[Cast - The Fantastics]

The Cranford Dramatic Club
New Jersey's Oldest Community Theatre

“The Fantasticks”
October 12, 13, 19, 20, 26, 27, 2001.

Notes about The Fantasticks

[The Fantasticks] “The Fantasticks ” remains the longest running show of any kind in American theater history, and the longest running musical in the world. The off Broadway show about youthful love, celebrated its 41st year on May 3, 2001, with its 16,875th performance. It's universal story of young love has outlasted nine presidents and predates Neil Armstrong's walk on the moon. Every generation from bobby-soxers to flower children to babyboomers, to cyberkids have embraced this timeless, nostalgic show.

“The Fantasticks” initial reviews were either mixed or negative, [The Fantasticks] and producer Lore Noto seriously considered closing the show after its first discouraging week. But an Off Broadway award, the popularity of the song “ Try to Remember” and, most important, word of mouth, all helped to turn the show's fortunes around. And as proof that a sunny, funny musical about love has lasting value, consider that the show's original 44 investors have recieved a 19,465% return on their $16,500 total investment.

[The Fantasticks] The fragile fantasy is concerned with the theme of seasonal rebirth, or the paradox of “why Spring is born out of Winter's laboring pain.” In the story the fathers of two youthful lovers, Luisa and Matt, feel they must show parental disapproval to make sure that their children remain together. When this deception is revealed, the lovers quarrel and Matt goes off to seek adventure. They each yearn to experience the excitement and dangers of the outside world. At the end, after each suffers some degrading experiences, they return to each other's arms.

[The Fantasticks] “The Fantasticks” is the creation of Harvey Schmidt (music) and Tom Jones (book and lyrics). They first began collaborating while students at the University of Texas. “The Fantastics” originally titled “Joy Comes to Dead Horse” was their first full-length musical written after graduation. Originally staged at Barnard College in the summer of 1959 as a one-act musical, “The Fantasticks” was then rewritten at the urging of producer Lore Noto and received its official premiere at the 150-seat Sullivan Street Playhouse on May 3, 1960.

Note: Producer Lore Note was quoted in The New York Times (9/2/01) as saying that The Fantasticks will "probably" close on January 6, 2002. According to Playbill On-Line (9/10/01), the closing date will be January 13, 2002, with the final performance on Sunday evening, January 13, 2002. Keep in mind that the first two closing notices, in 1986 and 1994, met with such public outcry that the show played on.

The Fantasticks was produced through special arrangement with
Music Theatre International, 421 W 54th St., NY, NY 10019

Try to Remember

The memorable theme song “Try to Remember” opens the show: “Without a hurt the heart is hollow.” When you hear that line again at the end of the show, its pure and truthful simplicity resonates.

Try to remember the kind of September,
When life was slow and oh so mellow.
Try to remember the kind of September,
When grass was green and grain was yellow.

Try to remember the kind of September,
When you were a tender and callow fellow.
Try to remember, and if you remember,
Then follow ( follow ) follow ( follow ) follow . . .

Try to remember when life was so tender,
That no one wept except the willow,
Try to remember when life was so tender,
That dreams were kept beside your pillow.

Try to remember when life was so tender,
That love was an ember about to billow,
Try to remember, and if you remember,
Then follow ( follow ) follow . . .

(follow . . .deep in December it's nice to remember,
Although you know the snow will follow.
Deep in December it's nice to remember,
Without a hurt the heart is hollow. )

Deep in December it's nice to remember,
The fire of September that made us mellow.
Deep in December our heart's should remember,
And follow ( follow ) follow ( follow ) follow . . .

[Luisa and Bellomy]

“The Fantasticks” is theatrical magic. Eight actors, a piano and a harp and a room full of imagination. The simple sets and costuming of the musical's long running success contributes to the success of this long running musical. The lack of a specific time or place for the action allows audiences to relate to the story without interference. It is a time and place experienced by each of us.

“The Fantasticks ” based on Edmond Rostand's 1894 play “Les Romanesques”, tells an age-old tale of young love. Its ingredients are simple: a boy, a girl, two fathers, and a wall. Its stage is a wooden platform, its scenery a tattered cardboard moon. Using only these bare essentials, the author and composer have managed to bring to life a funny and quite touching story of innocence - and of knowledge.

