The Tony Awards nominations are out today, honoring the best on Broadway, and Fun Home tied for most nominations with 12 (An American in Paris also got 12.) The musical, based on the Alison Bechdel graphic novel, was nominated for Best Musical, Best Score, Best Book, Best Director, Best Actor in a Musical (Michael Cerveris), Best Actress in a Musical (Beth Malone), three in the Best Featured Actress category ( Judy Kuhn, Sydney Lucas and Emily Skeggs,) Best Scenic Design, Best Lighting Design and Best Orchestration.
I was lucky enough to see this last week, and its deserving of every honor it gets, a truly mesmerizing and heartbreaking night of theater. If I had to pick one performance to call out it would be 12 year old Sydney Lucas, who is simply astonishing as Small Allison. Alison Bechdel’s memoir about her family life, family secrets, coming out and dealing with the past has achieved a cultural significance that no graphic novel save Maus has ever come close to.
Bechdel drew a brief but powerful coda to the Fun Home experience as a webcomic for Vulture.
And the NY Times profiles her and the strange experience of seeing your life turned into a musical::
“She is a curious human being, and she’s curious about herself most of all,” Ms. Malone said of Ms. Bechdel. “Even her look is all about telling the truth — no ornamentation, nothing pretty. She hates lies — lies and embellishments are what got her dad killed.”
Ms. Bechdel has no formal role in creating the musical, but checks in often, answers questions by email and offers the periodic note. She asked them to change one sentence, to make clear that her father, a fastidious home restorer and antiques collector, had used real William Morris wallpaper, and not an imitation.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.