Thirty-eight years old and counting. That's how long The Fantasticks has been playing at Off-Broadway's Sullivan Street Playhouse. The 1960 musical, by Harvey Schmidt and Tom Jones, hasn't lacked for productions regionally and internationally, and a staging will now open the 1998 season at NH's American Stage Festival, Mar. 19-29.
The Fantasticks tells of a boy and girl whose fathers (next-door neighbors) separate them to make sure they fall properly in love. Once they're together, though, the world and its adventures teach the couple some hard lessons in life. ASF artistic director Matthew Parent directs the musical, which stars Peter Edmund Haydu as El Gallo, Michael G. Dell'Orto, Scott Severance, B. Alan Sprague, Emily Petrain and Charles Emmons. Designing the show are Janie Fliegel (set), Karen Perlow (lighting), Alan Yeong (costumes) and Troy Siebels (sound). Jim Rice serves as music director.
After The Fantasticks, the ASF season continues with On Golden Pond (Apr. 16-26), Ernest Thompson's 1978 drama about a retired professor and his optimistic wife.
Barrymore, a Broadway hit for Christopher Plummer, follows (May 7-17). William Luce's biographical piece catches actor John Barrymore late in his career, when drink and self-parody had all-but overtaken his talent.
The ASF season ends in Misery -- Simon Moore's adaptation of the Stephen King novel and Rob Reiner film, that is. It's the chilling tale of a romance novelist held hostage by an overly solicitous fan. Misery runs Oct. 8-18. In 1995, American Stage Festival became a full-season company with its 277-seat Studio Theatre at 14 Court Street in Nashua. ASF's Summer Stage is a 492-seat theatre on Mont Vernon Street in Milford, NH, 12 miles west of Nashua. Six plays will comprise the 1998 ASF summer season.
Matthew Parent is ASF's artistic director; Troy Siebels managing director.
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-- By David Lefkowitz