“Try to Remember….” El Gallo’s first song in “The Fantasticks” has become part of our national cultural fabric, but do readers remember …
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“Try to Remember….” El Gallo’s first song in “The Fantasticks”
has become part of our national cultural fabric, but do readers
remember the charming and poetic small scale musical by Tom Jones
(book and lyrics) and Harvey Schmidt (music)? When it was
introduced off-Broadway in 1960, it began a run of 42 years, until
2002 (17,162 performances! Many of our nationally famous stage and
screen actors have played a role in it at some time). It’s time to
A revival is now running in New York and it opens Aug. 8 at
Littleton Town Hall, presented by Littleton’s Main Street Players
and Ovation Players, who have collaborated on a summer musical in
recent years, but elsewhere, at Lakewood Cultural Center.
Town Hall produced it in 1996, and performed in a tent at the
newly-opened Hudson Gardens, where the “Soon It’s Gonna Rain” song
seemed to produce rain pitter-pattering on the canvas on many
Veteran actor/director Pamela Clifton brings her sense of comedy
and drama to the project, directing a cast that includes UNC music
major Adam Luhrs as young lover Matt and busy young singer Ashlie
Harris as Luisa, the girl-next-door object of his affections. The
two are in love, while their fathers are feuding — or at least they
give that impression, shades of “Romeo and Juliet.”
Clifton is children’s theater coordinator at Town Hall, as well
as production manager and is also performing in the long-running,
comedic “That Woman Show” at Avenue Theater. She directed
“Eleemosynary”for Main Street Player, winning a berth at the
national community theater competition recently.
Pianist/teacher Midge Moyer is music director and harpist Tessa
Nelson, a student at St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryl, will
accompany the performance.
John MacDonald is father Bellamy and Russell Smith is the
neighboring father, Huckabee. The scheming pair really wants their
offspring to end up together. Their theory is that by saying “no,”
they will drive the rebellious teens together. “Never Say No.”
Further thoughts on rearing children come in the funny duet “Plant
Mark Branche , whose stage presence speaks of his Broadway
experience, plays the mysterious, magical El Gallo, who manipulates
the players, narrates and drives the story throughout. His old
actor sidekicks are Henry (Daymon Callo, who recently appeared in
Town Hall’s “Gypsy”) and Mortimer (Bob Leggett, a familiar face for
30 years at Town Hall, with Spotlight Theatre and more) and the
Mute (Thairone Vigil-Medina).
El Gallo sells the fathers on a plot to kidnap Luisa, thereby
sharpening Matt’s interest in her and a choreographed scene follows
Matt and Luisa’s duet, “Soon It’s Gonna Rain.”
Act II begins with El Gallo changing the moon for the sun,
lending a harsher light to the scene and to character’s emotions.
He then convinces Matt he should leave and see the world, singing
“I Can See It” with the young man. He then takes Luisa to see the
world at her request, “Round and Round” and she sees Matt being
mistreated in various locales by “friendly natives—” a perspective
that changes to “charming” with a magical Venetian carnival
Of course, things work out happily before the final curtain!
This production is part of Western Welcome Week this year, a
If you go:
Local theater groups Ovation Players and Main Street Players
will present America’s longest-running musical, “The Fantasticks.”
at 7:30 p.m Aug. 8, 9, 10,14,15, 16, plus 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 16 at
Town Hall Arts Center, 2450 W. Main St., Downtown Littleton. Pamela
Clifton directs. www.ovationplayers.com,
(the most convenient route). Tickets: $16, $22. (Monday, Aug. 10 is
Industry Night, $10).
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