Total Pageviews

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Fantastickest of Birthday Parties

Sandra's shot of the "curtain"
This show became New York's longest-running musical.

On Wednesday, 21 August, Roxy Fera (din Sibiu) and I left Campton at 06:15 and drove in my Santa Fe to Stamford, Connecticut, arriving at 11:32 at the home of Sandra Chioralia, PSU MBA '13, (din Târgu Mureş), where Diana Doroftei (din Bârlad) was waiting with her to begin our day of festivities.

We proceeded to Manhattan, parking at a 49th Street garage, crossed to a deli for a to-go sandwich, and walked the short block to the Snapple Theater Complex on 50th to attend the musical "The Fantasticks" in the Jerry Orbach Theater.
Jerry was in the Broadway cast of The Fantasticks, and sings beautifully.
(He also played the father in "Dirty Dancing.")

Jerry Orbach, whom Roxy likes a lot!
This off-Broadway play was causing a sensation in New York back in 1962, when I was a student at Amherst College, and some of its songs I have known for fifty years.  But, though it later moved to Broadway and became the longest-running show in the history of that great theater district, I had never seen it, and did not know much about it, other than that it was about a teenaged girl and her first romance.  However, I knew enough to warn my three lovely Romanian companions not to worry if they caught me weeping during the performance.  Here is A PLAYIST of the songs, can you guess which ones set me to sobbing?

What I had not perceived before Wednesday was that this delightful show shares many staging and costuming characteristics with Samuel Beckett's "Waiting for Godot," for which I had served as stage manager of a student production by fellow Amherst types, when delivered at the East End Theater, 84 E. 4th Street, NYC, back in 1964.  The memories flooded back.

What I had also failed to perceive before was that The Fantasticks is not merely a musical comedy, but a touching drama as well, carrying messages for all about parenting, about life, and about truth.

Most of the famous songs from The Fantasticks are in Act I, such as one teaching us that parents should "Never Say NO!"

But the central message of the play comes from Act II, expressed in the reprise (and final verse) of the theme song.  For truly, "Without a hurt, the heart is hollow."  And finally, as I turn 70, I must agree, "Deep in December, it's nice to remember, Although you know, the snow will follow."
Roxy, Sandra, and Diana, with their happy host.
 [I shall soon post pictures of the dinner that we later that evening shared with our friends from among the Romanian diaspora of Connecticut.]

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please use no profanity in your comments. My granddaughter and other young people will be reading this blog. Thank you.