THE FANTASTICKS: A LOVE STORY REIMAGINED – Reviewed by Stephen Radosh
In the last few years many shows have been ‘reimagined’ with a fairly high rate of success. OKLAHOMA got turned into a barn social with a colorblind cast and won praise and the Tony. The musical that ended the team of Stephen Sondheim and Harold Prince, MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG, was a major flop when it first opened and now, under refocused direction, has become the hottest ticket in town. Even the hit Sondheim/Prince show COMPANY has gone under the knife and emerged with an entire gender shift as Bobby, a 35-year-old bachelor became Bobbie, still 35 but now a single woman living in Manhattan. So, it is not surprising that the longest running Off-Broadway musical in history (17,162 performances) has emerged like a butterfly from its cocoon as THE FANTASTICKS: A LOVE STORY REIMAGINED. As originally written by Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt, THE FANTASTICKS was about a young girl, the boy next door and their fathers secretly plotting to get them to fall in love. This time the two starry-eyed lovers are both boys and their fathers are now their mothers scheming to get them together. Tom Jones, the original lyricist and book writer needed only to make some minor changes in lyrics and script to make the gender switch work and work it definitely does.