Fun Home Debuts on Broadway

Joan Marcus

Photography by Joan Marcus
 

If Fun Home becomes the musical of the season, it will be because of songs like “Ring of Keys.” In this heart-twisting ballad, a young girl named Alison sees a butch lesbian delivery woman walk into a restaurant, and for the first time knows who she’ll become. “In this whole luncheonette, why am I the only one who sees you’re beautiful?” she sings. “No! I mean handsome.” It’s a thrilling, clever, very modern moment in the Pulitzer Prize–nominated tragicomedy, based on celebrated cartoonist Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel about discovering her own queer identity around the time her father, a closeted gay man, kills himself. With a score by Jeanine Tesori and book and lyrics by Lisa Kron, the show was a downtown sensation before heading to Broadway (where it opens April 19). But Kron was initially worried about vulnerable moments like “Ring of Keys.” 
 

“A butch has been a comic trope,” she says. “I couldn’t stand it.” Yet the audience never snickered. “I’d see these butch-femme couples watch that song, and it was so moving. Alison identifies with that woman and says, ‘That is me.’ And that can be really powerful.”

Fun Home previews begin March 27. Watch a clip of "Ring of Keys" from the Drama Desk Awards below:

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