Wednesday, June 7, 2006

The fantastic Fantasticks

St. Thomas Playhouse stages world's longest running musical

The cast of "The Fantasticks." From left: Louisa Waycott as Luisa, Cherie Kessler as Belle, Kevin Wade as El Gallo, Helen Hudson as Lenore and Dawson Howard as Matt. Photo by Becky Smith

For the Express

The world's longest running musical, "The Fantasticks," is at the nexStage Theatre in Ketchum this month. Under the direction of Andrew Alburger, with musical direction by Dick Brown, the latest in a series of St. Thomas Playhouse productions "The Fantasticks" features a talented local cast including Louisa Waycott, Dawson Howard, Kevin Wade, Matt Gorby, Christopher Campbell, and Alyse Stark.

Helen Hudson and Cherie Kessler play the scheming mothers at the heart of this ironic tale of young lovers, which ran for 17,162 performances off-Broadway in New York City from 1960- 2002. The original production had two fathers playing the roles of the parents. But times have changed. "'The Fantasticks' was the first play I saw at the Sullivan Theatre in New York City after graduating from the State University of New York with a degree in theatre", says Alburger, who directed "Our Town" last spring at St. Thomas Church and is a company member with Company of Fools in Hailey. He also directs Company B Kids Theatre for St. Thomas, which will present 'Honk Junior' preceding three of the Fantasticks shows on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

"It's a simple and lovely production, which can say so much with only a suggestion," he says of "The Fantasticks," which deals with two next-door lovers (who have to learn the hard way the importance of one another), family feuds, kidnapping and forbidden fruit. "We couldn't find any male actors of a certain age to play the traditional roles of the two fathers, so I cast Helen Hudson and Cherie Kessler as two mothers instead", continued Alburger. "In general, there is a different dynamic between mothers and sons and fathers and sons, but the play still works."

Helen Hudson has performed locally in "Agnes of God," "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change," and holds the rare distinction of having sung the National Anthem in every major baseball stadium in the country. Sherie Kessler is a member of the Fabulous Vuarnettes, a high-camp singing quartet, so we know she can sing and dance with the best of them. She has also acted locally in "Little Shop of Horrors."

The Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt score to "The Fantasticks" includes songs such as "Try to Remember," and "Soon It's Gonna." Musical Director Dick Brown will conduct a small orchestra including piano, bass, harp, flute, violin and percussion instruments. Fresh from conducting the Caritas Chorale with 100 singers and a 37-piece orchestra, Brown looks forward to working on "The Fantasticks."

"We wanted to do a musical with a small intimate cast," said Brown. "It is really a beautiful and heart warming story with very well-known music. We also have a dream cast, truly outstanding."

"The Fantasticks" at nexStage

"The Fantasticks" runs from June 14-18 at 7 p.m. at the nexStage Theatre in Ketchum.

Tickets are available at Iconoclast Books in Ketchum and Hailey. $12 for youth 18 and under, $19 for adults. For further details call 726-5349.

 Local Weather 
Search archives:

Copyright © 2024 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.