‘The Fantasticks’ opens next at ACT, Feb. 7

Photo by Studio Misha

Press release from Asheville Community Theatre:

Moonlight and magic, heartbreak and hope: The Fantasticks is the longest running musical in history, and for good reason – its moving tale of young lovers is both nostalgic and universal. Asheville Community Theatre’s production of The Fantasticks opens on the Mainstage February 7, 2020 and runs through March 1, 2020 with performances Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30 pm and Sunday afternoons at 2:30 pm. Two additional performances are scheduled for Thursday nights February 20 and February 27, 2020 at 7:30 pm. Tickets are available online at www.ashevilletheatre.org, over the phone at 828-254-1320, or in person at the Asheville Community Theatre Box Office.

The Fantasticks is a funny and romantic musical about a boy, a girl, and their two fathers who try to keep them apart. The narrator, El Gallo, asks the audience to use their imagination and follow him into a world of moonlight and magic. The lovers fall in love, grow apart and finally find their way back to each other after realizing the truth in El Gallo’s words that, “without a hurt, the heart is hollow.” The story is punctuated by a series of catchy, memorable songs, many of which have become classics.

The Fantasticks is directed by Mark Jones with music direction by Rob Blackwell and choreography by Jessica Garland Lowe. Coincidentally, Jones appeared onstage in ACT’s 1988 production of The Fantasticks.

“It’s been about 20 years since I played Matt on the ACT stage. I was a young, inexperienced actor, and person, at that time,” said Jones. “But now I am able to revisit the show with much more experience and maturity. I know much more about love, loss and heartbreak than I did at the age of 24.”

The current production at Asheville Community Theatre stars a cast of 13 actors from across Buncombe County. Emma-Leigh Brookshire, a senior at TC Roberson High School plays Luisa, opposite Alex Daly as Matt. Stan Reeley of Mars Hill and Brian Weber of Weaverville are both making their ACT debuts as the fathers of Luisa and Matt. Dillon Giles stars as El Gallo. Rounding out the cast are Jack Heinen, Daniel Gainey, Carson Fox, Mary Ann Heinen, Kaylee Lorenzen, Mia Sander, Lindsay Wheeler, and Lucas York.

The Fantasticks holds the title as the longest running musical in history. It ran for more than 42 years in New York, for a total of 17,162 performances. Jones has discovered that people are eager to see this beloved show, whether they’ve seen it before or not.

“I have had so many people come to me and say how much they love this show and how excited they are that we were doing it. Most of these people have been from my generation, or older,” said Jones. “But I discovered when I was auditioning that newer generations were not familiar with it. I am glad that I will be able to introduce a new generation of theater goers to this simple and beautiful tale. With the introduction of more characters and choral arrangements, I feel the generation who is familiar with the show will be pleased, and the new generations who are experiencing it for the first time will find a new show to enjoy.”

For Opening Weekend, all adult tickets are discounted at $26.00. Other Opening Weekend perks include complimentary champagne on Opening Night, complimentary sweets on Saturday night, and a talk-back with the cast and crew after the Sunday matinee. Other weekend performances are $30.00.

The Fantasticks is sponsored by Harry’s on the Hill and Dixon Hughes Goodman (DHG).

For more information about The Fantasticks or about Asheville Community Theatre, please visit www.ashevilletheatre.org.

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4 thoughts on “‘The Fantasticks’ opens next at ACT, Feb. 7

    • Jenny

      Good question! The song was rewritten by lyricist Tom Jones to include new dialogue, new lyrics and a new title. The song is now titled “Abduction Ballet.”

    • Virginia Daffron

      When I played Luisa in West Henderson High School’s production of The Fantasticks in, ahem, the mid-1980s, I seem to recall the word “chase” was substituted. But I’m glad to hear that the whole sequence has been updated. Much about the play, seen through my 2020 eyes, still seems profound, but the gender stereotypes are problematic.

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