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Performing Arts

Sing out

There’s nothing ‘False’ about a heartfelt local production of a musical chronicling the effect of AIDS on an American family.

Eric Webb June 8th, 2011

8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday
City Arts Center, 3000 General Pershing

A group of independent Oklahoma theater artists are staging a production of the musical “Falsettos” to benefit RAIN Oklahoma, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting Oklahomans living with HIV/AIDS.

“Falsettos” pairs “March of the Falsettos” and “Falsettoland,” two off- Broadway musicals produced nearly a decade apart. “Falsettos” won Tony Awards for best book and musical score in 1992.

Set between 1979 and 1981, it tells the story of Marvin, who leaves his family to live with another man. The relationship doesn’t last, however, and Marvin ends up alone. Two years later, just before his son’s bar mitzvah, he is reunited with his lover. Their story unfolds just as AIDS is beginning to spread.

For local actress Jodi Nestander, the show is about hope and family.

“Families fight and argue but, in the end, when times get tough, these are the people that stand by you,” Nestander said.

She and actor Lance Overdorff hatched the idea for this current production.

“I was introduced to the show in college and have wanted to put it on ever since,” Nestander said. “I tried talking several theaters into staging it, and no one would bite.”

Eventually, they opted to put it on themselves and donate the proceeds to a local charity.

“I have always liked the idea of performing for a cause, and RAIN has been one of my favorites for many years,” she said. “They provide HIV/ AIDS education, free testing, transitional living and case management to the entire Oklahoma community. This is a lot to take on for a nonprofit.”

Nestander and Overdorff recruited local director and playwright Robert Matson to helm the production. Largely unfamiliar with the show, Matson only knew “Falsettos” as “that gay Jewish musical.”

“This was my first time directing a musical, so after I first found out that ‘Falsettos’ was all music, I thought, ‘There’s not a chance in hell I could do this.’ But the more I listened, the more I loved the story,” Matson said. “I decided, ‘If Jodi and Lance trust me with this show, then I am up to the challenge.’” While new to the material, Matson found a lot with which to connect.

“In so many ways, the song ‘Father to Son’ reminds me of my relationship with my father. Lance Overdorff and Colin Anderson do a beautiful job with that number,” he said. “Then Act Two deals with the beginning of the AIDS epidemic. I’ve lost too many friends to it, so I’m glad that we partnered with RAIN.”

Nestander said that performing for such a cause brings an entirely new meaning to every moment.

“I think it ups the stakes for each person onstage,” she said. “We perform this show to remember those we’ve lost and to honor those still fighting.”

Each performance includes a silent auction. For tickets or donations, visit,

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