Pinnacle Productions’ ‘Falsettos’ tugs at heartstrings

Written By Kylie Thomas, Co Features/A&E Editor

In a small classroom in Boulevard Apartments, Pinnacle Productions transforms the space into the home of the musical “Falsettos.” It may not seem like the spot to put on a musical production, but the intimate space brings the audience to Falsettoland, a place where family ties and loving relationships are tested in the hardest ways. 

When I first heard the Pinnacle Productions would be putting on “Falsettos” I was both excited and worried that my favorite musical would be touched. It’s a show that carries many mature and serious themes but executes them in one of the best ways possible. It’s a story about a character named Marvin trying to navigate his old family and his new queer lover at once. There really isn’t a better way to describe it than watching a family break apart and come back together all at once. It’s really great for children of divorce if you catch my drift. 

So going into “Falsettos” in the tiny classroom, I was concerned that college students couldn’t pull off the caliber of acting this musical would require. It’s one of the very few musicals that relies on just character development rather than stunts and other features. However, the crew of “Falsettos” proved they could take on such a challenge. 

One notable difference with this production was the setup. The “stage” was really the entire classroom and the area spanned the seats of the audience. It basically put the audience right on the stage so that their interaction became a part of the show. While it seemed off-putting at first, the setup and interaction were some of the best parts of the musical. It made the audience feel like they were going through exactly what the characters were going through, which was a nice touch I hadn’t seen before. 

When it came to the actual performance, there were some ups and downs. The instrumental track to the musical is hard to keep time with so  the cast would often get off time with the music. It’s something you would only notice if you knew the musical previously but didn’t seem to bother those who didn’t know better. Another slight issue is that a lot of the cast tried really hard to be like the 2016 revival cast of “Falsettos” rather than making the characters their own. This is another thing that you’d only notice if you knew the musical well, but I would’ve loved to see more members making the characters their own. 

This is why Mendel and Jason really shone for me in the production; they both gave the characters their own spin so they seemed more genuine.  Even Cordelia, who seemed very reminiscent of Betsy Wolfe in the 2016 cast, successfully pulled off this resemblance and stole the show in the second half. 

All this aside though, this production of “Falsettos” succeeded in every other way. The actor’s voices were outstanding. There are a lot of hard to hit notes and much of the music is complex. But this cast blew away my expectations for their vocality. The harmonies were like heaven and so many times their tone gave me chills because of the emotion they’d put into the piece. You could tell each person felt a connection to this musical and wanted to put their whole heart into it. It even seemed like they were truly having fun putting on this production, which is really all you can ask for as an audience member. 

I also want to applaud the direction of this production, especially for how the end of the musical was handled. Without spoiling anything (cough cough), Pinnacle Productions added on a part at the end of the show that made me literally gasp and immediately start crying. What a brilliant way to handle the subject matter and bring everything full circle.

While it’s hard to view college students as these “Falsettos” characters, Pinnacle Productions proved that what makes this piece successful is the passion put into it. This is a very hard musical to produce and overall this cast succeeded in touching hearts and telling this beautiful story. It’ll be interesting to see what other tough subject musicals Pinnacle Productions takes on in the future, but nevertheless you’ll want to grab a seat at it.