Falsettos in Theaters Review
Above: Falsettos playbill that I purchased
"Homosexuals, women with children, ex ex lovers, and a teeny tiny band. Welcome to Falsettoland."
William Finn's Falsettos, originally two different musicals is one of the best things to ever grace the stage or screen. Marvin has left his wife and son, ran off with a friend, but still wants a tight-knit family. And the story takes places from 1979-1981, when AIDS was beginning to spread, and no one knew what was happening.
The extremely talented cast comprised of Stephanie J. Block, Christian Borle, Andrew Rannells, Anthony Rosenthal, Tracie Thoms, Brandon Uranowitz, and Betsy Wolfe were the seven actors who made up the tight-knit family in Lincoln Center Theater's revival of the show last fall.
The revival began previews on September 29 running until January 8. The cast reunited at the Tony Awards, where four of the actors were nominated for awards and the show was nominated for Best Revival of a Musical. It was filmed to be screened in early June and it was later announced that it would be in theaters for three days in July.
The first act is just with five of the seven actors, not including the lesbians from next door, Cordelia (Wolfe) and Charlotte (Thoms). The first act introduces us to Marvin (Borle), his wife Trina (Block), his son Jason (Rosenthal), his lover Whizzer (Rannells), and his psychiatrist Mendel (Uranowitz).
Trina subsequently falls for Mendel originally seeing him to work out her life after dealing with her husband leaving her for another man. Marvin, who can't deal with losing and always wants everything, ruins his relationship with Whizzer and after learning about his ex-wife's engagement goes crazy, hitting Trina. The act ends with him attempting to reach his son after calming down.
As we learn at the beginning of the second act, Trina and Marvin put aside their differences but Marvin does not get back together with Whizzer, though it changes once Whizzer comes to Jason's baseball game. The two get back together, upsetting Trina a bit, and we see the daily lives of all the characters. Jason now goes between his mother and father, spending the weekend with Marvin who is trying to help Trina plan Jason's bar mitzvah. However all their plans go awry once Whizzer falls ill. Charlotte, a doctor, realizes that something bad is happening, as men become sick and no one knows what it is. Jason refuses to have a bar mitzvah without Whizzer and they end up having it in his hospital room, before he dies.
The cast is incredibly talented, all at their best in this production. Block's performance of "I'm Breaking Down" is funny and memorable, allowing the audience to be inside Trina's head. Borle's ability to show the growth of his character is fantastic while Rannells is incredible as Whizzer, able to play both sides of his character, cocky at the beginning of the show and broken and dying at the end of the show.
Uranowitz is able to bring a little bit of light humor to the more serious parts of the show, providing comic relief several times throughout the show, especially in "Jason's Therapy" and "Everyone Hates His Parents". Rosenthal made his Broadway debut with the show and holds his own among the Broadway veterans alongside him onstage and he sings with confidence and clarity. Despite only being in the second act Wolfe and Thoms are incredible actresses, and are especially fantastic during "Something Bad Is Happening" and "Unlikely Lovers".
The cast as a whole shines. While I wish the show had run longer, see it in theaters why you can. The production is well done, and it should not be missed.