Marvin and his wife, Trina, live an idyllic suburban life with their 10-year-old son, Jason. Or at least they did until Marvin announced that he was leaving the family for a man named Whizzer. Despite the drama, Marvin is determined to create a tight-knit – if unorthodox – family for his son, especially with the boy’s bar mitzvah drawing near. He suggests that Trina visit Mendel, his own psychiatrist who has been helping him navigate his sexuality and new relationship.
While having someone to talk to helps, Mendel ends up complicating the situation even further when it becomes clear that he is attracted to Trina. Though the woman is admittedly tired of living in a “man’s word” and recognizes that Mendel shares many characteristics with her ex-husband, she knows she could do worse and allows herself to be charmed by the psychiatrist.
Meanwhile, Jason is worried that the fact that his father is gay means that he will be, too. The boy begins to act out, misbehaving and pushing his already frazzled mother to her wits end. Though Marvin tries to mend things with his son, it seems that the relationship may not be salvageable.
When Trina and Mendel become engaged around the same time that Marvin and Whizzer’s relationship threatens to collapse, Marvin is enraged. And as the family tries to navigate the complicated dynamics of their new normal, they are unaware that a new threat lurks just around the corner: a mysterious illness that is spreading quickly among young, gay men.
Falsettos is the last two installments of a three-part Off-Broadway play, comprised of In Trousers, March of the Falsettos and Falsettoland. It premiered on Broadway in 1992 and won the Tony Awards for Best Book of a Musical and Best Original Score.
Now, audiences can revisit Falsettos in the production’s triumphant Broadway revival, which opened in October 2016.
Cast and Crew Introduction
One of the major factors in the success of the current Broadway revival of Falsettos is its exemplary cast and crew. The performers are led by Christian Borle (Marvin), Andrew Rannells (Whizzer) and Stephanie J. Block (Trina), three entertainers with sparkling resumes.
Borle is well-known for originating the roles of Blake Stache in Peter and the Starcatcher and William Shakespeare in Something Rotten!, two performances that won him Tony Awards for Best Performance by a Featured Actor. Rannells originated the role of the smug Elder Kevin Price in The Book of Mormon, and recently completed a replacement stint as King George in the hit musical Hamilton. Block was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in 2013 after playing the title role in The Mystery of Edwin Drood.
The revival is directed by James Lapine, who also directed the production in its Broadway debut. Lapine also co-wrote the book of Falsettos, collaborating with composer and lyricist William Finn. The duo shared the 1992 Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical in recognition of their work.
The revival production of Falsettos has earned rave reviews from critics during its Broadway run, particularly in response to the powerful performances of its leading cast members:
“Borle’s neurotic hero is well matched with Rannells’ Whizzer, a character who must be loved by all the other characters if this show is to work. Rannells is so charming, he’d be loved by the family dog, if the family had a dog. Which makes everyone bring out the hankies in Act II, when Whizzer makes his brave farewell to all the people who loved him: ‘You Gotta Die Sometime,’ the lyric goes. Sure, but does it have to be right now?” – Variety
“The production’s spectacular revelation, however, is Block. In addition to a powerful voice, she brings to the role such warmth, self-deprecating humor and frazzled sexiness (that in itself is an achievement for anyone wearing the late-’70s fashion crime of rust culottes and a mustard cardigan) that her every number is a showstopper … Her giddy implosion, ‘I’m Breaking Down,’ delivered while preparing a banana and carrot surprise, may be the funniest musical performance currently on Broadway.” – The Hollywood Reporter
“Borle, a two-time Tony winner, is very affecting as Marvin comes out and, finally, comes of age. Rannells, of ‘Girls,’ brings swagger and sweetness to the pragmatic Whizzer.
Block is blessed with a couple of the show’s best songs — ‘I’m Breaking Down’ and ‘Holding to the Ground’ — and does them proud. Both are stuck in my head …
Plan on being deeply touched and richly satisfied at this show.” – NY Daily News