FUN HOME MANILA (An Atlantis Theatrical Entertainment Group production)


Helen and Bruce
Lea and Eric

Alison
Cris

DRAMATIS PERSONAE Cris Villonco as 43 year old Alison Bechdel/Narrator (Congratulations, Cris.  If  did not know better, I would think you are Alison Bechdel himself...you sang and narrated well...your acting?  You weren't acting at all. You truly are versatile. Keep it up. Break more legs! ;-D  )
Eric Kunze as Bruce Allen Bechdel/Dad (His singing reminded me of Les Miserables...wait, he was there...he was Marius when Ms. Salonga was Eponine...his voice is so melodically resonant and he does act well.)
Ms. Lea Salonga as Helen Augusta Fontana Bechdel/mom (seamless acting...I felt Helen's pain, anxiety...almost everything, if not everything, that was going on inside of her...to be trapped in that kind of marriage because of, what's the word? Duty?...my heart is wrenched...when she was talking to Alison about "the past"(Days and Days), tears flowed like waterfalls.)
Andee Achacoso and Katie Bradshaw as the young Alison (Katie Bradshaw is a natural!)
Mikkie Bradshaw as teenage or medium Alison (Mikkie Bradshaw can play any role, but for this one, I am thankful that her husband, Nyoy Volante is very supportive because she had a controversial scene, but I must say that she did it very well.)
Yanah Laurel as Joan (Amazingly believable.)
Ronan Crisologo and Daniel Drilon alternate as Bruce Christian Bechdel
Noel Comia and Albert Silos alternate as John Bechdel
(Daniel and Noel, we enjoyed your performances...you guys are great...being exposed in theatre at a very young age could mould you into well-rounded people...keep up the good work!)
Laurence Mossman as Roy/Pete/Mark/Bobby Jeremy(Boy, you are not only handsome, you are a chameleon!)

Caveat:  If you don't have an open mind, and you are just going to say nasty things, don't bother watching this because you will just ruin the spirit.  This is a revolutionary musical based on the graphic autobiography/memoir of Alison Bechdel, who became aware of her sexual preference at the very early age of five, but only went out of the closet at the age of nineteen when she was a freshman in college.  So if you are just going to shrug your shoulders after such wonderful performances, you don't have the right to watch this musical. So please have an open mind, because it is too beautiful to miss.

The musical was presented in such a way that you would understand Alison's plight ever since she was a little boy trapped in a little girl's body.  

If you are like me and you usually get immersed into the story, bring a box of tissues.  

This story is not just about gender issues.  It's about relationships we have with each member of our family and the people we meet.  Whether you are straight like me or have other preferences like Alison and her dad, this musical will strike some chords(and cords) and pull some heartstrings.

(Click *this* to read about her/his life.)




Have a box of Roycé Pure Chocolates after the show


The musical was marketed as a Lea Salonga/Eric Kunzel musical because of the fact that they are award-winning theatre performers/actors/singers, and thankfully, they even went beyond people's expectations, if you ask me, but this musical's central character is Alison Bechdel as depicted by Katie Bradshaw(small), Mikkie Bradshaw-Volante(medium) and Ms. Cris Villonco(Alison), who only left the stage for a few minutes.  The musical play is 100 minutes long and there are no breaks.

If you are not aware about who Cris Villonco is and you would see her on stage for the first time, you would think she was born "that way"...that she is butch and prefers women over men.  Acting and singing is in her blood, but if she became lazy along the way and did not hone her craft, I don't think she would be convincingly be Alison Bechdel on stage.  People would protest a miscast, but she did not disappoint. She actually is PERFECT for the role like it was like a pantsuit tailored especially for her.

The Bechdel family was "intact" and they did love each other in their own way, but you could feel the tension between Bruce and Helen.

Of course, there were light moments too at the FUN HOME.  Alison(Katie Bradshaw) grew up with her two younger brothers and they were pretty close.  My favourite part in young Alison's life was the part where she and her brothers "taped" a commercial for their Fun Home. The "opening night" kids(K. Bradshaw, Drilon and Comia) danced, sang and acted wonderfully their Come to the Fun Home number.  I wish to see more of these kids on stage one day, anywhere in the world.


*****

Maestro Ceejay Javier and his band brought the musical collaborations of Tesori and Kron to life, and the way the actors sang every word, pierces the heart.  

1. "It All Comes Back (Opening)" – Small Alison, Bruce, Alison & Company
2. "Sometimes my father appeared to enjoy having children..." – Alison, Bruce & Helen
3. "Welcome to Our House on Maple Avenue" – Helen, Alison, Small Alison, Christian, John, Bruce & Roy
4. "Not Too Bad" – Medium Alison
5. "Just had a good talk with Dad..." – Alison, Medium Alison, Bruce, Pete, Small Alison, John & Christian
6. "Come to the Fun Home" – John, Christian & Small Alison
7. "Helen’s Etude" – Alison, Roy, Bruce, Small Alison, Helen, John, Christian & Medium Alison
8. "Thanks for the care package..." – Medium Alison, Joan, Small Alison & Bruce
9. "Party Dress" – Small Alison, Bruce, Medium Alison, Alison
10. "Changing My Major" – Medium Alison
11. "I leapt out of the closet..." – Alison, Small Alison, Bruce & Helen
12. "Maps" – Alison
13. "Read a book..." – Bruce, Small Alison, Alison & Helen
14. "Raincoat of Love" – Bobby Jeremy & Company
15. "Clueless in New York…" – Alison, Small Alison & Bruce
16. "Pony Girl" – Bruce
17. "A flair for the dramatic…" – Alison, Joan, Medium Alison & Bruce
18. "Ring of Keys" – Small Alison & Alison
19. "Let me introduce you to my gay dad..." – Joan, Medium Alison, Alison, Bruce & Small Alison
20. "Shortly after we were married..." – Helen & Medium Alison
21. "Days and Days" – Helen
22. "You ready to go for that drive?..." – Bruce & Alison
23. "Telephone Wire" – Alison & Bruce
24. "It was great to have you home..." – Bruce & Alison
25. "Edges of the World" – Bruce
26. "This is what I have of you..." – Alison

27. "Flying Away (Finale)" – Alison, Medium Alison & Small Alison



*****
I ambushed this very talented and handsome director so I could have a picture with him
Bobby Garcia is a great director.  He could make people imagine that the stage is bigger than it really is and I believe he brings out the best in people.



*****

Congratulations to the whole team!

Hope every performance will be as great as the opening night, or even better.

November 10 to 27 at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza, Makati. Tickets are available at Ticketworld.

#tragicomic
#graphicmemoir

Winner:

Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album
Lucille Lortel Award for Best Lead Actor in a Musical - Michael Cerveris
Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical - Judy Kuhn
New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best Musical
New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Outstanding Off-Broadway Musical
Obie Award for Musical Theater - Lisa Kron, Jeanine Tesori and Sam Gold
Obie for Best Performance -Sydney Lucas
Off Broadway Alliance Award for Best New Musical
Theatre World Awards for Outstanding Debut Performances of Sydney Lucas and Emily Skeggs

ORIGINAL BROADWAY PRODUCTION (TONY AWARDS)
Best Musical
Best Book of a Musical- Lisa Kron
Best Original Score- Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron

Best Leading Actor in a Musical- Michael Servers
Best Direction of a Musical-  Sam Gold






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