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Angela Punch McGregor
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The original off-Broadway production of "The Fantasticks" opened at the Sullivan Street Playhouse on May 3, 1960, ran for ONLY 17,162 performances closing on Janary 13, 2002. The original cast included Jerry Orbach. A new production opened at the Snapple Theater Center/Jerry Orbach Theater on August 16, 2006 and is still running (June 2010). See more »
I am a big musical fan. As a high school choir teacher, I require my students to watch them. I won't be requiring them to watch this.
Another comment on this forum said that the negatively opinionated people should cut the movie version some slack as there are always differences with a screenplay. True, but most of the screenplay versions have become classics in their own right--and for good reason. That reason being that the screenplay itself is an excellent adaptation and it is quality work. Not so with this disappointing movie.
This movie had great potential with a good cast. I think that Jean Louisa Kelly was the bright spot, quite good actually, and the actor who portrayed El Gallo was the low spot.
Ironically, the movie was like the story. Once Matt and Louisa had the freedom to see each other and empowered to make their relationship and fantasies materialize from abstract to concrete, the magic was gone. I felt the magic of the play was gone because much of what was the magic of our imagination and imagery gave way to too many concrete images on screen via sets, props, and what not. It simply didn't work.
I remember the intimacy of doing this play in high school. I was not on stage, but I was one of the "pit" musicians. We did it in 3/4 in the round. The theater seated 70 people. The cast interacted with the pit and the audience. It was simply charming. It was magical. Not so with this movie.
Like others, big question marks entered my head with the script. I kept saying to myself several times during the viewing, "I don't remember this," or "I thought something else happened (or was said)."
No, I'm not going to cut this some slack just because a movie version is going to differ from the staged version. We own most of the movie versions of various musicals and we watch them and re-watch them and re-watch them again and again. Why? Because they're great. This one?....Well, I'm glad we rented it.
Go see the real thing. On a stage.
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