On the evening of June 7th, The Tony Awards were broadcast into a whole bunch of homes via teevee.
On the evening of June 7th, history was made when Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori became the first entirely female writing team to win for book and score; when Sydney Lucas sang “Ring of Keys” to theatre enthusiasts across America; when the only show ever on Broadway about a butch lesbian won Best Musical. Fun Home took five total Tony Awards: Michael Cerveris won for best actor in a musical, Sam Gold won best director of a musical, and Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron KILLED IT as previously mentioned.
On the evening of June 7th, I sobbed uncontrollably on my couch, refreshing my Twitter feed and various live blogs because this is a day I legitimately never anticipated.
Fun Home is a show about memory; about writing memoir. There is no such thing as truth when human beings are involved: everything is wilting flowers and a writer (or a cartoonist) is constantly grabbing at thoughts and events that decay so much faster than we expect them to. I had the opportunity to see Fun Home, a musical based on the graphic memoir by Alison Bechdel, before it opened. They invited every lesbian in New York that has ever written words, I think. No expectations attached. We wound up sitting next to friends we hadn’t seen in a while (queers) and we screamed when we saw them squeeze past knees to sit in the two empty seats adjacent. But I digress. Which is perhaps appropriate, given the show is a show about memory. Digressions become the story.
I was, oddly enough in retrospect, worried the show wouldn’t pass The Bechdel Test. I’ve just become so accustomed to Broadway’s particular brand of misogyny — one which we all know and excuse, one which hasn’t stopped me from loving Broadway — that I couldn’t imagine any other kind of show. I was worried even though Fun Home originally opened at the Public, off-broadway; even though Lisa Kron did the book and lyrics; even though Jeanine Tesori wrote the music; even though it’s based on Alison Bechdel’s memoir in comics and that the book certainly passes. That’s how strong the flower-fication is with Broadway.
The show passes, of course it does, it has to, the show is centered on the character of Alison Bechdel. Three extraordinary people play Alison at various points in her life—Small Alison (Sydney Lucas) paints us a picture of childhood; Middle Alison (Emily Skeggs) is going to college (and coming out in college); Alison at age 43 (Beth Malone) is trying to string all the flowers together, to find the inbetweens that are memory. Not only does Fun Home have a named female character who talks to another named female character about something other than a man, it has a woman so dynamic and multifaceted that it takes three actors to play her. Watching someone harmonize with oneself, reverberating through the past and the future, is the closest thing I’ve ever seen to the experience of memory in performance.
My name is Alison, too, and I’m not the same person I was when I was Small Alison. I’m not even the same person I was five years ago, as Middle Alison; no one is.
I found reminders of who I used to be when I reread the book before seeing the show—not just in memories (which are never to be trusted), but in the physical evidence. Like when I discovered I’d left a streak of blood at the bottom of page 14, despite having promised myself that I’d resist my typical urge to gnaw at my cuticles while reading this time, and then realized that the streak was dry. I’d bled on it five years ago, back in 2010.
In the middle of the chapter titled “In The Shadow of Young Girls in Flower” (borrowed from Marcel Proust with his tea-soaked madeleine memory), I found a leaf.
“Look at this!” I said to my fiancée Abby.
“You don’t remember that?”
“Not at all.” It wasn’t surprising—I have a memory like a wiffle ball.
“I found it there when I was reading your copy—I showed it to you. It’s from when you first read it, I think.”
Right! Yes, I’d been sitting on a stone bench in a grey henley outside Scott Hall, for once actually washed, dried and groomed because I had a raging crush on Professor A, the first masculine-of-center queer woman I’d seen regularly with my own eyeballs since coming out. A leaf fell into my book, like something that would happen in a stock photo.
I first read Fun Home while taking Professor A’s creative writing class at Rutgers University. I was twenty-two. The pages were xeroxed because it was a 101 class and we couldn’t be trusted to purchase anything. I don’t remember which chapter was assigned, but after reading it, I immediately went out and bought the whole thing.
