The Center for the Arts at Monmouth University has announced that tickets are on sale for an exciting new staging of the record-setting musical The Fantasticks, presented as a Shadow Lawn Summer Stage production at the Lauren K. Woods Theatre on the east end of the Monmouth campus.
The longest-running show in Off Broadway history, the 1960 musical by the songwriting team of Harvey Schmidt and Tom Jones played for more than four decades and over 17,000 performances at the intimate Sullivan Street Playhouse in Greenwich Village – winning a special Tony Award, and helping to launch the careers of actors ranging from Jerry Orbach and F. Murray Abraham, to Kristin Chenoweth and Glenn Close.
Adapted from a comedy by “Cyrano de Bergerac” author Edmond Rostand – and drawing much inspiration from Shakespeare romances, comic opera, and even the epic tragedy of Pyramus and Thisbe – the thoroughly modern and whimsical Fantasticks spins its tale (of young lovers, old actors, faked feuds, staged abductions, and affections genuinely earned by the harsh light of experience) with a compact cast, a bare minimum of set elements, and an engaging score highlighted by the hit ballad “Try to Remember.”
For this summer-season production of a history-making landmark musical, producer Sheri Anderson and director Michael Perreca have made a direct connection to the show’s rich history, by casting two veterans of the show’s legendary New York run. Starring as El Gallo, the bandit-for-hire who serves as the show’s narrator, is David Edwards, who played the role for more than 500 performances at Sullivan Street, and who was featured in the 2003 documentary Try to Remember: The Fantasticks. Fellow Off Broadway cast member J.C. Hoyt returns to the role of Henry, the Old Actor who assists the bandit in an elaborate ruse designed to unite the young neighbors Matt (“The Boy”) and Luisa (“The Girl”).
Appearing respectively as Matt and Luisa are Keenan Buckley and Sarah Beth Andrews, with Brett Lowell and Felipe Gorostiza as the “feuding” fathers Bellamy and Hucklebee. The cast is completed by a pair of alumni from Monmouth’s Department of Music and Theater Arts, Brandon M. Wiener (Mortimer) and Evan Kudish (The Mute), with those roles understudied by Monmouth students Christian Lombino and Erin Clemente.
Featuring choreography by Janine Molinari and musical direction by Michael Gilch, The Fantasticks is a timeless tale of both romance and reality, told with a bracing humor and a sense of stage magic that never goes out of style. The Shadow Lawn Stage production opens on June 21, and continues through July 1 with performances on Thursdays (8 p.m.), Fridays (2 p.m. family matinees and 8 p.m.), Saturdays (8 p.m.) and Sundays (3 p.m.). Tickets are $30 for adults, with seniors, Monmouth alumni and employees admitted for $20, and children and current Monmouth students at $10. Reserve through the Monmouth University Performing Arts Box Office at 732-263-6889, or online at www.monmouth.edu/mca.