Honest, cathartic "Fun Home" staged in Fayetteville

TheatreSquared's production of "Fun Home" opens August 23 and continues through Sept. 17.

When her father dies unexpectedly, graphic novelist Alison dives deep into her past to tell the story of the volatile, brilliant, one-of-a-kind man whose temperament and secrets defined her family and her life. Moving between past and present, Alison relives her unique childhood playing make-believe at the family business - the Bechdel Funeral Home.

Fun Homeis based on lesbian cartoonist Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel about growing up in a Pennsylvania funeral home with an agonized, closeted gay dad. TheatreSquared is bringing the musical to Fayetteville’s Nadine Baum Studio stage, August 23 through September 17.

Fun Home is a refreshingly honest, cathartic, and wholly original musical about seeing your parents through grown-up eyes.

 “[It’s] the all-American, coming-of-age journey of a girl (seen at different ages) and who, in adulthood, asked herself the question why she and the father she loved ended up taking such different paths. It is a question you might well have asked about your own parents,” wrote the Chicago Tribune.

Every once in a while a Broadway musical comes along that surprises, moves and excites audiences in ways only a truly landmark musical can. The “groundbreaking” “life-affirming” and “exquisite” new musical was the event of the Broadway season, receiving raves from critics and audiences alike and making history along the way.

Fun Home introduces us to Alison at three different ages, revealing memories of her uniquely dysfunctional family - her mother, brothers and volatile, brilliant, enigmatic father - that connect with her in surprising new ways.

The musical won the 2015 Tony Award for Best Musical, as well as Best Score and Best Book. Other awards include the Obie Award, Lucille Lortel Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, Off-Broadway Alliance Award and New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award.

 “Fun Home may be a deeply personal story about one woman’s search for truths, but as is the case with our best stories, it shares universal truths - about family, legacy and self-discovery,” said the Pittsburgh Post-Gazettein its review of the musical.

Fun Home is not overtly political, even if, by its very nature, a show about growing up gay - including a song about lesbian sexual desire, Ring of Keys - is a charged topic for some.

TheatreSquared’s production is directed by Amy Herzberg and features Rita Harvey and Rob Sutton (Next to Normal).

Amy Herzberg is TheatreSquared’s Associate Artistic Director and is a co-founder of the organization. She is a Distinguished Professor directing the MFA/BA acting programs at the University of Arkansas. Acting credits include work at La Jolla Playhouse, George Street Playhouse, Valle Christi International Theatre Festival (Italy), and San Diego Repertory Theatre, where she was in the resident company for four years.

The TheatreSquared production will be at Walton Arts Center's Nadine Baum Studios from August 23 through September 17. Tickets are available by calling (479) 443-5600.

Copyright 2017 The Gayly – August 9, 2017 @ 10:55 a.m. CDT.