I was newly out, newly heartbroken and newly back from Paris. I had newly beaten my disordered eating (sort of—at least I was putting food in my mouth again) and despite having cut a full two feet off my hair, I still managed to look like a cast member from the musical Hair— still soft like petals in the eyes, patchouli-scented, earnest and often reading in the grass. I still thought I was going to be an actress forever and I was about to graduate with a degree in theatre.
It was an exciting time full of great change; I was panicking. This is how I was, as Middle Alison.
My problems were tiny buds in comparison to those of Alison Bechdel’s. Her problems were in full bloom. I devoured the book in a time where I was barely eating, when I was trying so hard to be girly — I don’t do that now. I am now what so many women fear becoming: a masculine woman with short hair and a perpetual button down shirt. The leaf fell in the shadow of the young girl in flower and it stayed there. I probably hoped Professor A would pass by and see me reading it. I was probably wearing tie-dye under that grey henley. I was probably still wickedly skinny, pitching my voice higher and trying to laugh softly. Femininity was important, especially as an actress.
One of the last images in this chapter is young Alison as she sees a butch woman for the first time — her father, Bruce Bechdel, asks her if that’s what she wants to look like. It is a question loaded with shame, as most girlhoods are. She lies, “no.”
Five years ago, the panel struck me. But it didn’t reach me. It’s been a journey. Middle Alison didn’t recognize the message: this is you, this was you, this will be you. This is how you will look; you will look this gay. Alison today can’t figure out how she didn’t: the professor was a masculine of center woman; the leaf fell on these pages in particular; she (me) was so uncomfortable in her (my) body because it was undesirable for theatre and she (I) sought out this book when it called. Christ, I even share the author’s name, which has the curious effect of convincing me that all the characters are speaking directly to me, through the pages and into my world. That was me, but I couldn’t see it yet.
A different person would certainly have to play me, were this a musical of my life. I went from straining to be a flower-child in a flower press to comfortably taking up space in the men’s department; getting my hair cut with clippers; laughing like a barking dog instead of like a sighing plant, making noise only because it was moved by the wind. Now, people call me “sir” and get flustered when I open my mouth and sound a lot more like Glinda the Good Witch than they expected. But I don’t mind. I’m Alison, now. And I recognize just how damn hard it is to be Middle Alison.
Perhaps saying “no” to masculinity wasn’t a lie. I wanted to be an actress, and actresses who are masculine don’t work. There are no roles for masculine woman. There are barely roles for women who take up space. So it wasn’t that I’d never seen a butch woman before these pages and didn’t know that masculinity was possible in women. It just didn’t occur to me that it was a possibility for me. So I kept trying to fit my body into clothes and plays that weren’t made for it.
There is a lot right about theatre culture, but there’s a lot wrong with it too—I felt the pressure, and when I was unhealthy-skinny I got cast so much more. Small is feminine, said the numbers to me. Broadway musical theatre was never meant to grow roles for women other than those of delicate flowers.
In the days leading up to seeing Fun Home at Circle in the Square, I tried to think of Broadway roles for masculine-of-center women in musicals. I’m no theatre historian, but I’ve taken so many Theatre History classes that knowledge has fallen on me like so many watermelon seeds, spit from the mouths of those who know better than I; they took root and planted jazz-hands in my heart forever.
And I could think of only one role: Shirley, from The Producers. She sings one phrase (“keep it gay”); she is fat, speaks in a humping voice with her thumbs in her tool belt; she’s a punch line, held up against the glamorous (feminine) gay men.
I’m not a person who gets upset with jokes made at my expense—I see nothing inherently wrong with Shirley in The Producers. To any person who’s spent time in technical theatre, that joke is about the business and the stereotypes therein (many lesbian electricians). But with an average audience, this subtlety might be reduced to laughing at a manly dyke. A woman who takes up space. Even so, I have no issue with it. My beef is that it’s the only role I can think of.
