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Cover to Original Cast Recording

The Fantasticks

(A Parable About Love)

Suggested by Edmund Rostand's Les Romanesques.(Music by Harvey Schmidt: Book and Lyrics by Tom Jones)

Sullivan Street Playhouse - Off Broadway 3 May 1960: Closed 13 January, 2002. (17,162 perfs)
Apollo Theatre, London - 7 September, 1961 (44 perfs)

A wild and witty fantasy of young love in the now well-established tradition of 'new wave' musicals. This free-style show gives enormous scope for individual interpretations and spontaneous expression in the framework of a fine book and score.

Story

The action is based on the universal observation that love can remain a somewhat shallow thing until people have suffered a little. The fathers of the young lovers, Louisa and Matt, deliberately make things difficult for them in order to bring them closer together, and even arrange a mock abduction which allows the boy to rescue the girl from fake bandits, who are " ham " actors hired for the purpose from the Spaniard, El Gallo, who is somewhat a personification of Destiny. When the lovers discover the whole thing was contrived, discontent sets in and they have to be really hurt before they can treasure one another. El Gallo takes them on a series of escapades, which fulfils their vain ambitions until the necessary point of disillusion is reached, and they are able to understand that their true interest lies in one another. It is then they sing They Were You, followed by the entire Company in a reprise of Try To Rememeber for the final curtain. 

Virtually no scenery is required; only a simple platform (plus a decoration or two) forming a smaller stage, outside of which the actors are frequently to be seen relaxing between entrances. There is plenty of colour in the costumes and in the " props " which the Mute provides whenever necessary, such as a sun, moon, snow, streamers, etc. During the abduction scene, which is very funny, the " ham " actors, in complete disregard of context, continually quote from the classics with evident relish.

The songs are well suited to character and situation-among others, Louisa and Matt have the wistful Soon It's Gonna Rain; the fathers, both keen gardeners, have the amusing Plant a Radish, and El Gallo, as he offers them a choice of different types of abduction, delivers the witty It Depends On What You Pay.

This very charming and intimate show is ideal for a small Operatic Society or a Dramatic Society whose members have moderate singing ability and voices of no more than average range, as the inclusion of a chorus is optional. This leaves only one female and six male characters, one of the latter being a Mute.

Cast

Principals: 7 Male, 1 Female.

Instrumentation:

Piano, Harp (or second Piano), Drums, String Bass.

Libretto and Vocal Score on Hire