Posts Tagged ‘Falsettos’

Welcome to the Tight Knit Family of FALSETTOS

Posted on: March 26th, 2019 by B.I. C. No Comments

The cast of the first national tour of FALSETTOS

 

Written by Erik Piepenburg

Falsetto.

It’s a fanciful word — rooted in the Italian falso, or false — that describes what happens when a vocalist, usually a man, sings notes higher than his normal range. A smooth falsetto can make the heart soar and swoon. Just ask Frankie Valli or Justin Timberlake.

That same ascendant spirit comes to life on stage in the musical “Falsettos.” Written by two Tony Award winners — William Finn (music and lyrics) and James Lapine (book) — “Falsettos” is a heartfelt and thought-provoking show about a modern family as they try to figure out where they stand in a complicated world. Finn says the title was inspired by people who exist “outside the normal range,” like the falsetto itself.

“The show is funny and emotional at the same time, which is the sort of stuff I like to write,” said Finn.

Set in the 1980s, “Falsettos” tells the story of Marvin, who comes out as gay and leaves his wife Trina for Whizzer, a younger man, much to the chagrin of Jason, Marvin and Trina’s 12-year-old son. Also within this extended family circle are Mendel, Trina’s new husband, and Whizzer’s doctor Charlotte and her lover, Cordelia. It’s an unconventional tribe.

“It’s about a family and a husband and wife, and that’s about as small and regular and normal everyday life as we can get,” said the producer Jordan Roth. “But then it’s about these enormous ideas that sit above that, like what it is to be a family, to be human, to love, to parent, to connect with another person.”

The show is actually a combination of two one-act musicals, “March of the Falsettos” and “Falsettoland,” that Finn and Lapine wrote in the early 1980s. Both premiered at Playwrights Horizons, an Off Broadway theater, and together opened on Broadway in 1992 as “Falsettos.” The show was a hit, winning Tony Awards for best score and best book.

In 2016, a new production of “Falsettos” received glowing reviews and five Tony nominations when it returned to Broadway. The New York Times called it an “exhilarating, devastating revival” that surges “with such vitality that it feels as fresh and startling as it did back in 1992.”

“Its fundamental subject,” said the review, “is that mysterious, maddening, uplifting, life-complicating emotion we refer to as love, which hasn’t changed in 25 years.”

For Finn, those words were thrilling to read.

“The New York Times said it was a perfect version of a perfect musical and that was surprising,” he said with a laugh. “I didn’t know it was perfect. I was thrilled to find out it was.”

Now on tour across the country, the “Falsettos” revival is most notable for its timeless message. The songs convey “what people’s hearts sound like,” as Roth put it.  The characters “are literally singing their souls and their every thought, and not just their really big thoughts as often is the case in musicals,” he said.

Lapine, who directed both the original and the new revival, said mounting the show was a shot in the dark, not because it wasn’t worthy of being revisited, but because among the difficult topics it explores is the AIDS epidemic in its early days. The original production opened on Broadway as the crisis hit New York City especially hard.

“It was very touching for all of us, particularly a lot of people in the theater who knew people who were struck by the disease and lost friends,” remembers Lapine. “It became a very emotional experience when it opened.”

Any trepidation over the decision to bring “Falsettos” back was erased the night of the revival’s first performance on Broadway.

“People who had seen it the first time came back to see it,” he said. “People who have since had children and families of their own brought their families back to see it. A whole younger generation who grew up listing to the cast albums, putting it on at colleges and schools, came to see it. The reception was well beyond anything any of us expected. It was a kind of welcoming home.”

The diversity expressed in the show – of family, identity and sexuality — is something every audience member can relate to. There are characters who look familiar and characters who don’t.  Every song has a universal quality that will resonate for audiences no matter where they live or what their beliefs are.

“When we put on shows in New York there are many tourists and people from out of town and out of the country,” says Lapine. “It’s a different experience when you’re in your own town seeing a show. I think it will be very powerful for people to see this in cities across the country.”

At a time when our country is polarized by political identity and cultural affinities, the promise of “Falsettos” and its message of hope and love is that it will touch hearts beyond Broadway.

“Theater is a way in for all of us,” said Lapine. “We get to spend a little bit of time coming to know someone in that very personal way that only theater reveals.  That’s how we change hearts and minds: change hearts first.”

