Von Essen to Star in George Street's Falsettos

News   Von Essen to Star in George Street's Falsettos Broadway actor Max von Essen, most recently seen on the New York stage in The Broadway Musicals of 1928 concert at Town Hall, will star in the George Street Playhouse's upcoming production of the award-winning William Finn musical Falsettos.
Max von Essen
Max von Essen Photo by Aubrey Reuben

Playbill.com has learned that von Essen will play the lead role of Marvin in the production, which will also feature the previously announced Colin Hanlon as Whizzer and Sarah Litzsinger as kosher caterer Cordelia.

The George Street mounting of Falsettos, which features March of the Falsettos (Act One) and Falsettoland (Act Two), will be directed by artistic director David Saint. Performances will begin April 10 and run through May 6.

Max von Essen, who was part of the Kennedy Center's production of Mame, appeared Off-Broadway in Finian's Rainbow and in the Paper Mill Playhouse production of The Baker's Wife. On Broadway the actor has been seen in Dance of the Vampires, Jesus Christ Superstar and Les Misérables; his additional Off-Broadway credits include The Fantasticks and John & Paul. Von Essen's regional credits are numerous and include Dorian the Musical, My Fair Lady, Hair, Blood Brothers and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. He was also part of the all-star benefit concert of Children of Eden.

Falsettos, according to press notes, chronicles "the life of Marvin, his wife Trina and son Jason. As Falsettos begins Marvin talks about his desire to have a 'tight knit family,' which encompasses his ex-wife Trina, his son Jason and his male lover Whizzer. He relies on the advice of his psychiatrist, Mendel, to help him accomplish this, and asks Mendel to tend to his son as well. In making the acquaintance of the son, Mendel becomes enamored with Trina, and eventually they marry. As the first act ends, Marvin has succeeded in alienating all of them in his frenzied desire to keep them all close.

"The second act is set two years later, as Jason prepares for his Bar Mitzvah. The 'family' has grown to include 'the lesbians from next door': Dr. Charlotte and Cordelia, a kosher caterer. As the story progresses, Marvin and Whizzer reunite as all the adults prepare for Jason’s big day. The plans are derailed when Whizzer is struck by a horrible life-threatening disease. As Marvin deals with realities of his situation, his 'tight knit family' circles around him, and by being there, offer their love and support." March of the Falsettos and Falsettoland were originally presented Off-Broadway. In 1992 Falsettos — featuring March as the first act and Falsettoland as the second — debuted on Broadway at the John Golden Theatre with a cast led by Michael Rupert, Chip Zien, Stephen Bogardus and Barbara Walsh. The musical won Tony Awards for Best Book of a Musical and Best Original Score.

Tickets are available by calling (732) 246-7717. For more information visit www.GSPonline.org.