Renegade Theater Company Production of “Fun Home” Breaks Down Barriers in Regional Premiere

The Tony Award winning musical "Fun Home" premieres in Duluth.

DULUTH, Minn.- Renegade Theater Company in Duluth is breaking down barriers with a show unlike anything seen before in the Northland.

It’s the regional premiere of Fun Home. The Tony Award winning musical opened Friday night, a tribute kicking off pride month in Duluth and adding on to Zeitgeist Creative Community’s “Year of the Womxn” celebration, honoring stories by women, for women.

“It is the first show to win a Tony that features a lesbian protagonist, and to have this show having its regional premiere in Duluth is huge,” Renegade Theater Company artistic director Mary Fox said.

Fun Home was one of a kind when it was first published as a book in 2006 and again when it swept the Tony Awards in 2015.

Mary Fox thinks Rengade’s Northland production will have the same lasting impression.

“Doing shows, when we pick them, you want to say why are we doing this and why should we do this at Renegade and why should we do this in Duluth, and so doing sort of an edgy show with some darker material and backing it with some of the most beautiful music ever written, it was just a no-brainer that this show belonged at Renegade,” Fox said.

Fun Home tells the story of Alison Bechdel in three points of her life- current Alison, adolescent Alison and young Alison.

“The best way I would describe it is she is kind of the archaeologist of her own life. She’s digging up her past, trying to figure out what ultimately led to her father’s death,” Amelia Barr, who plays Alison Bechdel, said. “For me, as an actor, this is a role that I’ve never played before.”

Barr thinks Fun Home is a story for everyone, despite having themes different than what Duluth is use to.

“Ultimately when we come to the theater, we come to see ourselves on stage, really truly we come to see a story that we recognize, we come to see a story that we relate with, and this is a story that anybody can relate to,” Barr said.

Zachary Stofer plays Alison’s dad, Bruce Bechdel.

He says the play is about family.

“Relationships with our parents– how what we believe as children we can see through a new lens, a new light as older. We can reflect as adults how adults have influenced us,” Stofer said.

The cast and crew of Fun Home hopes the show creates conversation.

“I think it just causes us to connect as a community to be able to tell our story through what we see at the theater,” Fox said.

Fun Home is suggested for mature audiences. The show runs Aug. 9-11, 16-18 and 22-24 at 7:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. for matinees.

“I dare people not to feel. I dare you not to feel during this show. It’s frustrating, it’s inspiring, it’s lovely,” Stofer said.

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