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MARCH OF THE FALSETTOS A Musical: The Second in the "Marvin Trilogy*". Book by William Finn; Music by William Finn; Lyrics by William Finn. Playwrights' Horizons Theatre, Off-Broadway - 1 April, 1981 (310 perfs) Transferred to Chelsea Westside Arts Theatre, Off-Broadway 12 October, 1981 (200 perfs) Costumes - Maureen Connor Lighting Designe - Frances Aronson Musical Director - Michael Lee Stockler Orchestrations - Michael Starobin Set Design - Douglas Stein STORY It’s 1979 in New York City. Marvin, his son Jason, his psychiatrist, Mendel and his male lover, Whizzer are “Four Jews in A Room Bitching” (technically, Whizzer’s only “half Jewish”). Marvin steps forward to explain his situation: he has left his wife, Trina, for Whizzer, but Marvin wants “A Tight-Knit Family” and is attempting to forge a new family situation with the addition of Whizzer, a situation that no one is happy with. Trina, on Marvin’s recommendation, pays a visit to Mendel, where she wearily wonders how her life has turned out this way. Mendel, who is instantly attracted to her, tries to console her, telling her that “Love is Blind.” Meanwhile, Marvin and Whizzer comment on their relationship: the two have very little in common, apart from the fact that they both love fighting and are insanely attracted to each other. Both worry that “The Thrill of First Love” is wearing off. The cast presents an interlude: “Marvin at the Psychiatrist, a Three-Part Mini-Opera.” In Part One, Mendel asks Marvin about his relationship with Whizzer and Marvin weighs the pros and cons of the relationship, ultimately concluding that he does love Whizzer. In Part Two, Mendel shifts the topic to Trina, and the session becomes one where Mendel, obviously aroused, interrogates Marvin about his ex-wife’s bedroom habits. In Part Three, Marvin and Jason provide counterpoint on their strained relationship. Jason, who is 10, is very worried that because, as he puts it, “My Father’s a Homo,” that he’ll turn out to be one too and is very afraid of turning out like his father. Because he is worried, he acts up, and “Everyone tells Jason to See a Psychiatrist” immediately, a suggestion Jason staunchly rejects. It is only after Whizzer softly adds his voice to that of his parents that Jason agrees to see Mendel. It is very clear that Marvin is trying to pigeon-hole Whizzer into the role of homemaker, and they fight. Meanwhile, Trina complains to Mendel how her role in the family dynamic is being phased out as Whizzer becomes increasingly prominent in Marvin and Jason’s lives as Marvin continues to insist that all participants get along together as one extended family. All agree that “This Had Better Come to A Stop.” Jason is acting up again, and Trina phones Mendel frantically to “Please Come to Our House” for dinner and therapy. Mendel arrives and immediately charms Trina. He and Jason settle down for “Jason’s Therapy,” in which Jason frets about his future and Mendel, in a very round-about way, encourages him to simply relax and enjoy life. After several such dinner/sessions, Jason asks Mendel what his intentions are towards Trina, and Mendel makes “A Marriage Proposal.” Clumsy and neurotic though he may be, he’s sincere and Trina accepts him, to Marvin’s fury. He is losing his “Tight-Knit Family (Reprise),” and his therapist. In “Trina’s Song,” Trina reflects on her situation: she is tired of the man’s world she lives in, and even though she knows that Mendel is the same kind of man Marvin is, slightly childish and neurotic, he loves her, and she could do a lot worse. She may not be exactly happy, but he’s hers. In contrast, the four men sing a hymn to masculinity in all its aspects, the three adults singing in a falsetto to match Jason’s unbroken voice, in the “March of the Falsettos.”