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Meet the 'Tight-Knit' Family of 'Falsettos'

The Touring Ensemble Shares their Appreciation for the Musical and One Another


The first national touring company of 'Falsettos.'

Photo by Joan Marcus.

To say the Falsettos touring cast feels grateful to be part of the revival is an understatement. It might be more accurate to say it’s like a dream come true.

Falsettos—onstage at the Ahmanson Theatre April 16 – May 19, 2019—features music and lyrics by William Finn and a book by Finn and director James Lapine. For over 40 years, Finn and Lapine have created notable musical theatre productions that have graced stages both on and Off-Broadway, including Falsettos, which first premiered on Broadway in 1992.

It’s insane! Nick Adams, who plays Whizzer, told us in a recent interview. I grew up with showbills for Into the Woods and Sunday in the Park with George in my bedroom with James Lapine’s name on my poster. I can picture that poster on my wall as a kid and to have this experience with this show that both of them wrote the book for… it still doesn’t feel real.

Max von Essen, who plays Marvin in Falsettos, echoed Adams’ enthusiasm. I’ll never not be that kid that didn’t see these names on Broadway posters and hasn’t seen their work for a very long time, he said. I’m in this world that I’ve always dreamed of maybe being a part of and with these players who I’ve always known. It’s wild!

Yet not all of the cast members were familiar with Falsettos before taking on their roles in the tour. Eden Espinosa, who plays Trina, had heard of it and knew a couple of the songs but had never seen the show prior to auditioning for it, she said. Her co-star Nick Blaemire, who plays Mendel, also had limited knowledge and experience with the show. It wasn’t until they started performing Falsettos across the nation that they understood the importance of the revival today.

We’re living in a world where people are putting up walls constantly to the outside world and to the hard realities of being a person, explained Blaemire. I think this show really cuts through all of that in a way that is deeply smart and also empathetic. It reminds us that we’re all in the same room dealing with the same things.

Espinosa added, It’s obviously written in the ’70s and ’80s, but it’s amazing taking it around the country and hearing how it resonates with people and how relevant it is.

The cast has been particularly inspired by the response of the LGBT community on the gay central characters in the show. Representation really does still matter, said von Essen. It’s so awesome to see so many young people from the LGBT community moved by the show, coming to the stage door, and wanting to meet us and thanking us for telling this story. It’s really powerful. Yet the story of Falsettos also reverberates across different types of audiences from all backgrounds with its relatable themes of love and family and growing up, he said.

Another extraordinary gift the ensemble has experienced are the bonds they’ve created while playing a tight-knit family onstage. Adams and von Essen, in particular, share a 12-year friendship and have played concerts in places like Carnegie Hall, but Falsettos remains their first musical together. They both agree that this experience performing with each other—and alongside their fellow cast mates—is one they’ll never forget.

I’m most surprised by how I’ve already been changed by this in such a small amount of time, said Adams. It’s very rare and especially with a show with seven people onstage total. It really is dependent on the relationship between the actors, and we are so blessed. They are all such awesome people first and incredible artists.

The cast hopes the show’s timeless themes—as well as the chemistry of the ensemble—will keep resonating with Los Angeles audiences. As an Anaheim native, Espinosa is happy to be to returning to her hometown and having her family and friends come out to see it, she said.

Blaemire shared her excitement, adding: We’re having these great conversations [on tour], and I just look forward to seeing what L.A. audiences have to say about it.

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