical. But "Fun Home" didn't move me. Whether it's the benefits of second-time exposure or the skill with which director Sam Gold and designer David Zinn have reconfigured the production to play in the round, intensifying its intimacy, this time I found it a beguiling experience, almost unbearably poignant at times. Bechdel's 2006 book is subtitled "A Family Tragicomic," which is also a perfect fit for this musical adaptation. At the end of the opening song, the adult Alison (Beth Malone) looks back on her childhood in the family funeral home — the "fun home," as the kids affectionately call it — and says: "My dad and I both grew up in the same small Pennsylvania town. And he was gay. And I was gay. And he killed himself. And I became a lesbian cartoonist."

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  • HUFFINGTON POST REVIEW OF Fun Home

    Come to the 'Fun Home'

    Steven Suskin

    April 19, 2015: Last season's best off-Broadway musical is now this season's best Broadway musical. "Fun Home" is the best Broadway musical in years. Don't let the subject matter fool you. You might have heard that the Jeanine Tesori-Lisa Kron musical, adapted from the autobiographical "graphic novel" by Alison Bechdel, is about a lesbian cartoonist and her gay father who kills himself. That might not sound like a cheery way to spend a couple of hours, but don't be misled. Fun Home is an emotional roller-coaster ride, a grippingly heartwarming story mixed with some of the most smart and joyful musical numbers presently on Broadway. Alison (Beth Malone) is, indeed, a 43-year-old lesbian cartoonist. We also see her as the pre-teen Small Alison (Sydney Lucas) and the college-freshman Middle Alison (Emily Skeggs). The nature of the narrative that Kron and Tesori have devised--and the beauty of the piece--is that we can see them all at the same time, in the same space, sometimes delivering the same sentence. Small Alison grows up trying to communicate with her decidedly difficult father Bruce (Michael Cerveris); Middle Alison leaves home for college, where (a) she comes out, (b) learns her father is gay, and (c) watches as he commits suicide months later. The adult Alison, meanwhile, struggles to make sense of it all. While the three Alisons are central, Cerveris (of Assassins and Titanic) is the key to the proceedings. As the repressed, unknowable father, he gives an excellent performance so uncharacteristic that some viewers are likely not to even recognize him under the hairpiece.

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  • NBC NEW YORK REVIEW OF Fun Home

    "Fun Home," Based on Graphic Memoir, Finds a Place on Broadway

    Robert Kahn

    April 19, 2015: "Fun Home" is a delicate portrait of family dysfunction that has only gotten richer in the 18 months since it premiered at The Public Theater. Many members of the Off-Broadway cast return for the Circle in the Square transfer, including Beth Malone, Sydney Lucas, Michael Cerveris and Judy Kuhn. Heralded as the first mainstream musical with a lesbian lead character, “Fun Home” is based on the 2006 graphic memoir by Alison Bechdel, creator of the comic strip “Dykes to Watch Out For.” For Alison and her brothers, “Fun Home” was sardonic shorthand for “funeral home.” That was the family business as the kids came of age in Beech Creek, Pa. Bruce Bechdel, Alison’s father, was gay. He committed suicide about four months after Alison came out: “I didn’t know, Dad … I had no way of knowing that my beginning would be your end,” Malone’s adult version of Alison explains as “Fun Home” begins.

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