“Fun Home” is a “refreshingly honest musical” that explores the power of our past

Haddonfield Plays and Players is kicking off its 2019 season with “Fun Home,” opening January 31st. "Fun Home" is a real-life, tragicomic story based on the life and family of Alison Bechdel as told in her graphic novel. The musical introduces us to Alison at three different ages, revealing memories of her uniquely dysfunctional family – her mother, brothers, and volatile, brilliant, enigmatic father – that connect with her in surprising new ways.

“It’s a refreshingly honest musical about seeing yourself through grown-up eyes and the truths they reveal,” said the show’s director, Bill Fikaris. We spoke to Fikaris and one of the show’s actors, Julie Roberts, about the production:

How does this production differ from other stagings of “Fun Home”?

Fikaris: The original Broadway production opened at Circle In The Square in April 2015 and was done in the round. I am staging it on a proscenium stage. Fun Home was nominated for 12 Tony Awards and garnered 5 including Best Musical. It also won the Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album in 2016. "I had not seen it on Broadway nor had I heard any of the music until viewing the Tonys that year." They presented a musical number from it and at that moment, my interest was sparked. I then decided to add it to my “shows I need to direct” list.

What most drew you to directing the show?

Fikaris: On the surface, Fun Home could seem like a tragic evening in the theatre. However, the beauty of this piece is that it’s incredibly uplifting and provides us with a feeling of hope by the end of Alison Bechdel’s journey. I like plays, as well as musicals, that challenge my actors. This is a beautiful and touching ensemble piece. These characters are real. It’s incredibly warm, and even pretty funny at times. The story is evocative, insightful and wonderfully moving. I enjoy pushing boundaries and coloring outside the lines.

What are your favorite moments or standout moments from the show?

Fikaris: The entire show is a standout moment from the moment it starts until the time it ends. This show is approximately 100 minutes of witty, poignant, dialogue and song that takes you on a roller coaster ride of emotions, performed without an intermission. The music is memorable and uplifting and displays honesty and beauty through melodically rich songs that summon yearning, heartache and joy.

Does the show have a message?

Fikaris: Yes, we come to see how examining the truth of our past, looking past the myths we create about our parents when we’re younger, and dealing with the societal challenges of being our most authentic selves, can shake us to our core and then free us to become our authentic selves.

What is one thing the audience should know or feel about Fun Home at HP&P?

Fikaris: My desire is to make sure that audiences realize that it’s a beautiful, universal, family story of self-identification, reflection, and ultimately, hope. Sure, there’s certainly moments that pull at the heart strings, or may be heavy in its subject matter, but I believe this is truly a well-rounded evening in the theatre. Ultimately, “Fun Home” is about the power of our past, our loved ones, and our own misgivings that influence our lives and leave a permanent stamp on our future. Roberts: It is a true, coming of age story that only grows more relevant. Don't be afraid to laugh if you think something is funny, even if its a little dark, and don't be afraid to let tears fall when you feel them. These characters are complex and honest, and you get the best experience if you let yourself get attached to them. Come see the show, then go read the graphic novel!

Fun Home opens January 31st. Tickets are now available.

About Haddonfield Plays & Players Haddonfield Plays & Players is a gathering of dedicated individuals who come together to provide quality theater at an affordable price to a wide range of Delaware Valley audiences, as well as to provide a creative outlet for non-professionals, all in an atmosphere of personal and social enrichment that is open to all persons with a commitment to non-profit theater. Haddonfield Plays and Players is located at 957 East Atlantic Ave., Haddonfield, NJ, 08033.