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Award-winning musical ‘Fun Home’ opens Cadence Theatre Co season at Virginia Rep on Saturday

James Robinson | September 8, 2017

For the first production of the 2017-18 season for Cadence Theatre Company, the theater along with Virginia rep will open this weekend with the Tony award-winning musical Fun Home.

Based on the 2006 biographical novel by cartoonist Alison Bechdel, Fun Home, which was adapted by Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron, follows Bechdel after her father’s unexpected death, her life growing up in a funeral home, her relationship with her gay father, and coming to terms with her own sexuality.

GAYRVA.com recently had the chance to chat with Virginia native, actress, and singer Elizabeth Wyld, who plays Allison as a teenager in the musical.

“I’m Alison Bechdel at 19 years old, which is the funniest time,” said Wyld. “I’m off at college, and I get to come out of the closet and tell my parents and have my first lesbian experience and so… I get to go through all the drama which is really fun.”

Wyld, who is no stranger to performing, studied theatre while growing up and eventually majored in musical theater at Shenandoah Conservatory during her college years. After graduating, she made the move to New York City and did plenty of regional productions and international tours there which helped to broaden her horizons.

“New York is very different and I think that it’s really helped broaden my mind in terms of, I mean… it’s such a cultural melting pot,” she said. “There’s so many different kinds of people there and I’m constantly exposed to that.”

With the rising awareness of diversity and equality within our culture, Wyld seems to have come back to Virginia with a heightened sense of awareness towards the social issues that we face.

“There’s plenty of liberal and urban pockets which is so cool, but then on the outskirts of Richmond you have the like, people that I’m like ‘wow you have very strange opinions…’” she said. “So I completely forgot about that… and I guess I’m more aware of it now that I’m older and I’ve been in the city. I’m like, ‘wow there’s still a lot of work to be done.’”

Despite the revelation, she was excited to come back to Richmond to perform at Virginia Rep, which will be the performer’s second time at the company. Wyld portrayed Thea Virginia Rep’s Spring Awakening in 2012.

At the time they were casting for Fun Home, Wyld was already doing a show, but as fate would have it, it fell through which ultimately landed her the part.

“….I saw Chase {Kniffen}, the director, in New York and he was like, ‘Hey, why didn’t you submit for Fun Home?’”

Everything soon fell into place as Wyld auditioned for the play and was cast as Alison Bechdel during her young adult years.

Of course, with all the fun that goes into such a role comes a lot of emotional preparation for the drama.

“I’ve done a lot a research on Alison Bechdel herself because I love playing real people ‘cause that way, I mean there’s already all this real stuff to draw from,” she said. “So I’ve read all her books, and watched a lot of her interviews to try and figure {out} her mannerisms. But it’s also like finding the truth in, I mean Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori wrote the musical, so finding truth in what they wrote as well to be able to tell the best story to an audience.”

Fun Home premieres tonight, Sat. Sept. 9 at Virginia Rep Theatre located at 114 W. Broad St. and runs through Oct. 8. Tickets for subscribers are $35 and single tickets start at $40.