I saw Fun Home towards the end of it’s run at the Public back in December 2013. I really liked it but it was dark as fuck. I finally made it around to see the transfer to Broadway last night, courtesy of The League. I never really thought the transfer was a good idea, but apparently some people did.

After seeing the transfer last night, I think I liked the full 2.5-hour version at the Public more (shocker, I know). The transfer feels semi-gutted. It felt more like a play with music than a musical, to be honest, and I wasn’t a big fan of the score. The score doesn’t do much to drive the plot along. The cast though is phenomenal all around and Cerveris definitely deserved his Tony Award. 

That said, even though I didn’t go head-over-heels for it, I still think it’s an important piece of theatre. Kudos to all involved.

Insert Obligatory Tony Awards Post

Since I left working in the industry almost 8 months ago, I have literally given zero brain energy to thinking about the Tony’s this year. I still see lots of theatre, and love it, and have lots of opinions, but since my job no longer rides on whether show X, Y, or Z stays open, and also because I know, and have known, for a long time, that the awards (and this goes for any awards shows) are bullshit, I’m no longer invested in who wins these awards (holy run-on-sentence, Batman). 

That being said, I still have lots of opinions on who should win. My thoughts after the cut…

Best Play: I’ve seen Curious Incident, Disgraced, and Hand to God. I hear Wolf Hall is amazing too, but I haven’t been able to convince myself to spend the money or go spend 6 hours at a theatre yet. Hand to God was a let down for the most part, Disgraced was very good, but Curious was visually stunning and extremely impressive in the way they translated this book to stage. My pick: Curious.

Best Musical: I’ve seen Fun Home (off-Broadway, but I don’t think they changed a lot), Something Rotten, and The Visit. I’m hoping to see American in Paris soon and I hear it’s great, but whatever. Something Rotten was SO fun. It’s so creative and everyone on that stage is so talented. I loved watching it. The Visit was an exquisite mess onstage and doesn’t deserve any award at all. But all of that said, Fun Home I believe will take the award. Because of the acclaim it’s received from the critics. Do I think Fun Home will last in the long run? No. It is a depressing-as-fuck show. Is it an important piece of theatre? I don’t really think so either. Sue me. The performances are great and the material is compelling, but it’s dark. You can’t market this for touring audiences in Oklahoma. They’ll get the award so they can PRAY that it helps them on the road.

Best Revival of a Play: I saw The Elephant Man, This Is Our Youth, and You Can’t Take It With You. I hear Skylight was great in London, not sure about here. I think this one will go to The Elephant Man, because it was a fantastic production with a fantastic cast. Or the voters might go the way of You Can’t Take It With You because: James Earl Jones. Who knows.

Best Revival of a Musical: I’ve seen On the Town and On Twentieth Century. I think The King & I might win though as I hear it’s gorgeous and: Kelly O’Hara. Case closed. Lincoln Center almost never produces shit on Broadway. That said: musical revival nominees this year, as far as I saw, put me to sleep.

Best Book of a Musical: Nominated are Craig Lucas (American in Paris), Lisa Kron (Fun Home), Karey Kirkpatrick/John O’Farrell (Something Rotten), and Terrence McNally (The Visit). I swear, if McNally wins I’ll kill myself. I think Lisa Kron will win because she’s amazing and also because Fun Home might sweep the Tony’s this year, sadly. Secretly though, I’d love for the Something Rotten team to take it home. 

Best Original Score: Nominated are Jeanine Tesori/Lisa Kron (Fun Home), Sting (The Last Ship), Wayne Kirkpatrick/Karey Kirkpatrick (Something Rotten), and John Kander/Fred Ebb (The Visit). Again, if Kander/Ebb win for The Visit, I’ll kill myself. If the voters get nostalgic because oh-my-god-their-last-show-together-lets-give-them-one-more-win, oh god. My personal pick is the Kirkpatrick brothers. Who do I think will win? Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron for Fun Home.

Best Performance by an Actor in Leading Role in a Play: This is a tough fucking category. My personal pick is a toss up between Steven Boyer (Hand to God), Alex Sharp (Curious Incident), and Bradley Cooper (Elephant Man) because, OMG, both were just so good. I think in the end it’ll go to Alex Sharp but it might just go to Steven Boyer, because, fuck, he deserves it as well. I’m sure Ben Miles (Wolf Hall) and Bill Nighy (Skylight) were fantastic too. Let’s look at it this way: Who has more producers, Curious or Hand to God?

