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St. Louis-backed Broadway play 'Fun Home' wins big at Tony awards

Fun Home website

Updated 6/8/2015:  On Sunday night, “Fun Home," which was produced by St. Louis-based Fox Theatricals, took home five Tony awards, including the Tony for best new musical. Nominated for 12 awards in Broadway’s biggest night of the year, the musical also took home awards for best actor in a musical for Michael Cerveris, best score, best book and best director for Sam Gold.

“Fun Home” is based on a graphic memoir by Alison Bechdel.

It’s about a woman who grew up in the family funeral home business, whose father’s death takes her on an emotional but comic journey. The saga includes her own coming out as a lesbian only to find out her father wants to come out, too.

Read our earlier story below:

The musical is produced by four local residents — Mike Isaacson and Kristin Caskey of Fox Theatricals, Terry Schnuck, and Jack Lane of Stages St. Louis — with financial support from others. Lane told St. Louis Public Radio that the nominations prove our city is capable of going against stereotypes.

“St. Louis does take risks. They really took a risk with this production,” Lane said. “I think it’s really important to point that out and again it just shows the incredible collaborative of the arts from St. Louis via Broadway.”

The ‘Fun’ hits home

Lane said what makes “Fun Home” so relatable, can be boiled down to one word: family.

“It’s about a very loving but very dysfunctional family, and I would say I don’t know who doesn’t come from a slightly dysfunctional family. And most families do love each other," Lane said. “Every single audience is reacting in the same way, just wild ovations in the end."

Jack Lane
Credit STAGES St. Louis
Jack Lane

Lane first saw the show Off-Broadway about a year and a half ago.

“I literally texted Mike Isaacson from the lobby, saying, ‘If you have the guts to bring this to Broadway, I’d love to be a part of it,’” Lane said. “And Terry and I have always wanted to do a show together and we got together and that was that St. Louis connection.”

This is Lane’s second foray into Broadway territory. In 2013, he helped produce “Peter and the Starcatcher,” which won five Tonys.

In 2010, Fox Theatricals won six Tonys for its play, "Red,"which tells the story of the artist Mark Rothko.  Another local play to venture to New York, but to Off- Broadway, was Deanna Jent’s “Falling,” about a family dealing with autism.

And where will Lane be when the Tonys are handed out June 7?

“I’ll be at Radio City Music Hall, in my seat, hoping to climb the stairs and get a Tony Award,” Lane said.

In this video, Alison Bechdel tells the story of how “Fun Home” went to Broadway.

Follow Nancy Fowler on Twitter: @NancyFowlerSTL

Nancy is a veteran journalist whose career spans television, radio, print and online media. Her passions include the arts and social justice, and she particularly delights in the stories of people living and working in that intersection.