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‘Welcome to Falsettoland’

The Creative Team behind ‘Falsettos’ Invites New Audiences to the Ahmanson


L-R: Eden Espinosa, Thatcher Jacobs, and Max von Essen.

Photo by Joan Marcus.

The revival of Falsettos (onstage at the Ahmanson Theatre April 16 – May 19, 2019) might never have come to be if it wasn’t for a chance meeting in Manhattan. At a benefit dinner at The Public Theater, director/writer James Lapine met producer and Jujamcyn Theaters President Jordan Roth. When Lapine asked him, What’s your bucket list show? Roth responded, I can’t believe you’re asking me this because it’s yours. It’s Falsettos. And as they say, the rest is history…

That is, until other productions and some scheduling conflicts got in the way. However, through their relentless determination and with the help of Lincoln Center Theater Artistic Director André Bishop, Falsettos—a story about a gay man and his complicated but loving family—opened at the Walter Kerr Theatre on Broadway in 2016, 24 years after its original Broadway debut.

Sometimes, the world catches up to you, explained Roth. I think that’s what happened with Falsettos, because it is so much about what it is to be a family. If there’s anything we need to think about and talk about and grapple with and cry over and laugh over, it’s that.

The creative team of Lapine and composer/lyricist William Finn was joined by So You Think You Can Dance’s Emmy-nominated choreographer Spencer Liff, who added: “I think America is in need of understanding families and love in an unconventional way. While everything doesn’t fit the normal mold, people can find their true happiness when people accept each other for who they are and embrace each other for their faults. This is a cast full of characters that have many flaws, and I have grown to love them over the time I’ve spent with them. I’m excited that America gets to meet them.”

Falsettos takes place during a critical period in American and especially gay history. When we wrote about AIDS at the time, there was no name for it, explained Lapine. It was just the beginnings of the mysterious illness. Although the illness is better understood and treated today, it’s really important for younger generations to be aware of that [other] part of our history, he said, and I think the show is a great way to introduce them to it.

It’s important to remember our past, even the parts we’d like to forget, added Finn.

Lapine agreed: There are always crises. There are always shadows hanging over families. I think it makes [Falsettos] timeless in the same regard.

In the spirit of a true American musical, Falsettos welcomes audiences—both new and old—with open arms at the Ahmanson. These characters sing the sound of their hearts, and they are literally there to say, ‘Come right in, the welcome mat is on the floor,’ affirmed Roth. They will sing those lines to you very early on in the show, and it’s true. It’s all there for you, for us, for all of us to find our way together.

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