FALSETTOS to co-present screening of STILL WAITING IN THE WINGS at the 2018 Reeling Film Festival

Posted on: September 14th, 2018 by B.I. C. No Comments

FALSETTOS and Broadway In Chicago are proud to sponsor the Reeling Film Festival screening of the delightful musical comedy STILL WAITING IN THE WINGS on Saturday, September 22 at 3:00 pm at Landmark Century Centre Cinemas. Tickets and more information are available at: http://reelingfilmfestival.org/2018/films/still-waiting-in-the-wings/

Special early access to a limited number of FALSETTOS tickets is available for festivalgoers using offer code REELING at: http://bit.ly/Falsettos_RFF The offer is valid online only through September 30, 11:59 p.m. and is subject to availability. Standard ticketing fees apply. No exchanges or refunds.

The film follows the trial and triumphs of a ragtag team of actors waiting tables in Times Square. Buff Lee (Blake Peyrot) shakes his moneymaker at the gay strip club while Anthony (Jeffrey A. Johns) is dreaming of Broadway glory while working with his fellow wanna-be stars as a singing/dancing waiter. In-between the hilarious musical numbers, competition is heating up backstage at the restaurant. Naïve Anthony hasn’t figured out that his new bestie at work is scheming to take his place and grab his audition spots. And to Lee it looks like Anthony is cheating – nothing to sing about. Queer movie maven Q. Allan Brocka (BOY CULTURE and the EATING OUT series) keeps the action zipping along in this frothy and very sexy comedy that will be nirvana for showtune queens. The cast includes a host of cameos from Broadway legend Chita Rivera to Bruce Vilanch, Cindy Williams, Sally Struthers, Lee Meriwether, Ed Asner, Patricia Richardson, and Seth Rudetsky.

 

2017 Tony Award Nominations – Chicago Connections!

Posted on: May 22nd, 2017 by B.I. C.

The Tony Awards are always the most anticipated theatre event of the year, and we always love discovering if there are any nominees that have connections to Chicago to share in their excitement.  This year we have quite a few to celebrate!

One of these connections involve Laurie Metcalf, a veteran Steppenwolf Theatre ensemble member, who was nominated for her portrayal of Nora Helmer in A Doll’s House, Part 2. The show, currently nominated for 8 Tony Awards, is playwright Lucas Hnath’s take on what happened to Nora Helmer, 20 years later from where Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House left off.

The musical War Paint, which premiered here in Chicago at the Goodman Theatre last July 2016, is also being showcased in the Tony Award nominations.  Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole, who originated the roles of Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden, are both nominated for Best Leading Actress in a Musical.  The show also features several Chicago actors in supporting roles, including Mary Ernster and David Girolmo.

Ben Platt, who is currently leading the company of Dear Evan Hansen, was nominated for Best Leading Actor in a Musical.  He’s no stranger to the Chicago theatre scene since you may remember him as Elder Cunningham in the First National Tour of the hit musical The Book of Mormon from December 2012 – October 2013 at the Bank of America Theatre (now known as The PrivateBank Theatre).

Kate Baldwin, a Northwestern University graduate who was last seen in Chicago as Sandra Bloom in the Chicago premiere of Big Fish at the Oriental Theatre April – May 2013, will be competing for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her portrayal of Irene Molloy in Hello, Dolly.

Stephanie J. Block, who is also nominated for Best Featured Actress in a musical for her work in Falsettos, has spent a good amount of time in Chicago herself.  She played Elphaba in the Chicago premiere of Wicked at the Oriental Theatre back in June 2005, which ended up running until January 2009.  She also played Grace O’Malley in The Pirate Queen at the Cadillac Palace Theatre October – November 2006.

Lynn Nottage, the playwright of Sweat, which is now nominated for Best Play, has also recently received this year’s Pulitzer Prize for Drama.  You may recognize her work from the play Ruined, which premiered at the Goodman Theater in 2007.  Nottage won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2009 for Ruined, making her the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama twice!

Come From Away, the new musical which has landed 7 Tony Award nominations, has nominees for Best Director of a Musical Christopher Ashley and Best Choreography Kelly Devine, who will also be a part of the Escape To Margaritaville creative team set to premiere here in Chicago at the Oriental Theatre beginning November 9, 2017!

Make sure to tune in to the 71st annual Tony Awards hosted by CBS on Sunday, June 11, 2017  beginning at  7 p.m. CT!