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Springfield Community Theatre The Fantasticks

By • Feb 28th, 2009 • Category: Reviews
The Fantasticks
Springfield Community Theatre
New School, Fairfax, Virginia, VA
$18/$15 Seniors and Students
Playing through March 14th
Reviewed February 27, 2009

The Fantasticks is a musical with book and lyrics by Tom Jones and music by Harvey Schmidt. The story concerns two fathers who put up a wall between their houses to ensure that their children fall in love, because they know that children always do what their parents forbid. After the children do fall in love, they discover their fathers’ plot and they each go off and experience things in the world. After experiencing Life, they return to each other and to the love they had. The Fantasticks ran on Broadway for over 42 years, with 17,162 performances.

Opening night brought a fair amount of enthusiasm and a pretty good crowd to the black box theatre that is the current home of Springfield Community Theatre. The first act moved a bit slowly, but the second act was much more engaging and fun.

El Gallo, the Narrator was played convincingly by George Willis. Willis’ slick portrayal and attitude allowed him to weasel his way into the story. The two young lovers Matt and Luisa were played well by Andrew Ennis and Christina Kidd. Kidd had a real innocence about her. She was sweet, with a pretty voice that carried well. Andrew Ennis as Matt was equally love struck. Although his character was also innocent in the first act, but he did some growing up in the second. Ennis appeared to have a little trouble with his singing voice, it didn’t seem to carry as well. He and Kidd appeared to have a good connection with each other.

Jon Roberts as Matt’s father Hucklebee and Joe LeBlanc as Luisa’s father Bellomy were excellent choices for the roles. Their different body types contrasted well, adding a layer of visual interest to their duets. They were both at ease on stage and moved well, if not always together. The remaining cast members were made up of Henry the Actor (Fred Lash), Mortimer, The Woman Who Dies (Eleni Aldridge) and the Mute (Pat Jannell) who was silent, yet quite expressive. Although they did not have big roles, they were integral to telling the story and each committed entirely to their parts.

The set was minimal, made up of a few triangular banners stretching from the high ceiling to the floor, and two 6 foot step-ladders. I was a bit concerned for the actors’ safety as they negotiated the ladders, especially Christina Kidd in her high heeled shoes in the second Act. The Set Designer was also the show’s director Donald Neal.

The Act II song Round and Round, sung by El Gallo and Luisa, was very well performed. El Gallo took Luisa on a tour of the world, and as she saw the terrible things of the world he gave her a mask she used to hide those things from herself. The staging of the atrocities was creative and gripping.

This show is entertaining in it’s simplicity. You will have an enjoyable time. The Fantasticks ran two hours with one intermission and is playing through Saturday March 14. Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm and Sunday matinees on March 1st and 8th at 2 pm at the New School of Northern Virginia in Fairfax, Virginia.

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And now, on with the show.

Director’s Notes

We hope you enjoy the style and costuming of this production. We have used a “minimalist” approach to the material, depending upon the music to tell us the story, and without a set or extensive props. Jones and Schmidt prescribe a “commedia dell’arte” presentation, which we have attempted to achieve. I wish to thank and comment Elaine Topodas, Farrell Hartigan, Chris Hardy, and Gary Fitzgerald for their exemplary contributions to the choreography, costumes, lighting, and music. They are all pros, even though this communtiy theater. Thank you for your support, and enjoy the show as much as we enjoy presenting it.

Cast

  • El Gallo: George Willis
  • Luisa, The Girl: Christina Kidd
  • Matt, The Boy: Andrew Ennis
  • Hucklebee, The Boy’s Father: Jon Roberts
  • Bellomy, The Girl’s Father: Joe Le Blanc
  • Henry, The Actor: Fred Lash
  • Mortimer, The Woman Who Dies: Eleni Aldridge
  • The Mute: Pat Jannell

Crew

  • Director/Producer: Donald Neal
  • Music Director/Accompanist: Gary Fitzgerald
  • Choreographer/Assistant Director: Elaine Topodas
  • Fight Choreographer: Kevin Robertson
  • Assistant Fight Choreographer: Sarah Daniels
  • Lighting Design: Chris Hardy
  • Set Design: Donald Neal
  • Costumes: Farrell Hartigan
  • Light board Operator: Robert Kraus
  • Properties and Set Dressing: Cast and Staff
  • Program Design & Production: Elaine Topodas
  • Photography: Elaine Topodas
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started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.

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