The Fantasticks to be presented in Vermillion

The Fantasticks to be presented in Vermillion
Vermillion Community Theatre is bringing the long-running musical The Fantasticks to Vermillion with performances scheduled for Friday, Sept. 29 and Saturday, Sept. 30 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 1 at 2 p.m. at Farber Hall in Old Main on The University of South Dakota campus.

The Fantasticks is a classic story of feuding families and a boy and girl that find romance in spite anything their fathers do to stop them. The authors, Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt, based The Fantasticks on the French play Les Romanesques by Edmund Rostand – which was itself inspired by Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.

Jones and Schmidt had met (and written musical reviews together) at the University of Texas in the early 1950s. After service in Korea, they once again came together in New York where Jones was an acting teacher and Schmidt a commercial artist. For fun, they would write songs together and talk of writing a play. In the summer of 1959, a friend, who was running a summer theatre in New York, approached them saying he needed one more play to complete his summer season – could they provide something? Starting only with their song Try to Remember, they provided a complete one-act play in three weeks.

At that production they met Lore Noto who saw something in their production that he recognized as "first rate." Noto (who always saw himself as an actor first and a producer second) quit his day job and told Jones and Schmidt that if they were to add a second act to the play he would produce it. Noto rented a small theatre in Greenwich Village in New York and, as they say, the rest is history.

The Fantasticks holds the record as the longest running musical in the world. It opened when Eisenhower was still President and ran for 42 years, closing only when its original producer was dying in 2002 – a total 17,162 consecutive performances. If it hadn't been for Noto's wishes, it would still be running today. For audiences never tired of its timeless message of what it takes to find love.

The Vermillion production will include Greg Ludy and Aaron Paschall as the feuding fathers, with Adam B. Larson and Lindsey Straw as their children. The cast also includes Jesse Jensen, Sam Miller and Dru Daniels.

The cast is assisted by Audra J. Larson on piano, Laurie Brown as stage manager, J-Me Danielson as costumer and Aimee Miron as house manager.

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