Bellomy (Rick Long) and Hucklebee (Bonnie McIntyre) are neighbors who love to garden – and want their offspring to fall in love with each other as they grow up. They recognize that they must not push, otherwise these children will react negatively …
The couple plots a little, pretends to quarrel, thinking that the children will be opposites and will take a counter-course… “The minute you say no” and also speak of gardens: “Plant a radish, you get a radish…” is a recurring theme in the charming “The Fantasticks”, being performed at the Littleton Town Hall Arts Center through October 17th.
It is the longest-running theatrical production in the world, for 42 years off Broadway. The book and lyrics are by Tom Jones and the music is by Harvey Schmidt.
El Gallo first sings the sentimental “Try to Remember”, setting the mood… We are in a magical story.
Director Billie McBride, who is also a very accomplished actress, used a soft touch on this tale.
After the parents, we meet Matt (Carter Edward Smith), who walks in as the tall, skinny and expressive Mute (Cal Meakins) hangs out on stage, occasionally providing a prop … or a moon … “I’m getting married. when I get married … “Matt sings.” There is a girl … “
Sweet Luisa (Katie Jackson in lace anklets and Mary Janes and a girl’s dress) appears singing and dreamily looking at neighbor Matt… They are talking through a wall of sorts.
Most of the time on stage is El Gallo, who speaks with dry humor and can be bad at times. Randy Chalmers plays this role with imagination and humor – and without laughing. He interacts and sings with the other cast members …
(I would suggest adding a songlist to the online program of sorts – print it out and take it with you if you like having the names of the actors on hand, as there aren’t any in the theater – a COVID victim . There are no paper tickets either …)
El Gallo bluntly explains, “Lovers meet in secret … there may be musketeers and so on … happy ending, and so on … cost? It depends on what you buy … maybe a kidnapping is in order … first class, with trims, a few singers, a string quartet … “
Music director Donna Debreceni plays the piano and harpist Barbara Lepke Sims adds melodic accompaniment throughout – really pleasing to those ears … live music!
As the audience is seated, they notice a large wooden trunk on stage. It eventually opens up and takes out Henry (John Ashton) and Mortimer (Diane Wziontka), a pair of players, who are a delight. Mortimer specializes in death on stage and conducts a demonstration – a hilarious parody of theatrical lore … “I’ve been dying since I was a child,” Mortimer explains …
I have enjoyed Ashton’s performances in the metro area for years and have never seen him so thrilled to be on stage … it’s been a tough time, especially for these talented people who love to entertain us. … The man shines! “There are no small actors … only small roles,” says Mortimer.
Parents, Bellomy and Hucklebee, are cranky with each other as they try to create the best garden. They’re singing about how you control veggies – “Plant a radish, you get a radish,” when raising kids isn’t that predictable. They are competitive on their gardens and almost come to blows …
Complications ensue with the romance, but of course there is ultimately a happy ending to this original play, which Town Hall first performed in a large tent in the 1980s, when Hudson Gardens first opened. .
What a great choice after a tough stretch!
The program of the year is announced: “Winter Wonderettes” and “Plaid Tidings” in the repertoire during the holidays, followed by “Little Shop of Horrors”, “Once on This Island” and “The Wedding Singer”. There will be short musical programs to be confirmed.
The Town Hall Arts Center is located at 2450 W. Main Street in downtown Littleton. Tickets are $ 37 and $ 52, townhallartscenter.org, 303-794-2787, ext. 5.
On October 4, proceeds from a special performance of “The Fantasticks” will be donated to the Denver Actors Fund, which has helped many members of the theater community over the years.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, public events are frequently canceled or rescheduled. Check with the organizers before leaving.