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The Wirtz Center presents the Tony Award-winning musical ‘Fun Home’ Nov. 8 to 24

Roger Ellis directs stage adaptation of Alison Bechdel’s best-selling graphic novel

With a soaring score and deftly constructed book, “Fun Home” explores identity, parental presence and absence from the quirky confines of a family funeral parlor.

The Pulitzer Prize finalist and Tony Award Winner for Best Musical continues the Wirtz Center at Northwestern University’s “Love and Power” season, Nov. 8 to 24, in the Ethel M. Barber Theater, 30 Arts Circle Drive on the Evanston campus.

Based on Alison Bechdel’s best-selling graphic novel, “Fun Home” features book and lyrics by Lisa Kron and music by Jeanine Tesori. The production is directed by Roger Ellis, assistant professor of music theatre at Northwestern School of Communication. 

Tickets and more information are available on the Wirtz Center website.

When her father dies unexpectedly, graphic novelist Alison dives deep into her past to tell the story of the volatile, brilliant, one-of-a-kind man whose temperament and secrets defined her family and her life. Moving between past and present, Alison relives her unique childhood at the family’s Bechdel Funeral Home, her growing understanding of her own sexuality and the looming, unanswerable questions about her father’s hidden desires. “Fun Home” is a refreshingly honest, wholly original musical about seeing your parents through grown-up eyes.

“At its heart, ‘Fun Home’ is an intimate, moving portrait about the meaning of family,” Ellis said. “Despite the imperfect ways in which each member of the Bechdel family plays their respective roles, this is a family bonded by genuine love and care for one another.”

“‘Fun Home’ is one of the most joyous pieces of theater I have experienced in my career,” said Wirtz Center Managing Director Al Heartley. “The show fits in perfectly with our season theme ‘Love and Power’ by asking the audience ‘What does it mean to love your family?,’ ‘What does it mean to understand your past and present?’ and ‘Where do you want to go?’”

Ellis said he hopes audiences will see themselves reflected in the story of the Bechdels.

“I want this production to serve as a catalyst for people to exercise greater compassion toward others, especially across differences. I hope audiences will consider their own histories and gain clarity that will allow them to reveal their most authentic selves. Finally, I want audiences to be inspired by Alison’s journey so they too can learn to soar,” Ellis said.

Performances are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets are $30 for the general public, $27 for seniors (62+) and area educators, $25 for NU faculty and staff, and $6 in advance for NU students (or $10 at the door).

More information and single tickets are available on the Wirtz Center website. Tickets can be purchased by phone at 847-491-7282 or in person at the Wirtz Center box office, which is located in the lobby of the Ethel M. Barber Theater, 30 Arts Circle Drive on Northwestern’s Evanston campus. Box office hours are Tuesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m. The box office is closed Sundays and Mondays. 

Related Event

kate shindle WEB

Conversation with Broadway star Kate Shindle (B.S. '99)
Friday, Nov. 22, after the 7:30 p.m. performance

David H. Bell, Northwestern's Donald G. Robertson Director of Music Theatre in the School of Communication will interview alumna Kate Shindle about her experience playing the lead role of Alison Bechdel in the "Fun Home" national tour. Shindle is currently President of Actor's Equity and Northwestern's 2019-2020 Hope Abelson Artist-in-Residence. Other Broadway roles include Sally Bowles in 'Cabaret' (after headlining the national tour), Vivienne in 'Legally Blonde' and The Mad Hatter in Frank Wildhorn’s "Wonderland." Shindle was crowned Miss America in 1998 and is author of the memoir "Being Miss America: Behind the Rhinestone Curtain." 

150 Years of Women
Northwestern University marks the 150th anniversary of coeducation in 2019-20. To mark this historic anniversary, Northwestern will host events and programming across the University and around the world. Get to know the Northwestern women/womxn who led the struggle to open doors, creating greater access and opportunity for all who followed on the 150 Years of Women website.

The Wirtz Center is a member of the Northwestern Arts Circle, which brings together film, humanities, literary arts, music, theater, dance and visual arts. 

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