If I stretch real hard, I can include Joanne from Rent. But I have to stand on my tip toes to come close on that one — she is a lesbian, and androgynous, but not masculine. If I reach around in the other direction, I can include Peter Pan — but that character is a boy and I’ve reached too far again.
Maybe I’m forgetting someone, but that’s not really the issue, even though memory is the star of the show. The issue is that, whether the role exists or not, I couldn’t access it.
When I quit theatre, I was allowed to change; I didn’t have to reach, to contort, to shrink, to press. I didn’t have to bloom into a flower. But listen, here’s the point: if I had stuck with acting, to the point where I was maybe really good, or even great, and I auditioned for anything on Broadway there would only be one role for me to play. And that role didn’t exist when I left.
That’s why it’s hard to be Middle Alison, trying to figure out who you are in a culture where no mirrors reflect you. That’s why it’s hard to be Small Alison, and reach your roots into soil without having all the information.
When Beth Malone stepped onto the stage as Alison Bechdel on the night I first saw Fun Home, I wept. I cried for almost the entirety of the performance. I tell you this because I missed things. I might have missed a connection, the stability of a lyric, the soft scent of a leitmotif sprouting. Such delicacies might have gone under-appreciated with tears and snot running down my face.
The only thing I could see in front of me was me. Even with our lives so vastly different, this was the mirror I never had in the place I wanted it most five years ago. I can blame the tears on the uncanny coat of pollen that is the personal intersection with a piece of art; I am allergic to something I’ve never been exposed to before and it feels so good. I could curl up in the shadow of this tree forever.
I saw myself in Malone’s portrayal of Alison—a walk with legs far apart, leaning forward; a tee-shirt and jeans; short, short hair. And I saw myself as a writer there, too— pen always between her fingers as she gestured, and toward the end of the musical frantically trying to draw things out as they vanished from her memory. Malone captured the experience of flowers dying in her hands: “What’s this? ‘Table in the living room with / jack in the pulpit.’ Oh. Oh. I was going / to draw that in this panel.” Oh. Oh. Why am I crying again at this musical? I can’t quite remember.
I saw myself in Small Alison, too. The song “Ring of Keys” illustrates the moment where Alison sees the butch woman for the first time. I knew what was coming when the clank and noise of the diner began and I grabbed my fiancée’s hand, expectantly. It opens with Small Alison arguing with her father, as she has been the whole show, about wearing a barrette. He argues the barrette can suitably function to keep her hair out of her eyes.
“So would a crewcut,” Small Alison replies. It was a song about desire sung by a child; not sexual, but physical. The desire to know, to understand. To find one’s reflection in a sea of people not like you. I understand that—every gay person understands that. It’s not a song I ever thought I’d see on Broadway, a song about seeing yourself in adulthood (“It’s prob’ly conceited to say / But I think we’re alike in a certain way,” she sings), for finding a woman “handsome.” That is how I was, as Small Alison.
And it was just broadcast during The Tony Awards.
And Middle Alison. Gosh. Middle Alison. We get to see Middle Alison realize her first crush, on a woman called Joan (Roberta Colindrez). We see the first time they have sex, the aftermath — Middle Alison sings that she’s changing her major to Joan, still in white underwear and socks. Joan remains asleep as Middle Alison whisper-trills, “So by the time you’ve woken up / I’ll be cool, I’ll be collected / And I’ll have found some dignity / But who needs dignity? / ‘Cause this is so much better.” I remember stepping into the hallway in my underwear, bare feet on cold tile, after I slept with my version of Joan and jumping around. I was confused but optimistic and I liked it. That is how I was, as Middle Alison.
They were all there, all together, all singing, all occupying the same space on the stage. All these Alisons who are one person. Broadway grew up. Broadway presented everything in a woman that it had been distilled to laugh at. The show already made history without the Tony Awards. And then.
