Arthur Feinsod is the Artistic Director of the Crossroads Repertory Theatre at Indiana State University. He’s also the director for their production of The Fantasticks. George Walker asked him about the durability of this show. It did ring up the longest continual run in musical theatre history. And he got an answer that went back much farther than the 1960s, but then came right back to the twenty-first century.
“This story of a couple of lovers and the fathers who at least appear to want to keep them apart has a long history. We have written accounts of it in the tales of the Roman poet Ovid. Shakespeare of course, incorporates it as the Pyramis and Thisbee episode in his Midsummer Nights Dream. The French author Rostand brought it more up to date in his works. And, of course it has its delightful incarnation in Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt’s musical.”
Then Feinsod added, “One of the incredible additions that The Fantasticks brought to the story is the character of the mysterious facilitator El Gallo. He’s quite a complicated and fascinating figure, a bit dark, and at the same time whimsical.”
Walker asked about the performance style and Feinsod noted that “In the 1960s the simple stage, sort like the set for Our Town, but barer, was something a bit new. However in the fifty or so years since then, we’ve learned quite a bit. In our production, it’s not just a set of actors pulling a show out of trunk. We exploit the entire theatre as our venue and even bring in mythic elements that are actually there, but seldom really considered.”
After his brief history lesson on the story and the production style, Feinsod got back to the Crossroads Repertory Theatre’s production with enthusiastic praise for his actors, music director John Berst, choreographer Teresa McCullough. costumer Sherry McFadden. And the whole technical crew. “There what’s going to really help make this edition of The Fantasticks quite fantastical.”
The Fantasticks book and lyrics by Tom Jones, music by Harvey Schmidt
Crossroads Repertory Theatre
June 25-28 and July 16 and 23/2009