The Hobby Center and Theater Under The Stars have brought Houston some truly amazing shows over the years and their latest show is no exception. Fun Home hits TUTS this week running May 16th -28th and I must say it is nothing short of spectacular. This is also one of the few musicals to be able to call itself a true story. For those of you who may are unfamiliar with this title, Fun Home tells the story of Alison Bechdel's upbringing and the tumultuous relationship she had with her father Bruce. We see Alison's past through three different ages, but it is only as she is looking back on her life does she start to realize maybe things weren't exactly the way she originally remembered them. From reading back through journal entries and catchy tunes we get a behind the scenes look at a not so perfect family, telling an all too typical tale of just how different things can be on the inside from what they appear in public. It is about growing up, being yourself, and most importantly family.
I cannot boast enough wonderful things about this show. Going in I knew I was in for an emotional roller coaster, but it was so much more than that. You will laugh, cry, and almost certainly be taking a long trip down your own memory lane as you think about your own childhood on the drive home. The thing that makes this story so an emotional ride is that Alison is gay and that in itself isn't a big deal. She comes to realize this in college and when she does she writes a letter coming out to her parents. The twist in all this is that we learn that Alison's dad is very much gay and of course is living deeply in the closet, while occasionally sneaking off with men behind his wife's back. Alison's coming out letter triggers so many emotions for her dad that just a brief four months after coming out, her dad steps in front of a truck and kills himself, leaving Alison with an ocean of questions and mixed emotions about their relationship. The phenomenal touring cast absolutely slays this show. Kate Shindle, Carly Gold, Abby Corrigan, and Jadyn Schwartz get the privilege of playing Alison at varying stages of her life and each does so with such precision and poise that you are easily pulled into the show and the times literally flies by. Robert Petkoff really steals the show as the role of Alison's father Bruce. His character not only has to juggle these dramatic highs and lows that change faster than the scenes themselves but despite all his shortcomings as a father and husband, your heart still bleeds for this man who is too scared to be who he really is. He spends his days remodeling his how and exuding power and control over every aspect of his life except the one area he needs to the most. All I can say to the cast is bravo to each and every one of you.
Director Sam Gold has done an amazing job bringing the graphic novel this production is based on to life and I highly encourage you to take some time and go see this show. Even if you feel this one many not be your type of play, I think if you give it a shot, you will be more than pleasantly surprised by just how moved you will be.
Don't miss Fun Home playing at Theater Under The Stars May 16th-28th. For tickets and more information head to TUTS.com.