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Fantasticks (The) (1960)

Compositeur: Harvey Schmidt

Parolier: Tom Jones

Librettiste: Tom Jones

The longest-running uninterrupted show of any kind in the United States.

Généralités: Histoire, thèmes et particularités

Résumé

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.

Synopsis complet

Particularités

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

 

Historique du musical

Génèse du 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.

 

Détails

Liste des chansons

Act I
Overture
"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

Liste des rôles

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)

Textes disponibles on-line

Aucun livret ou texte de chanson disponibles pour le moment

Pour en savoir plus

Aucun dossier informatif complémentaire concernant Fantasticks (The).

Quelques remarques

Controversy
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".

 

Versions du musical

Versions majeures de Fantasticks (The)

Version 1

Fantasticks (The) (1960-05-Sullivan Street Playhouse-Off Broadway) (Original)
Durée : 41 ans 9 mois 3 semaines
Nombre : 17162 représentations
Première Preview : mardi 03 mai 1960
Première : mardi 03 mai 1960
Dernière : mercredi 13 février 2002
Mise en scène : Word Baker
Chorégraphie :
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
En savoir plus sur cette version

Version 2

Fantasticks (The) (1961-09-Apollo Theatre-London) (Original London)
Durée :
Nombre : 44 représentations
Première Preview : jeudi 07 septembre 1961
Première : jeudi 07 septembre 1961
Dernière : Inconnu
Mise en scène : Word Baker
Chorégraphie :
Avec : El Gallo ... Terence Cooper / Matt ... Peter Gilmore / Luisa ... Stephanie Voss / Henry ... John Wood (iii) / Unknown Role ... Timothy Bateson
En savoir plus sur cette version

Version 3

Fantasticks (The) (1990-07-Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park-London) (Revival)
Durée :
Nombre :
Première Preview : Inconnu
Première : mardi 24 juillet 1990
Dernière : Inconnu
Mise en scène : Ian Talbot
Chorégraphie : Kenn Oldfield
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)
En savoir plus sur cette version

Version 4

Fantasticks (The) (1996-08-King's Head Theatre-London) (Revival)
Durée : 1 mois 1 semaine
Nombre :
Première Preview : mercredi 07 août 1996
Première : mercredi 07 août 1996
Dernière : dimanche 15 septembre 1996
Mise en scène : Dan Crawford
Chorégraphie : Elizabeth Blake
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.
En savoir plus sur cette version

Version 5

Fantasticks (The) (2006-08-Jerry Orbach Theatre-Off Broadway) (Revival)
Durée : 7 ans 1 mois 2 semaines Se joue actuellement
Nombre :
Première Preview : samedi 29 juillet 2006
Première : mercredi 16 août 2006
Dernière : Open end, ouvert actuellement jusqu'au dim 29 septembre 2013
Mise en scène : Tom Jones
Chorégraphie :
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
En savoir plus sur cette version

Version 6

Fantasticks (The) (2010-05-Duchess Theatre-London) (Revival)
Durée : 2 semaines
Nombre :
Première Preview : lundi 24 mai 2010
Première : mercredi 09 juin 2010
Dernière : samedi 26 juin 2010
Mise en scène : Amon Miyamoto
Chorégraphie :
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.
En savoir plus sur cette version

Mais aussi, quelques versions régionales ou mineures, ... de Fantasticks (The)

 

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