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THE FANTASTICKS to Kick Off Long Wharf's 2009-10 Season Oct 7 - Nov 1

THE FANTASTICKS to Kick Off Long Wharf's 2009-10 Season Oct 7 - Nov 1

Long Wharf Theatre, under the leadership of Artistic Director Gordon Edelstein and Managing Director Ray Cullom, will present the beloved musical The Fantasticks, directed by Amanda Dehnert, from October 7 through November 1, 2009, on the Mainstage.

Press night is Wednesday, October 14 at 7:30 p.m. Curtain times are Tuesdays at 7 p.m., Wednesdays at 2 and 7 p.m., Thursdays and Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 3p.m. and 8p.m., and Sundays at 2p.m. and 7p.m. Tickets are $30-$70.

"I have loved The Fantasticks since I was a little kid," said Artistic Director Gordon Edelstein. "This will be so much fun for the entire family."

This hit musical with book and lyrics by Tom Jones and music by Harvey Schmidt, the longest running Off-Broadway musical in history, tells the story of Luisa and Matt, a pair entering the bloom of their youth. Their fathers, scheming to encourage their budding love, hire the trickster El Gallo to "thwart" their romance. By moonlight, Matt and Luisa fall hard for each other. However, can their romance survive the sunlight? "In order to know what it is to be in love you have to know what it is to lose something," said director Amanda Dehnert.

Dehnert and Tony Award-winning set designer EuGene Lee have a new take on the production. They've chosen to set the play in an abandoned amusement park on the New England sea coast featuring honky-tonk magic tricks. "What I am after is capturing a place that we think of as a place of innocence, joy and simple fun. Simple pleasures. It is a place that we've really left behind as a culture," Dehnert said.

The use of magic in the play - El Gallo, the play's narrator, is cast as a traveling illusionist - is yet one more metaphor Dehnert plans to explore in this production. "It is a journey to seeing what you think is there to seeing what is actually there," Dehnert said. "I love believing that magic can really be possible."

The show's original off-Broadway incarnation ran for 42 years and 17,162 performances, making it the world's longest running musical and launching the career of Jerry Orbach, among many others.

The cast includes Ray DeMattis (Bellomy), Jessica Grove (Luisa), William Parry (The Old Actor), David Nathan Perlow (Matt), Dan Sharkey (Hucklebee), Michael Sharon (El Gallo), Jonathan Randell Silver (The Mute), and Joseph Tisa (Mortimer).

The creative team is comprised of EuGene Lee (sets), Jessica Ford (costumes), Nancy Schertler (lighting), David Budries (sound), ShaRon Jenkins (choreographer), Bill Corcoran (musical director), and Lori Lundquist (stage manager).

Long Wharf Theatre is located on 222 Sargent Drive, in New Haven. For more information or to purchase tickets, call the box office at (203) 787-4282 or visit the theatre's website at www.longwharf.org.


Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt

Book and Lyrics & Music

Tom and Harvey wrote The Fantasticks for a summer theatre at Barnard College. After its Off-Broadway opening in May 1960, it went on to become the longest-running production in the history of the American stage and one of the most frequently produced musicals in the world. Their first Broadway show, 110 in the Shade, was revived on Broadway in a new production starring Audra MacDonald. I Do! I Do!, their two-character musical starring Mary Martin and Robert Preston, was a success on Broadway and is frequently done around the country. For several years Jones and Schmidt worked privately at their theatre workshop, concentrating on small-scale musicals in new and often untried forms. The most notable of these efforts were Celebration, which moved to Broadway, and Philemon, which won an Outer Critics Circle Award. They contributed incidental music and lyrics to the Off-Broadway play Colette starring Zoe Caldwell, then later did a full-scale musical version under the title Colette Collage. The Show Goes On, a musical revue featuring their theatre songs and starring Jones and Schmidt, was presented at the York Theatre, and Mirette, their musical based on the award-winning children's book, was premiered at the Goodspeed Opera House in Connecticut. In addition to an Obie Award and the 1992 Special Tony Award for The Fantasticks, Jones and Schmidt were inducted into the Broadway Hall of Fame at the Gershwin Theatre, and on May 3, 1999 their "stars" were added to the Off-Broadway Walk of Fame outside the Lucille Lortel Theatre.

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