Actor Tony Humrichouser wanted to play the role of Bruce Bechdel in Fun Home from the moment he saw the show on Broadway. A musical adaptation of Alison Bechdel's graphic novel-memoir, opening June 7 at Farmers Alley Theatre, young, middle, and adult Alisons search for ways to connect with her father, Bruce, a small-town funeral director, antiques restorer, English teacher, and closeted gay man. Throughout his life, he instinctively avoided addressing Alison's own lesbianism. That avoidance rang true for Humrichouser, who says that playing the role has been cathartic for him - helping him process memories of his own childhood.
Los Angeles-based actress Michele Maika Berg was also on a personal mission to play Alison. She had worked closely with composer Jeanine Tesori at a summer theatre program for young people, before Tesori went on to write the music for Fun Home. (It earned the 2015 Tony award for Best Musical Score.) An Equity actor widely known for playing Eponine in Les Miserables on Broadway and national tours, Maika Berg's second career as a psychotherapist drew her to the skillful, honest storytelling in Fun Home.
Director Kathy Mulay says Fun Home is her favorite kind of show - a show based on real life. A visual director, she cast the three Alisons to resemble each other as much as possible, reviewing video auditions submitted by actresses around the country. But two cast members come from very close to home: Karly Koch, her granddaughter, plays young Alison, and Denene Mulay Koch, her daughter, plays Helen Bechdel.