July 7, marks the return of Bryan Hull to the world's longest running musical, The Fantasticks. That may not sound like big news, but as reported by the New York Post (July 7) and confirmed by the show's spokesman, Hull's reappearance is something special.
Up until March 21, Hull had played 7,102 consecutive performances as the "Old Actor" character in the Off-Broadway musical -- a run of nearly 17 years. He would have gladly gone on to March 22 but he broke his leg in an accident walking home from the theatre. Hull has now recuperated well enough to rejoin the show, which celebrated its 38th anniversary (and 15,740th performance) May 3.
The evergreen Tom Jones-Harvey Schmidt musical still plays at the 153-seat Sullivan Street Playhouse in New York's Greenwich Village.
Also in the current cast are Bill Tost (a 16-year-veteran), and Gina Schuh Turner and Eric Meyersfield (as the youths). John Savarese generally plays El Gallo, though this week (July 7) the role is played by Robert Vincent Smith. (The box office spokesperson noted that perhaps the longest run of all belongs to stage manager Ken Cook, who's been with The Fantasticks in some capacity since 1962, first as the Mute, then as the Indian, now behind the scenes.
The Fantasticks opened in 1960 under the direction of Word Baker. The cast included Jerry Orbach as El Gallo, Rita Gardner as The Girl and Kenneth Nelson as The Boy. For ticket information, call (212) 674-3838. -- By Robert Simonson and David Lefkowitz