|Creator:||William Finn and James Lapine|
|Date(s):||first act premiere in 1971; final musical beginning 1992|
|Country of Origin:||US|
|External Links:||Falsettos on Wikipedia|
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Falsettos is a musical by William Finn and James Lapine. It focuses on Marvin and his dysfunctional family, a group of Jewish New Yorkers in the 1970's and 1980's. It is considered one of the pivotal stories in Gay and Jewish representation on a Broadway stage. The original Broadway production opened on April 29, 1992 and closed on June 27, 1993. The revival production, starring Christian Borle, Andrew Rannells, Stephanie J. Block, and Brandon Uranowitz, opened on October 27, 2016, and closed on January 8, 2017.
Falsettos originally premiered as three one-act musicals on Off-Broadway, the latter two of which form the modern production. In Trousers (1979) focuses on Marvin's early relationships and his indecision around coming out to his wife and son. March of the Falsettos (1981) centers Marvin's complicated family and their struggles — Trina, ex-wife; Jason, son; Whizzer, lover; and Mendel, psychiatrist. Falsettoland (1990) shows Trina and Mendel's marriage, preparations for Jason's bar mitzvah, and Whizzer's untimely death from unnamed AIDS. Falsettos premiered as a two-act musical on Broadway in 1992.
The 2016 revival production of the show spawned a fairly active internet community, primarily on Tumblr and YouTube. Fan content mainly consisted of memes and meta about the show and its characters.
2017 Tony Awards (Tony Bony)
The 71st Tony Awards ceremony was a major moment for Falsettos fans. The show was nominated for five Tony Awards: Best Revival of a Musical, Best Actor in a Musical (Christian Borle), two nominations for Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Andrew Rannells and Brandon Uranowitz), and Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Stephanie J. Block). The show and its cast did not win any awards that evening, leading to infuriated fans venting their frustration on various platforms--Hello, Dolly! winning Best Revival was a particular sore spot for the fandom.
During the Tony telecast, the cast infamously performed "A Day in Falsettoland." In the middle of the performance, Andrew Rannells seemingly appeared to be sporting an erection, which was visible through his white costume shorts. At one point, when the choreography involved Rannells standing over Christian Borle, Borle could be seen laughing from his spot on the floor, prompting Rannells to playfully use a prop tennis racket to cover his groin. This incident sparked one of the biggest memes in the fandom, dubbed "Andy Randy's Tony Bony" or simply "The Tony Bony." Fans made edited videos of the incident, in which they added humorous commentary or manipulated the performance to comedically highlight the erection.
Rannells, when asked about the incident by Borle in a 2020 cast reunion, denied having an erection during the performance.
Side By Side with Susan Blackwell
Another major moment for the Falsettos fandom came when the cast appeared on the Broadway.com webseries Side by Side by Susan Blackwell. The episode was Thanksgiving themed, and featured Rannells, Borle, Uranowitz, and Block sharing stories and playing games throughout a Thanksgiving dinner with Blackwell. Although the video has endless memed moments, the most infamous is undoubtedly Uranowitz's coming out story, which begins with the bold declaration: "I came out to my parents when they discovered gay porn on my computer while I was at my friend Nicole’s house choreographing a hip hop dance." The rest of the story is told in a similarly comedic tone, and it instantly became a meme in the Falsettos fandom.
Falsettogate is a name given to controversy and conversation surrounding the 2019 West End production of Falsettos. It featured no Jewish people on its creative team, nor did it cast any Jewish people in the roles. This was particularly upsetting to many Jewish fans and critics alike, as they felt that in a show so heavily focused on Jewish life and rife with self-depracting Jewish humor, it would be impossible to portray that accurately with no Jewish insight.
The fandom has very little argument regarding ships. Canon ships are Marvin/Whizzer and Mendel/Trina, both positively received, and Marvin/Trina is sometimes written about in the past sense or in a present platonic situation. Supporting lesbian ship Charlotte/Cordelia is also popular. Occasionally, Jason is shipped with one of the girls he names.
- The Games I Play by worrylesswritemore (2017)
- I'd like to believe that I'd do it again by worrylesswritemore (2017)
- Crazy Notion by writedontfight (2023)
- this is how you make a marriage proposal (2017)
Links and Resources
- Falsettos on Playbill Vault accessed July 6, 2020
- Falsettos (2016) on Playbill Vault accessed July 6, 2020
- "The Cast of "Falsettos" Performing at the 2017 Tony Awards," YouTube, uploaded by Young Broadway, 18 Apr. 2020, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osVoSSL_aaI
- "A day in falsettoland but every time Andrew Rannells' boner is visible it gets 10% faster (reupload)," YouTube, uploaded by katherine, 24 Mar. 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_aCWmT0iCo
- "Falsettos 2020 Zoom Reunion," YouTube, uploaded by Liam Pari, 13 Nov. 2020, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pXIoYMEOY1c
- "SIDE BY SIDE BY SUSAN BLACKWELL: FALSETTOS - Christian Borle, Stephanie J. Block, Andrew Rannells," YouTube, uploaded by Broadway.com, 23 Nov. 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6uhlWQew4E
- "learn the alphabet with falsettos side by side," YouTube, uploaded by pas x, 11 Jul. 2019, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VoyGRhSWm80
- If not now, when?: Falsettogate, and what it teaches us about meaningful minority inclusion, Published Sep 2, 2019, Accessed July 6, 2020