Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

FALSETTOS Opens as Student Senior Project at Santa Fe Youth Collaborative Theatre

For most students, a senior project might consist of a lengthy paper, or perhaps a presentation made in class or to a group of parents and educators. Few educational institutions, and still fewer students, would attempt senior projects that consist of mounting full scale musical theater productions.

But New Mexico School for the Arts is no ordinary educational institution, and recently graduated senior Theo Kutsko is no ordinary student. Kutsko’s ambitious and well executed senior project — which has one more performance on Sunday, June 19th — is a production of William Finn and James Lapine’s 1992 musical, Falsettos, produced via Santa Fe Youth Collaborative Theatre. SFYCT, per their website, is

“…a new theater company founded by and for teenagers. Our goal is to produce musical productions completely performed, directed, stage managed, designed, and produced by young people. We are driven by the desire to give teens experience in all aspects of the theater and to expand and grow their skill set. We aim to create a community of passionate and driven students who are eager to work hard and explore their craft. Our shows seek participation from students age 13-18 in the Santa Fe area with a wide range of theatrical experience.”

While not the most obvious choice for a student production, Kutsko made an eloquent argument in their curtain speech regarding why it was their choice, and detailing their connection to the piece. In essence, Falsettos – the existing musical version of which being actually two combined one acts – is an exploration of queerness, the Jewish faith, and what it means to love and to be part of a family (no matter how traditional.. Or nontraditional … the structure). The musical follows the inner circle of neurotic New Yorker Marvin, whose ex wife, Trina, and son, Jason, are not entirely adjusted to, but most definitely accepting of, his relationship with his new lover, Whizzer (an additional one act, In Trousers, details exactly how Marvin came to be in this situation), who, along with a therapist-turned-husband and some “lesbians next door”, form a tight knit, if unconventional, family. While Falsettos features a company of Santa Fean teenagers, rather than mostly probably thirty-something New Yorkers described in the text, the central themes of the piece are universal, and clearly resonated with the cast, whose dedication, commitment, and talent were very much on display.

In this production, Kutsko both co-directs and plays Whizzer; Aiden Sullivan plays Marvin, Alex Walpin plays Trina, Noel McCoy plays Mendel, Alex Kutsko plays Jason, Lily Grogan plays Dr. Charlotte (and provided the production with thoroughly charming choreography), and Kira Hook plays Cordelia. Members of the creative team/crew include co-director Hana O’Brien Ishikawa, stage manager and lighting designer Benna Rael, sound designer Leo Henry, and stagehands Jora Garner, Bucky Smith, Magnificent Farrell, Quinn Blakeslee, and Helayna Bell. Providing live music were Giulia Baccante and Ben Haozous on piano, and Haven Hall and Cheden Anastasion on percussion.

Santa Fe audiences have only one more chance to catch this unique, moving, and well produced musical; what better way to celebrate Pride month than by taking in an iconic queer musical featuring the stars of tomorrow?

Performance information:

The final performance of SFYCT’s production of Falsettos is Sunday, June 19th at 2 PM at Teatro Paraguas’s Second Space (3205 Calle Marie). Tickets are $10 for students and $15 general admission.
For more information about Santa Fe Youth Collaborative Theatre, please visit https://sfyouthcollabtheatre.com/.
For more information about New Mexico School for the Arts, please visit https://www.nmschoolforthearts.org/.

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