“Fun Home” is short for funeral home, although the Broadway musical based on Alison Bechdel’s brilliant and celebrated autobiographical graphic novel was in no way funereal. It had dark themes, of course, with secrets and tragedy, but it was also highly entertaining with great performances with three people playing Alison at different stages (a device later used in “The Cher Show” and “Summer”), fun choreography, and instantly memorable songs by Jeanine Tesori.
“Fun Home” was born due to the decline in dedicated LGBT magazines and newspapers, resulting in fewer outlets for Alison’s long-running comic strip “Dykes to Watch Out For”. The silver lining was that Alison turned to creating a graphic novel, just as they were emerging as a major and profitable form, although she had few expectations and was quite surprised at how “Fun Home” took off. But it wasn’t a surprise to anyone who read it. Genius.
We were in New York when the Public did the workshop of “Fun Home” and saw Alison on the street, although we didn’t bother her. But that was just the beginning and it was terrifically exciting to see her get the acclaim she so deserved. From that workshop, they did a regular run at the same venue, then moved it to Broadway, winning five Tony Awards including Best Musical and Grammy for its cast album. It closed in 2016 before touring the world.
Now comes an announcement that “Fun Home” will become a home, with Jake Gyllenhaal producing and starring as Alison’s father. Great news! Many might not know that Jake’s done quite a bit of theatre work and prove himself in musicals, as well, so he’s definitely got the chops to handle this complex role and should be a good steward of the property.
Further details are yet to be announced. Stay tuned!