The musical tells a simple story of a boy, a girl and their fathers who plot to get them together by keeping them apart. The boy and the girl, who are neighbors, are in love as long as a wall separates them and they believe their fathers disapprove. Actually, their fathers, both avid gardeners, are best friends who fondly hope their children will marry! Their duets “Plant a Radish” and “Never Say No” are showstoppers.

Plant A Radish

Plant a radish, get a radish, Never any doubt.
That's why I love vegtables; You know what you're about!
Plant a turnip, get a turnip. Maybe you'll get two.
That's why I love vegtables, You know that they'll come true!

They're dependable! They're befriendable!
They're the best pal a parent's ever known.
While with children, it's bewilderin'
You don't know until the seed is nearly grown, Just what you've sown.

So Plant a carrot, get a carrot, not a brussel sprout.
That's why I love vegtables, You know what you're about!
Life is merry if it's very vegetarian.
A man who plants a garden is a very happy man

Plant a bean-stalk, get a bean-stalk, Just the same as Jack.
Then if you don't like it you can always take it back.
But if your issue doesn't kiss you then I wish you luck.
For once you've planted childeren you're absolutely stuck

While with progeny it's hodge-podge-enee
For as soon as you think you know what kind you've got, It's what they're not.
So plant a cabbage; get a cabbage, Nor a sauerkraut
That's why I love vegtables, You know what you're about!
Life is merry if it's very vegetarian.
A man who plants a garden is a very happy man

[Matt and Hucklebee]

One of the eight actors who bring the story to life in the Mute, silent accomplice to the audience's imagination, alternately playing the wall, a tree, and gracefully dropping tiny glittering raindrops - a scene that accompanies the song “Soon It's Gonna Rain”.

Soon It's Gonna Rain

Soon its Gonna rain, I can see it
Soon its Gonna rain, I can tell
Soon its Gonna rain, what are we gonna do?

We'll find four limbs of a tree.
We'll build four walls and a floor.
We'll bind it over with leaves,
Then duck inside to stay.

Then we'll let it rain. We'll not feel it.
Then we'll let it rain. Rain, pell mell.
And we'll not complain if it never stops at all.
We'll live and love within our own four walls

[The Fantasticks - Part I]

Matt and Luisa think their fathers are against the romance, but it turns out that these wily gentlemen have set out to engineer the whole affair. The fathers, Hucklebee and Bellamy, the two fathers, decide to instigate a mock feud amongst themselves in order to help the boy and girl fall in love. They figure that this feud will give them the excuse to say no to the relationship, which of course will simply encourage the children's love even more.

The fathers go as far as to hire a roving bandit called El Gallo to stage a mock abduction of Luisa, in which Matt can become a hero and save her. El Gallo's assistants in the abduction include Henry an ancient actor who specializes in reciting passages from Shakespeare's plays, and Mortimer, an actor who specializes in dying. The mute, an observer and mime, holds up a stick representing the wall which divides the families.

The narrator, El Gallo slyly walks through the show letting the focus fall at the proper times on the young lovers who have been manipulated into marriage by their fathers. Act I ends happily under a bright full moon with Luisa and Matt deeply in love. Soon though the children realize their parents staged the feud and their love fades. What seems mgic by the moonlight “may seem cynic by day” as the sweethearts find that “without a hurt, the heart is hollow.”

[The Fantasticks]

The universal theme of “The Fantasticks” is the clash between romantic notions of the world and the reality of the world. The happy moonlit first act, with Luisa and Matt deeply in love gives way, in the second act, to the harsh reality of the bright sun. They yearn for the dangerous attractions of the world outside. Love fades away as the disillusioned naive romantics discover they have to take off the rose-colored glasses to see the world as it is. After learning some painful lessons while seeking their fortunes they come to appreciate a real, more mature kind of love at the end. As the lovers mature, love conquers all.

They Were You

When the moon was young,
When the month was May,
When the stage was hung for my holiday,
I saw shining lights, but I never knew,
They were you, they were you, they were you.

When the dance was done
When I went my way,
When I tried to find rainbows far away,
All the lovely lights seemed to fade from view,
They were you, they were you, they were you.