Tonight, this kind of representation was awarded. Tony history was made with the first all-female team winning for best score — women take up space with their songs and stories. Children who saw Sydney Lucas sing might have found a mirror; every gay adult found a mirror for the kid they once were. Actresses who might have otherwise sent themselves through the flower press can point to this musical and say, there. There. It is the Best Musical. For once in our damn lives, something made for mainstream labeled the masculine queer woman as “best.”
This is a show about memory. If singing with yourself works backwards, could it work forwards too? Since my Middle Alison and my Small Alison live in me though they are long gone, does that mean they saw this? I’d have to assume yes—that they took note of the remarkable resemblance between Joan and the woman who broke our hearts back then; that they know we have a song to belt out while doing the dishes that does not require the suspension of our own disbelief; they can see we quit acting for so many reasons, and that if this show — the only show about a masculine-of-center lesbian on Broadway ever — had won a Tony back then, that would have been one less reason. One more road sign. One more way we could have seen ourselves in the world while we were panicking. It is so hard to be Middle Alison, to be Small Alison, but I think they feel better, somehow.
I would’ve saved so much time I lost in searching. But mostly, I think, my Alisons are excited to feel the cartoon tap tap on her wrist and the un-shy, un-floral and unabashed belted song: “I think we’re alike in a certain way.” Tonight, the theatre world just told us they know us. They sang it to us. Thank you, Alison Bechdel. Thank you, Fun Home.
this is so powerful and beautiful and some pollen must have gotten into my eyes because i am cryyyyying
Yeah, it was an intense pollen day for sure. Thank you for reading.
This is absolutely beautiful. Thank you for sharing.
No, thank you! For the compliment and for reading.
Welp. I cried watching Fun Home in the theater this April, cried when Sydney Lucas sang “Ring of Keys” to the Tony-watching world, and cried again reading this.
I really never thought we’d be here, in this place where someone like Alison Bechdel would be represented on Broadway, where we would see a young girl singing about seeing herself in a masculine-presenting queer woman on such an enormous stage. Maybe someday, I’ll stop finding this so astonishing and I’ll stop being so acutely aware of how big all of these things feel, but for now, I’m holding on to that happy astonishment.
It feels big because it is big. What a night!
I feel you.
CRYING SO HARD. SEND HELP. AND TISSUES.
This is a beautiful essay to commemorate this unbelievable moment. Thanks for making me cry…AGAIN.
ILU I’M SORRY.
Oh goodness, THANK YOU for articulating so many of the things in my heart. I make theater for a living, and Fun Home feels like the first time I’ve really seen myself in a show.
Also, this interview with Beth Malone (Big Alison) is well worth a watch. She echoes a lot of the things in this essay about gender presentation and casting.
My whole heart is just so full tonight. I’m so hopeful about musical theatre in general and how this could change some kid’s life just like how rent changed my life when I laid across a row of chairs in a theatre during a tech rehearsal at age 14 realizing that there was more out there than the midwestern, conservative world I was in. Thanks for sharing your words/feels/story/heart with us, Ali.
I’m so ugh with myself for forgetting the Tony’s were this weekend and missing Fun House getting its due, but there’s no crying in baseball…which is what I was watching instead.
There is a bunch of messy I relate so hard feels tho.
An’ laughter because I’ve been researching button downs today and am reconnecting with the person in lace up boots with a swagger I used to be.
Oh gosh, Ali, this is such an incredibly beautiful thing. I was crying all night watching a video of “Ring of Keys” and then you made me cry all over again reading this.
Thank you so much for writing so beautifully about such an important musical and such an important moment.
Enid Hoopes from legally blonde is a relatively masculine of centre character. She was in the peace corps and takes up space. I’ve only ever seen here played with long hair though.
Beautiful writing; thank you for opening up like this. And that “Ring of Keys” performance was just wonderful.
