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FUN HOME is a multi-awarded musical that made its Broadway debut in 2015. It won 5 Tony Awards including Best Musical and a Grammy nomination for Best Musical Theater Album.

The stage production went on tour last October in the US and it’s now going to make its international debut here in the Philippines on November 10 (Thursday) with Lea Salonga and Cris Villonco taking the lead in this exciting Manila production.

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FUN HOME is based on the 2006 graphic memoir of novelist Alison Bechdel which talks about her unique childhood growing up, playing at the Family’s Bechdel Funeral Home but most importantly, stories of her growing understanding of her own sexuality and her gay father’s temperament and secrets that defined her family and her life.

Suffice it to say that while this production is a musical and stars a couple young actors, it will actually delve on sensitive matters like sexual orientations and some languages that most people might find as lewd or not suitable for very young audiences. That is why this production is not recommended for kids 13 years old and below.

Lea Salonga during a special intimate press conference held at the posh Makati Diamond Residences last Friday told the media people to help them disseminate the information so that those who would be watching FUN HOME will be knowledgeable about the restrictions.  The worries that Lea expressed during our discussion is very much understandable when you based it on just hearing about the main details of the production without reading fine prints so to speak.

FUN HOME + MUSICAL + LEA SALONGA = AN AWESOME FAMILY TREAT!????

Lea Salonga
Lea Salonga

Lea plays Helen Bechdel in FUN HOME, the mother of Alison Bechdel (played by Cris Villonco). If you have read the novel or have seen the Broadway production, you might say that our iconic international theater actress is playing second fiddle to Cris in this project.

But to this she said, “I DON’T CARE.”

And then she mentioned that FUN HOME is such a well-written theater musical masterpiece. That, while the play is centered on Cris playing as Alison, the internationally acclaimed and multi-awarded Broadway actress-singer also stressed that there are no small roles in the show. Everyone gets to participate in big ways –  a true ensemble production.

Here is a video of our interview with Lea Salonga and Eric Kunze:

Cris Villonco on the other hand had to make a couple of character studies for her role as Alison, who is a lesbian.

While there are not much Lesbian-themed productions in theater or in any other creative media outlets, Cris thinks that the Filipino audience are now more open to these kinds of subject.

Here is our interview with Cris Villonco and Laurence Mossman:

Theater is indeed a great medium of expression, then and even until today. And I think this is the main reason why FUN HOME is such a great success, because it represented what theater is really all about. It showed the reality of things in a subtle way that is both entertaining and thought-provoking.

Like what the cast made clear during our discussion last Friday, FUN HOME is not only about the story of a ‘dysfunctional’ family but it is the story of A FAMILY. And that is that.

Lea Salonga is top billed in this production together with seasoned thespian ERIC KUNZE, an American Broadway actor known for his roles as Marius in Les Miserable, Chris in Miss Saigon and Joe Hardy in Damn Yankees. Eric will be playing Helen’s husband Bruce Bechdel – the other centerpiece of the whole production.

Lea Salonga and Eric Kunze
Lea Salonga and Eric Kunze

Also included in the cast is Half-Filipino, Half-New Zealander singer-actor Laurence Mossman (Dolce Amore) who will play four roles in FUN HOME – Roy, Pete, Mark and Bobby Jeremy.

Cris Villonco and Laurence Mossman
Cris Villonco and Laurence Mossman

Playing the roles of younger Alisons are Mikkie Bradshaw-Volante (Medium Alison), while Katie Bradshaw and Andee Achacoso alternates as Small Alison. Yanah Laurel plays Joan with Ronan Crisologo, Daniel Drilon and Teddy Velasco alternating as Christian. Noel Comia and Albert Silos alternate as John.

FUN HOME Manila is a ground breaking event in Philippine theater said Bobby Garcia, the director of the show.

“Dreams do come true, it is an honor to be able to stage Fun Home in Manila with this stellar cast. I am thrilled that it will premiere internationally in Manila.” Direk Bobby said.

Joining Direk Bobby in the creative team are Musical Director Ceejay Javier, Vocal Director ManMan Angsico, Choreographer Cecile Martinez, Light Designer Adam Honore, Set Designer Faust Peneyra, Costume Designer Oz Go, Sound Designer Kevin Heard, Projection Designer GA Fallarme and Hair and Make-up Designer Johann dela Fuente.

FUN HOME Manila plays a limited run of 18 shows from November 10 to 27 at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza, Makati City. Tickets are available at Ticketworld call 891-9999. This international premiere is presented by Metrobank Card Corporation and Alaska.

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raindeocampo

Writer, Wanderer, Child of God

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