Andrew Rannells talks about the revival of William Finn’s “Falsettos”

Andrew Rannells talks Falsettos
by Larry Murray

Xfinity blogger and GALECA colleague Jim Halterman had the great pleasure of talking with Andrew Rannells about his character in the HBO series Girls, now winding up its fifth season. We won’t go into the rich detail he extracted from Rannells whose character Elijah on Girls seems to be heading for an open relationship with Dill, a roamer who has a penchant for having more than one guy around him at any given time. You will have to go to Halterman’s Blog to get the scoop on this great series.

Most of our readers are familiar with Rannells because of The Book of Mormon, where he originated the role of Elder Price. It was also a turning point for the actor. In the Halterman interview he says, “I was 32 when I started doing The Book of Mormon and I had been living my life very out and not self-conscious about that at all in New York City working in theater. And then, after that, well, there’s no going back. I mean, even if I wanted to, there was not a world in which I was going to say all of a sudden ‘oh, no. I’m not gay.’

During the tv series hiatus, Rannells will be returning to Broadway to star in the William Finn musical Falsettos. I bumped into Finn recently and he was reticent to spill the beans on that show, but thanks to Halterman’s interviewing skills, we can report some of the details.

Says Rannells, “It’s a show that I think had a huge following in New York when it initially opened in the ‘90s and it’s not a show that’s revived very often. It’s never been revived on Broadway so I’m very, very excited. And with James Lapine as the director, it’s very exciting. It tackles a lot of issues. And it was sort of a really cutting edge show when it came out about this man who, when we first meet him, he has just left his wife and child to be with another man and he’s in the process of trying to figure out how they’re all going to live and sort of be in each other’s lives.

“So, you’ve got the ex-wife and the 13-year-old son and I play the new boyfriend. Christian Borle will play Marvin, who’s trying to make this all work. And it’s a storyline that I think that we’ve seen a lot, obviously, since the ‘90s but when it came out initially and even when William Finn starting writing the early drafts for this show for off-Broadway in the ‘80s, this was not subject matter that was really discussed.

“And as we continue, this second act sort of came together at the beginning of the AIDS crisis, so we do deal with that quite a bit as well. And I think that particular aspect of the show is going to be very timely and very important…I feel like it’s something that doesn’t necessarily translate to young people today and the understanding of how dangerous everything felt and how scary it was. It somehow lost a little bit and I just think it’s an important reminder, particularly with new infection rates sort of on the rise, particularly with young gay men in this country, that it’s not a done deal.

“It’s not cured, it’s not an easy life to live with that disease and I think this is coming at a good time and I hope that it acts as a good reminder that, first of all, we lost a lot of people and also the fight continues,” said Rannells.

There’s more about Falsettos and Girls in the article, so if you’ve read this far, you likely will enjoy the rest of it which you can find here.

The Broadway revival of Falsettos is lined up to being previews Sept. 29 ahead of an Oct. 27 opening at the Walter Kerr Theatre, one of the venues owned by Jujamcyn Theaters. Lincoln Center Theatre’s Broadway house is currently occupied by its Tony-winning revival of The King and I.

“Girls” airs Sundays at 10pm on HBO.

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