You have articulated so much about how I felt at 17 in an audition at drama school when, dressed in DMs, cords and button down, with crew cut, I was asked “Do you want to be a man” by a patronising arsehole. I cried all the way back from London. I decided to give up on theatre. There was no place for someone like me.
I hope with all of my heart that now Fun Home has recognition like this that it is put on in the West End. I will gladly cry tears of joy all the way back from London.
The perfect homage to honor this amazing musical and it’s accomplishments, to share your own memories and how this musical touched you personally. I want to see it 10 million times more now.
What a beautiful essay. When I saw the news on how well Fun Home did at the Tony’s, I thought of you because of your Facebook photos of your view of the stage (both times). I’m so happy that you got to share this really touching essay with us =)
Wow. This article meant so much to me. I don’t think I have ever put words to why I quit acting, but you described it exactly. Often it’s shocking to people that I don’t act after having gone to a fairly well known theatre school. At least now I know how to explain it. There were never any roles for me. Sure, I could have put on a dress and acted like women completely different than me-but sometimes I didn’t want to. There weren’t any stories about my life. I remember playing a queer woman in “Small Tragedy” and how amazing it felt to have a stage kiss with a woman. That was the only play though.
Thanks for writing this. It clarified so much about my decisions to stop acting. Maybe things will change now-slowly-but maybe!
Thanks for this, it’s such a lovely essay. I was so thrilled about last night’s wins. I’m a theater junkie who doesn’t like musicals, so I would’ve supported this one regardless just for its content — but the icing on the cake is that I actually really liked it on its own! (Perhaps the dearth of women in hoop skirts twirling around with parasols, I don’t know.)
It’s worth checking out Lisa Kron’s very moving acceptance speech (since it wasn’t in the broadcast) — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AejUt7TdexI
And Tesori/Kron’s win as well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ur4-tKS1S14
“Let’s not all go back into the living room.” Wow. Yes.
I also loved Tesori taking her big moment to explain that “Ring of Keys” is a song of identification, not love. I can’t even tell you how many people on my social media timeline were “confused” by that song in the broadcast last night. (Doesn’t seem that complicated to me, considering the song is quite literal, but people are…. odd.)
Both wonderful speeches, thank you for posting the links!
I agree with everything about this article… I gave up on theater in high school when I realized I was too fat and gay to play the lead in anything ever. When I first heard Fun Home was being made into a musical, I couldn’t believe it. I still can’t. My reaction was like Little Alison setting eyes on a butch women for the first time– “people are allowed to do that?”
Maybe someday, if Fun Home trickles down to smalltown midwest community theater, there will be a role for me.
Or maybe theater in general will realize masculine-of-center women EXIST and have stories to tell, but I’m not holding my breath.
Ali, this was so amazing – maybe my favorite thing ever written on here. Jill and I talk fairly often about how there’s no representation for masculine women anywhere… You can either be girly or a man. Masculinity in women is verboten. I haven’t even seen this, but I’m gonna buy the soundtrack because it’s so important to me to support this stuff.
Gosh Doc. So much love to you and Jill. You’re going to love the soundtrack.
My name is Allison. I minored in Theatre in undergrad. I worked on a million musicals while in undergrad. I came out in undergrad. I was assigned Fun Home in an English Lit class on autobiographies, and read it cover to cover, twice, before writing a paper on it and doing a presentation about it in class.
What I’m saying is – I can relate to all of this so hard. Thanks Ali. And thank you Alison Bechdel.
Musical theatre is my home, my life, my career. I’ve spent my life feeling like I’m doing it wrong and like I don’t belong- being a queer woman in musical theatre, being a woman musical theatre writer. Last night, I learned that on both a personal and professional level, it’s okay to be who I am. I’ve followed this show for three years, in three different incarnations. I worked on the show. I have formed many friendships with people involved in the show. I’m so thrilled for them. I’m so grateful for their talent. But most of all, I’m thankful that they created this masterpiece that tells me it’s okay to be me.
crying forever about all of this. so so wonderful. also, I was afraid the song as their Tony performance wouldn’t work out of context of the play, but they set it up beautifully:
Thanks for this review, commemorating a very meaningful moment in theater that will surely be a game-changer for many girls, in terms of creating the very kind of experience Ring of Keys so beautifully captures.
