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‘Fun Home’ at Actor’s Express

2020 January 20
by Susan Asher


The Tony Award-winning musical “Fun Home” at Actors Express is not to be missed. The cast, script and music are all terrific, and this show is for people of all ages.

Based on her memoir, the play tells the story of Alison Bechdel’s family life in Pennsylvania where her father restores old homes, teaches high school English and operates a funeral home right out of the family house where he embalms dead bodies.

Alison is shown at three different periods in her life: in elementary school (Eden Mew), in college (Marcia Cunning) where she discovers she and her father, Bruce (Jeff McKerley), are both gay, and as an adult cartoon artist (Rhyn McLemore Saver) who creates comic strips based on her life growing up.

While everything must look picture-perfect for Bruce, including the family home he has restored, young Alison’s attire and drawings, and the bodies he embalms, behind the scenes he leads a double life. Eventually, this becomes his downfall.

But all is not serious as this is a musical, and there are fun numbers reminiscent of ‘60s and ‘70s family pop bands like The Jackson 5, The Cowsills, and The Partridge Family. There are also some heartfelt songs, especially, “Ring of Keys,” which young Alison belts out when for the first time she sees a woman who is dressed like a man, the way she would like to dress.

The story, singing and acting are top-notch, and Jeff McKerley is utterly outstanding. You may have missed “Fun Home” on Broadway, but if you see it at Actor’s Express, you won’t miss Broadway.

Based on the novel by Alison Bechdel, music by Jeanine Tesori, book and lyrics by Lisa Kron, directed by Freddie Ashley, “Fun Home” runs through February 16 at Actor’s Express.

Cast:

Michelle Pokopac . . . . . . . . . . . . . Joan
Vinny Montague . . . . . . . . . . . . . John
Natasha Drena . . . . . . . . . . . . . Helen
Juan Carlos Unzueta . . . . . . . . Roy/Mark/Pete/Bobby Jeremy
Alex Newberg . . . . . . . . . . . . . Christian

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