Women’s History Month: Fun Home Makes History for Lesbians on Broadway

Hayley Miller

In June, playwright Lisa Kron took home two Tony Awards, including one for best book and another for best original score, with composer Jeanine Tesori, for the Broadway show Fun Home. It received five Tony Awards, including one for best new musical.

Fun Home is based on lesbian artist, author and activist Alison Bechdel’s searing memoir about self-discovery, her family and her father, who was secretly attracted to men. It’s the first Broadway show to feature a lesbian protagonist and it’s a box office success.

“Theater is about being in a room with people who are different from you — both in terms of what’s on the stage and who’s in the audience.” Kron, who married her partner Madeleine George last year, told HRC. “And there’s certainly no theatrical art form that is more humanizing than a protagonist in a musical. And to have that be a butch lesbian? One of the previously most invisible creatures in the cultural world?”

Bechdel, who came out at age 19, has become an icon in the LGBT and feminist community, not only for her famous comic strip but also for the Bechdel test, which measures gender bias on the big screen.  

“I came out by reading books, not by having actual experiences with other people, she told NPR. “I've been all about being out and open about being a lesbian since I came out in 1980, and it has been my career.” 

Through this hit show, the pair have elevated the experiences LGBTQ youth, the trials of coming out as a youth as an adult and the impact of living openly and proudly.  As the show prepares to tour the country, Bechdel’s story will now be shared with new and diverse audiences, allowing this thought-provoking show to change more hearts and minds than ever before. 

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