Theater Advisor

A Review of The Fantasticks (Off Broadway)

By Alan Miller, June 16, 2011

  • Overall
    4 stars

I saw The Fantasticks (Off Broadway) on 06/15/11. Overall, I'd say it was a 4-star rating. I'd summarize it by saying “this may not be as good as the original but it's the next best thing.”

I had a delightful time and left the show feeling young and nostalgic. I'd describe the show as comedic, charming, and insightful. Julitette trafton was a highlight of the show because she sings like an angel. If this were a movie, I'd rate it PG. I would recommend this show to everyone.

I would see this show again. I sat in the center orchestra area of the theater. The view was unobstructed and the seats were comfortble.

This revival may not be quite as good as the original play with Jerry Orbach that opened in Greenwich Village 50 years ago but it’s the next best thing. It is dated and changing sensibilities did require some politically correct modifications to some of the original show’s musical numbers: in an apparent concession to the feminist movement, “The Rape Ballet” became the “Abduction Ballet” (although the term “rape,” as it was used in the original production was clearly intended to convey the word’s Middle English meaning “to seize, take or carry off by force” with no particular sexual connotation.) But in a way, the fact that the play was dated only added to its charm and the bit of bowdlerization didn’t detract significantly from the play’s overall effect.
The staging, direction and choreography were all excellent and several of the performances were absolutely delightful. Juliette Trafton as The Girl (Luisa) was lovely and refreshing and she does sing beautifully. Dan Sharkey as The Boy’s Father (Hucklebee) and Bill Bateman as The Girl’s Father (Bellomy) were as entertaining in their roles as an old Abbott and Costello duo or burlesque act. McIntyre Dickson as The Old Actor (Henry) was wonderful in the role originally played by Tom Jones himself (who wrote the book and lyrics and directed this production). And Michael Nostrand as The Man Who Dies (Mortimer) is a Chaplinesque marvel to watch.
I have posted an expanded version of this review and reviews of several other plays on my blog www.aseatontheaisle.blogspot.com.

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