"We Are What We Are": Nine Need-to-Know LGBT Characters from Broadway

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21 Jun 2014

Michael Rupert
Photo by Carol Rosegg

9. Marvin – Falsettos
Music and lyrics by William Finn
Book by William Finn and James Lapine

Falsettos, with its highly original style of musical storytelling, conversational and idiosyncratic (and at times, lyrical and deeply moving), groundbreakingly offered a frank and realistic portrayal of AIDS and modern gay life. In Act One, an immature and narcissistic Marvin comes out of the closet to begin a relationship with another man. He acts with little regard for his wife and son's feelings, expecting them to immediately acclimate to his new life. He even goes so far as to actually hit his (now ex) wife when she invites him to her second wedding. In Act Two, Marvin's lover becomes an early victim of AIDS in the midst of preparations for Marvin's son's Bar Mitzvah. In dealing with the turmoil, Marvin grows up and learns to love and be loved. We understand Marvin's struggle, the grandiosity and the self-loathing — he was born before gay liberation, and he had no list of LGBT characters to light the way. Sometimes the most powerful activism is within oneself.


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