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FUN HOME Kicks Off 22nd Season At Chance Theater On January 31

Chance Theater, Anaheim's official resident theater company, opens its 22nd season with Fun Home, the brilliant, groundbreaking 2013 musical based on the intensely personal graphic novel by Alison Bechdel. Written by Jeanine Tesori (music) and Lisa Kron (book and lyrics), with direction by Marya Mazor and music direction by Lex Leigh, Fun Home previews from January 31 through February 7, 2020, with regular performances running February 8 to March 1 on the Cripe Stage at the Bette Aitken theater arts Center.

The 2013 musical is based on Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, a 2006 graphic memoir by American cartoonist Alison Bechdel, author of the comic strip "Dykes to Watch Out For." Both stage musical and graphic novel chronicle Bechdel's childhood and youth in rural Pennsylvania, and focus on her complex relationship with her brilliant but enigmatic father while addressing themes of sexual orientation, gender roles, suicide, emotional abuse, dysfunctional family life and the role literature plays in helping people understand themselves and those in their family. The story is related through a series of non-linear vignettes connected by narration provided by the character representing Allison Bechdel as an adult as she looks back on her life.

NOTE: Fun Home contains adult language, themes and content. Not recommended for those under the age of 13.

In 2009, Obie Award-winning playwright Lisa Kron wrote the book and lyrics and Tony Award-nominated composer Jeanine Tesori created the music for the adaptation of Alison Bechdel's 2006 "graphic memoir." The show was developed through an Ojai Playwrights Conference workshop, then further workshopped in 2012 at Sundance Theatre Lab and The Public Theater's Public Lab. The show premiered Off-Broadway in September, 2013 at The Public Theater, where it enjoyed multiple extensions to its run. Directed by Sam Gold, the production was called "the first mainstream musical about a young lesbian."

The piece was a finalist for the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and won the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical, the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best Musical, the Obie Award for Musical Theater, and the Off-Broadway Alliance Award. The Broadway production opened in April, 2015, and earned a dozen nominations for the 69th Tony Awards, winning five Tony Awards, including Best Musical. Following 582 regular performances on Broadway, the show's national tour, which included Orange County's Segerstrom Center, began in October, 2016.

The show garnered widespread critical acclaim, including The New York Times' Ben Brantley calling it "a beautiful heartbreaker of a musical" and listing it as one of his top 15 shows of 2013. Joe Dziemianowicz of the New York Daily News called Fun Home "achingly beautiful," saying that it "speaks to one family and all families torn by secrets and lies" and including it as the top/number one play of his Top 10 in Theater list for the year 2013. The New York Times music critic, Anthony Tommasini, praised the show's score as "a masterpiece" that contains "Sondheim-influenced songs that unfold over insistent rhythmic figures and shifting, rich harmonies" and calling the show "complex yet texturally transparent" and "engrossingly dramatic."

Locally, Los Angeles Times' Charles McNulty wrote, "There have been plenty of new American musicals better put together than Fun Home, but I can't think of one in recent years that has touched me as much with its tender, ironic and courageous vulnerability."

Helming Chance's production of this innovative slice of musical theater is Marya Mazor. Known for some of Chance Theater's most hard-hitting productions, the veteran director said she's "absolutely thrilled to direct this poignant, funny and groundbreaking story in the intimate Chance Theater space." Mazor saw Fun Home on Broadway and said she was "immediately drawn to the wrenching honesty of Alison Bechdel's memoir, which jumps unflinchingly from a daughter's euphoric discovery of her lesbian identity to her father's apparent suicide."

Mazor elaborated further: "Unpacking the mysterious connection between these two life events in a highly theatrical journey - in which we see Alison at three different ages, played by three different actors - are Fun Home's brilliant score and compelling lyrics, which tell both a specific story of sexual identity and more broadly question how we each define ourselves in sameness and difference from our parents."

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