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A dark musical comedy about growing up in the 1980s

Wednesday, Apr 20 2005
Jason is your average 12-year-old Jewish boy who thinks girls are an alien species, parents are crazy, and bar mitzvahs are all about the presents. But in William Finn and James Lapine's dark musical comedy Falsettoland, the kid proves himself to be more grown-up than the adults. Alternately pestered and pampered by his neurotic mother and her psychiatrist husband, his father and his father's terminally ill gay lover, and the lesbian couple next door, Jason comes of age at a difficult time -- the 1980s. Red Dragon Productions brings humor, energy, and sensitivity to its inaugural show. Though the musical feels hackneyed and overly sentimental in places, the agile cast of seven expertly propels the narrative forward so that it rarely feels overripe. The Phoenix doesn't necessarily lend itself to the staging of musicals (I rarely see productions with more than three actors here, and even then, the cast members don't move around much), but Robert Weinapple's direction makes it work: The performers bound around the space, singing, dancing, and generally behaving as if they've got the run of a Broadway proscenium rather than a small black box.

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Chloe Veltman


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