Durham, N.C. — Heartbreaking, funny, moving, smart - so many things come to mind when I think of the five-time Tony award-winning musical Fun Home, which comes to Durham Performing Arts Center Oct. 25-30.
This show will sell out, so you need to buy tickets early. I saw this show on Broadway, and it is truly not one to be missed.
Here are the top five reasons you need to see this show.
The "Fun Home" is actually a funeral home - The musical is based on Alison Bechdel’s best-selling graphic memoir. The "Fun Home" the title references is the funeral home her family runs. The funeral home setting leads to some lighthearted moments and gives way to a spirited disco number "Come to the Fun Home."
The actors - The show basically rests on the shoulders of the three actresses portraying Alison Bechdel. Middle-aged Alison is the narrator, spending almost the entire show on stage trying to sort through her complicated relationship with her father. We see Alison as a child, asking her father, Bruce, to play "airplane." She tries to come to grips with her father's obsessive behavior and is too young to notice his inappropriate relationship with a former high school student doing yard work for the family. College-aged Alison has the task of guiding the audience through her coming out and first lesbian relationship. The show bounces between these three stages of Alison's life as she wonders whether she and her father have any similarities at all.
Fly on the Wall - I saw this show at the Circle in the Square theater on Broadway. The stage is basically a bowl, with the furthest audience member sitting no more than 10 rows away. You really felt like you were sitting in the living room with this family, going through every struggle. It will be interesting to see how they capture that experience in a traditional stage setting while on the national tour.
It's an important story at an important time - House Bill 2 has put North Carolina's treatment of the LGBT community into the national spotlight. This show needs to be seen, especially right now. Alison Bechdel is a lesbian sharing her story of finding herself. The story is juxtaposed with her father, Bruce, who tried to hide his own sexuality. Alison is begging to be understood and to understand the world around her.
No intermission needed - This 1 hour and 40 minute show runs without intermission. For so much happening on stage, the show actually moves quickly. The lack of intermission helps raise the intensity of the show. Also building to the climax is the heart-wrenching "Telephone Wire" duet between Alison and Bruce.
This isn't the feel-good musical of the year. You are going to leave this show feeling moved, and you are going to feel more connected to the people around you.