Young Romance: CV Rep’s ‘The Fantasticks’ Is a Love Story Brilliantly Reimagined
When The Fantasticks opened off-Broadway back in 1960, New York Times critic Brooks Atkinson called it “the sort of thing that loses magic the longer it endures.”
He couldn’t have been more wrong. The original run of The Fantasticks lasted 42 years, making it the world’s longest-running musical.
With music by Harvey Schmidt and book and lyrics by Tom Jones, The Fantasticks tells the story of two neighboring fathers who create an imaginary feud in order to trick their children, Luisa and Matt, into falling in love. In CVRep’s season opener, The Fantasticks—A Love Story Reimagined, two neighboring mothers create the same ruse to encourage a romance between their sons, Lewis and Matt. It is the West Coast premiere of this new version, and it’s a perfect choice to kick off Greater Palm Springs Pride here in the desert.
Jimmy Cuomo’s simple set is, not surprisingly, perfect—just a curtain, two wooden crates and a prop chest. It sets just the right tone of intimacy.
Also onstage are pianist/musical director Chip Prince and harpist Christian Chalifour, who provide superb accompaniment throughout the production. They deserve special mention for flawlessly handling a difficult musical score.
Staying true to the poignancy of the original story, director Craig Wells elicits strong performances from his cast, deftly capturing the innocence and endurance of young love.