ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) – Director Katharine Quinn and actress Hayley Palmer are based in the Big Apple, but always love returning to Mill Mountain Theatre. Putting on MMT’s new production, “Fun Home” represents a bit of a homecoming for them.
Palmer plays the adult version of the main character, Alison Bechdel.
“Mill Mountain is so special. I mean, New York is obviously amazing, and there’s so much theatre there, which is amazing. But it does feel good to come to a smaller place and feel like the theatre we’re doing is really making an impact,” says Palmer.
The impact they’re hoping to make this time is helping families start important conversations about sexuality and identity.
The Tony Award-winning musical, “Fun Home” is based on the life of Bechdel.
“Alison Bechtel is a graphic memoir novelist, and it’s about her coming of age. Her coming to terms with her queerness and her relationship with her late father,” says director Quinn.
Bechdel’s graphic novel describes her journey into the past when her father dies unexpectedly.
“I think that kind of idea, something that was haunting Alison, the things I didn’t talk to my dad about, the things he didn’t talk to me about,” says Palmer.
When the show was first being developed for Broadway, Palmer says the real Alison was a bit hesitant.
“When they were like, hey we want to make this a Broadway musical, she like, fell out of her chair. Like what? I mean, it’s a very specific story, but there’s something- it points to themes that are so universal, so I like to think that she that we’re doing the show,” says Palmer.
The pair hopes the musical will resonate with a wide audience, but also speak to LGBTQ youth.
“I so wish I’d had this show, growing up as a queer artist. I didn’t have this kind of representation, so I think it is so, so valuable for queer youth to be able to see this show and youth, in general, because it’s a beautiful show and representation is important,” says Quinn.
“I think it’s important for parents, too- a big thing for me is communication, and leaning into those moments to really communicate with your kid or share something with your parents and how those moments really matter,” says Palmer.
Above all, they say “Fun Home” is about healing and forgiveness.
Fun Home” is running through July 3. Click here for ticket information.
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