Backstage Buzz: ‘Fun Home’ Finale

The ‘Fun Home’ Finale, James Corden’s ‘Aladdin’ cameo, Danny DeVito’s Broadway debut, ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ changes venues and more in this week’s Backstage Buzz.


Alison Bechdel and the cast of ‘Fun Home’ on closing night Saturday. Photo: Jenny Anderson/WireImage/Getty Images

‘Fun Home’ Finale

Before the closing performance of “Fun Home” Saturday, the cast needed a way to shake off the emotions of the occasion. So they turned to their weekly dance party tradition, blaring Amy Grant’s “Baby, Baby” and bopping through the halls.

But even as Tony-nominated actress Beth Malone focused on portraying her analytical character, adult Alison, she said she felt the emotions creep in during the show.

“It was really, really hard to do,” she said. “I was holding on to the furniture for dear life.”

During the performance, she could be seen getting a bit choked up at the end of “Telephone Wire,” while Judy Kuhn, who plays Alison’s mother, wiped away a tear as she exited offstage after “Days and Days.”

“Fun Home,” a moving family tale chronicling the coming of age of a young lesbian woman in the shadow of her father’s own closeted gay life, won five Tony Awards in 2015, including for Best Musical. The show closed Saturday after playing 609 performances on Broadway, including previews, and 114 performances off-Broadway at the Public Theater.

The musical launches a national tour in October.

After the performance, Alison Bechdel, who wrote the autobiographical graphic novel on which the show was based, spoke to the audience: “I want to thank all of these people for handling my book and my…life with such dazzling artistry and such deep respect.”

On Monday morning, as her post-show vacation began in earnest, Ms. Malone, who has been playing adult Alison for close to five years, said she felt a role like this wouldn’t come along again: “I woke up today going, ’What’s the meaning of my life if I’m not doing this show?’ ”

‘Dear Evan Hansen’ Moves to New Home

Anyone who already bought tickets for “Dear Evan Hansen,” take note: Don’t show up to the Belasco Theatre.

The award-winning musical, which starts Broadway previews on Nov. 14, is moving venues and will make its home at the Music Box Theatre. All previous ticket transactions will “remain intact” and customers will have “comparable, if not identical” locations at the Music Box, producers said in an announcement Monday.


James Monroe Iglehart, James Corden and Kathryn Terza onstage in ‘Aladdin’ Photo: Jenny Anderson

James Corden Does Cameo at ‘Aladdin’

Late-night host James Corden made a surprise appearance in “Aladdin” last week, popping up in a sparkling green tuxedo during the big production number “Friend Like Me.”

“Usually it’s just me and Aladdin and all of our cast showing Aladdin all the Genie can do,” said James Monroe Iglehart, who won a Tony for his portrayal of the scene-stealing genie.

The number features a game-show section, replete with puns, where the Genie offers Aladdin prizes such as “a brand new pyramid,” adding, “Now you and King Tut will finally have something in Tutankhamen.”

This time around Mr. Corden walked onstage and “we both said the joke,” said Mr. Iglehart. “The audience went crazy because they had two Tony-award winners on stage.”


Danny DeVito Photo: Matt Sayles/Associated Press

A First for DeVito

Danny DeVito will make his Broadway debut this winter thanks to director Terry Kinney’s inability to get the casting choice out of his head.

Mr. DeVito was announced last week to be taking on the role of Gregory Solomon, a crafty 89-year-old furniture dealer, in Arthur Miller’s play “The Price,” appearing on Broadway this winter. The play follows Victor Franz, a man returning to his childhood home to sell what’s left of his parents’ estate, decades after they lost their fortune in the Great Depression.

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Mr. Kinney, co-founder of Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre Company, knew the role of Gregory called for a great character actor, which made Mr. DeVito ideal. That choice came to fruition after approval from Arthur Miller’s daughter Rebecca and a series of meetings with Mr. DeVito, who came prepared with marked-up scripts and questions, Mr. Kinney said.

“We knew it was going to be a challenge to find someone with the energy and that could play the age with verisimilitude. We found the right person,” Mr. Kinney said.

Mr. DeVito, known for his TV roles on “Taxi” and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” joins an already starry cast with John Turturro, Tony Shalhoub and Jessica Hecht.

“The Price,” presented by Roundabout Theatre Company, begins previews Feb. 16, 2017 at the American Airlines Theatre.

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