I wanted to say that the author of this review and many of the commenters here may also be interested in getting acquainted with Carolyn Gage’s work. She’s an incredibly talented and prolific lesbian playwright whose work is chock full of butch characters. She’s dedicated much of her career to making space in theater for butch women’s roles, including in some musicals. Check it out at carolyngage.weebly.com–this link goes directly to her “Butch Visibility Project” work: http://carolyngage.weebly.com/butch-visibility-project.html
Wonderful piece, and it makes me so happy to see so many other musical theatre loving queer women come out of the woodwork! For a while I thought I was the only one and that I would just have to accept that this was a field where I wasn’t going to see myself reflected and it feels so good to see these notions breaking down! I really hope Fun Home’s success will change musical theatre from here on, both in terms of seeing more works with prominent lesbian characters and more works written by women.
I would also count Charlotte in Falsettos as a masculine-of-center lesbian character and probably the best representation of one prior to Fun Home (although she is a pretty minor character). And supposedly Falsettos is being revived next Spring!
Oh man, Ali, this was gorgeous, just like your heart.
Thank you Hansen. <3
*cries* I watched it in Times Square and pretty much cried with people I’d just met because it was such a beautiful and important moment. Sydney Lucas is an absolute star, she acts with her eyes better than some 40 year old film stars.
Yo, have you seen it in Circle in the Square? What’s insane is that, because it’s theatre in the round, no matter what seat you’re in the cast spends some time with their backs to you. And every single actor, EVEN ALL THE CHILDREN, can act WITH THEIR BACKS. Their bodies are their characters so much that they’re so clear, even when you can’t see their faces.
Thanks for this wonderful essay.
To add to the list: Moma Morton in Chicago.
I came in this comment thread to complain about how all there Alisons were robbed last night and how its criminal that they didn’t air Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori’s acceptance speech, but instead I’m borderline tearing up at this essay.
I relate to this on like a million and five levels. I have found myself caring about very little that’s not Fun Home ever since I became aware of it’s existence; I devoured the book, and then I sobbed through the entire show. Last night, watching Sydney on the Tonys, I held back my tears so as not to make my family uncomfortable. I’ve listened to the album so many times that you better believe I noticed they changed the script so Beth Malone didn’t say “old-school butch” on national television.
It was bizarre to sit in the front row of Circle in the Square next to my girlfriend and watch Joan and Alison settle into bed together. To see two lesbian characters barely older than me share a sex scene on a broadway stage is not something I thought I would ever experience. It was so viscerally familiar; I think I leaned over to my girlfriend and whispered something like “we did that this morning.”
We had the privilege of meeting Alison Bechdel afterwards, who happened to be visiting the show that evening. We approached her nervously, asking her to sign our playbills. She was friendly and kind, and I told her it was my girlfriend’s birthday. She asked how old, and when we told her seventeen she actually looked up from her signing in surprise. “That’s so cool,” she said, almost taken aback. When I recounted this to my dad afterwards, he said, “well, if she could have had an adolescence like yours, the book wouldn’t exist.” It’s easy to forget how privileged I am to be openly dating a girl while in high school, and how women like Alison paved the way for that to happen.
