I had never seen a Broadway show before. I have stuck primarily to high school and community theatre productions, and the occasional semi-professional theatre downtown. But after the Pulse Nightclub shooting on June 12, Equality Florida and the cast of Fun Home came together to bring Fun Home to Orlando, and it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.
I have loved the graphic novel by Alison Bechdel for years, and my excitement for the musical only grew as it gained momentum through its Tony nominations and wins, and the acclaim I had heard.
Last night’s performance, held in the Dr. Phillips Center for Performing Arts, was a concert version of the whole stage play, where the cast went between microphones, telling the story on a pretty bare stage, minus a few hand props.
And it was beautiful. It was magic beyond words. It was cathartic in every way, and in light of the tragedy Orlando experienced, it was so important for the cast of this show to be here. They made me laugh in a way I haven’t laughed in a long time, and I cried with the audience toward the end.
This story means so much to me. I identify with Alison at every age and stage of her life, and as someone who identifies as a lesbian, this story went deep into my heart and soul and made me feel real and heard. It is a story that says, more than anything, “You are not alone.”
So to the cast of Fun Home, to Alison Bechdel for sharing her story, Thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I never want to forget this show, this experience, the way it felt to sit in that audience with allies and friends, and to stand together and be with each other, and to sit in that theatre and feel something safe, and to know that I am not alone.
I wish I could give some nuanced perspective on how the book is different from the musical, or how wonderful an adaptation this is, or something, but this is a story that feeds my soul, and in both iterations, it makes my heart sing. So no over analysis today. Just two words to all involved in making this happen.