CHARLESTON, S.C. - Students at a South Carolina public university are snapping up tickets to the musical "Fun Home" after state lawmakers approved a proposed cut in school funding over the critically acclaimed lesbian memoir on which the musical is based.
Outraged over the proposed budget cut for the College of Charleston, which was triggered by a freshman reading assignment, the cast of the Pulitzer Prize-nominated show volunteered to put on two performances of selected songs from the musical at the college without pay.
Little more than a day after the box office for both Monday performances opened, 900 of the 1,500 available tickets had been sold for $10 or $15 apiece, a spokeswoman for the liberal-arts college with 11,000 undergraduate students said on Friday.
"The legislature's punishment of the college for teaching 'Fun Home' just feels ridiculous," said Alison Bechdel, whose 2006 memoir recalls growing up a lesbian with a closeted gay father in rural Pennsylvania. She will be on hand for the performances on Monday.
In March, the Republican-controlled state House voted to slash the school's budget appropriation by $52,000, the amount the college spent on its summer reading program. The program included Bechdel's book, a bestseller that was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award, for incoming freshmen.
Republican Representative Garry Smith told Reuters he proposed the cut after a parent complained about the book's "graphic pictures of two females having sex" and because the college did not offer another choice for summer reading.