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Falsettos

Members say: Great singing, Great acting, Entertaining, Absorbing, Funny
84
Critics
80
49 reviews
Members
85
946 reviews
 

Two-time Tony Award winner Christian Borle stars in Lincoln Center Theater's Broadway revival of William Finn's groundbreaking musical about a gay man, his wife, his son, his lover, and their psychiatrist.

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Set in 1979-1981, 'Falsettos' focuses on Marvin (Borle), who struggles to create a nontraditional family out of an eclectic array of core relationships, including his ex-wife (Tony nominee Stephanie J. Block), his new boyfriend (Tony nominee Andrew Rannells), his adolescent son, and his psychiatrist. Amidst a series of monumental life changes, he is forced to reckon with his own views on love, responsibility, and what it means to be a man. This production reunites the original creative team of producer André Bishop, Tony-winning composer/lyricist William Finn, and Tony-winning playwright/director James Lapine.

 


Cast & Creatives (18)



Reviews (995)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
80
Avg Score

100
The New York Times

"There’s hardly a moment in the exhilarating, devastating revival of the musical 'Falsettos' that doesn’t approach, or even achieve, perfection...Directed by Mr. Lapine—whose work is so sharp it’s as if he were seeing the show with a new pair of eyes...Mr. Borle shines here as he has never before...'Falsettos' never feels like a singing time capsule. Its fundamental subject is that mysterious, maddening, uplifting, life-complicating emotion we refer to as love, which hasn’t changed in 25 years." Full Review

80
Theatermania

"While it is always delightful to hear the composer's idiosyncratic voice onstage, the dramaturgical flaws inherent in the piece don't go unnoticed...The songwriting is the real reason to see this show...The drastic tonal swing of the second act requires an emotional gear shift that not every audience member may be able to make...That disappointing outcome is not for lack of trying on the part of the cast...A near-perfect revival of a decidedly imperfect musical." Full Review

85
BroadwayWorld

"Lapine serves as director for the terrific new Broadway revival of 'Falsettos' that, through more lyric revisions and interpretations that provide a greater unity of tone, finally fuse the two acts into a singular piece of romance, wit, jaunty melodies and realistic characters trying to keep their neuroses in check...Lapine's new cast takes 'Falsettos' in intriguing new directions." Full Review

85
Variety

"This surprisingly fresh revival has been directed by original director Lapine, who plainly understands the bittersweet humor and provisional joy of that period...The warm performances of a terrific cast soften the underlying sadness of Finn’s breakthrough musical...The story is largely told through the easygoing score, a fusion of tuneful melodies with insightful lyrics...Borle’s neurotic hero is well matched with Rannells’ Whizzer." Full Review

85
Time Out New York

"Few musicals have the range, idiosyncrasy and emotional punch of this profoundly unconventional and personal work...As enjoyable as the snaggletoothed and biting first half can be, it hardly prepares you for the extraordinary second...Finn pushes musical theater to the limits of what we can ask of it. Those who know the show may find fault with some of the revival’s choices...But flaws are written into 'Falsettos,' as is the impulse it elicits to forgive them." Full Review

10
New Yorker

"One of the most dishonest musicals I have ever seen...What can you do with a show that opens with a song called 'Four Jews in a Room Bitching,' and uses AIDS to endow it with seriousness? The rot at the center of 'Falsettos' is slathered in self-congratulation. Finn and Lapine use Jews, AIDS, and so on to rope in a particular audience, which is then held captive to their seemingly endless array of self-referential songs and weak humor." Full Review

80
The Guardian (UK)

"'March' is perhaps the more interesting half...The second act is more conventional...But it’s here that the work’s emotional heart beats most muscularly and anyone who leaves without shedding a tear may want to see his or her ophthalmologist...The Broadway revival is not a copy of the original...Neither is it a faultless work...Yet Lapine directs in a style that remains both consciously frolicsome and helplessly shrewd." Full Review

90
Lighting & Sound America

"'Falsettos' remains a marvel of social observation and humane comedy—and the second act packs a knockout punch that very few musicals can match...In number after number, Finn both spoofs and sympathizes with his characters as they stumble around...Lapine has assembled a top-flight cast to get inside the heads of these complex, contradictory, often self-defeating characters...The time has never been riper for a revival of this beautiful show." Full Review

