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The Fantasticks

Kenneth Lonergan, Harrison Fish, and Jay Baer in The Fantasticks Photo: Bob Tucker/Focalpoint

Review by Lynn Stanley

In the spring of 1960, a musical comedy premiered at a small off-Broadway theater in Greenwich Village. Created by the composer Harvey Schmidt and the lyricist and librettist Tom Jones, The Fantasticks was conceived on a shoestring budget, but the classic tale of young love plus an affecting score, including “Soon It’s Gonna Rain,” were a winning combo. Itbecamethe longest-running musical in history, and featured Jerry Orbach, Liza Minnelli, Elliott Gould, Glenn Close, and Kristin Chenoweth over its 42-year run.

The allegorical story turns the theme of star-struck lovers on its head: two fathers concoct a feud and forbid their son Matt and daughter Luisa any contact, to ensure the two fall in love. In 2022 Jones rewrote the musical as a gay coming-of-age love story; Luisa becomes Lewis and the fathers morph into mothers Mildred and Bessie Mae. 

This summer, The Provincetown Theater was granted exclusive East Coast rights to the new production, skillfully directed by David Drake, and musical director John Thomas. The pitch-perfect cast includes Harrison Fish as Matt Hucklebee, and Peter Toto as Lewis Bellamy.  Their duets combine light-hearted humor with the emotional charge of first love, and their harmonies are a pleasure throughout.  The energetic choreography and incisive dialogue—that gently mocks the pretentions of the young and the follies of the old—ensure the nostalgic sweetness never turns saccharine.   

As El Gallo, Beau Jackett wonderfully portrays the world-weary bandit who serves as both narrator and ambivalent villain. Megan Amorese and Sara Fitzpatrick are the hilarious, scheming parents, constantly on the move in their quest to see their children hitched.  The surprise performances are by Kenneth Lonergan (Mortimer) and Jay Baer as Henry Albertson, the bit players who steal the show.  Some will recognize Lonergan as the former town crier of Provincetown, and in-jokes and asides make this production particularly charming for locals and visitors alike. 

Ellen Rousseau’s beautifully-constructed set reimagines a familiar Provincetown scene, replete with a wharf and a painted backdrop that visually nods to the fish house where the Provincetown Players made history over a century ago. It’s a pleasure to watch the cast move seamlessly through dance numbers to duets, to several rousing sword fights. John Thomas on piano, accompanied by Chantheoun Collins on cello, do justice to every song. Collins does double duty as The Mute, at turns a playful or poignant presence. Do not miss the opportunity to see this classic with a twist in the town it was clearly made for.

The Fantasticks is performed Mondays through Thursdays, now through August 31 (except no show on Carnival Parade day, August 17, and an added show the following day, Friday, August 18), 7 p.m. at the Provincetown Theater, 238 Bradford St. For tickets ($55 – $75) and information call 508.487.7487 or visit

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Ginger Mountain

Ginger Mountain (MS Communications Media, BA Fine Arts/Teaching Certification K-12) has been part of the graphic design team at Provincetown Magazine since 2008. Ginger has worked as a creative director, individual contractor, and freelance designer with clients representing many areas —business software, consumer products, professional services, entertainment, and network hardware to name just a few — providing creative layout and development of a wide range of print media content. Her clients ranged from small local businesses to large corporations and Fortune 500 companies, from New Hampshire to Georgia

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