What’s all this hype about Fun Home then? 🤷 Isn’t it that 90s kids game show presented by Pat Sharp I used to watch after school? Is it making a comeback, because I am SO DOWN.
Nope, guess again!
Fun Home is, in fact, a MUSICAL! An acclaimed, groundbreaking musical directed by Sam Gold, which has already taken America by storm and is about to hit London for the first time – and we’re just hoping you guys can handle it…
Things you need to know:
1. This is the first musical with a lesbian character as the lead role
This is a coming-of-age story about a lesbian called Alison looking back on younger versions of herself, and examining her relationship with her closeted gay father. There are plenty of musicals around exploring the stories of gay men, but it’s rare to see a lesbian’s story in this genre and we’re so proud to fly that flag.
(Sung by ‘Medium Alison’, aged 19, experiencing a sexual awakening after her first night spent with her friend, Joan.)
2. Fun Home the musical is based on a graphic novel (which is also a true story)
Written by Alison Bechdel, the original graphic memoir has garnered much critical acclaim, including being named Best Book of the Year by Time, Entertainment Weekly, the New York Times, and People. Alison wrote the book following her father’s suicide and tries to unpick how the two of them ended up taking such different paths in life. It is profound, tender, funny, incredibly powerful and deeply moving. Ideal material for a…musical, huh?
(Sung by ‘Present-day Alison’, reliving the moment she and her father take a drive after she comes out to him. She hopes she can talk openly to her father one last time.)
3. ‘Fun Home’ is actually code for funeral home
A musical about a funeral home? This is already a plot twist! Yes, the narrative centres on Alison who grew up in her family’s Pennsylvania funeral home (her father was the funeral home director) where she and her brothers would sometimes play in the coffins… Whilst not your traditional setting for a musical, this kind of juxtaposition of humour and tragedy is part of what makes the show so riveting.
(Sung by ‘Young Alison’ and her brothers, Christian and John, who are playing at making a TV advert for their family’s funeral home, AKA the ‘fun home’.)
4. It won 5 Tony Awards the year it opened on Broadway 🏅🏅🏅🏅🏅
The original Broadway production was nominated for 12 Tony Awards in 2015, winning FIVE, including Best Musical. Also, the truly excellent Jeanine Tesori & Lisa Kron were the first female writing team to win the Tony Award for Best Original Score. Their acceptance speech is everything. (Did we mention this musical has an all female writing team?)
(Sung by Alison’s mother, Helen, who tells Alison about how her relationship with her father changed over the years. A beautiful example of Tesori & Kron’s musical genius.)
5. The Bechdel Test is named after – you guessed it – Alison Bechdel
We’re just going to let The Simpsons explain this one…
Alison featured this 3-step measure for films in her long-running comic Dykes to Watch Out For (Does it have at least 2 women in it and do they speak to each other about something besides a man?) and has since grown in popularity so much that it has become part of our modern-day vernacular.