Flat Rock Playhouse to Present THE FANTASTICKS, 4/17-5/11

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Flat Rock Playhouse to Present THE FANTASTICKS, 4/17-5/11

Flat Rock Playhouse presents the world's longest running musical in the history of musicals, The Fantasticks, from April 17 - May 11 at The Flat Rock Playhouse Downtown. Part of its "Season of Laughter and Love" presented by The Cliffs, the Playhouse is pleased to offer this installment of love, with music by Harvey Schmidt and lyrics by Tom Jones, loosely based on the play "The Romancers" by Edmond Rostand.

The Fantasticks opened in 1960 at The Sullivan Street Theatre in New York City and has the distinction of being the longest running musical in the world. This musical tells the story of two neighboring fathers who trick their children, Luisa and Matt, into falling in love by pretending to feud. The fathers hire traveling actors to stage a mock abduction, so that Matt can heroically seem to save Luisa, ending the supposed feud. When the children discover the deception, they reject the arranged love match and separate. Each then gains disillusioning experiences of the real world, seen in parallel fantasy sequences. They return to each other bruised, but enlightened and they renew their vows with more maturity.

The Fantasticks has charmed audiences at the Sullivan Street Playhouse in New York City's Greenwich Village, The Jerry Orbach Theatre in Times Square (and soon, The Playhouse Downtown) ever since Dwight Eisenhower was President. This production of The Fantasticks will be performed completely in the round with elaborate riggings and "old time theatre tricks" that play to the strength of the musical. Cirque style staging and props, along with "vintage meets futuristic" costumes will deliver magical moments throughout each performance.

The show is directed by Producing Artistic Director for the Playhouse, Vincent Marini. In addition to producing the innovative "Music on the Rock" series, Marini has directed Les Miserables; For The Glory; A Few Good Men; Guys and Dolls; The Buddy Holly Story; Celtic Christmas; Our Show of Shows; Cotton Patch Gospel; and Hank Williams: Lost Highway.

Cast members are Maria Buchanan, Preston Dyar, Justin Gregory Lopez, Carly Evan Hughes, Ryan Hilliard, Richard Gang, Peter Gosik, Chris Allison, and Kelley Hinman.

Music Director is Michael Sebastian. Assistant Music Director is Alex Shields. Set design is by Dennis C. Maulden. Costume design is by Ashli Arnold. Lighting design is by Stephen Terry. Sound design is by Nick Kourtides.

United Community Bank, The Van Winkle Law Firm, and Penny Insurance present The Fantasticks at the Flat Rock Playhouse Downtown, April 17- May 11. Performances will be Wednesday through Saturday at 8:00 pm; matinees Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 pm. There will be no performance on Easter Sunday. All tickets are $40 and can be purchased by calling the Playhouse box office at 828-693- 0731, toll-free at 866-732-8008 or online at www.flatrockplayhouse.org. Discounts available for seniors, AAA members, military personnel, students and groups. Playhouse Downtown is located at 125 S. Main Street in Historic Downtown Hendersonville, NC.

In 1937, a group of struggling performers, led by Robroy Farquhar, organized themselves as the Vagabond Players. The Vagabonds worked in a variety of places over the course of three years, and in 1940 found themselves in the Blue Ridge region of Western North Carolina. The local and tourist community welcomed them with open arms when they presented their first summer season of plays in a 150-year-old grist mill they converted into The Old Mill Playhouse at Highland Lake. So successful was that summer, they returned in 1941. After WWII, the Vagabond Players reorganized, came back to the region and opened a playhouse in nearby Lake Summit. The Lake Summit Playhouse thrived during the post war years and soon the Vagabond Players were looking for a larger and permanent home. In 1952, the troupe of performers, and a newly formed board of directors, made an offer to buy an 8-acre lot in the Village of Flat Rock. This new home made the Vagabonds "locals" and a rented big top gave birth to Flat Rock Playhouse. As the beautiful Western Carolina region continued to grow, so did the Playhouse and in 1961, by a Act of the North Carolina General Assembly, Flat Rock Playhouse was officially designated The State Theatre of North Carolina. What began as a few weeks of summer performances in 1940 is now a nine-month season of plays including Broadway musicals, comedy, drama, and theatre for young audiences. The Playhouse's dual mission of producing the performing arts and providing education in the performing arts includes a professional series; a summer and fall college apprentice and intern program; performances and cabaret series by the YouTheatre; year-round classes and workshops for students from kindergarten through adults. Flat Rock Playhouse now hosts over 98,000 patrons annually and is a significant contributor to the local economy and the Arts in North Carolina.

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