If any aspect of my identity rivals my gayness in magnitude, it’s my passion for theatre. Broadway is the only music I really know and really understand. Performing is the only thing I never get tired of doing. And I, too, have struggled to find role models in a business that seems to be filled with straight women. I’ve always been pretty femme, although I have serious intentions of chopping my hair off (right after I finish performing in Hair this summer.) The only reason I feel comfortable making that decision is because I’ve decided I’m not auditioning for BFA programs this fall for college. I’m hoping that theatre programs in a liberal arts context will leave a little more room for a variety of gender expressions (?) and if not, I’ll have time to grow it out before my livelihood depends on it. Or maybe I’ll just have to choose a different path. Like Ali said, in a profession that’s already a constant threat to your sense of self, it feels like women like us have so many extra reasons tempting us to just give up acting.
Very few sentences have ever resonated with me as much as “we have a song to belt out while doing the dishes that does not require the suspension of our own disbelief.” I can’t tell you how tired I get of singing boring ingenue songs about men; even songs I love. I struggled last summer in acting classes to decide whether it was worth it to be truthful to my classmates and my teachers. Every love-related song I sang and monologue I did was about a boy, and many teachers would ask if there was a real boy in my life I could visualize saying this to. Of course, there was a girl. But when teachers would just assume male pronouns I found it too intimidating to correct them on the spot.
Interestingly, I was just discussing the show with my mom in the car and she asked if I ever had a “Ring of Keys” moment. I told her no, because I was never a child who struggled with gender conformity; I didn’t want to look butch, and I was perfectly happy to don the dresses and skirts that society expected me to wear. But I don’t know how I failed to realize this until reading this piece: Fun Home is my “Ring of Keys” experience. I mean, if I’ve ever looked at someone and thought to myself, that’s what I want to look like and also have sex with a little bit, it’s Roberta Colindrez as Joan. And even something about the simple, functional aesthetic of Beth Malone as Alison appeals to me in a way that being butch never has before. Regardless, in Beth Malone and Emily Skeggs (not sure if she’s even queer but does it really matter) and Roberta Colindrez I finally get to see queer-presenting women who are making a living doing what I love to do. I hope that going forward we’ll be able to cut our hair and wear our masculine clothing and there will be more than one role for us. Or at the very least, casting directors will have enough flexibility of imagination to realize that women don’t have to have hair down to their boobs to believably play a straight character. Lord knows 3/4 of the leading men on broadway are flamboyantly gay in real life.
And I’m crossing my fingers that this won’t be the end of the line for us. I don’t want broadway to think that it can put lesbians back on the shelf again; representation is NOT one and done.
I still get choked up every time I think about this show.
Just popping in to say this comment was wonderful and articulate and I enjoyed reading it on the subway. <3 Good luck in your theatrical endeavors!
Aw man, thanks for taking the time to read my short novel of a comment. This article was really really beautiful.
Oh my goddess, I have had such a similar experience. I relate to this in so many ways. I’m so glad you got to see the show, too.
I haven’t watched any of the songs or listened to “Ring of Keys” yet — I’m hoping it will come to San Francisco someday so I can see it in person unspoiled — but this essay made me cry at work.
Fun Home winning the Tony meant so so so much to me/us all. It felt like the theatre world was giving me a birthday present (yesterday was my birthday)–telling me that my stories can be told and appreciated and loved on stage, that I don’t have to be a thin white engenue to get acting work, that I matter.
I did a lot of ugly crying last night because of this haha
Damn. Just… damn.
“When I quit theatre, I was allowed to change”
This is beautiful. I had the amazing opportunity to Fun Home a few weeks ago on Broadway and I couldn’t believe how it could be even more brilliant in person. (I went into it having reread and reread the book, in addition to memorizing the soundtrack.) As a middle Alison myself, I find unique comfort in the show. Sitting fifteen feet from Beth Malone definitely counts as one of the best experiences of my life. To find so much of myself in something so beautiful and so honest feels better than anyone could have described. I hunger for representations of myself in media as a queer college student, who cannot stop writing and growing and exploring, and Fun Home holds those pieces of myself media ignores. Thank you to the amazing cast and company of Fun Home and the Real Alison Bechdel for changing my life and helping me feel not quite so alone. <3