Fun Home is set in three time periods, which overlap on stage in a non-linear fashion. The first is Alison Bechdel's childhood ("Small Alison"), when she struggles against her father Bruce's obsessive demands in the ornate Victorian home he has restored, and begins to identify her inchoate sexuality. The second is her first year in college ("Medium Alison"), when she "leapt out of the closet", identifying herself as a lesbian and beginning her first relationship; shortly after coming out to her parents, she learns that her father has had relationships with men, and four months later he commits suicide. The third ("Alison"), when Alison is a successful cartoonist and the same age that Bruce was when he died, shows her attempt to understand her relationship with her father, and the meaning of his life and death.
The play begins with Small Alison demanding that her father play "airplane" with her, while Bruce sorts through a box of junk and valuables he has salvaged from a barn ("It All Comes Back [Opening]"). Bruce tells the family that a visitor from the local historical society is coming, and his wife Helen prepares the house to Bruce's demanding aesthetic standard ("Welcome to Our House on Maple Avenue"). In a phone call with her father and a journal entry, Medium Alison expresses her anxiety about starting college ("Not Too Bad"). At the Bechdel Funeral Home, Small Alison and her brothers John and Christian hide in caskets while Bruce talks to Pete, a mourning young man. The children perform an imaginary advertisement for the funeral home ("Come to the Fun Home"). Medium Alison hesitates outside the door of the college's Gay Union, and is flummoxed when she meets Joan, a confident young dyke. Bruce shows the house off to Roy, a young man whom he has hired to do yard work. While Helen plays the piano and the children play in the next room, Bruce begins to seduce Roy ("Helen's Etude").
Medium Alison writes a letter to her parents, but does not mention Joan or the Gay Union. Bruce orders Small Alison to put on a dress, but she instead puts on a jean jacket and fantasizes about being a suave hero and rescuing a French mademoiselle ("Al for Short"). However, Bruce returns angrily and she puts on the dress. Medium Alison proudly tells Joan that she has written a letter to her parents telling them that she is a lesbian, but begins to second-guess herself until Joan kisses her. That night, she is excited and joyful at having had sex with Joan ("Changing My Major").
Alison considers the connection between her coming out and her father's death. Small Alison has a homework assignment to draw a map of places her family has lived, but Bruce takes over, drawing it the way he thinks it should look. Alison realizes that despite having traveled and lived in Europe, her father's place of birth, life, work and death can all be placed in a small circle in Beech Creek, Pennsylvania ("Maps"). Bruce offers a ride and a beer to an underage boy. Medium Alison writes to her parents, asking for a response to her coming-out letter. Small Alison watches a television show about a family who sing together, but Bruce switches it off and starts a vicious argument with Helen. Small Alison fantasizes about her family as the happy family from the TV show ("Raincoat of Love").
Alison remembers when Bruce took her and her brothers to New York City and stayed in a borrowed Greenwich Village apartment. After a long day, Small Alison, Christian and John settle into sleeping bags, but Bruce gets ready to go out. He tells his daughter that he's just going out for a paper, and leaves. Medium Alison is angered by a noncommittal letter from Bruce, responding to her coming out. At a luncheonette with her father, Small Alison notices a butch delivery woman and feels an inexplicable kinship with her ("Ring of Keys").
Medium Alison calls home to demand a more full response from her parents, and is astonished when her mother tells her that her father has had sexual relationships with men and boys. Alison explores the tensions her family was under at this time. Medium Alison returns home for vacation with Joan in tow. Helen confesses the difficulties of her life to Medium Alison ("Days and Days"). Medium Alison, Joan and Bruce have an unexpectedly pleasant evening around the piano. Bruce asks Alison if she'd like to go for a drive, and (adult) Alison realizes that Medium Alison is gone; she joins her father in the car, breaking the boundaries of time. On the drive, she and Bruce struggle to express themselves to each other ("Telephone Wire").
Bruce, manically engaged in a new restoration project, tries and fails to find a way to hold his life together ("Edges of the World"). He steps in front of a truck and is killed.
Alison, newly reconciled to her past, remembers and draws "a moment of perfect balance": playing "airplane" with her father ("Flying Away [Finale]")
Check back soon when libretto and/or lyrics for Fun Home becomes available.