Charlotte: A Character Study
Anyways…can I just say that I really love and admire Charlotte as a character????
Like, she was a jewish, gay, black woman who—given that Falsettos is set in the late 1900s—undoubtedly was met with harsh discrimination and unnecessary obstacles due to her identity, but she was so passionate about her work that she still became a doctor and stayed true to herself by not hiding anything and being so genuine in the fact that she was openly jewish and living with her girlfriend. And like, I get and love that her character was a metaphor for the lesbian allies of the beginning of the AIDS crisis, but she was also shown as a woman who deeply cared for her work and her friends and to minimize her as simply a plot device is really gross. And like, Charlotte even had some flaws that I wish could have been better explored (ie: as implied in “A Day in Falsettoland”, she was easily dismissive of Cordelia’s complaint of restlessness in her domestic role, which—while also serves as a further critique on the confining roles of domesticity that evolve beyond heterosexual couples and even affect healthy gay relationships—shows that she can be just as self-absorbed as the other characters), and her relationship with Cordelia was easily the healthiest one of the whole musical (at least consistently).
She was Whizzer’s doctor and friend, and she had to watch him wither and die while everyone else in the world pretended that it wasn’t happening. “Something Bad is Happening” is such a chilling song because 1) Tracie Thoms’ amazing voice and her vocal range is WILD, 2) it’s an honest depiction of what was happening in society at the time, and 3) it explores Charlotte’s desperation and despair over her career. As shown in “A Day In Falsettoland,” she is very happy with her life and career, and she feels powerful in the fact that she helps so many people. But then we flash forward to “Something Bad is Happening” and even “Jason’s Bar Mitzvah” where she, Cordelia, and Trina sing that “I feel more helpless than I have in years.” This is especially chilling for Charlotte given that she has been portrayed as such a pillar of strength and happiness.
She is shown to be very devoted to the medical profession but you can’t help but wonder just how much the AIDS epidemic, watching her friends die and suffer, and silence from the medical field and even her own community had left her jaded.
Like… I love her. P l e a s e, more recognition and love for Charlotte.