Musical (1960)

Musique: Harvey Schmidt
Paroles: Tom Jones
Livret: Tom Jones
Production à la création:

The action is based on the universal observation that love can remain a somewhat shallow thing until people have suffered a little. The fathers of the young lovers, Louisa and Matt, deliberately make things difficult for them in order to bring them closer together, and even arrange a mock abduction which allows the boy to rescue the girl from fake bandits, who are " ham " actors hired for the purpose from the Spaniard, El Gallo, who is somewhat a personification of Destiny. When the lovers discover the whole thing was contrived, discontent sets in and they have to be really hurt before they can treasure one another. El Gallo takes them on a series of escapades, which fulfils their vain ambitions until the necessary point of disillusion is reached, and they are able to understand that their true interest lies in one another. It is then they sing They Were You, followed by the entire Company in a reprise of Try To Rememeber for the final curtain.

Act I
Two houses are separated by a wall (portrayed by a mute actor) in an unspecified American town (Overture).

The mysterious El Gallo tells about love and September (Try to Remember). He then begins to explain the plot of the play. Two young people, Matt and Luisa, live next door to each other and fall in love. However, their fathers are feuding and order them not to speak to each other. Luisa fantasizes about the experiences she wants to have in her life (Much More). Matt then delivers a speech about his love for Luisa, singing over the wall to her in a mock literary/heroic way (Metaphor). Matt and Luisa sneak up to the top of the wall and speak secretly of Luisa's romantic vision of Matt saving her from kidnapping. Matt's father, Mr. Hucklebee, then appears and tells about his philosophy of life and gardening (don't overwater). He calls Matt and orders him to come inside the house. Luisa's father, Mr. Bellomy, then enters and gives a contrasting philosophy of life and gardening (plenty of water). He then orders Luisa inside. He then calls to Hucklebee, and the two old friends boast about pretending to feud as a means to ensure that their children fall in love. They note that to manipulate children you need merely say "no" (Never Say No). Hucklebee tells Bellomy of his plan to end the feud by having Luisa "kidnapped" by a professional so that Matt can "rescue" her and appear heroic.

The hired professional, El Gallo (who is also the narrator), appears and offers the fathers a menu of different varieties of "rape" – in the literary sense of an abduction or kidnapping – that he can simulate (It Depends on What You Pay). Deciding to spare no expense for their beloved children (within reason), the fathers agree to a "first class" rape. A disheveled old actor with a failing memory, Henry, and his sidekick, Mortimer, who is dressed as an American Indian, arrive. El Gallo engages them to help with the staged kidnapping. Matt and Luisa return and speak of their love and hint at physical intimacy (Soon It's Gonna Rain). El Gallo and the actors burst in and carry out the moonlit abduction scenario; Matt "defeats" the three (Rape Ballet). The feud is ended, with the children and the fathers joined in a picturesque final tableau (Happy Ending). El Gallo collects the stage properties used in the "rape" and wonders aloud how long the lovers and their fathers will be able to maintain their elaborately joyful poses. He and the Mute leave.
Act II
The children and fathers are discovered in the same poses but are visibly shaky and exhausted from the effort. El Gallo observes that what seemed romantic by moonlight may lose its charm when exposed to the harsh light of day. He exchanges the moon for the blazing sun. The fathers and lovers begin to complain about one another, noticing all the flaws that have become glaringly visible by daylight (This Plum is too Ripe). The children try to recreate their romantic mood from the previous night and mock their fathers. Finally, in a fit of pique, Hucklebee reveals that their kidnapping and the feud were fake. Matt and Luisa are mortified, and the fathers' mutual recrimination quickly escalates into a real feud; they storm off to their respective houses. Matt sees El Gallo and, in a desperate attempt to regain his honor and Luisa's love, challenges him to a duel. El Gallo easily disarms Matt leaves him embarrassed. Matt and Luisa then argue fiercely; she calls him a poseur, while he calls her childish.

