Faust explores conflicted sexuality with ‘Falsettos’

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By Bob Evans

Relatively new theatre company, Faust Theatre continues to present relevant shows that feature local, young, fresh talent, in this case, “Falsettos,” a show that shows a family torn apart by a divorce after the father acts on his homosexual tendencies.

In this convoluted case, the father divorces his wife to move in with his lover. The divorced mother falls for a psychiatrist that saw both parents. A son is conflicted in that he loves his dad, admires his dad’s lover, and also loves his mother and her new husband the psychiatrist. Add the lesbian couple next door, and you have the cast and set for the musical. “Falsettos” contains lots of humor and some racer-sharp timing on lines and lyrics.

In his customary fashion of changing shows to give the audiences a new perspective, Faust creates the first act “in the round,” but really only in a semi-circle, where the audience is seated in small groupings facing different scenes of the action. This concept, works best for those sitting in the raised platform seating areas but is somewhat limited to those at floor level. (Hint: sit one or two rows up.)

The scenes and action move quickly and the music seems to not stop as the cast moves quickly from one scene and song to the next. Within the lyrics, lots of laughs–generated by the talent performing them.

“Falsettos” tells the story of a man’s relationship with his family and his lover. Basically, it’s the same dysfunctional type situation all comedy and drama depend upon for their structure. In this case the dysfunction ends as they need to rally due to the lover’s contraction of AIDS…in the early days of the AIDS epidemic and no cure had been found, nor no money allotted to find cures.

While that sounds like heavy drama, this version downplays the drama and focuses more on the family structure and family ties. Even the lesbian couple next door become part of the extended family in crafting this story.

Faust, did a beautiful job in casting this musical and secured incredible voices and actors to deliver this seldom produced musical. With gains in AIDS research and new drugs that remove the death sentence of the 1970-80s, the show does not contain the same element of sadness it once had, thankfully. But, keeping with the theme of the story, the cast performed this piece with a serious look at an awkward time. The performances were fabulous. The vocal performances of the entire cast are astounding.

The cast is: Marvin – Zach Faust, Whizzer – Chris Owen, Trina – Maggie Hutchison, Mendel – Tyler Rowe, Jason – Robin Robles, Dr. Charlotte – Bree Patterson, Cordelia – Adee Dancy. The show does not list a specific director, but does list assistant directors as Ashley Pike, Vanessa Severo, and Korey Childs; music direction–Jeremy Jacobs, and stage management by Ashley Pike. The band is: Music Director/Keys 1 – Jeremy Jacobs; Keys 2 – Liz Stinman; Reed – Gabrielle Stanley; Drums/Percussion – John Gilmore.

Falsettos opened June 14 and runs through June 24 at The Arts Asylum Theatre 1000 E. 9th Street, Kansas City, Missouri. The show is appropriate for teens and up. The topic may be too intense for elementary age students. Tickets may be purchased at the box office prior to each show or online at the Faust Theatre website.

Tags: “Falsettos”, “Faust Theatre, Kansas City Theater, Kansas City Performing Arts, Kansas City Arts & Entertainment

Images courtesy of Faust Theatr, Faust Theatre/Atrs Asylum and Bob Evans | KC Applauds

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