The four musicals to be featured in Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt: A Celebration include The Fantasticks, 110 in the Shade, Celebration and Philemon. The Fantasticks and 110 in the Shade will kick off the Schmidt-Jones season, playing in repertory Sept. 16-Oct. 15. Readings of Celebration (Oct. 4 and 5) and Philemon (Oct. 10 and 11) will also be presented.
The Fantasticks, the longest-running show in Off-Broadway history, played 42 years and 17,162 performances at the Sullivan Street Playhouse. The musical was suggested by Edmond Rostand's Les Romanesques, and gave the world "Try to Remember," "Metaphor," "Soon It's Gonna Rain," "I Can See It" and "They Were You."
The original production of 110 in the Shade — produced by David Merrick — opened at Broadway's Broadhurst Theatre on Oct. 24, 1963. The musical, based on N. Richard Nash's The Rainmaker, played 330 performances before closing on Aug. 9, 1964. Directed by Joseph Anthony with choreography by Agnes De Mille, the cast included Stephen Douglass, Robert Horton, Inga Swenson, George Church, Will Geer, Steve Roland, Scooter Teague and Lesley Warren.
Celebration is a free-wheeling morality tuner that attempts to create a populist theatre with clowns, masks, belly dancers and themes of life, death, rich, poor, youth, age and more. The original Broadway staging of Celebration was staged by Jones and directed by Vernon Lusby. The cast included Susan Watson, Ted Thurston and Michael Glenn-Smith. Cheryl Crawford and Richard Chandler produced. It ran 14 weeks at the Ambassador Theatre.
In Philemon, the clown Cockian reluctantly becomes involved in a Roman commander's scheme to erase Christians from the community. Playing a Christian leader named Philemon, Cockian infiltrates the group and, posing as a saintly figure, becomes an unlikely hero. All performances will be held in the Irving Arts Center's Dupree Theater, 3333 N. MacArthur Boulevard in Irving, TX. Tickets are available by calling (972) 252-2787 or by visiting www.lyricstage.org.