Fun Home is a special show. The 2015 Best Musical Tony winner features a female, lesbian protagonist (the remarkable Kate Shindle playing graphic novalist Alison Bechdel), and an emotionally complex story conveyed through a refreshingly frank lens (book by Lisa Kron) and a sophisticated, counter-intuitive score by Jeanine Tesori (music) and Kron (lyrics).
The fact this show is touring at all is a marvel – and a testament to the power of superb storytelling. Because, on paper, a story about a lesbian graphic novelist’s life growing up in a funeral home with a closeted father who kills himself sounds, at best, like a hard sell. However, the result is beautifully poignant, and surprisingly universal, 90 minutes of theatre.
After all, who hasn’t grappled with self-discovery? Or understood how age brings loss and regret, but also a deeper understanding of fundamental human truths?
And, more specifically, coming out stories are rarely explored in commercial mediums, yet they are essential in helping evolve society’s awareness and acceptance of such journeys.
Yes, Fun Home does all of that. (However, I have some reservations, which I’ll get to in a moment.)