55
New York Theater

"There is much I enjoyed about it, especially the performances of its exceptional seven-member cast...But ultimately I found 'Falsettos' neither terrible nor terrific...For all its willingness to present ambivalent, bickering characters in complicated relationships, 'Falsettos' feels dated in many ways...The melodies produce no earworms, and the lyrics sometimes spin word pictures with the delicacy of a sledgehammer...There are moments...when I’m nothing but glad they brought it back." Full Review

85
New York Magazine / Vulture

"A heartbreaking revival...It’s hard to get through the last half hour intact...If this Lincoln Center Theater production, directed by Lapine, has any serious faults, they arise from that agenda. As written, Marvin is so nasty and erratic in the first act ...Christian Borle can’t resolve that contradiction and thus comes off a bit unsteady, at least until he regains his footing in the second act. The other principals, whose roles are more tightly written, are excellent throughout." Full Review

70
The Wall Street Journal

"So how does 'Falsettos' hold up...Better than 'The Normal Heart,' but not nearly so well as 'Angels in America'. The first act, 'March of the Falsettos,' remains impressive. Notwithstanding Finn’s inability to write once-heard-never-forgotten tunes, the musical numbers are cleverly crafted and the overall tone is appropriately tart...In 'Falsettoland,' by contrast, a hideously painful situation is portrayed with a sincere but cloying sentimentality that occasionally curdles into kitsch." Full Review

80
Talkin' Broadway

"'Falsettos' has cemented its stake for greatness, even for skeptics like me, by proving, with this production, that it has a lot more on its mind and in its heart than just the current political zeitgeist...What struck me this time around was its all-consuming universality...Borle's performance is fully integrated and absolutely seamless, the kind of thing we should see from every Broadway performer all the time, but in actuality rarely do. That includes, sadly, much of what surrounds Borle." Full Review

85
The Huffington Post

"How does 'Falsettos' look nearly 25 years on? Just great—with only the merest reservations that certainly don't have anything to do with the several brilliant Finn songs...Today its impact has shifted. It's an unflinching look back. Nevertheless, as it plays, it retains emotional pangs...Last but hardly least in this wholly sincere recommendation are the cast members who understand the Finn and Lapine paean to humanity and bring it movingly to the stage." Full Review

95
AM New York

"Farcical comedy and heartbreaking drama are served in equal measure in the triumphant Broadway revival...The world has changed considerably since 'Falsettos' premiered, but the musical holds up as a poignant exploration of family breaking apart, growing up and coming together...Lapine’s production is energetic, finely textured and extremely well-cast...The cast scores vocally, comically and dramatically, bringing out the manic heights and tender pauses of this truly extraordinary musical." Full Review

95
The Hollywood Reporter

"Pretty much everything about Lincoln Center Theater's ideally cast Broadway revival, again directed by Lapine with as much humor as sensitivity, makes it pure pleasure...The characters are so fresh, the writing so emotionally insightful and the situations played with such feeling that 'Falsettos' hasn't aged a day...Part of the show's durability is the generosity of spirit and affection with which the writers approach every last one of their imperfect characters." Full Review

85
New York Daily News

"Life is messy — as everybody knows...That includes creators William Finn and James Lapine. They don’t sugarcoat reality when it comes to love, sexuality and relationships...That clear-eyed take has always been — and still is — an intriguing strength of 'Falsettos'...Finn’s alternately lighthearted and poignant score in this mostly sung-through show is another major asset...Plan on being deeply touched and richly satisfied at this show." Full Review

85
Times Square Chronicles

"'Falsettos' shines just as brightly in 2016. It takes the mark of a score that weaves its ways into your soul, a book that knows how to speak with honesty and a director who allows the show to live on its own merits to do that...The one thing that bothered me were the orchestrations and the slowing down of the original tempos...Finn’s score sticks to your soul like embedded thorns of wisdom. Lapine’s direction takes on a new dimension...If you want to be moved, this is the show to see." Full Review

80
Front Row Center

"The production is lively and pointed without a whiff of tired...If the plot verges on predictable, the characters are another story...They are simple—as in clear, and accessible, and engaging...All the maneuvering for that love is informed by funny and complicated lyrics and ironically compatible harmonies. Direction is superb...I’m glad I saw 'Falsettos' in its current iteration and find it a period piece with enormous vitality." Full Review

