BWW Review: Boost Your Broadway Street Cred with THE FANTASTICKS at Metropolitan Community Theatre Project
If you love musical theatre, then you've no doubt heard of THE FANTASTICKS. You might even know a song or two. But have you ever actually seen it?
Despite the fact that THE FANTASTICKS has been playing Off-Broadway for a total of 57 years and that it's one of the most frequently produced musicals in the world, until last week, I'd never seen it. I don't think I even knew anyone who'd seen it. Part of me suspected the whole show was a mirage.
Fortunately, the Metropolitan Community Theatre Project stepped in to save the day with a lovely production of this sweet musical. I liked it a lot, and I hope I don't have wait so long to see it again.
THE FANTASTICKS hooked me with the opening number, "Try to Remember" (a song you'll definitely recognize), sung beautifully by Pip Kennedy. The story revolves around two young people from feuding families who fall in love. The similarity to ROMEO AND JULIET ends there, though, and the plot takes several unexpected turns as Matt and Luisa grow up and learn what life is all about. It's clever and funny and not at all sappy.
The success of this production lies in the strength of the cast, whose individual and collective talents far outstrip any preconceptions you might have about community theatre. When it comes to performers, the greater Portland metropolitan area has an embarrassment of riches, which I'm reminded of every time I see a show whose cast I don't recognize. I'd seen a few of THE FANTASTICKS actors before, but most of them were new to me. In particular, Isaiah Rosales was super as Matt - what a voice! - as were Doug Zimmerman and Sean Kelly as the fathers of the two young lovers.
In his director's note, Paul Angelo writes about how he has loved THE FANTASTICKS since he first saw it at age 15. In watching the show, I could tell that Angelo isn't alone. Everyone on stage seemed thrilled to be there, and it was awesome to watch a bunch of talented people doing something they love.
THE FANTASTICKS runs through August 20 at The Sanctuary at Sandy Plaza. Go see it so you, too, can boost your Broadway street cred. More info and tickets here.