When the secret pray'r, Every fancy free,
Everything I dared for both you and me.
All my wildest dreams multiplied by two.
They were you, they were you, they were you

Without you near me, I can't see
When you're near me, wonderful things come to be
They were you, they were you, they were you.


There's a curious paradox
That noone can explain
Who understands the secrets of the reaping of the grain?
Who understands why spring is born out of winter's laboring pain
Or why we must all die a bit before we grow again.

Press coverage relating to CDC's “The Fantasticks”

“The Fantasticks”
A Parable about Love

Directed by Madge Wittel
Produced by Elizabeth Howard and Arlene Wachstein
Musical Direction by Mary Beth McFall
Choreography by Mary Webb
Assistant Director — Donna Schlenker


The Mute — Rita DeChillo
The Narrator (El Gallo) — Roger Hayden
Luisa — Jennifer Beth Mintzer
Matt — Ed Egan
Hucklebee — Bob Pells
Bellomy — Tom Pedas
Henry — George Straley
Mortimer — Frank Lettera


Mary Beth McFall — Pianist
Beverly Thompson Shea — Harpist


Production Staff

[Staff and Audience]

Stage Manager: Peggy Seymour
Costumes: Karen Chamnis, Lee Ann Backer, Danielle Einhorn, Jeanne Woerner
Makeup: Mary McGhee, Jeanne Woerner, Bobbi Gleeman, Ceil Coglianese, Rosemary Schultz
Lighting Design: Maurice Moran
Lights:John Duryee, Alex Garlen, Kevin Kessler, Ed Wittel, John Merkel, Matt Nazzaro, Joyce Owen
Sound: Ed Wittel
Props: Marilyn Court, Leslie Riccie
Set Design: Marc Chandler
Set Construction: Charlie Roessler, Jerry Sorrentino
Set Painting: Art Kusiv, Mary McGhee, Jim Ruff, Joe MacDermant
Set Decoration: Mary McGhee, Ceil Coglianese
Arrangements: Karl Schlenker
Publicity: Ken Eisenberg
Banner: Woodie Sliker
Playbill: Judi Chandler, Marc Chandler
Box Office: Bob Pells, Marilyn Court

Lobby: Leslie Riccie, Fran Massa, Elaine Dooman, Ed Forker, Sue Chandler, Cathy Cohane, Becky Randazzo, Kate Slavin, Fatima Abed, Janet Murphy, Judi Chandler, Virginia Waters, Hallie Waters, Hope Weinstein, Janice Whitney, Shu Foppert, Anjanette Valiante, Sandi Pells, Cathy Clavin, Danny Clavin

Ushers: Marilyn Court, Anjanette Valiante, Phyllis Barmak, Dana Chandler, Cathleen Cohane, Mary Crane, Cindy Feketie, Kim Finnegan, Ed Forker, Jerry Kamen, Ann Kettle, Joseph MacDermant, Lynda MacDermant, Mike Marcus, Sue Marcus, Maurice Moran, Charlie Roessler, Drude Roessler, Michelle Schwartz, Nevil Schwartz, Pam Skillman, Kate Slavin, Jerry Sorrentino, Anjanette Valiante, Marilyn Vice, Hope Weinstein

CDC Theater Officers - 2001-2002 season

President — Peggy Seymour
Business Vice-President — Madge Wittel
Membership Vice-President — Becky Randazzo
Production Vice-President — Elizabeth Howard
Recording Secretary — Mary Crane
Corresponding Secretary — Leslie Riccie
Treasurer — John Duryee

This production of “The Fantasticks” was produced through a special arrangement with Music Theatre International, NY

Cranford Dramatic Club has been presenting plays and musicals in Cranford since 1918 and has been performing at its current address since 1958. CDC Theater is a non-profit community theater whose members volunteer to act, sing, dance, build scenery, run lights, usher, bake and sell brownies - everything it takes to present outstanding dramatic, comic and music.

For information and reservations contact CDC Theatre, 78 Winans Avenue, Cranford, New Jersey 07016 (908)276-7611 CDC proudly celebrates its 83rd season of quality productions which critics describe as “Superb Entertainment”, “Unbeatable”, “Outstanding Performances”, “ Charm, Wit and Astute Directing”.

Tom Pedas, The Celebration Singers and Children's Chorus


e-mail Tom Pedas at: tpedas@aol.com