With all of the hype surrounding Hamilton (to be expected for reasons like this and this and this), it’s possible you may have missed any news about one of the other best Broadway musicals of 2015: Fun Home. Heard of it? No? (NO??) Well you heard it here first: Come February, it’ll be the only piece of L.A. theater you hear anything about for weeks.
No one would fault you for assuming Fun Home is about one of those carnival attractions with the weird mirrors that evoke equal parts fascination and terror. But it’s not. The show is actually based on cartoonist-slash-Bechdel test creator Alison Bechdel’s 2006 graphic memoir of the same name, and while the title smacks of rainbows and sunshine and houses that have water slides built right into them, the whole thing is a little more grim: The story is about Bechdel coming out to her father, who reveals that he, too, is gay shortly before he commits suicide. (“Fun Home” is the nickname Bechdel gave the family business, which was a funeral home. Wee!) And here you thought a hip-hop musical about the nation’s first Treasury Secretary was a departure from the traditional song-and-dance productions on Broadway.
Despite the atypical musical fare, Fun Home was critically lauded as an emotional and artistic tour de force; Ben Brantley over at the New York Times even said it had a “shining clarity that lights up the night.” But if you’re like, “Who’s Ben Brantley? Sounds like an untrustworthy name,” consider this: The show won five Tony Awards in 2015, including Best Musical—the first created by an all-female team to win in that category.
All of this to say, if you don’t have tickets, you better get on it—the national touring cast lands at the Ahmanson Theatre for a swift five-week run beginning February 21.