In 2017 when “Falsettos” returned to Broadway, it was nominated for five Tony Awards, including the Best Revival of a Musical. Now two years later, this fabulous musical is in Chicago, directed by playwright James Lapine with music and lyrics by William Finn.
Taking place in New York in the 1970s, we meet a charming, neurotic gay man, Marvin, played by Max Von Essen; along with his 10-year-old son, Jason, played by Thatcher Jacobs.
We also meet psychiatrist, Mendel (Nick Blaemire) and Marvin’s wife Trina (Eden Espinosa)whom he leaves for his lover, Whizzer (Nick Adams).
“Falsettos” second act introduces two lesbian neighbors of Marvin’s, Dr. Charlotte (Bryonha Marie Parham) and Cordelia (Audrey Cardwell).
Performed by phenomenal voices, “Falsettos’ ” wonderful songs tell the story throughout the show.
Because Trina is having difficulty accepting her divorce, she pays a visit to Marvin’s psychiatrist who becomes attracted to her—and she to him, via the “Thrill of First Love.”
Jason is quite worried about his father’s sexuality, so his parents decide to have him see Mendel for therapy. Meanwhile, Marvin starts fighting over Whizzer’s lack of enthusiasm for monogamy. And as Whizzer becomes more prominent in Marvin’s and Jason’s lives, Trina complains to Mendel how her role in the family is reduced. They all sing “This Had Better Come to a Stop.”
As Trina’s family is breaking up, she sings, “I’m Breaking Down.” She invites Mendel over, “Please Come to Our House” to combine dinners with psychiatric sessions.
After Mendel and Trina announce their marriage, “Marvin Goes Crazy” as he feels that she’s ruining their family. They all sense that they don’t feel so deeply about their lives and sing, “I Never Wanted to Love you.”
The story moves along in song as Jason discovers his love for life, and Marvin tells him in “Father to Son” he will always be there for him.
Down the road, Marvin hasn’t seen Whizzer for a long time, but he finds out that “Something Bad is Happening” from neighbors, Dr. Charlotte and Cordelia.
DETAILS: “Falsettos” is at the James M. Nederlander Theatre, 24 W. Randolph, Chicago, through June 9, 2019. Running time: 2 hours and 40 minutes with one intermission. For tickets and other information, call (800) 775-2000 or visit BroadwayInChicago.
Francine Pappadis Friedman
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