Thursday, March 08, 2007

Falsettos

My junior year in college, Ron, Kathy, Leigh, Ex#2 and I journeyed to NYC to see the Broadway production of Falsettos, a combination of the second and third installments in William Finn's "Marvin trilogy" (separately, In Trousers is the first, March of the Falsettos is second and Falsettoland is third). The stories surround the lead character, Marvin, a married man whose son is about to have his bar mitzvah in the early 1980's. And as Marvin's son is physically growing up, Marvin tells himself that it's time that he himself grows up emotionally and begins rediscovering his own sexuality.

Marvin:
  • leaves his wife, Trina
  • takes a male lover named Whizzer Brown,
  • gets a psychiatrist (who eventually starts dating Trina),
  • abandons Whizzer when Whizzer becomes sick with something that has yet to be given a name,
  • reconciles with his son, Jason
  • becomes friends with the lesbian couple from next door - one of whom is Whizzer's physician.
Whizzer eventually succumbs to the illness and Marvin is left wondering how he will continue with his own life. It's all very emotional and profound as it looks at the effect of one man's sexual identity on 6 other people.

In the theatre that night, I was sitting with my best friends and my boyfriend at the time. We were still kids ourselves, watching this man struggle to find his place in the world when the world didn't always seem to be a fair place. We knew all the songs, yet were still moved to tears watching the performance, holding hands. We got to meet the cast after the show, five college kids going ga-ga over a couple of Broadway stars. We were, as actress Barbara Walsh (Trina) dubbed us, "Falsettoheads" (she also took this picture - yeah, that's a younger me on the far left).

The show has stuck with me for many years. So about a week ago, I bought the CD again on Amazon and have been listening to it ever since. Even though the show is now a bit dated and anachronistic, some of the songs still resonate with me. This "mysterious gay disease" could now be anything that infects the body and mind of those we love, while we watch helplessly, unable to do anything but love them.

And most of the time, that has to be enough.
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