BWW Review: THE FANTASTICKS at the Ritz

BWW Review: THE FANTASTICKS at the Ritz

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.

Director, Matthew Weil mounts bare bones sets, bare footed, (the cast that is), "everyone's on the stage including the audience" production and it works! This talented 8 person cast is totally absorbed in their characters despite being a hand shake away from the crowd. While a bit awkward at first, we are treated to an up close and personal experience of this timeless love story.

BWW Review: THE FANTASTICKS at the RitzJones and Schmidt cleverly create a thesis on love that comes and goes with the moon. Would- be lovers Matt (AJ Klein) and Luisa (Kristy Joe Slough) are neighbors separated by a wall and their supposed feuding fathers Hucklebee (Alan Krier) and Bellomy (Charles J.Gill). 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.

The fun begins when the fathers solicit the skills of that Spanish, we think, El Gallo BWW Review: THE FANTASTICKS at the Ritzplayed by the delightfully talented Michael Pliskin to fake a plot to change fate. El Gallo in turn calls on two fellow farce makers Henry (Ritz Artistic Director Bruce A. Curless) and Mortimer (John Nicodemo) to add the spice to the madness. Seeing the somewhat eccentric, always entertaining Bruce Curless in tights is worth the ticket price alone!

Weil breaks the fourth wall to bring in a "human" wall, The Mute (Brian Gensel), which seems strange at first, but Gensel does double duty in providing props and lugging around the ever-present wooden box prop. Gensel silently grabs the audience with interesting facial and body movements. Sets are minimal making this small stage presentation a smashing success in fine acting and versatility. Judging by the crowds reactions, a fun time was had by all.

THE FANTASTICKS play at the Ritz Theatre, Haddon Township NJ until June 16th Next up Disney's MARY POPPINS opening on July 12 for family summer fun. For tickets and more information: or call 856.858.5230

Photos: Catherine Davies Photo

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From This Author Pati Buehler

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