Fun Home: A Story About a Lesbian Cartoonist, Reviewed by a Lesbian Cartoonist

Disclaimer: I received tickets to Fun Home as opportunity through the Tampa Bay Bloggers and the Straz Center for the purpose of this review. The opinions shared are my own and my daughters.

The title of this post may have caught you off guard. No, I’m not a lesbian cartoonist, nor do I play one on TV. Nope, not me.

However, my oldest daughter, Allana, is our residential lesbian cartoonist. While I’ve never shared her coming out story, her dad and I were and still are very accepting, understanding and supportive of our daughter. Someday, I’ll share her story or maybe she will write that blog post for me because it’s not my story to tell.

For now, Allana shares her FUN HOME review - A Story About a Lesbian Cartoonist, Reviewed by a Lesbian Cartoonist.

Fun Home

Original Fan Drawing by Allana

We brainstormed some alternative titles for this post, such as For a Play That’s Titled ‘FUN HOME’ I Sure Was Crying a Lot But honestly, we thought the chosen title seemed more fitting and funny. In a nutshell, we loved FUN HOME for so many relatable reasons, but I let Allana share a more eloquent review.

Fun Home _Straz - Run DMT

A soft stage-light glow radiates into the audience, curtains are pulled back, and I shuffle into my seat, trying to suppress my chuckles as I read the words ‘THE GAY UNION’ written on a sign, taped to an office door. Minutes later, the lights dim, and a spot light emerges on the stage. Cary Gold comes onstage as ‘Small Alison’, and sings a happy song about playing airplane and discovering the wonders of dead mice and antiques with her father Bruce- played by Robert Petkoff. With a smile on my face, I thought “Aw this is a cute, happy-go-lucky musical! I can’t wait to see what sort of shenanigans the characters get up to!”

Carly Gold as 'Small Alison,' Robert Petkoff as 'Bruce' and Kate Shindle as ‘Alison’ in Fun Home. Photo: Joan Marcus.

Carly Gold as ‘Small Alison,’ Robert Petkoff as ‘Bruce’ and Kate Shindle as ‘Alison’ in Fun Home. Photo: Joan Marcus.

Past me, you were a fool for thinking you could make it through a musical without bawling your eyes out! Bruce utterly wrecked me, leaving me shriveled ball of messy feelings when the musical came to a close. His song Edges of the World left such a crisp picture in my mind, I can feel my heart aching just thinking about it. Tears sprang to my eyes as FUN HOME quickly became anything but. Helen (Susan Moniz) had a solo that punched me in the gut, her voice strong and radiant. Raincoat of Love started happy, but as I realized what was actually going on while Small Alison escaped to her dream reality, my heart broke. The song’s last few lines made me scream for a better conclusion, and as the rest played out I slowly gained a grip on how tragic- and beautiful -the story was.

(From L) Carly Gold as 'Small Alison', Luké Barbato Smith as 'Christian' and Henry Boshart as 'John' in Fun Home. Photo: Joan Marcus

(From L) Carly Gold as ‘Small
Alison’, Luké Barbato Smith as ‘Christian’ and
Henry Boshart as ‘John’ in Fun Home. Photo: Joan Marcus

FUN HOME is a brilliant depiction of the struggles of the LGBT+ community, while still being an altogether relatable, and enjoyable, experience. Though the musical was indeed sad, I do hope this doesn’t discourage any eager viewers to watch it. I promise. There’s comedy too!

I enjoyed FUN HOME from the start, but what really got me hooked was when Kate Shindle came on stage as Alison, and said: “My Dad and I both grew up in the same small Pennsylvania town. And he was gay. And I was gay. And he killed himself. And I… became a lesbian cartoonist.”

(From L) Kate Shindle as 'Alison,' Abby Corrigan as 'Medium Alison' and Carly Gold as 'Small Alison' in Fun Home. Photo: Joan Marcus

(From L) Kate Shindle as ‘Alison,’ Abby
Corrigan as ‘Medium Alison’ and Carly Gold as ‘Small Alison’ in Fun Home. Photo: Joan Marcus

I couldn’t help the snort that escaped my mouth, and I physically had to cover my mouth to keep from laughing. As a fellow ‘lesbian cartoonist’ I instantly latched onto Alison’s character, she made me laugh harder than anyone else, and made me cry almost as much. Kate’s performance was stunning, and Abby Corrigan’s portrayal of ‘Medium Alison’ was relatable in every way. ‘Changing My Major’ is still stuck in my head. (If I could, I would change my major to Joan too. Victoria Janicki was gorgeous!!) Not only was Medium Alison’s way of coming out relatable, but her poise, her clothes, her songs, her story, it was perfect. She was perfect.

Kate Shindle as 'Alison' in Fun Home. Photo: Joan Marcus

Kate Shindle as ‘Alison’ in Fun Home. Photo: Joan Marcus

Finally, a musical about young, gay, love without killing off any of the young, gay, lovers. (I’m looking at you, Rent.) Jokes aside, I feel the musical will hit close to (Fun) home for anyone; be it gay, straight, young, or old.

The National Tour Company of Fun Home. Photo: Joan Marcus

The National Tour Company of Fun Home. Photo: Joan Marcus

See the five time Tony Awards® including BEST MUSICAL – FUN HOME now playing at the Straz Center until Sunday. Visit www.strazcenter.org for show time and tickets. Also be sure to download the FREE FUN HOME souvenir book.

Denise

From start to finish, Denise is Run DMT, a Tampa Bay marathon mom on the run trying to maintain an easy pace through it all between races and raising three beautiful, brilliant children (ages 13, 9, 4). In 2007, I discovered a passion for running and in February 2015, I completed my tenth marathon, however, I continue to train for a variety of races and triathlons. In my spare time, I founded Tampa Bay Bloggers, a hyperlocal blogging network.

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