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‘Something Bad [was] Happening’: Falsettos as an historical record of the AIDS epidemic

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This article argues for the importance of an often-overlooked aspect of Falsettos: the role of Dr Charlotte, a character whose name is never spoken in performance and who is defined by her professional and sexual identities. On the surface, her presence facilitates plot development by introducing discussion of an unknown and fatal illness in the final quarter of the two-act evening. But her identities as a woman, a lesbian and a doctor ‐ and the signification of each ‐ unlock largely unspoken histories, reflecting and transforming broader histories of the AIDS epidemic.

Keywords: AIDS; Falsettos; HIV; James Lapine; William Finn; doctor; hospital; medicine

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 0000000123431311Connecticut College

Publication date: December 1, 2019

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UA-1313315-26