Matt is eager to leave the provincial town. He and El Gallo discuss his vision (I Can See It). Henry and Mortimer then appear and lead Matt off into the real world. A month passes, and the fathers have rebuilt the wall. They speak sadly of their children; Luisa is like a statue and does nothing but sit around; Matt still hasn't returned. They then sing about the uncertainties of raising children, as compared with the reliability of vegetable gardening (Plant a Radish). Luisa sees El Gallo watching her and is intrigued by the handsome, experienced bandit. Impulsively, she asks him to take her away to see the world. In a long fantasy sequence, they preview a series of romantic adventures through a mask of unreality, while in the background Matt is being abused and beaten by Henry and Mortimer portraying a series of unpleasant employers. Even Luisa's fantasies become increasingly exhausting and darkly underscored (Round and Round).

El Gallo tells Luisa to pack her things for the journey, but before she goes inside to do so, he asks her to give him her treasured necklace, a relic of her dead mother, as a pledge that she will return. As she goes inside, El Gallo promises her a world of beauty and grandeur; at the same time, Matt approaches to give a contrasting version of the cruel experiences that one can suffer "I Can See It" (reprise). As Luisa disappears, El Gallo turns to leave; Matt makes a pitiful attempt to stop him from hurting Luisa, but El Gallo knocks him away and disappears. Luisa returns to find that El Gallo has left her, and sits in tears. El Gallo, as the narrator, tells poetically that he had to hurt Matt and Luisa, and how he hurt himself in the process. Matt comforts Luisa, and he tells her a little about his experiences, and the two realize that everything they wanted was each other (They Were You; Metaphor (reprise)), but that they now understand that more deeply. The Fathers then return joyfully and are about to tear down the wall, when El Gallo reminds them that the wall must always remain (Try to Remember (reprise)).

1 Fantasticks (The) peut-être considéré comme un Top musical

The 1954 Marc Blitzstein adaptation of The Threepenny Opera, which ran for six years, showed that musicals could be profitable off-Broadway in a small-scale, small orchestra format. This was confirmed in 1959 when a revival of Jerome Kern and P. G. Wodehouse's Leave It to Jane ran for more than two years. The 1959-1960 Off-Broadway season included a dozen musicals and revues including Little Mary Sunshine, The Fantasticks, and Ernest in Love, a musicalization of Oscar Wilde's 1895 hit The Importance of Being Earnest.

Early productions
The play's first version was as "Joy Comes to Deadhorse" at the University of New Mexico in 1956. After substantial rewriting, it appeared on a bill of new one-act plays at Barnard College for one week in August 1959.

Original off-Broadway production
The Fantasticks premiered at the Sullivan Street Playhouse, a small off-Broadway theatre in New York City's Greenwich Village, on May 3, 1960, with Jerry Orbach as El Gallo, Rita Gardner as Luisa, Kenneth Nelson as Matt, and librettist Tom Jones (under a pseudonym) as the Old Actor, among the cast members. The sparse set and semicircular stage created an intimate and immediate effect. The play is highly stylized and combines old-fashioned showmanship, classic musical theatre, commedia dell'arte and Noh theatrical traditions. The original production was directed by Word Baker and was produced on a very low budget. The producers spent $900 on the set and $541 on costumes, at a time when major Broadway shows would cost $250,000. The original set designer, costumer, prop master, and lighting designer was Ed Wittstein, who performed all four jobs for a total of only $480 plus $24.48 a week. The set was similar to that for "Our Town"; Wittstein designed a raised stationary platform anchored by six poles. It resembled a traveling players' wagon, like a pageant wagon. As for a curtain, he hung different small false curtains across the platform at various times during the play. He also made a sun/moon out of cardboard. One side was painted bright yellow (the sun) and the other was black with a crescent of white (the moon). The sun/moon was hung from a nail in one of the poles and is referred to in the libretto. The orchestra consists of a piano and sometimes also a harp, with the harpist also sometimes playing some percussion instruments.

