SUU production of Tony Award-winning ‘Fun Home’ features international director, actor Tony Clements

Composite image using a photo of director Tony Clements and the cast of "Fun Home" rehearsing at Southern Utah University, Cedar City, Utah, Oct. 28, 2018 | Photos courtesy of SUU and TonyClements.com, St. George News / Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY — Southern Utah University’s department of theater arts & dance is pleased to present “Fun Home” in November, a production that inspires guests to “experience all of the feelings of growing up again.” 

The production opens Friday and will run select dates and times at the Eileen and Allen Anes Studio Theatre at the Beverley Center for the Arts at West University Boulevard in Cedar City.

Tony Clements, the production’s guest director, is a New York-based theater director and actor of international caliber who has directed productions at Milwaukee Repertory Theater, First Stage Milwaukee and Marquette University, as well as international productions in Japan, Taiwan and South Korea.

“I’m thrilled to be working with the actors, staff, crew and design team at SUU,” Clements said in a press release for the production. “These talented actors have been a joy to work with and we are really relishing digging into this rich material, which I think is incredibly relevant to both the students at SUU and the community in Cedar City.” 

“Fun Home” is a five-time 2015 Tony Award winner – including Best Musical – that delves into memories of Alison Bechdel’s dysfunctional family and the lessons that come from growing up and discovering who you are.

While the story is specific to author Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel, the issues it deals with are especially important today, as illustrated by Alison, who is struggling to understand her complicated relationship with her father and how it affects her now as an adult.

It’s a story of growth, personal exploration, forgiveness and ultimately healing that stems from coming to terms with a tragic event, using one of the most beautiful and moving Broadway scores in years, with more than its fair share of humor.

Playing Alison’s father, Bruce, in the production is Spencer Smith, a senior candidate in Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts.

“The most rewarding part of preparing for this production has been diving into the script,” Smith said. 

Students rehearsing with the band from “Fun Home” a production running at SUU’s Department of Theatre Arts & Dance in November, Cedar City, Utah, date unspecified | Photo courtesy of Southern Utah University, St. George News

Smith said that the writers, Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori, have added many subtleties to the book and music that interact with each other.

“Every time I read it or sing it I am learning something new,” he said. “Bruce is such a complex character with so many dimensions and knowing how each facet of his personality builds upon the other really adds to the difficulty of putting him on stage.”  

Clement said he believed “Fun Home” portrays experiences many people share.

“We all have families, hurdles, and obstacles left over from youth to overcome in adulthood,” he said. “It’s my hope that our audience goes away with a sense of release, clarity, and understanding. Perhaps we can all find new ways to reflect on our own personal struggles.”

Smith said Clement’s passion for theater is palpable and his respect for the material – and cast – was unparalleled.

“It has been an absolute pleasure to work with him,” he said. “This production has taught me how to accept myself for who I am. Though my problems don’t nearly compare to those faced by Bruce or Alison, I know through their examples that I can overcome anything. I am learning who I am and how I fit in the world just like Bruce, and although I make mistakes I can still learn to become better.”

Please be advised that this production contains mature content and strong language.

Event details

  • What: “Fun Home” performance.
  • When: Nov. 2, 3, 5, 9, at 7:30 p.m., with 2 p.m. matinees on Nov. 3 and 10.
  • Where: Eileen and Allen Anes Studio Theatre at the Beverley Center for the Arts at 101-199 W University Blvd, Cedar City.
  • Tickets: Tickets are $15 for adults, $13 for alumni with card, and $7 for youth. The school’s  faculty, staff and students can get in free with a valid ID card | Tickets can be purchased at the America’s First Event Center Box Office, at the door the night of the performance or online.

Email: news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

 

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