The Fantasticks - theatre

August 15-18, 22-25, Thursday-Saturday 7pm, Sunday 3pm
San Miguel Playhouse Avenida Independencia 82
$200, $350, $400

The Fantasticks - theatre

"Moonlight is expensive, but it's in demand," says El Gallo, the mysterious bandit who doubles as narrator and central character in The Fantasticks, a musical with book and lyrics by Tom Jones and music by Harvey Schmidt. The whimsical line comes directly from the musical's source, a French play by Edmond Rostand called Les Romanesques. When Jones and Schmidt created their show at Barnard College in 1959, they had no idea that it was going to set a record as the world's longest-running musical. The Fantasticks opened at the Sullivan Street Playhouse in New York City in May 1960, and ran for the next 42 years.

It's not hard to understand why, when you have a score that includes songs such as "Soon It's Gonna Rain," "Try to Remember," and "I Can See It," to name just three. The show is also celebrated for the future celebrities who, as aspiring young actors, performed in the Off-Broadway and touring production. The list includes Jerry Orbach (the original El Gallo), Liza Minelli, Elliot Gould, F. Murray Abraham, Glenn Close, and Kristin Chenoweth.

A San Miguel celebrity, actor and director Jim Newell, also played El Gallo at the Sullivan Street Playhouse. Newell still feels a strong personal bond with the show and with the role of narrator-bandit. Since October 2014, when he co-founded the San Miguel Playhouse, where he serves as artistic director, Newell has had a longing to stage The Fantasticks at his theater.

The hour is at hand. The Fantasticks will be performed eight times at the San Miguel Playhouse, Avenida Independencia 82, August 15 through 18 (Thursday through Friday, 7pm, Sunday, 3pm) and August 22 through 25 (same days and times).

Jim Newell is the show's director, and will recreate the role of El Gallo. Susan Varcoe is musical director and Peggy Powell is assistant director and choreographer. Moisés Alzuro is assistant musical director. The outstanding cast includes Ginna Acosta, Rodrigo Demian, Fil Formicola, Tomás Burkey, Howard Bach, and Henry Vermillion.

The Fantasticks is a romantic story, with swashbuckling action and heavy dollops of comedy. Matt and Luisa are two young next-door neighbors in love, whose homes are separated by a wall, because their fathers are enemies. But the feud is a reverse-psychology ruse created by the fathers, secretly friends, to abet their children's plans to marry. The fathers hire the bandit El Gallo and his associates to abduct Luisa, so Matt can heroically rescue her. The gambit seems to work perfectly, until there are unforeseen consequences. In the end, the young lovers are shorn of their starry-eyed fantasies, but their love is intact.

Two talented young Mexican actor/musicians, Ginna Acosta (The Language Archive, Last of the Red Hot Lovers) and Rodrigo Demian (Long Day's Journey Into Night, The Madres, Kiss of the Spider Woman) play Luisa and Matt.

Tickets are 400 and 350 pesos, on sale at Boleto City, Mercado Sano, Ancha de San Antonio 123, Monday through Saturday, 11am to 5pm; or online by clicking either of the "Buy Tickets Online" buttons in this email newsletter, or at; or at the theater starting one hour before each performance.

The San Miguel Playhouse features free secured parking and taxi concierge service.


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