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Falsettos' Mosshart Award Rings True

Student Production Wins New England Theater Conference Honor

By Mallory A. Stewart

The Agassiz Theater's production of "Falsettos" last March caught the attention of more than just Harvard.

This week, the New England Theater Conference (NETC) awarded the production first place in the college division for the Mosshart Award.

The award will result in an invitation to the NETC convention in November, at which time the show will receive an honorary plaque and certificate.

As the product of first time director Marc R. Talusan '97, musical director Felix T. Wu '96 and producer Matt R. Saunders '97, the musical brought together a seven person cast to create their version of William Finn and James Lapine's 1992 screenplay.

"[The play] focuses on the turmoil of life in the New York gay community in the '80s, and it spans the advent of the AIDS virus," Saunders said.

Talusan said one of the most important goals for their student production of "Falsettos" was to create a play which was free from "commercial constraints" in its portrayal of gay life.

"That's what the Harvard Agassiz allowed me to do," he said.

Talusan said the Broadway production didn't deal well with the homosexual aspect of the script because there was always the constraint of a Broadway audience.

"In a production whose whole focus is on two men who love each other, they barely even touch," he said.

Talusan said the intimate setting of the Agassiz, with its small chamber stage, helped create a production which was "completely different" from the Broadway show. Other important changes were due to the "impulses of the actors" during the process of production, he said.

Talusan said he submitted an application to the NETC competition in the beginning of production, but it wasn't until the final performances that two reviewers came to observe the play.

"We all forgot about [the reviewers] until I got a call this week," Saunders said.

He said the idea for the performance came about when Talusan and Wu discussed their love for the play in an on-line musical theater news group.

All profits from the play went to Community Servings, a non-profit Boston organization that delivers hot meals to people who are home-bound with AIDS, Talusan said.

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