THE NEW FANTASTICKS IS ENCHANTING,
MAGICAL AND, YES, FANTASTIC
byon November 5, 2023
Pride weekend was the perfect time for CVRep to open its production of The Fantasticks, A Love Story Reimagined. It is the opening production of Artistic Director Adam Karsten’s second season. If you want to know how he is doing, I suggest looking no further than the caliber of the creative team on- and offstage in this exquisite production.
When The Fantasticks opened Off-Broadway at the Sullivan Street Playhouse, Brooks Atkinson in The New York Times wrote, “[it] is by nature the sort of thing that loses magic the longer it endures.“ However, audiences succumbed to the show’s enchanting spell and Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt’s complex and joyful score, which is impeccably played by Music Director Chip Prince on the piano and Christian Califour on harp. Loosely based on Edmund Rostand’s Les Romanesques, audiences embraced the show’s subtle sophistication, complexity, powerful lyrics, and rhymed verse making The Fantasticks the longest-running musical in history running for 42 years and 17,162 performances.
The Fantasticks is a bewitching, charming tale concerning two neighboring fathers who trick their children, Luisa and Matt, into falling in love by pretending to feud. In 2022, Michael Lluberes, Artistic Director at The Flint Repertory Theatre, wrote to the surviving creator of the show, Tom Jones (who sadly passed away this year) to share his idea to reimagine the show’s script and music by changing genders: Luisa and Matt are now Lewis and Matt and the fathers are now mothers. Jones initially resisted. He eventually came around and not only agreed to Lluberes’s request but endeavored to collaborate on a fully realized revival. Hence, we have the beautifully mounted The Fantasticks, A Love Story Reimagined with Broadway veterans in the cast, no less.