75
Deadline

"It’s got tons of heart, unimpeachable performances...But while the production left me teary in all the right places, and laughing in all the other right places, it never actually took flight. It’s earthbound...What’s bafflingly wrong with the production has primarily to do with the visuals...That, combined with a first act that just works too damned hard to win us over, makes for some rough going...But then Act II happens and the show, for all its dark turns, suddenly seems light as air." Full Review

95
CurtainUp

"Finn's sung-through score is lyrical and sophisticated, full of intricate multiple harmonies. The lyrics are an organic blend of heart-tugging emotion and sophistication, and thanks to the small cast and orchestra achieve the clarity of conversations...This beautifully staged and performed revival is one of the most moving, eye and ear pleasing old-new musicals currently on Broadway. James Lapine once again directs gracefully so that 'Falsettos' feels fresh as ever." Full Review

80
Chicago Tribune

"Some of the individual moments of this Lincoln Center production are fantastic — Block, who is so well cast here and doing the best work of her Broadway career, does everything you could ask with the show's great, reflective ballads. You are never entirely convinced that Borle and Rannells are deeply in love...Mostly though, it is an unequivocal pleasure to let Finn's music and lyrics return to your consciousness." Full Review

85
Newsday

"The show remains brave and hilarious, a charming and deeply moving treasure...That first half feels very sweet but a little naive these days, somewhat of a period piece without all the rich sadness and lyric maturity of what comes later. But then...bam!...Although it’s hard to separate these characters from the original actors, the cast is terrific...Lapine’s direction is finely calibrated to be showy without being show-bizzy." Full Review

75
Front Mezz Junkies

"The music in 'Falsettos' is gorgeous and fun, complex and surprising...I wanted to cheer this whole show on from beginning to end. It’s fun and connecting. Beautiful, emotional, and engaging. Painful and sweet. But, there are also moments that feel dated and confusing...This could be one problem with keeping the same director (Lapine) as when it first played on Broadway...A new eye and different vision would have elevated this beautiful show to a higher level." Full Review

65
The Wrap

"It’s very unlikely that William Finn will ever get a better production of his groundbreaking musical 'Falsettos'...Top among its assets are leading men Christian Borle and Andrew Rannells...Now for the unfortunate news. If ever Disney made a family movie musical about homosexuals, 'Falsettos' would be the one to start with. This observation is not meant as a compliment. 'Gay' here is gay in the Irving Berlin sense of the word...Finn and Lapine put the 'false' in 'Falsettos.'" Full Review

90
NorthJersey.com

"Not your typical Broadway musical, but it's being given a top-shelf Broadway production, with knowing direction, striking scenery and flawless performances from highly talented musical-theater actors...What enables it to work – what makes the evening funny and rueful — is William Finn's singular score, which goes to the heart of each matter...Directed with great empathy by James Lapine, 'Falsettos' achieves the same power it had a quarter-century ago." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
85
Avg Score

90
Great acting, Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging

See it if you enjoy great singing, interesting concept and story. Extra points for Christian Borle fans!!!

Don't see it if you have problems with gay relationships.

90
Absorbing, Great acting, Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging

See it if You enjoy family-based musicals, creative sets, or amazing acting and singing.

Don't see it if The plot doesn't sound interesting to you.

97
Clever, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Profound, Great singing

See it if You are looking for a wide range of emotions and a commentary on the human experience.

Don't see it if You are avoiding sensitive, emotional material.

71
Great acting, Profound, Dated

See it if you never had a chance to see the original/you're a fan of Lapine.

Don't see it if you don't like modern musicals/you're kind of over AIDS as a plot device/you don't like Lapine's writing style.

90
Delightful, Great acting, Intelligent, Resonant, Moving

See it if you're interested in a smart and moving musical about extended family and different kinds of love. Still emotionally effective after years.

Don't see it if you want a traditional, old fashioned musical, or if you don't want to be emotionally moved.

85
Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Resonant, Moving

See it if You want to see a musical about interesting family dynamics at the start of the AIDS epidemic. Funny, poignant, beautiful, and moving.

Don't see it if Jewish themes, LGBT/AIDS themes, shows that may make you cry are not your thing. Avoid if looking for a light comedy or epic/big spectacle.

94
Thought-provoking, Profound, Powerful

See it if you're looking to laugh and cry at the same show.

