“Fun Home,” winner of five Tony Awards, including Best New Musical in 2015, comes to the Providence Performing Arts Center November 7-12, and it is a landmark musical you don’t want to miss.
Broadway and film actor Robert Retkoff plays the intense role of Bruce, the sharp-minded, caustic father, as seen through the eyes of his daughter Alison at three different ages in their lives.
Retkoff has starred on Broadway with the likes of Bryan Cranston and Dame Judi Dench and has been seen on numerous television series. He has also made a career out of narrating audio books.
“Audio books are a lot of fun,” he told me from his hotel in Boston, where “Fun Home” had just opened. “You get to play all the parts, from narrator to an 80-year-old black woman to a teenage girl. But the highlight of my career was appearing on stage with Judi Dench, one of the most humble, caring persons I have ever met,” he said. “She treated everyone the same. One day I helped the doorman carry bouquets of roses to her dressing room. She thanked him and gave him one of the bouquets.”
Retkoff went to Illinois State University and began his career as a serious stage and screen actor. He was recently in Providence, shooting scenes for Woody Allen’s latest movie, “The Irrational Man.” He has been with “Fun Home” since it launched its road version in Cleveland last September. From Boston and Providence, the show heads for Rochester, New York, takes a Thanksgiving break, and closes in Florida in December.
“The musical started at the Public Theatre and moved to Circle in the Square, where it was done in the round,” he said. “It’s been an interesting journey refiguring the production for the proscenium stage, which I prefer. No one ever has their back to you.”
Retkoff knows that many people outside of Broadway are unfamiliar with the musical.
“It is part of many subscription series, so a number of people come to the theatre with no preconceived notions,” he said. “They are in for an unusual story and an unusual journey.”
The story is based on Alison Bechdel’s best-selling graphic memoir, in which she explores and unravels many mysteries of her childhood.
“It’s about seeing your parents through grown-up eyes.”
“Fun Home” is at the Providence Performing Arts Center from November 7-12. Tickets are available at 421-ARTS.