What would I do if I hadn’t loved Falsettos? From screaming every time they announced more casting, to staying up late and crying watching the live stream of the cast hearing the cast album for the first time ever, to the bitter-sweet feeling I have right now, this beautiful show has completed its limited engagement at the Walter Kerr theatre. The show, about a struggling tight-knit family and the challenges in love, opened on October 27th to excellent reviews and closed with a place in every theatre geeks heart.
I was immediately attracted to the show by its cast. There’s not a single cast member who I wasn’t already obsessed with. It’s so rare to have a cast completely full of legends, but they managed to do it. Christian Borle, who I saw in 2015 as Shakespeare in Something Rotten, played a stellar Marvin that will not be forgotten when it comes to Tony voting time. Andrew Rannells plays Whizzer, Marvin’s lover who suffers from an un-diagnosed case of AIDS, or as it was often called then “the gay man disease” later in the show. While many had their doubts about Rannells in a serious role, he clearly proved them wrong in his gut wrenching performance. The force that is Stephanie J. Block plays Trina, Marvin’s ex-wife, and let me just say, she could screlt in my ear and I wouldn’t mind. Brandon Uranowitz plays Mendel, Trina’s lover and Marvin’s psychiatrist, and could possibly earn himself a second Tony nomination for his performance. And who could forget the adorable Anthony Rosenthal, who was the first Les I saw in Newsies, making his Broadway debut as Jason. As the entire Broadway community fell in love with him, he proved himself a star, giving a killer performance and only managing to call out of one show. Rounding out the cast is Tracie Thoms and Betsy Wolfe, who play Dr. Charlotte and Cordelia, respectively, playing the lovable lesbians from next door.
While there are some revivals that seem completely pointless, this revival seems completely new. And not just because this is the first time March of the Falsettos and Falsettoland be together as one show. The representation of gay men and women, even though it’s set in the late 80’s and early 90’s, in a time like this was incredibly poignant. After the sad election of the homophobic and all around horrible Trump, some things became incredibly and almost painfully real. Many of Trina’s lines like “I’m tired of all the happy men who rule the world” and “I’m trying to keep sane as the rules keep changing”started to have a different meaning in a modern light. While I am not the first to write about this at all (cc: Louis Peitzman’s article over the subject), for everyones personal struggles, there’s a different character trait that they can relate to. After my insecurities about my sexual orientation and other beliefs sky rocketed as a result of the election, parts of Trina’s song “I’m Breaking Down” and the classic “Everyone Tells Jason to See a Psychiatrist” started to become relatable, and the brilliant new cast album for the revival became almost like a safe haven.
After listening to the recording 24/7, I started finding even more parallels between myself and the characters, unrelated to current politics. When my dad had to go to Houston for a week for surgery, while not as extreme as Whizzer’s sickness, many songs from act 2 comforted me and reminded me that his surgery will not be the end of anything and to keep my family close. One of my favorite things in a show is when, no matter what the character is, you can relate to them in some way. While others seem like an exact replica of me (Cordelia; I’m definitely a lesbian from next door who loves to cook, and I would love to wear a Hawaii crop top), while other have certain traits that ring true to me (Mendel being a nervous wreck, Trina breaking down, Marvin’s frustrations, etc.).
While the initial planning for this revival may not have been planned to have a such an insanely stellar cast and have as many current day parallels, that was definitely what it came to be, under the wonderful direction by James Lapine. And, to say the least, the whole theatre community was definitely pleased with the result.