Camelot sets 'The Fantasticks' in any time, anywhere
Camelot Theatre’s production of “The Fantasticks” is “a classic fairy-tale-style musical,” says Artistic Director Roy Von Raines Jr.
"It’s a nice, quaint, sweet, sweet, comedic, romantic story told using a classic approach by a wonderful director.”
"The Fantasticks," directed by Brianna Gowland, is an adaptation of Broadway’s longest-running musical. The love story features the hit songs "Try to Remember," "Soon It's Gonna Rain" and "They Were You."
Curtain is at 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through Sept. 24, at the community theater, 101 Talent Ave., Talent. Director's Night will be Friday, Sept. 15. Tickets are $29 or $36 and can be purchased at camelottheatre.org or by calling 541-535-5250.
Tom Jones wrote the book and lyrics, and Harvey Schmidt composed the music for “The Fantasticks,” which closed in June after 57 years and 21,614 performances in New York City.
Gowland calls both the music and the story “timeless.”
A whimsical star-crossed romance ala Romeo and Juliet with a twist, “The Fantasticks” is the story of Matt and Luisa, the boy and girl next-door. Separated by a wall erected by their feuding fathers, who forbid them to see one another, the young people, of course, fall wildly in love. Once they discover that their fathers actually plotted the whole affair using a bit of reverse psychology, the lovebirds’ romance never really gets off the ground until a mysterious, swashbuckling dream-weaver and his comical sidekicks conjure up a bit of magic.
"The most important point I wanted to get across with this show is that the story has no age,” Gowland says. “You will see that there is no specific time period in this production. I wanted to show that these people could be found anywhere throughout history … after all, the story itself takes ideas and themes from Shakespeare and Greek mythology.”
The staging is simple, with props and costumes from all time periods.
"Rather than hide the fact that the characters are being played by actors, we magnify it,” Gowland adds. In other words, they use over-the-top acting.
The cast features Camelot alum Keely McLean as Luisa and Cody Pettit as Matt.
McLean’s resume includes the musicals “South Pacific,” “Fiddler on the Roof” and “Jesus Christ Superstar.”
Pettit was last seen in Camelot’s production of Monty Python’s “Spamalot.”
Justin Tyler Martin is El Gallo, the man who helps the lovers discover happily-ever-after. This is Martin’s second musical and first leading role.
In a reversal of the Elizabethan tradition of males cast in female roles, actors Becky Durango and Janina Brown portray Henry and Mortimer, two aging Shakespearean actors in the production.
"It’s sort-of a homage to the Globe Theater,” Raines says. “It’s a fun switch that gives a unique perspective to the characters.”
Other cast members include Peter Griffin as The Boy's Father and Sean Warren as The Girl's Father. Gowland portrays The Mute.
Raines adds that Gowland, who choreographed “Scrooge!” for Randall Theater and “The Lion in Winter” for the Camelot, has created wonderful choreography for this production. This is her second stint as director for Camelot — her first outing was “I Ought to Be in Pictures.”
Garret Bond handles the musical direction.
Raines, who worked with Bart Grady on scenic design, has nothing but praise for the hard-working cast and crew who he says deftly handle the high-concept script.
"They’ve committed heart and soul to bring this production to life.”