After almost a year, Upstage Theater’s production of Falsettos (with music and lyrics by William Finn and book by James Lapine) is ready for prime time. Its short run hits the Second Stage at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts tonight and runs through this Sunday, 11-13 March 2022, and it’s definitely worth seeing. I first mentioned this upcoming production last December in my profile of Val Zvinyatskovsky. He submitted a proposal for this show early last year and was given the formal approval last summer for the project in which he’s stage directing, music and vocal directing, and doing the lighting and sound design. It’s taken a lot of hard work, and it’s time for audiences to enjoy the fruits of this company’s dedication. Tickets are on sale now.
As mentioned in the December profile piece, Upstage Theater is a teen run group giving high school and college age performers opportunities they may not get elsewhere. As soon as Val got approval to move forward he recruited his musicians for his instrumental ensemble, something that is a new experience for Upstage Theater. Because they perform in an intimate black box space, large instrumental ensembles just wouldn’t fit. Fortunately Falsettos calls for a mighty four-piece orchestra that adds life and color to an already complex show. Unlike the rest of the performers and show staff, the musicians in Val’s mighty little band of players are very experienced adult pit musicians from around the area. The show is sung through and contains very challenging music both for the instrumentalists and the cast, and they are ready to roll.
The story follows a family finding its way through some challenging times when Marvin leaves his wife, Trina, and soon-to-be adolescent son, Jason, to be with his boyfriend, Whizzer. The family works through the changes with the help of Marvin’s psychiatrist, Mendel, who develops an interest in Trina after Marvin’s departure. The second act takes place a couple of years later and surrounds the preparations for and execution of Jason’s bar mitzvah further complicating the somewhat dysfunctional family situation. Add to the mix the lesbian couple next door, one of whom is an internist on the front lines of the emergence of the AIDS epidemic, and there’s plenty to explore surrounding Jewish identity, gender roles, and gay life in the early 1980s. The issues are just as important today as they were when Falsettos first hit the stage decades ago, and the show is guaranteed to make audiences laugh, cry, and maybe understand just a bit better that love and acceptance are crucial for everyone.
- Marvin – Yuval Amit
- Trina – Rose Madsen
- Whizzer – Skyler Riordan
- Mendel – Noam Radwin
- Jason – Yuval Weissberg
- Charlotte – Lu Brosamer
- Cordelia – Allison Hurley
- Director, Music Director, Lighting & Sound Designer – Val Zvinyatskovsky
- Choreographer – Sierra Prochniak
- Lighting Designer – Rachelle Lang
- Costume Designer – Bea Bell
- Costume Designer – Olivia Spreen
- Producer – Bonnie Fought
- Set Manager – Jon Garber
- Stage Manager – Josh Gefken
- Stage Managers – Mars Ezakadan & Olivia Spreen
- Piano / Conductor – Val Zvinyatskovsky
- Synthesizer – Karen Adkins
- Reeds – Asa Stern
- Percussion – Peter Wallack