BWW Review: THE FANTASTICKS at the Eagle Theatre
The world's longest -running musical has been adapted so many different ways that it's always fun to experience the magic as seen by each theater. The Fantasticks is a 1960 musical with music by Harvey Schmidt and lyrics by Tom Jones. The show's original off-Broadway production began in 1960 and ran for 42 years, earning the title of the world's longest-running musical. It's now at more than 50 years in New York City.
Jones and Schmidt cleverly create a thesis on love that comes and goes with the moon. Would- be lovers Matt (Justin Mazella) and Luisa (Morgan BillingsA. Smith) are neighbors separated by a wall and their supposed feuding fathers Hucklebee (David Nikolas) and Bellomy (Paul Weagraff). The dads are actually in cahoots to get their children to marry, sharing the philosophy that showing displeasure is the best way to get kids to do the opposite.
Eagle's strength lies in the casting and ability to engage the audience at every scene. From the staged 'abduction' of Luisa at the hands of the gallant scoundrel El Gallo played by the enormously talented Tim Rinehart to the over acting traveling actors Shamus Hunter McCarty (Mortimer) and Leonard C. Haas ( Henry) the crowd is theirs as the antics unfold. Rinehart is both tenacious and tender as he steers his colleagues exactly where they need to be. Haas and McCarty are as entertaining as anyone could imagine.
As the moonlight ends the first act with everyone 'frozen' in a state of happiness, Act II proves that the magic can disappear in the light of day. El Gallo lends a hand with his tough-love lesson; "Without a hurt, the heart is hollow". As the wall crumbles so do the 'happily ever after' families. But as reality turns into reflective thoughts of the more important things...love and friendship truly turns into a "Happy Ending".
THE FANTASTICKS plays at the Eagle Theatre, Hammonton, NJ on selected dates through December 10.
Photos: Chris Miller
For tickets and more information visit www.theeagletheatre.org or call 609.704.5012