A film documentary of the Jan. 13 final performance of Off Broadway's legendary long-running musical, The Fantasticks, may soon reach a cable network.
James A. Ruggiero's Still Moving Pictures, which gained access to the show just 48 hours before the Off-Broadway phenomenon was to close forever, is currently shopping around an authorized short documentary about the event. According to spokesman David Salidor, networks from Bravo to Trio to A&E are considering the piece and a deal should be realized in the next two weeks or so.
The movie runs roughly one hour. Aside from providing a living account of the musical's final bows and curtain speeches, Ruggiero conducted interviews with composers Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidit; cast alumni Jerry Orbach, Rita Gardner and F. Murray Abraham; and talk show host Joe Franklin and former New York City Council leader Peter Vallone, both of whom were at the ultimate performance.
Several more interviews have to be inserted into the film before it is complete, said Salidor. Ruggiero emphasized the exclusive nature of the flick. "The play's producer Tony Noto approached us that last Friday evening to see if we'd be interested in filming it," he related. "Needless to say, we jumped at the unique one time-only opportunity. We did all the deals with the cast and production people and the writers Saturday morning and began to shoot the saturday matinee." The final show was Sunday Jan. 13.
The Fantaticks ran at Greenwhich Village's Sullivan Playhouse for 42 years, making it the world's longest running musical. —By Robert Simonson