BWW Preview: FUN HOME Draws you Close with Music and Pride at Terrific New Theatre
Terrific New Theatre is offering the trailblazing Tony Award winning musical "Fun Home." Based on the 2006 graphic novel / memoir by Alison Bechdel. Her story draws you in as if you are turning the pages of the comic book of her life. "Fun Home" is the first Broadway musical featuring a lesbian as the center of the story. Her journey of discovery, and family disfunction is told through a sequence of non-linear vignettes. Bechdel honestly recounts many emotional discoveries in her life. Three different actresses portray Alison at various ages.
Alison reveals memories of her uniquely dysfunctional family that effect her in unexpected ways. I asked actress and TNT artistic director Tam DeBolt to share why this play stood out among other selections. "It is about time this play was done in Birmingham. Somebody had to do it. I get to play the adult version of Alison. She and I are almost exactly the same age. The message is the main feature."
Several children are featured as well in "Fun Home. "We get to feature children actors here at TNT again. I think it is important to give kids a chance to do grown up shows with people who really know what they're doing; working in a very kind an open atmosphere.
Young actress Emma Brooke plays the 10 year old Alison. She shares. "What I like about Alison is that she is very stubborn. She doesn't like to follow the rules. She likes to be her self. This is my first professional show. It's fun to start acting like this."
In 2011 Bechdel's graphic novel was adapted and work shopped into a musical. With book and lyrics by Lisa Kron and music by Jeanine Tesori, these ladies gave life to this first mainstream musical about a lesbian.
Their dedication paid off for "Fun Home" took home Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, and Best Original Score
Debolt shares how touching the music is in the show. "I love the conversational nature of the music my character has. Some of it is just so lovely. It's like when you look at a graphic novel or cartoon. You can see all kinds of things going on at once. Sometimes there are four different songs going on at the same time, which is brilliantly crafted."
Musical Director Jay Tumminello describes the diverse palate in the music. "The way the music is incorporated is really well well-crafted. The orchestration has sections where it's just the guitar & bass playing for a while. It makes for a very funky feel. We have a seven-piece orchestra including myself. There are many colors within this music. It's necessary because as the show moves in time lapse. It's back-and-forth between the characters being in different time periods. Having these different elements to work with really helped establish the different times in the story."
"Fun Home" opens on Thursday Jan 24th and runs till Feb 9th
Terrific New Theatre
Based on the graphic novel by Allison Bechdel
Directed by David Strickland
Musical Direction: Jay Tumminello - Choreography: Tahauny Cleghorn
Lighting designer: Mandy Thomas - Set designers: Kevin Thomas & Kenneth Patterson
CAST: Jada Cato, Caleb Clark, Tam Debolt, Kristi Tingle Higginbotham, Emma Brooke Levering, Gracie Marble, Mark Nelson, Sam Oliver, Megan Pecot, Sam Slaughter
Jan 24th - Feb 9th
Thurs/Fri/Sat at 8pm
Sun matinees Jan 27 & Feb 3rd at 2:30pm
Terrific New Theatre
2821 2nd Avenue South
(Inside Pepper Place)
Birmingham, AL 35233
Tickets at (205) 328-0868 or at terrificnewtheatre.com