Against a backdrop of the skyline of Manhattan circa 1979 an enormous gray cube sits center stage ready to come apart and miraculously be put back together again – much like the extended family in chaos created by the brilliant William Finn (music, lyrics & book) and James Lapine (director/co-book) of FALSETTOS.
A coupling of two long ago off-Broadway musicals: MARCH OF THE FALSETOS 1981 and FALSETTOLAND 1990 now FALSETTOS a Lincoln Center Theater production at the Walter Kerr Theatre. Make sure to see it.
In this high energy, smart, tuneful, brutally honest, funny and touching production we meet Marvin (Christian Borle) a self-absorbed Jewish guy who wants it all, married to his frazzled but loving wife Trina (Stephanie J. Block) and wise beyond his years son Jason (Anthony Rosenthal)
Marvin meets the handsome hunk Whizzer (Andrew Rannells) leaves Trina who deals with this bump in the road of happily married life with Marvin’s shrink Mendel (Brandon Uranowitz – a real mensch) who falls for her in a big caring way.
This song cycle saga is happily sung through with wise and witty lyrics by the most accomplished ensemble cast on Broadway who also reconfigure the cubist set of building blocks throughout. The songs just keeping rolling along. Nonstop – delightfully and compassionately.
One highlight of those many highlights is Trina’s “I’m Breaking Down” which brings down the house. Stephanie Block has never been better.
Neither has Christian Borle who has shown us many times over his genius for over the top comedy. Here he gets to portray a man in turmoil. Loving his wife and son and Whizzer and having to come to terms with himself and what is really most important to him. And perhaps makes us feel and realize what is most important to us.
Especially in a more somber Act II where Whizzer is struck by a mysterious disease that is spreading among gay men – “Something Bad is Happening.”
It is here that we meet two new characters – the lesbian neighbors next door. Dr. Charlotte (Tracie Thoms) and Cordelia the master kosher caterer (Betsy Wolfe) as Jason prepares for his Bar Mitzvah amidst the deterioration of Whizzer and the love that they all share with each other.
Any caregiver of a terminally ill person will wilt and perhaps shed a few tears, perhaps a few thousand tears at what transpires on stage with such an accomplished cast and story. It’s not just a “gay” story. It’s a human story told brilliantly, sung brilliantly with passion, humor and spirit.
Love, friendship, family, compassion are all rightfully above the title here.
Through January 8th. Do yourself and someone you care for a favor and see this memorable production.
Photos: Joan Marcus
Tags: No Comments