The stars of the hit Broadway musical “Fun Home” performed to an audience that included Samantha Power, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and 17 U.N. ambassadors from around the world Tuesday evening.
But for all of the razzle-dazzle, it was more than just a simple night of song-and-dance for the diplomatic crowd. Based on Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir of the same name, “Fun Home” is a compelling look at two sides of the queer experience, pairing a young lesbian’s coming-of-age with the darker journey of her closeted gay father, who commits suicide after a string of secret affairs with men.
The show, which won five Tony Awards last year including Best Musical, was a strategic choice on Power’s behalf, as the 17 ambassadors present represented nations with varying stances on the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. In attendance were ambassadors from Australia, Costa Rica, Mexico, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Russia, which has sparked international controversy for its “gay propaganda” legislation.
Calling the evening’s performance an “extraordinary event for us, and a very moving one,” Power praised the “Fun Home” cast and creative team for generating discussions around “issues that we’re dealing with every day around the world.”
“Thank you for being so amazing,” she said, “and bringing this all home in a way that resolutions and statements never can.”
Following the show, the ambassadors were treated to a special Q&A session with the show’s stars and creators, moderated by “Sex and the City” actress, Cynthia Nixon.
Lisa Kron, who penned the show’s book and co-wrote the music with composer Jeanine Tesori, said she felt the success of “Fun Home” was indicative of a very specific moment in the queer community’s fight for equality.
“This show being on Broadway, this exact show, I don’t believe that it would’ve happened even two years before it happened,” Kron told the crowd. Pointing to her early work as part of the women’s collective WOW Café Theatre in the 1980s, she added, “I think it was a particular moment, and what has made it possible has been the work of activists of all kinds.”
Both Kron and the show’s cast agreed that they felt most satisfied when the musical affected those outside of the LGBT demographic.
“That’s where change really occurs,” she said.