Best Performance by an Actress in Leading Role in a Play: Nominated is Geneva Carr (Hand to God), Helen Mirren (The Audience), Elisabeth Moss (The Heidi Chronicles), Ruth Wilson (Constellations), and Carey Mulligan (Skylight). The only performance I did see here is Mulligan’s. I think this’ll either go to Helen Mirren or Elisabeth Moss. Depends on whether the producers are feeling sentimental (Mirren) or not (Moss). And how much they like Mad Men, I guess. 

Best Performance by an Actor in Leading Role in a Musical: Nominated are Michael Cerveris (Fun Home), Robert Fairchild (American in Paris), Brian d’Arcy James (Something Rotten), Ken Watanabe (The King & I), and Tony Yazbeck (On the Town). Please, this is going to Ceveris. Once again: Possible Fun Home sweep. Or MAYBE the voters could surprise is with Watanabe (I hear he’s great). I feel like Yazbeck’s nomination was a filler. 100%.

Best Performance by an Actress in Leading Role in a Play: Choices: Kristin Chenoweth (On Twentieth Century), Leanne Cope (American in Paris), Beth Malone (Fun Home), Kelli O’Hara (King & I), and Chita Rivera (The Visit). If the voters are feeling nostalgic, it’ll go to Chenoweth or Rivera. If they’re adventurous, it’ll go to Malone. O’Hara can stay home as she is clearly the Susan Lucci of the Tony’s. 

Best Performance by an Actor in Featured Role in a Play: Between Matthew Beard (Skylight), K. Todd Freeman (Airline Highway), Richard McCabe (The Audience), Alessandro Nivola (Elephant Man), Nathaniel Parker (Wolf Hall), and Micah Stock (It’s Only a Play). I haven’t seen most of these performances (only two), but I’m going to go out on a limb and say they give it to Freeman. He was hilarious. But who knows.

Best Performance by an Actress in Featured Role in a Play: Voters can pick between Annaleigh Ashford (You Can’t Take It With You), Patricia Clarkson (The Elephant Man), Lydia Leonard (Wolf Hall), Sarah Stiles (Hand to God), and Julie White (Airline Highway). Wolf Hall is the only performance I missed here. Honestly I’d love to see Clarkson take this home. I have no idea who WILL take it home though. 

Best Performance by an Actor in Featured Role in a Musical: Christian Borle (Something Rotten), Andy Karl (On the Twentieth Century), Brad Oscar (Something Rotten), Brandon Uranowitz (American in Paris), and Max von Essen (American in Paris) are all nominated. Karl is fantastic, as is Oscar, and von Essen has always been amazing in everything, but please give this to Christian Borle. Thank you. 

Best Performance by an Actress in Featured Role in a Musical: Three Fun Home actresses (Judy Kuhn, Sydney Lucas, and Emily Skeggs) are nominated (ahem, excessive) along with Ruthie Ann Miles (King & I) and Victoria Clark (GiGi). I think it’ll end up going to Victoria Clark because the rest of the votes will go evenly towards the Fun Home ladies. 

Best Scenic Design of a Play: Please just give this award to Bunny Christie and Finn Ross for Curious Incident. Case closed. I’m sure the directors of Skylight, Wolf Hall, and You Can’t Take It With You are deserving in some respect, but Curious’ staging was just outstanding. The rest of you can stay home in your pajamas. 

Best Scenic Design of a Musical: I’ve only seen the sets for Fun Home (boring) and On the Twentieth Century (better, but cheesy), so I’m going to say that either Michael Yeargan (King & I) or Bob Crowley/59 Productions (American in Paris) get it.

Best Costume Design of a Play: I honestly don’t think any of the costumes for any of these shows that I’ve seen (The Audience, You Can’t Take It With You, and Airline Highway) are deserving of this award. Airline Highway had the most fun costumes. I think Wolf Hall might take it though (the one I haven’t seen) because it’s probably the most intricate.

