Wizard Productions and Chutzpah! Festival
Falsettos: A Broadway Musical
Book by William Finn and James Lapine, Music and Lyrics by William Finn

Dates and Venue 12 - 20 February 2011, at various times| Norman Rothstein Theatre, 950 West 41st Avenue, Vancouver

Director Peter Jorgensen Musical Director Kerry O’Donovan

Reviewer Cassie Silva

Falsetto’s opening number, titled Four Jews in a Room Bitching, nearly brought down the house of the Norman Rothstein Theatre in Vancouver’s Jewish Community Centre. It went on to feature such clever numbers as Marvin at the Psychiatrist, a Three-Part Mini-Opera. Falsettos won the 1992 Tony Awards for best book and musical score, and while the first act was a bit slow it certainly picked up after intermission.

Liam Kearns did an excellent job as Marvin, a husband who leaves his wife to live with his male lover, Whizzer. Catriona Murphy excelled as wife Trina, and Robert Clarke was hilarious as the family’s neurotic psychiatrist with conflicting interests. Yaakov Bellas (who shares the role of Marvin and Trina’s son Jason with fellow actor Harrison Ivaz) has a lovely singing voice, as demonstrated in his poignant lament titled My Father’s a Homo. The real stand-out of the show was Tyson Coady, whose portrayal of Whizzer brought the audience from tears of laughter to tears of sadness. The spunky Meghan Anderssen and Linda Quibell were thrown into the mix in Act 2, playing the memorable and likeable lesbians who live next door. The highlight of the show for me was the hilarious song The Ball Game, where the entire cast was on-stage watching Jewish boys (attempting to) play ball.

The production was visually intriguing, with an attractive black and white set and unique staging. The furniture was on wheels and the actors, all dressed in shades of grey, would push it around to form new scenes. Each character had a handsome portrait hanging as part of the set, and lighting was utilized effectively to highlight which character we were about to learn more about by spotlighting certain portraits.

It was difficult to pinpoint the overall message of the production, which takes place in 1979 New York, but themes included homosexuality, growing up, and how the choices we make impact ourselves and the people around us.

Perhaps Director Peter Jorgensen said it best when he remarked, “I find the show to be a funny and deeply moving exploration of what defines a family.”

© 2011 Cassie Silva