While leaving CV Rep after a preview performance of The Fantasticks, I contemplated about the way I could tell you about it.  My first thought was, “This will not be the standard format theater review.” My second thought was, “How do I admit I saw the original production when it first opened without giving away my age?”

            In case you don’t know the history of Harvey Schmidt (music) and Tom Jones’ (lyrics) show, The Fantasticks has the distinction of being the longest-running musical of all time—but not on Broadway.  The show opened at the off-Broadway Sullivan Street Theatre in May 1960 and ran continuously for 42 years.  Well, back then I was “still in diapers” in terms of musical theatre sophistication, having been weaned on the traditional boy-meets-girl plot.  The Fantasticks was all about boy-meets-girl, yet it was anything but traditional.  So I confess: I was confused. Some of it didn’t make sense. Nevertheless, something about the show lingered, and I looked forward to seeing this re-imagined production, directed by Craig Wells.

I was not disappointed! Some of it still didn’t make sense to me—at first—but it all comes together in Act Two. And the fact that it might not make sense to you does not matter. The CV Rep production is joyous, delightful, funny, poignant, surprising, and thoroughly entertaining: the underlying idea, the staging, and the execution.


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