Best Costume Design of a Musical: Between Something Rotten, An American in Paris, On the Twentieth Century, and The King and I, I’d really like Something Rotten to win. The costumes were just cool. It’ll probably go to The King and I though. 

Best Lighting Design of a Play: Again, thank you to the rest of the nominees, but Paule Constable (Curious Incident) should just take this one home. Wolf Hall and Skylight probably had nice lighting, and Airline Highway had boring lighting. Thank you everyone. Go straight to your show’s afterparty. 

Best Lighting Design of a Musical: I haven’t seen the lighting in or don’t remember the lighting in any of these musicals (King & I, American in Paris, Fun Home, and The Visit) , but I’m going to go out on a limb and say Natasha Katz for An American in Paris

Best Director of a Play: I’m torn between Moritz von Stuelpnagel (Hand to God) and Marianne Elliot (Curious Incident). Probably Curious Incident should take it home. Skylight, You Can’t Take it With You, and Wolf Hall directors, you can stay home with a bottle of wine.

Best Director of a Musical: I don’t remember the direction of Fun Home being anything to write home about but I wouldn’t be surprised if it won because: the industry and blah, blah, blah. Who would I like to see win? Casey Nicholaw for Something Rotten. The other two are revivals, meaning they had prior productions to steal ideas from, and An American in Paris… I can’t really say. I haven’t seen it. But there’s so much going on onstage in Something Rotten and so many people on that stage that it had to take an excellent amount of direction to pull it off. 

Best Choreography: I didn’t even notice that Curious Incident was nominated in this category but I guess it kind of makes sense. I think On the Town will definitely take it, but I’d love to see Something Rotten take it. I can’t really speak to the choreography in King & I and American in Paris

Best Orchestrations: One last time, I’d love to see Something Rotten orchestrator Larry Hochman take this home, but I think it’ll probably go to Fun Home orchestrator John Clancy. The dude’s from American in Paris and The Last Ship are also nominated.

That’s it. That was exhausting. I know everyone loves Fun Home, but I just had a much better time at Something Rotten. It has a better chance at longevity. Fun Home is too damn depressing. 

The line up of performances was announced this week – another long line of unrelated celebrity performances to get ratings so they can keep airing the awards show at all. They may as well just televise it on the web at this point and cut out the crap. I don’t need to see Jersey Boys, Vanessa Hudgens, or Tyne Daly perform. Excuse me, if you were not nominated, please stay in your seat.

May the shows with the most producers and therefore the most voting power win!

I had no idea what The Fortress of Solitude was about when my friend told me she had an extra ticket. I read that it was based on a book and Adam Chanler-Berat and Rebecca Naomi Jones were in it. So I told her I was in. I asked her if it was 90-minutes-no-intermission (#nmni) and she laughed and said, “oh no, this is a full two hours and forty five minutes.” I made sure to have an espresso milkshake from Momofuku beforehand.

It was about two boys, Mingus and Dyland, in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn in the 70’s when it was still called Gowanus. Both lived with their fathers and were abandoned by their mothers. One black (Mingus), one white (Dylan), they seem to be on a good path until Dylan is accepted to Stuyvesant High School and Mingus is left on his own to attend public school in Gowanus. We see the incredibly different lives they lead and after high school Dylan runs away to UC Berkeley because that’s where his mother left him to go. He makes a career for himself as a music critic there. 

A major aspect in both of their lives is soul music: for Dylan, it’s the music on the records his mother leaves behind and for Mingus, it’s the music that his father was previously famous for. Dylan’s mother leaves behind her wedding ring which acts as a magnet bringing the boys together, and eventually resulting in their final fight as adults.

The largely ensemble cast is uniformly excellent. Allison Whitehurst deserves special recognition for dancing in roller skates. And David Rossmer didn’t let his bandaged arm and hand in a cast bring him down (he apparently sliced the tip of one of his fingers recently), he was hilarious. Rebecca Naomi Jones did a great job with her two roles; I particular enjoyed her rage in act two. Kevin Mambo, as Mingus’ father, was and is always great. Chanler-Berat was fantastic, as per usual, easily conveying the range of emotions that his character goes through. Kyle Beltran as Mingus was the other standout. His character development and decay was perfect.

The show is long – especially the first act. But if they shave twenty minutes off the first act, The Public has another Fun Home on their hands for sure.