Tuesday, June 17, 2014
William Finn wrote three short musicals about the bisexual Marvin and his family (In Trousers, March of the Falsettos, Falsettoland), before combining the latter two into the full length Falsettos. While the AIDS crisis had been addressed on stage Falsettos was the first musical to deal with the topic, two years before Rent.
The Broadway production was nominated for 7 Tony Awards. It won best book and best score but lost best musical to the fizzy Gershwin scored Crazy for You. In Peter Filichia's novel Strippers, Showgirls, and Sharks: A Very Opinionated History of the Broadway Musicals That Did Not Win the Tony Award he suggests that it was the adultery, rather than the homosexuality, that upset the Tony voters. The monogamous gay couple in La Cage Aux Folles won best musical in 1984 but Marvin leaves his wife in Falsettos and nobody is punished. In Crazy For You boy leaves upper class girlfriend for cowgirl but no one felt threatened by that.
Falsettos on the Tony Awards.
Scott Miller's Analysis of March of the Falsettos.