June 19, 2019

Princeton Summer Theater Starts with “Falsettos”

SEASON OPENER: The cast of William Finn and James Lapine’s play “Falsettos,” which begins the season of Princeton Summer Theater on June 20. (Photo by Kirsten Traudt)

As the fiftieth anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising brings the state of LGBTQ+ rights in America to the forefront of the national conversation, Princeton Summer Theater (PST) will open its 2019 Season on June 20 with William Finn and James Lapine’s Falsettos, directed by PST Artistic Director Daniel Krane.

A reworking of two earlier one-act musicals by Finn, Falsettos begins a decade after Stonewall. The first act, set in 1979 and written in 1981, chronicles the shifts in family dynamics that arise after New Yorker Marvin (Michael Rosas) leaves his wife Trina (Bridget McNiff) for another man (Whizzer, played by Dylan Blau Edelstein). This turmoil develops into something darker in the second act, written in 1991, which skips forward two years and finds the play’s characters unwittingly facing the beginnings of the 1980s AIDS crisis.

Because its two acts were written a decade apart, Falsettos captures the epidemic’s sudden and devastating spread while remaining true to its charming, flawed, and compassionately-drawn cast of characters. Uniting both acts is a score by Musical Director Amber Lin.

Despite Falsettos’ deep roots in the late seventies and early eighties, many of its conflicts, from divorced parents fighting over a child’s coming-of-age celebration to a family coming together during a serious illness, resonate today. While working on the show, Krane drew heavily on his own experiences, remarking that “[as] a queer, Jewish man living in New York, [directing Falsettos] has been one of the most special experiences of my life.” Founded by three Princeton undergraduates in 1968, Princeton Summer Theater was named “New Jersey’s Favorite Small Theater” in 2018, called  “summer stock with a Princeton pedigree.”

Falsettos will be followed by three other productions in a season which will explore love in all its forms, including: Ira Levin’s Deathtrap, William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Suzan-Lori Parks’ Topdog/Underdog. The company will also premiere an original children’s show by Princeton alumna Annika Bennett entitled Puck’s Midsummer Mischief.

Falsettos will run Thursdays-Sundays from June 20-30 at the Hamilton Murray Theater. General admission is $29.50 student tickets and matinees are priced at $24.50. Full-season subscriptions are available for $79. For tickets and more information, visit princetonsummertheater.org, call (732) 997-0205, or send an email at box@princetonsummertheater.org.