The production closed on January 13, 2002 after 17,162 performances. It is the world's longest-running musical and the longest-running uninterrupted show of any kind in the United States.

Notable actors who appeared in the off-Broadway and touring production throughout its long run included Liza Minnelli, Elliott Gould, F. Murray Abraham, Glenn Close, Keith Charles, Kristin Chenoweth, Bert Convy, Eileen Fulton, Lore Noto (the show's long-time producer), Dick Latessa, and Martin Vidnovic.

1961 and 1990 London productions
The musical ran at London's Apollo Theatre from September 7, 1961 and ran for 44 performances. In 1990, another production was given in London's Regent's Park at the Open Air Theatre there.

Off-Broadway revival
On August 23, 2006, a revival of The Fantasticks opened at the off-Broadway Snapple Theater Center, New York City where it continues to run. It was directed by lyricist Jones, who also appeared in the role of Henry, The Old Actor, under the stage name Thomas Bruce. The original cast of the revival also included Burke Moses, Leo Burmester, Martin Vidnovic, Santino Fontana and Sara Jean Ford, with Dorothy Martin at the piano and Erin Hill at the harp. A cast recording of this production was released by Ghostlight Records.

Anthony Fedorov assumed the role of Matt from May through July 2007. Margaret Anne Florence played Luisa from July through December 2008. Lewis Cleale played El Gallo between 2008 and 2010 Tom Jones left the cast in 2010, after the musical had celebrated its 50th anniversary. Pop star Aaron Carter joined the cast as Matt in November 2011. In memory of the original El Gallo, the theatre in which the revival is performed has been renamed the Jerry Orbach theatre.

Washington DC Production
The musical was presented by the Arena Stage in Washington DC from November 20, 2009 to January 10, 2010, at the Lincoln Theatre. The well-received production replaced the conventional "mysterious bandit" interpretation of El Gallo with a kindly carnival magician character. Washington Post theatre critic Peter Marks wrote, "they have been reconditioned to conceal the telltale signs of age and yield a diversion that feels fresh and alive again".

2010 West End production
The Fantasticks played for a short period in London's West End at the Duchess Theatre, opening on June 9, 2010, following previews from May 24, 2010. The production was directed by Amon Miyamoto, designed by Rumi Matsui with lighting by Rick Fisher and starred Clive Rowe, Edward Petherbridge and David Burt. The production received mostly poor reviews. Critic Michael Billington, for example, wrote, "the time for this kind of faux-naïf, sub Commedia dell'Arte diversion has passed".

The musical closed on June 26, 2010, less than three weeks into its run; it had been booking to September 5.

Act I
"Try to Remember" - El Gallo, Luisa, Matt, Hucklebee, Bellomy
"Much More" - Luisa
"Metaphor" - Matt, Luisa
"Never Say No" - Hucklebee, Bellomy
"It Depends On What You Pay" - El Gallo, Hucklebee, Bellomy - alternately: "Abductions" - El Gallo, Hucklebee, Bellomy
"Soon It's Gonna Rain" - Matt, Luisa
"Rape Ballet" (changed to "Abduction Ballet") - Company
"Happy Ending" - Company

Act II
"This Plum Is Too Ripe" - Matt, Luisa, Hucklebee, Bellomy
"I Can See It" - Matt, El Gallo
"Plant A Radish" - Hucklebee, Bellomy
"Round And Round" - El Gallo, Luisa, Company
"They Were You" - Matt, Luisa
"Try to Remember" - El Gallo

El Gallo (the Narrator/Bandit)
Matt (the Boy)
Luisa (the Girl)
Hucklebee (the Boy's father)
Bellomy (the Girl's father)
Henry (The Old Actor)
Mortimer (the man who dies - an actor, pretending to be an American Indian)
The Mute (who at times acts the part of the Wall)

Aucun dossier informatif complémentaire concernant Fantasticks (The)

