Villagers Theatre Pays Homage To AIDS Victims During ‘Falsettos’ Run

villagers AIDS tribute1Audience members attending this weekend’s final performances of “Falsettos” at the Villagers Theatre might want to look closely at the there symbols hanging on the wall near the auditorium’s entrance.

The symbols – a heart, a Star of David and an AIDS ribbon – are inscribed with the names of more than three dozen local victims of the AIDS epidemic.

The memorial fits in with the “Falsettos” theme; the musical tells the story of a gay Jewish man, his family and his partner and is set at the start of the AIDS outbreak in the early 1980s.

The idea comes from a member of the crew who had seen it done in another theater, said “Falsettos” director Darren Nye.

The symbols were made of foam core, painted and inscribed with the names, which were submitted by community members.

The original plan was to hang the symbols on “flats” on the stage, Nye said. But the need to dampen reverberation from the musicians with curtains placed on the flats forced them to go to another plan, he said.

That’s when the decision was made to hang the symbols on the wall in the lobby outside the Black Box Theatre, where the musical is being staged, he said.

Reaction has been positive, Nye said.

“Most people find it a nice thing that we did to recognize people,” he said. “We got some nice comments.”

“Falsettos” runs May 16-18 at the theater, located at 475 DeMott Lane in Somerset. Curtain times are 8 p.m. May 16 and 17, and 2 p.m. May 18.

The show features Drew Cyburt as Marvin; Mark Piltz Jr. as Whizzer, Marvin’s lover; Cindy Chait as Trina, Marvin’s wife; Matthew Cox as Jason, Marvin’s son; Stephen Belfatti as Mendel, Marvin’s psychiatrist; Barbara Gurskey as Dr. Charlotte; and Cristy Miller as Cordelia, Dr. Charlotte’s partner, and is under the musical direction of Rory Chalcraft of South River.

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