"Falsettos" Review - Broadway musicalIn a fashion context, odes to love and all its complications and confections can conjure up anything from a glam-rock Saint Laurent pump sprinkled with a heart motif to the dainty embroidery of a romantic poem on the inside of Valentino frock. But in a theater context, you'd likely find Falsettos—now open on Broadway in revival—counted among the best modern relationship dramas, one that planted the seed for us to proclaim today: "love is love is love."
On the surface, it's easy to call the musical (which first debuted on Broadway in 1992) trailblazing, in that it showed the idea of LGBT life among the masses on the cusp of the community's darkest hour, and somewhat paved the way for more current ideas like Modern Family and Will & Grace to achieve success. The plot follows Marvin (Christian Borle) and his lover Whizzer (Andrew Rannells) in their new life together in New York City during a period of the late '70s and early '80s. Marvin finds himself struggling to reconcile his new life with residual feelings of uneasiness over his old life, which featured the simplicity of a conventional Jewish "tight knit family" with wife Trina (Stephanie J. Block) and son Jason (Anthony Rosenthal). Marvin is clearly in uncharted waters during his transition into his new relationship with Whizzer, and there to help all parties involved wade through the swamp of emotions is psychiatrist Mendel (Brandon Uranowitz), who—you guessed it—ends up falling for Trina. Completing the triangle of relationship are the "two lesbians next door" (Tracie Thoms and Betsy Wolfe) who function like a Greek chorus for all the happenings on the Upper West Side.
But going a bit deeper, the production, directed by James Lapine and written by William Finn, makes for a fun and jovial, at times even maudlin, portrayal of what it meant to come of age as not only as gay Americans, but also as humans trying to provide the best life possible for their families, chosen or otherwise. Like any well-rounded plot, however, this story is not without tragedy. But how does the saying go again? Nothing worth having ever comes easy.
Lucky for us, we have Falsettos, playing now through January at the Walter Kerr Theater.
Last Update:November, 29th 2016