"Try to Remember": How Can Many of Us Forget?

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"Try to Remember": How Can Many of Us Forget?

Post by Ralph » Mon May 15, 2006 8:16 pm

How many of us saw "The Fantasticks" in OUR callow youth? This was an extraordinary show in Greenwich Village, affordable to see more than once and the venue where with trepidation about a first date rather than a later age's offer of near certainty that sex would come post-midnight we daringly, boldly first held the girl's hand in a theater (how did the females of our generation feel when "Try to Remember" was sung?).

I'll go to see the revival and almost surely will be disappointed. But, perhaps, for a youthful generation the sublime story and soft lyrics will offer an evening of deep pleasure.

From The New York Times:

May 16, 2006
It's Time to Remember: 'The Fantasticks' Returns

For those who did not catch it the first 17,162 times, "The Fantasticks," the world's longest-running musical when it closed after almost 42 years on Jan. 13, 2002, is coming back to Off Broadway.

A new production will begin previews on July 28 at a 199-seat theater in the new Snapple Theater Center at 1627 Broadway, at 50th Street, with an opening date set for Aug. 17. Tom Jones, who wrote the book and wrote the songs with Harvey Schmidt, will direct.

"The Fantasticks" opened in 1960 at the 150-seat Sullivan Street Playhouse in Greenwich Village, and was a launching pad for scores of actors, including Jerry Orbach and F. Murray Abraham. Word Baker directed the original production, but over the ensuing decades Mr. Jones and Mr. Schmidt often cast the roles, tweaked the book and music and essentially directed the show under the framework that Mr. Baker had created.

In 2002 after years of dwindling audiences and the entrance of a new landlord with renovation plans, the producers, Lore Noto and his son Tony Noto, decided it was time to close the show.

Talk of a revival began as the original was closing, Mr. Jones said in a telephone interview, but nothing concrete was worked out.

"It was an idea that's been kicked around in our shop for many, many months," said Steven Baruch, one of the producers of the revival. "The concept was for us to do it in the Times Square area, but there didn't seem to be spaces."

One of the two theaters at the Snapple center, which officially opens on May 22, was small enough to duplicate the feel of the Sullivan Street theater, Mr. Baruch said. And at some point while the producers were discussing a revival with Mr. Jones, it was decided that he would direct. "It's been strange for a few years not having 'The Fantasticks' as a part of my life," Mr. Jones said. "It was a part of my life for 42 years. It just seemed more natural to have it than to not have it."

The other production playing at the Snapple center is "The Perfect Crime," which transferred there in August and, at 19 years and counting, is currently the city's longest-running musical or play.

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

Albert Einstein


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