Fantasticks Replaces Chess on Reprise Schedule

News   Fantasticks Replaces Chess on Reprise Schedule The long-running Off-Broadway musical The Fantasticks has replaced the previously announced production of the rock musical Chess on the Reprise Theatre Company's 2008-2009 theatre schedule.

The Harvey Schmidt-Tom Jones musical The Fantasticks will now be presented May 5-17 at UCLA's Freud Playhouse; those same dates had been announced for the Tim Rice-ABBA musical Chess.

In a statement Jason Alexander, artistic director of Reprise, said, "I am saddened to report the reason why. Our world premiere production of Chess was commissioned and brokered by Gerald Schoenfeld, President of the Shubert Organization. Just before the end of last year, Gerry passed away unexpectedly. Without his support our production of Chess simply is not possible at this time. I am disappointed, both for the loss of this wonderful opportunity and for the loss of an old and good friend."

Alexander added, "We had already decided to perform The Fantasticks for our next season. We had begun to consider how we would bring this classic musical to the Freud Playhouse, so it made a lot of sense to us just to move the schedule forward."

Tickets held by season subscribers for Chess will be honored at performances of The Fantasticks for the same dates and times. Single tickets for The Fantasticks will go on sale Feb. 24.

The Fantasticks is the world's longest-running musical, having played a record-breaking run of more than 17,000 performances in Greenwich Village. The Fantasticks originally opened at the Sullivan Street Playhouse in May 1960 and closed Jan. 13, 2002. The original company included Wedding Singer star Rita Gardner and the late Jerry Orbach. Harvey Schmidt wrote the music, and Tom Jones penned the book and lyrics. Word Baker directed the original Off-Broadway company. The Fantasticks, according to press notes "is a captivating and simple love story about a boy, a girl, two fathers and a wall. The audience uses its imagination to follow El Gallo as he creates a world of moonlight and magic, and then pain and disillusionment, until the boy and girl find their way back to one other." Songs from the popular musical include "Try to Remember," "They Were You," "Much More," "Soon It's Gonna Rain" and "I Can See It."

A revival of the musical currently plays Off-Broadway's Jerry Orbach Theater.

For more information about Reprise Theatre Company, visit www.reprise.org.

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