The Fantasticks proves that great musicals can sometimes come in small packagesEdit
When it opened in New York at the intimate 153-seat, off-Broadway, Sullivan Street Theatre on May 3, 1960, gifted author / lyricist Tom Jones and wonderfully-talented composer Harvey Schmidt perhaps had no idea that their musical TheFantasticks, the story of a boy, a girl, two fathers and a wall ( suggested by Cyrano de Bergerac author Edmund Rostand's romantic comedy Les Romanesques ) would not only become the longest-running musical in American Theatre History, but go on to become the longest-running musical in The World! Originally performed with 9 characters ( the role of The Handyman was absorbed into the role of The Mute not long after opening, and the cast of characters is currently 8 ), TheFantasticksis one of the most beautifully-written and composed small-cast musicals of all time. The original New York Sullivan Street Theatre cast directed by Word Baker featured young theatre stars Jerry Orbach as The Narrator, El Gallo, Kenneth Nelson as The Boy, Matt, and Rita Gardner as The Girl, Luisa, and the show's book-writer and lyricist Tom Jones ( utilizing the stage name of Thomas Bruce ) created the role of the old Shakespearean actor Henry Albertson in the production. The score features such lovely numbers as "Try To Remember," "Soon it's Gonna Rain," "They Were You," "Metaphor" "Never Say No" "Much More" and the dark "Round and Round." With over 12,000 productions presented in the United States alone, and numerous international productions in nearly 70 countries, The Fantasticks has become one of the most performed and beloved musicals ever! Though recently, during its 57th year on June 4, of 2017, the highly-praised, long-running New York off-Broadway production at The Snapple Center's Jerry Orbach Theatre ( named for the acclaimed actor who created the role of El Gallo ) did indeed close, the legacy and the joy this work brought to tens of thousands of theatregoers, artists and performers around the globe, lives on! A testament to the small and intimate musical show's staying and playing power occurred during the late spring and summer of 2010 when a talented young theatre ensemble called The Tribe Productions presented a Hollywood Fringe Festival 50th Anniversary Revival Production of Tom Jones' and Harvey Schmidt's acclaimed musical at The Complex Theatre in Los Angeles. The revival, directed by Christopher Chase, with musical direction by Tiffany Oliver, featured skilled actor / singer Christopher Karbo as The Narrator, El Gallo, the lovely and talented Madison Mitchell as The Girl, Luisa, physically-amazing actress Setareh Khatibi as The Mute, and in his Greater Los Angeles Area stage debut, Chicago Joseph Jefferson Citation Award Winner Darryl Maximilian Robinson appeared in the role of the old Shakespearan actor Henry Albertson opposite talented young comic actress Stacy Lynn Baker as Mortima ( in this production aka Mortimer,"The Woman Who Dies" ). The Tribe Productions' 2010 Hollywood Fringe Festival 50th Anniversary Revival Production of The Fantasticks earned a Festival Nomination as "Best of Fringe" as well as fine notices in the June 19, 2010 LA Theatre Review.Com / Hollywood Fringe Daily Rag and the July 2, 2010 Los Angeles Budget Theatre Examiner.