Rockville Musical Theatre The FantasticksBy Jennifer Gusso • Apr 7th, 2011 • Category: Reviews
Rockville Musical Theatre
Gaithersburg Arts Barn, Gaithersburg, MD
Through April 17th
2:00 with intermission
$18/$16 Gaithersburg Residents
Reviewed April 3rd, 2011
The Fantasticks, the longest-running Off-Broadway musical, tells the allegorical tale of two young neighbors in love who are separated by the wall that their fathers have built between them. Unbeknownst to them, the wall is a plot by their fathers to trick them into falling in love. The fathers proceed to hire El Gallo and his band of players to stage an abduction and rescue in order to put an end to the “feud.” Of course, that happy ending is only the end of Act One. All things considered, Rockville Musical Theatre provided a solid production.
Chad Wheeler was extremely good as El Gallo. He had excellent stage presence, just the right amount of both villain and hero, and truly incredible vocals. As the young lovers, Sarah Lasko and Carl Williams did a nice job. Lasko was delightful with her impeccable comedic timing and gorgeous voice that sailed easily between her lower and higher register. Williams came across as a little more green but with strong potential. He had a nice voice and some good delivery. The parents, played by Celia Blitzer and Gary Carl Fackenthall, were absolutely delightful. Both created very distinct characters and had very strong voices. As Henry, J. Christopher Penick was one of the best things in the show. He had a very natural way with humor. Jack P. Wassell (Mortimer), on the other hand, seemed to push a little too hard for his comedic moments. Janice Sierra did a lovely job as The Mute. She made herself a vibrant and interesting part of the ensemble without ever saying a word.
The choreography and staging were very simplistic, as is often necessary on such a small stage, and mostly effective. There were a few times when scenes or numbers became a little too static, while there were other times that the simplicity was perfect. The set and properties were very simple, as the show is traditionally done, and very effective. Care was obviously taken with each detail.
There were some real issues with lighting: characters were sometimes in the dark or there were awkward shadows. Lighting aside, The Fantasticks proved to be a very enjoyable production.
Photos by Elli Swink
- El Gallo: Chad Wheeler
- Luisa: Sarah Lasko
- Matt: Carl Williams
- Bellomy: Celia Blitzer
- Hucklebee: Gary Carl Fackenthall
- Henry: J. Christopher Penick
- Mortimer: Jack P. Wassell
- The Mute: Janice Sierra
Artistic & Production Team
- Director/Choreographer: Alden Michels
- Producer: Jim Eustice
- Stage Manager: Rachel Styles
- Musical Director: Benjamin Young
- Vocal Director: Rachel Carlson
- Set Designer/Construction: Lauren L. Evans
- Lighting Design: Rick Swink
- Costume Design: Celia Blitzer
- Properties Team: Nancy McLaughlin, Sonia Tavitian, Christal Taylor
- Production Consultant: Toni Goldberg
- Piano: Benjamin Young
- Harp: Wendy E. Willis
- Percussion: Jeff Albo
Disclaimer: Rockville Musical Theatre provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review. RMT also purchased advertising on the ShowBizRadio.net web site, which did not influence this review
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/6402.
Jennifer Gusso has been involved in theatre in the state of Maryland and DC for most of her life. She has acted, directed, choreographed, stage managed, and held a million other odd jobs. She has a B.S. in English from Towson University, and is currently pursuing her Master's Degree to become a Reading Specialist. She is a Maryland State Certified English, Theatre, Elementary, and Mathematics Educator. After teaching English and Drama for many years, she now teaches 6th grade Language Arts at Magnolia Middle School in Harford County, Maryland. She wrote the curriculum currently used in Prince George’s County Public Schools for Drama I and Drama II. She now writes and directs plays and musical for use in church.