On August 3rd, 2017 I saw my third show at the Millbrook Playhouse in Mill Hall. This show was a musical based on the graphic novel Fun Home by Alison Bechdel. The interesting thing about this show is that the story is set in the same county as Mill Hall, Clinton County. Alison Bechdel grew up in the small town of Beech Creek. As it turns out, I have driven through Beech Creek on my way to Bald Eagle State Park. There is a quaint little restaurant in Beech Creek, Furst Corner Restaurant where I stopped for lunch once. Fun Home was a celebrated musical on Broadway. I saw it advertised at the Circle in the Square Theatre but neglected to see the show on Broadway.
There were a few aspects of the show which made reference to Central Pennsylvania. The song Flying Away actually uses the word “Pennsylvania” in the lyrics. The dialogue in the musical mentions Lock Haven, Danville, and Route 150. The mention of Route 150 was very ironic for me because I actually took the wrong exit on the way to the theater, the Avis exit, and wound up on Route 150.
I don’t care that much for musicals but I enjoyed Fun Home because it was a serious drama which tackles some heavy issues. I don’t think this kind of show would normally be done at a summer stock theater, but obviously an exception was made for a celebrated Broadway show with a local connection. The dramatic content of the show concerned homosexuality which would normally be a taboo subject in Pennsyltucky. I have to admit that I’m getting a little peeved with the social justice agenda that is taking over the theater community. I think politics is beginning to outweigh the art. But I found nothing to object to in Fun Home since it was very high brow while containing many pop culture references I could relate to. This is as close as I will ever get to seeing a musical which reflects life in Central Pennsylvania during my approximate era of growing up. For this reason I was really taken with the show. I really regret not seeing it on Broadway when I had a chance.
I felt a little bit of jealousy as a playwright. I doubt that I will ever see one of my plays on Broadway. Nevertheless, as I was driving home I reflected on the blessing of my imagination which can so easily encompass the magic of live theater and expand upon it. I even came up with a new idea for the play I am working on. The protagonist ought to express his yearning for a devastatingly beautiful nightmare. There is something dark in his imagination but it has more to do with being serious or profound than being morbid.