All tagged William Finn

Review: Falsettos – Is It Really As Good As The Critics Say?

The Broadway revival of William Finn’s and James Lapine’s Falsettos produced by Lincoln Center has been eagerly anticipated. Indeed, the musical that explores the modern definition of “family” is a much-needed tonic in a world where hate and homophobia are rearing their ugly heads at every turn, and where compassion and understanding are derided as “un-American” by so many friends and neighbors who would support a Trump presidency. Yes, the story of Falsettos hails from a different time, an era where fear ruled our thoughts as a mysterious disease began to kill-off predominantly gay men as conservative politicians chose to ignore the death tally in favor of religious retribution exacted by an Old Testament God of spite and smite

Finn-atic! A William Finn-atic!

I first encountered the music of William Finn when Falsettos came to Broadway in 1992 and “The Baseball Song”, “My Father’s a Homo” and “Falsettoland” were performed on the Tony Awards. I was not aware that these characters had been around for over a decade, nor was I aware of In Trousers, which introduced the character of Marvin, nor had I heard of March of the Falsettos or Falsettoland, the two one-act musicals, written a decade apart, that comprised the first and second acts of Falsettos. I simply thought Falsettos was a new musical coming to Broadway, and the Tony Awards committee’s inclusion of it in the “New Musical” category did nothing to dispel this perception.

Broadway Musical Time Machine: Looking Back at Falsettos

Falsettos debuted on Broadway in 1992 when the world was a very different place in how it received gay relationships, recognized marriage, and reacted to the disease AIDS. We jump ahead 24 years and find a revival of Falsettos once again playing on Broadway but in a very changed world. Set in the early 1980s, will a story of a Jewish family and the challenges it faced hold-up with a contemporary audience? The United States, for sure, has evolved stretched and changes, as has the definition of family, so is Falsettos just going to seem antiquated after almost two-and-a-half decades? Hardly. 

Falsettos: Still Holding to the Ground

With the recently-confirmed Lincoln Center revival of Falsettos set to bow at the Walter Kerr Theatre this October, and with original director and librettist James Lapine (once again) at the helm of this William Finn masterpiece, it is interesting to look at how the world has changed in the 23 years since its original Broadway production. Is Falsettos as relevant today as it was back in the early 1990s? This story of a gay man named Marvin who leaves his wife and son for a male lover, and then loses him to a spectral illness that is presumably AIDS, was cutting edge and timely musical theatre for 1992, but does that translate for contemporary American audiences where gay marriage is now arguably a societal norm and AIDS, despite its continued threat, has somehow become a marginalized disease that doesn’t inspire quite the same fear? The answer is an astounding yes, but for very different reasons than in 1992.