8115 W. Third St.
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Region: West Hollywood
It's interesting that composer-lyricist William Finn called Act 1 of his show "March of the Falsettos" when it was first produced in 1981. At the time it was a stand-alone piece, before being combined with what's now Act 2, "Falsettoland," in 1992 to create this Tony Award-winning show. It's interesting because Finn's music is completely the opposite of a march: It bounces, tinkles, overlaps in beautiful polyphony and segues between genres seamlessly. Fortunately, musical director Gregory Nabours and the diligent cast do it justice with crisp diction and brisk pacing. The story is that of Marvin (Jesse Einstein), who tries to be a good father to his son, Jason (Major Curda), while keeping the romance alive with his lover, Whizzer (Richard Hellstern). Complicating his task is his separation from ex-wife Trina (Lani Shipman), who has taken up with their therapist, Mendel (Chip Phillips). This "modern family" and its issues, which were no doubt more edgy and provocative in the '80s and '90s, retain their resonance, even though same-sex couples have become more accepted and the scourge of AIDS has been blunted by better medications and increased awareness. Director Richard Israel sometimes fails to play the material big enough to get the laughs it should, but he really finds its heart in Act 2, and his judicious employment of minimalist set pieces on casters, combined with the pinpoint precision in Lisa D. Katz's lighting, makes for silky smooth transitions. John Todd's choreography, though not completely innovative, is energetic and complements Finn's marvelous music. Third Street Theatre, 8115 W. Third St., W. Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; through Oct. 16. (888) 718-4253, showclix.com.
Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Starts: Sept. 9. Continues through Nov. 13, 2011