The Fantasticks, by Tom Jones & Harvey Schmidt, is the world's longest running musical - running for over 50 years in Manhattan and entrancing generations of audiences the world over.
The Fantasticks is a funny and romantic musical about a boy, a girl, two fathers and a wall. The narrator, El Gallo, originally played by Jerry Orbach, asks the audience to use their imagination and follow him into a world of moonlight and magic. The boy and the girl fall in love, grow apart, and finally find their way back to each other after realizing the truth in El Gallo's words that "without a hurt, the heart is hollow".
The famous score, which includes the classics Try To Remember, They Were You and Soon It's Gonna Rain, is as timeless as the story itself.
The Creative team behind The Fantasticks is Tom Jones (Books, Lyrics, Director) and Harvey Schmidt (Music). The Fantasticks began as a summer theater production at Barnard College. In May of 1960 it opened Off-Broadway, and afterward it went on to become the longest-running production in the history of stage and one of the most frequently produced musicals in the world.
During its original run at the Sullivan Street Playhouse in Greenwich Village, The Fantasticks logged a record-breaking 17,162 performances. When the original production closed in 2002, news of the closing made the front page of The New York Times. In 2006, the revival opened at The Theater Center, directed by Tom Jones (author and lyricist). Variety calls the revival, "A close re-creation that happily replicates the original's charms." The Fantasticks continues to run at The Theater Center, making record-breaking history with each performance.
Hailed as "A Gem" by The Wall Street Journal, The Fantasticks is not only the "perfect first musical for any child to see" (amNewYork), but The Fantasticks at The Theater Center is the definitive way to see the show.
The play has become a true New York institution. For many people, seeing The Fantasticks when visiting New York is as important as seeing The Statue of Liberty or The Empire State Building. In fact, Mayor Michael Bloomberg attended the New Year's Eve performance of the show before ringing in 2008 in Times Square. In 1992 The Fantasticks won The Tony Award for Excellence and remains the only Off-Broadway show ever to have won a Tony.
Whether it is your first time seeing the show, or your fiftieth time, yes, some people have seen the show over fifty times, the production at The Theater Center will make it clear why The Fantasticks continues to be the world's longest running musical.
See more of what the press says about The Fantasticks on our Press Page.
A narrator sets the imagined scene and, in due time, progresses to the role of professional abductor, convincing the giddy youngsters that they are deeply embroiled in a melodramatic encounter in a garden under the moonlight. The evening itself is entirely concerned with the notion that children - of whatever age - cannot fall in love unless their love is forbidden.
The abductor pretends to fall before the onslaught of the young man, letting the boy think he is a hero when he rescues the girl from a band of villains. The night is full of moonlight and romance.
The sun comes up and the day brings an end to dreams. The lovers must be taught to face reality. The dashing vagabond, who was their guide to romance and illusion, becomes their instructor in disillusionment. It is only when he has shown the boy the harshness of the world that looks so filled with promise of bright adventure, and has let the girl see that love can be false, that they come to understand each other.