When Beth Malone got up for her turn to sing to a cheering crowd, she called out, "This is the best show in town right here!"
Her enthusiastic audience was made up of LGBT seniors at SAGE Center Midtown, which offers a variety of social activities and programs for the older LGBT community.
Bringing the music and messages of Fun Home to this audience was right in line with the mission of Sing For Your Seniors, the non-profit organization that set up the appearance. Sing For Your Seniors is now in its eleventh year of bringing the joy of live music to senior centers, hospitals and day centers throughout New York City and beyond.
Later, Malone said, "I’m happy to call some special attention to a very underserved and a very invisible group of people. Not just aging people, but aging gays and lesbians. It’s a very near and dear piece of the population that doesn’t get a lot of attention."
Judy Kuhn, who stars as Helen in Fun Home, agreed. "It clearly has so much meaning to bring this show to this audience," she said. "That’s what’s been the gift of this show. It’s telling the stories of people whose stories hadn’t been told before. And I think the identification in that, and the meaning in that is so profound and so important. Whatever we can do to say that makes me feel privileged."
Chris Fenwick, Fun Home’s music director, added, "A lot of these people may have been there for Stonewall, and may have been there when Alison Bechdel’s father couldn’t possibly have come out of the closet. We are incredibly aware of the sacrifices and the struggles of the people who came before us. Sharing Fun Home and its universal themes with the people here today is particularly meaningful to us. I hope to them as well."
"We at Sing For Your Seniors are passionate about bringing Fun Home to SAGE as part of our ongoing Broadway Sessions," said Jackie Vanderbeck, Sing For Your Seniors’ executive director. "How impactful for the generation who paved the way for gay rights to finally start seeing their stories on the Broadway stage in a musical. We just knew we had to bring Fun Home to the SAGE Center."
It was also a perfect fit for SAGE. "The cast of Fun Home opened up their hearts to our members and they responded in kind by giving out hugs and exuberant praise at the end of their performance. We could not be happier with our partnership with Sing For Your Seniors and can’t wait for the next time they visit SAGE," said Sarah Savino, Assistant Director of SAGE Centers.
Also performing numbers from Fun Home and songs of their own choosing were Gabriella Pizzolo (Small Alison) who sang "Ring of Keys," Joel Perez (Roy/Mark/Pete/Bobby Jeremy), Jim Stanek (understudy, Bruce), Peter Marrick (understudy Roy/Mark/Pete/Bobby/Jeremy) and Lauren Patton (understudy, Middle Alison and Joan). The appearance was music directed by Chris Fenwick.
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