The charm of “Falsettos”—part of Porchlight Music Theatre’s ambitious festival of the works of composer and lyricist William Finn—is in how much fun it has taking that old adage, “you can pick your friends but you can’t pick your family,” and turning it on its head. Indeed, Marvin—the central character—has a quandary: how to build a family out of an unlikely cast of loved ones that includes a male lover, an ex-wife and an abandoned son. There’s a lot of fun to be had from these imbroglios but the musical’s gravitas comes from how poignantly yet unsentimentally it makes a case for family based not on biology but on love. “Falsettos” brings together the irreverent “March of the Falsettos” (Act I) with the lyrical “Falsettoland” (Act II), pieces that along with “In Trousers” (see separate listing) formed Finn’s “Marvin Trilogy.” There is little in between, but “Falsettos” is also the musical cartography of the 1980s gay urban experience (from early halcyon to AIDS-pogrom days) and the tonality of the piece reflects these extremes. This historical insight, along with Finn’s fine score, provides the dramatic payoff. (F.O. Almeida)
This production is now closed.