August 14, 2010


 The Fabulous Cast of "The Fantasticks"


 - Capsule Review by Lee Hartgrave
(staff writer for Beyond Chron)
(Full review on 

How it started. The Fantasticks is adapted from Edmond Rostand's 1894 play Les Romanesques. It tells an age-old tale about a boy, a pretty Girl, a Father and a Mother and a wall that keeps the young lovers apart. The stage is a wooden platform (at least in this version). Other versions have gone more modern. There are bare essentials on this stage. And in this small intimate musical that is a good thing -- because you concentrate on the actors.

The Fantasticks, now playing at the SF Playhouse is directed marvelously by Bill English in this "smart - funny and fresh version. The singers are perfect for this production. The actors not only act, but also sing robustly.  Casting is absolutely right on target. Best production of "Fantasticks" I have ever seen.

Director Bill English wanted to set the "Try to Remember so" song in a world devastated by Global warming so that a time when "grass was green and grain was yellow," was a dim memory, when the ozone layer had been burnt off and "Soon it's Gonna Rain" was a desperate wish. English has bravely taken the musical into strange new depths, that are fascinating as hell. The direction is powerful and the timing couldn't be better. 

What we have here is a fireball of a musical...that will have you laughing through your tears. This Fantasticks is provocative, persuasive and powerful! I absolutely loved it!

Read the full review on this Friday.  


RATING: FOUR GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE!!!! (highest rating) - trademarked - 

(((Lee Hartgrave has contributed to the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Datebook and produced and hosted an entertainment segment of KQED FM for several years))) 


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