Aucun dossier informatif complémentaire concernant Fantasticks (The)

Although the musical was a success, The Fantasticks' book became somewhat controversial due to its repeated use of the word "rape." In the original production, when El Gallo offers to stage the phony kidnapping of Luisa, he refers to the proposed event as a "rape", although he makes it clear that he uses the word only in its traditional literary sense (Latin "rapere") of "abduction", explaining that many classical works, including Alexander Pope's The Rape of the Lock, use the word in this sense. (See raptio and bride kidnapping.) In his song "It Depends on What You Pay" he describes different kidnapping scenarios—some comic or outlandish—that he classifies as the "Venetian rape", the "Gothic rape", the "Drunken rape", etc. However, as the public issues of rape and sexual assault became more of a delicate subject during the play's long run, some people in the audience became puzzled by the use of the word.

To deal with changing audience perceptions, the book is sometimes edited to replace the word "rape" with alternatives such as "abduction" or the similar-sounding "raid." In addition, in 1990, Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt, the authors, wrote an optional replacement piece called "Abductions", which uses the music of the "Rape Ballet" (although this song did not replace "It Depends on What You Pay" at the Sullivan Street Playhouse, where, with the edits made in the book, audiences did not seem to have much difficulty in accepting the song).[31] MTI (Music Theater International), which licenses the show, has made "Abductions" available, both music and lyrics, as an alternate choice in the event of someone being offended by the word "rape".

Version 1

Fantasticks (The) (1960-05-Sullivan Street Playhouse-Off Broadway)

Type de série: Original
Théâtre: Sullivan Street Playhouse (Broadway (Off) - Etats-Unis)

Durée : 41 ans 9 mois 3 semaines
Nombre : 17162 représentations
Première Preview : 03 May 1960
Première: 03 May 1960
Dernière: 13 February 2002
Mise en scène : Word Baker
Chorégraphie :
Producteur :
Star(s) :
Avec: El Gallo [The Narrator] ... Jerry Orbach / Luisa [The Girl] ... Rita Gardner / Matt [The Boy] ... Kenneth Nelson / Hucklebee, the Boy's Father ... William Larsen / Bellomy, the Girl's Father ... Hugh Thomas / Henry, the Old Actor ... Thomas Bruce / Mortimer, the Man Who Dies ... George Curley / The Mute ... Richard Stauffer / The Handyman ... Jay Hampton / The Harp ... Beverly Mann

Version 2

Fantasticks (The) (1961-09-Apollo Theatre-London)

Type de série: Original London
Théâtre: Apollo Theatre (Londres - Angleterre)

Durée :
Nombre : 44 représentations
Première Preview : 07 September 1961
Première: 07 September 1961
Dernière: Inconnu
Mise en scène : Word Baker
Chorégraphie :
Producteur :
Star(s) :
Avec: El Gallo ... Terence Cooper / Matt ... Peter Gilmore / Luisa ... Stephanie Voss / Henry ... John Wood (iii) / Unknown Role ... Timothy Bateson

Version 3

Fantasticks (The) (1990-07-Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park-London)

Type de série: Revival
Théâtre: Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park (Londres - Angleterre)
Durée :
Nombre :
Première Preview : Inconnu
Première: 24 July 1990
Dernière: Inconnu
Mise en scène : Ian Talbot
Chorégraphie : Kenn Oldfield
Producteur :
Star(s) :
Avec: Erick Ray Evans {El Gallo), Emma Amos (Luisa), Anthony Barclay (Matt), Anthony O’Donnell (Bellamy), Roy Hudd (Hucklebee), Basil Hoskins (Henry), Mark Addy (Mortimer), Jonathan Markwood & Rachel Pittmann (The Mutes)

Version 4

Fantasticks (The) (1996-08-King's Head Theatre-London)

