THE FANTASTICKS - the original fringe musical (1959)

musicals and operas · good people theater company · Ages 10+ · United States

family friendly
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Review by JAKE YOUNG

June 24, 2014

My overall impression

As a young theatrical advocate, it is best to put right out of the gate that The Fantasticks was truly an enjoyable experience all around for me. Not only was the cast strong all-around, but the production team’s talent was extremely evident as well. This show, which I have been longing to see for a few years now, has greatly fascinated me, and the members of Good People Theater Company exceeded my expectations. This is because it is a simple story that is kept simple, yet all-the-while intriguing. The Fantasticks tells the story of a boy and a girl, whose parents pose a feud of epic proportion with one another (and whose real intentions are to have their respective son and daughter married to one another). The “Original Fringe Musical” creatively depicts the mentality of teenagers that has been present throughout time: doing the opposite of their parent’s wishes. Although initially slow and a bit confusing, the plot gradually picked up pace and kept me constantly interested (as well as significantly anxious between acts). But what really blew me away was the talent of the cast. It would be nearly impossible for me to list stand-outs, because there is no one weak link. However, I will say that the comedic performances of Joey D’Auria and Corky Loupe had me nearly in tears. Among other things, I enjoyed the simplicity of the music set-up, with a just a piano and a harp on alternate sides of the stage, which surprisingly filled the intensity of Harvey Schmidt’s score with great accuracy. Above all, I say this: I feel the substance of the story was not dependent on the music; it was evident in the actions and intentions of the extremely talented cast. In other words, it was not the “beautiful melodies” that gave me chills, it was the honesty of the characters and substance of the story that really hit home for me. Finally, I must add that talents of Director Janet Miller has evidently given the show the very thing that every good show needs: creativity, timing, and honesty. There is still more one more weekend of performances at Lillian Theater, so if you are looking for a bit of uplifting comedy this weekend, as well as a splash of furnished sentimentality, then make sure not to miss the “pristine revival” of The Fantasticks.

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