William Finn and James Lapine, Falsettos

William Finn and James Lapine, Falsettos


Playbill. 66 pp. Cover featuring the art work of Keith Haring, in very good condition.

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The playbill for the original 1992 Broadway production of Falsettos, a musical which originated as an Off-Broadway trilogy. Beginning in 1979, the playwright William Finn’s In Trousers grew from one act to a combination of one act plays in collaboration with James Lapine, called March of the Falsettos (1981) and Falsettoland (1990). The plot involves the humorous disintegration and re-integration of a family, when Marvin, a gay man, leaves his wife Trina for his boyfriend Whizzer. Trina and Marvin must still parent Jason, and plan his Bar Mitzvah. Hilarity ensues: Trina ends up marrying Marvin’s psychiatrist Mendel, Marvin’s lesbian neighbors Charlotte and Cordelia become subsumed into the family, and in spite of all their differences on how to raise Jason, they come together when Whizzer is diagnosed with AIDS. In this 1992 run, the play was nominated for seven Tony Awards and won two: Best Book, and Best Original Score. In the summer 2019, it will revive in London at the Other Place—perhaps in the shadow of the recent Angels in America revival, to which this play seems to be the slightly less surreal, but more musical, foil. As a review of the play in The New York Times put it, the play is about “a family, in short, that is transformed by homosexuality in the era of AIDS, not exactly an easy sell to theatergoers looking for an evening of fun, though in fact, the musical is quite lighthearted.”


Glenn Collins, “The Many Faces and Facets of Keeping ‘Falsettos’ Afloat, The New York Times, 26 November 1992, https://www.nytimes.com/1992/11/26/theater/the-many-faces-and-facets-of-keeping-falsettos-afloat.html