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At New Line Theatre, the audience is used to surprises. . . this time, the surprise lies in the voices - the best that New Line has ever showcased. They make the familiar, unassuming musical sound, of all things, lush. ” – Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post Dispatch

Listeners should take some time next weekend to enjoy the simple bliss that is The Fantasticks courtesy of the New Line Theater. ” – Doug Storm, KDHX-FM

THE FANTASTICKS, by Harvey Schmidt and Tom Jones (no, not that Tom Jones) is the longest running musical in the history of the world, its original production running 17,162 performances at the Sullivan Street Playhouse in New York before closing in January 2002, after a forty-two year run (more than twice as long as Cats).

In the late 1950s, off Broadway was becoming an incubator for unusual musicals that would never work on Broadway. The Threepenny Opera had been the first really popular off Broadway musical, but it was The Fantasticks that made theatre history. Another musical theatre outgrowth of the Beat Generation, the story of The Fantasticks began with Edmond Rostand’s 1894 French play Les Romanesques, a kind of reverse-Romeo and Juliet, in which two fathers and best friends concoct a fake feud in order to get their rebellious kids to meet behind their backs, fall in love and marry.

The show first opened May 3, 1960. Unfortunately, audiences and critics did not embrace the odd, experimental show, but a few saw what was special in it. Walter Kerr wrote in the Herald-Tribune, “The jazz figures that composer Schmidt has insinuated beneath tunes that have the essential flavor of tea roses climbing a trellis help mightily to give the proceedings a contemporary wink.” Cue magazine understood the sophisticated Beat sensibility that the more mainstream critics missed. Cue wrote, “The mood is martini-dry, uncommitted, upper-Bohemian, with the main enemy the cliché. I suggest you head to Sullivan Street to catch the brightest young talents on display.” The show has been tinkered with over the years, but New Line returns the show to its original form, with its band of just piano and harp, and all the uncompromising honesty, humor, and emotion that made the show the international sensation it is. Check out some of New Line's rehearsal photos.


St. Louis Post Dispatch


Playback STL

Want to explore more? We recommend:  

The original Broadway cast album

The show's script and score, and the book The Amazing Story of the The Fantasticks, about the show's creation and history

Director Scott Miller's analysis and background notes, in a chapter from his next book

The official Fantasticks website

The flawed but still interesting 2000 film version, and a really terrific documentary about the show, Try to Remember

A karaoke Fantasticks album (no kidding!)

Edmond Rostand's Les Romanesques, on which the show is based, and the 13th century fable Aucassin and Nicolette, on which Les Romanesques is based




Special low $10 prices for students and seniors for all Thursday performances!
With ticket prices rising everywhere else, New Line has lowered our Thursday night tix! Come join us!

THE FANTASTICKS runs Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, October 13 - November 5, 2005, at 8:00 p.m. each night, at the Art Loft Theatre, 1529 Washington. October 13 is a preview. Tickets will be on sale in August. To charge tickets by phone, call Metrotix at 314-534-1111 or visit the Metrotix website. All programs subject to change. New Line Theatre receives funding from the Regional Arts Commission, the Missouri Arts Council and the Arts and Education Council of Greater St. Louis.




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