1985 - 1986
The Fantasticks, "a parable about love" was written by Tom Jones with music composed by Harvey Schmidt. It opened May 3, 1960 at the tiny 200-300 seat Sullivan Street Playhouse, Off-Broadway. The original cast featured Jerry Orbach as El Gallo, the Narrator.
The play is based on a play called Les Romanesques by Edmond Rostand.
Since the day it opened, this gentle play with music has enchanted theatre-goers and received wide critical acclaim. The original production cost the producers $16,500 and by 1984, this tiny show had made $2,686,000.
Perhaps one of the reasons the play is so popular is due to its simplicity and universality. The theme of falling in love, losing love, and finally gaining knowledge in love, is basic to all of us.
This topic is presented in a stylized way, not at all like a conventional musical, which can feature large casts, lavish sets and big production numbers. The Fantasticks has only nine players and a simple black set which never changes. The Mutes, two mime/dancers, are used to set and remove benches and chairs and arrange props.
Here is what the author of the piece has written about the style:
"We all know what regular musicals are like and how they are normally staged. And yet this musical is different. It has a small cast. It has no scenery to speak of. The people in it are realistic and at the same time stylized too... It should be played as closely to audience as possible... Each actor considers the audience to be his friend... Search for the reality of the people. Try to believe in their existence. Try to feel what they feel."
Director: Richard Elichuk
Musical Director: Drum Hudson
Choreographer: Karen Riopelle