The brilliant Fun Home opens at the Circle in the Square on April 22nd, and the big question is, "How does it fare in the round?"
Glass half-full: Fun Home made it to Broadway! This is wonderful news all around: it will become better known; it will likely have more future productions; the creators and cast may receive some well-deserved awards; and we all get to see it again (or for the first time) and maybe again (I already have my tickets for next time).
And Sam Gold has staged Fun Home about as well as I could imagine it being staged in the round (oval, really). He is aware of the whole audience, and he uses the space in some satisfyingly creative ways. (I don't want to spoil them by describing them here.)
Glass half-empty: Since Fun Home is in the round, there is never an opportunity to watch someone's face for an entire scene or song. I felt this particularly strongly during the brilliant Sydney Lucas's rendition of "Ring of Keys." I know from past viewings how perfectly Lucas calibrates Small Alison's emotional growth during the course of the song, and that simply wasn't visible in Circle in the Square. For me, the number one most important thing about theatre is the people, and I felt cheated every time Lucas's back was to me.
Glass totally full: I took my 21-year-old niece and 23-year-old nephew to see Fun Home. She had read the book; he hadn't. They were both completely and totally blown away by the production. There was no "half-glass" for them; they found the show complete and beautiful and amazing.
By the way, we sat in the back of the 400s section, beyond the orchestra. These are not great seats, but they are perfectly good seats. The phrase "beyond the orchestra" sounds like there might be sound or sightline problems, but there aren't. I will always cherish seeing the Off-Broadway production first-row center, but Fun Home remains a tremendous, must-see achievement, even from the far end of the oval.