Type de série: Revival
Théâtre: King's Head Theatre (Londres - Angleterre)
Durée : 1 mois 1 semaine
Nombre :
Première Preview : 07 August 1996
Première: 07 August 1996
Dernière: 15 September 1996
Mise en scène : Dan Crawford
Chorégraphie : Elizabeth Blake
Producteur :
Star(s) :
Avec: Jonathan Morris (El Gallo), Katey Crawford Kastin (Luisa), Joseph Millson (Matt), John Walters (Bellamy), Roger Bingham (Hucklebee), Michael Cotterill (Henry), Kim Joyce (Mortimer), Tim Eagle (The Mute)
Commentaires : Generally it was felt this show - still running off-Broadway after 36 years - was a timid, milk-soppy, sugary-sweet and fragile thing, not really worth the bother of staging. However, the critics were very impressed with newcomer Joseph Millson.

Version 5

Fantasticks (The) (2006-08-Jerry Orbach Theatre-Off Broadway)

Type de série: Revival
Théâtre: Jerry Orbach Theatre (Broadway (Off) - Etats-Unis)
Durée : 7 ans 1 mois 2 semaines Se joue actuellement
Nombre :
Première Preview : 29 July 2006
Première: 16 August 2006
Dernière: Open end
Mise en scène : Tom Jones
Chorégraphie :
Producteur :
Star(s) :
Avec: Henry ... Thomas Bruce / Hucklebee ... Leo Burmester / Mortimer ... Robert R. Oliver / Matt ... Santino Fontana / Luisa ... Sara Jean Ford / El Gallo ... Burke Moses / The Mute ... Douglas Ullman, Jr. / Bellomy ... Martin Vidnovic

Version 6

Fantasticks (The) (2010-05-Duchess Theatre-London)

Type de série: Revival
Théâtre: Duchess Theatre (Londres - Angleterre)

Durée : 2 semaines
Nombre :
Première Preview : 24 May 2010
Première: 09 June 2010
Dernière: 26 June 2010
Mise en scène : Amon Miyamoto
Chorégraphie :
Producteur :
Star(s) :
Avec: Luisa [The Girl] ... Lorna Want / Matt [The Boy] ... Luke Brady / El Gallo [The Narrator] ... Hadley Fraser / Bellomy [The Girl's Father] ... David Burt / Hucklebee [The Boy's Father] ... Clive Rowe / Henry [The Old Actor] ... Edward Petherbridge / The Mute ... Carl Au / Mortimer [The Man Who Dies] ... Paul Hunter
Commentaires : This production originated in Tokyo, where Tom Jones, the lyricist, saw it, liked it, and managed to raise the money to re-stage it in London. With some audience sitting on the stage, and with some vaguely kabuki clowning interludes and oriental drumming it was “different”. However, yet again it failed to make a favourable impact in the UK despite the fact it is the longest running musical in the USA (1960-2002 and then revived in 2006 and still running!) The critics hated it: “cheek-numbingly boring and desperately unfunny” (D. Mail), “sticky, sugary depths. . .ghastly musical” (D. Telegraph), “No sane adult should have to sit through this” (Sunday Times), “I lost the will to live” (Mail on Sunday). It lasted less than 3 weeks.
Presse : "Since by the interval the plot has been virtually resolved and we've had the two best songs (Try to Remember, and Soon it's Gonna Rain), the second half strains hard to excite our curiosity...What irks one about the show is its dimpled, ingratiating cuteness." Michael Billington for The Guardian

"Most of the humour is feeble, and while the performances are’s impossible to redeem the material...This is one to forget." Henry Hitchings for The Evening Standard

"No amount of talent can redeem this terrible show." Charles Spencer for Daily Telegraph

"Yes, it occasionally puts the 'grate' in ingratiating. Yes, at two-and-half hours, it begins to outstay its welcome. But as an open-hearted antidote to soulless, big-budget hi-tech, The Fantasticks continues to prove that small can be quite fetching." Paul Taylor for The Independent


Fantasticks (The) (2006-08-Jerry Orbach Theatre-Off Broadway)

Qualité: *** Intérêt: ***
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