Don't see it if you need a happy ending.

90
Delightful, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Great singing

See it if shows deal with real family issues. If you like musicals

Don't see it if no reason not to unless you are closed minded

96
Funny, Great acting, Great writing, Great singing, Great staging

See it if you want to see an all star cast singing their hearts out and portraying the perfect amount of heart and grit in each of their roles

Don't see it if youre not a fan of William Finn's music, and dont enjoy musicals all sung through

100
Absorbing, Great acting, Must see, Quirky, Great writing

See it if you're a fan of any of the actors, enjoy disfunction in the extreme, and want an emotionally cathartic experience that'll make you ugly cry

Don't see it if you can't appreciate moments of absurdity, you hate crying in public, or homosexual relationships make you uncomfortable

92
Funny, Thought-provoking, Romantic, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if you want to get sucker-punched in the feels after laughing your way through songs

Don't see it if You don't like it when shows take sharp, unexpected turns

97
Great acting, Must see, Great writing, Great singing, Great staging

See it if you want to see a near-perfect show. The cast is incredible.

Don't see it if you know you don't like Finn or "gay plays."

75
Clever, Intelligent, Resonant, Slow, Great singing

See it if You want to see top Broadway talent perform an underseen show. The songs are intelligent, and you'll laugh and cry.

Don't see it if You lack patience. It's a long stretch of a minimalist show, with some moments stronger than others, and a more engaging second act.

60
Disappointing, Dated, Great singing

See it if You are a fan of the show.

Don't see it if you won't, it closed.

88
Delightful, Great acting, Masterful, Resonant, Hilarious

See it if You have a family and want to see family dynamics on stage. Laughs. Tears. Heartbreak. Everything. Enjoy a sung through show.

Don't see it if Aren't looking for a serious, emotional show (with some funny moments). Offended by LGBT. Trigger warning: HIV crisis.

Also Trigger warning: HIV crisis

75
Intelligent, Dated, Great singing, Great staging

See it if you're familiar with the source material and love a good family drama.

Don't see it if you're going in blind. You may not know what to expect! (It is completely sung-through!)

Also Falsettos is an impressive feat, but was perhaps, just not the show fo... Read more Read less

83
Profound, Relevant, Slow

See it if you want to see something relevant, dramatic, funny, and emotional.

Don't see it if you're expecting a well rounded plot, can be very slow at times and confusing.

60
Dated, Great staging, Weird

See it if uh well it's too late to see it but the staging was really wonderful and the actors did well with this very strange and weirdly paced show

Don't see it if you are looking for something a little less strange but also you kinda have no choice anyway because you can't see it because it's closed

79
Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Great singing

See it if you enjoy any of the great performers, you enjoy pieces that explore how our individual choices affect the lives of those around us.

Don't see it if you are not open to alternative lifestyles, blended families, and homosexuality, or if you want something fluffy or completely happy.

80
Clever, Intelligent, Relevant, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if a great cast in a revival of an 80's/90's classic; Act 2 is vastly superior to Act 1, but both are really entertaining

Don't see it if are homophobic, don't like sung-through shows

90
Dizzying, Great acting, Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging

See it if You enjoy great chemistry between the leads, Block stealing the show, Borle and Rannells stealing your heart, and shows about the 70s/80s.

Don't see it if You don't like musicals that are almost completely sung (little dialogue), you need a show with a linear structure, and you need a happy end

88
Clever, Relevant, Great writing, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if Unfortunately it's closed. But it was splendid.

Don't see it if You don't like musicals.

91
Funny, Clever, Great acting, Intelligent, Great staging

See it if Oh, how I wish you could. It closed today. Just wonderful. Not out of date at all. You will laugh and you will cry.

Don't see it if you are cold blooded and cannot feel for others.

Also It was like listening to an opera since almost every word is sung. The... Read more Read less

90
Absorbing, Intelligent, Profound, Quirky, Resonant

See it if you enjoy a traditional musical with a little bit of a quirky twist.

Don't see it if you don't like quick wit and off-beat musicals

Also The performances are top notch

88
Delightful, Profound, Cliched, Great singing, Heartbreaking

See it if you are looking for a once in a lifetime production of a great (but flawed) show that is somewhat dated, but will leave you in tears.

Don't see it if If you are looking for something very modern or very splashy.