School of Arts and Humanities News

Theater Students Learn from 'Fantasticks' Performers

The Fantasticks

The Fantasticks will be presented this weekend at the Eisemann Center in Richardson. Tickets can be purchased here.

UT Dallas students recently learned skills from members of a touring adaptation of the world’s longest-running musical, which is coming to the Eisemann Center in Richardson. Sponsored by the School of Arts and Humanities, a steampunk version of The Fantasticks stays true to the original funny and romantic story about a boy, a girl and two fathers.

Students from the cast of UT Dallas’ upcoming production Songs for a New World and students in the Advanced Vocal Instruction course had an opportunity to meet with the musical director and cast members of The Fantasticks. With the guidance from experienced performers, the students worked on their audition techniques.

“It’s always valuable for students to have these real world experiences,” said Kathryn Evans, director of Songs for A New World and the instructor for Advanced Vocal Instruction. “It helps prepare them for the audition experiences they will have outside the University once they graduate.”

Assistant director of theater Kathy Lingo and assistant technical director of theater Alex Hill also took their students to the Eisemann.

A scene from The Fantasticks

The plot of the show follows two fathers who trick their children into falling in love.

Theater students also will be present for Friday’s show at 8 p.m. in the Bank of America Theatre at the Eisemann Center. The Fantasticks runs through the weekend.

The new adaptation of the classic adds whimsical visuals and fantastical sets to the expressive parable about young love. Performers from the Nebraska Theatre Caravan, which has a long history as a national touring theatrical production company, give a fresh, engaging and fun new approach to the play.

With music by Harvey Schmidt and lyrics by Tom Jones, the popular score, which includes the classics Try To Remember, They Were You and Soon It’s Gonna Rain, is as timeless as the story itself.

The plot follows two fathers who trick their children into falling in love. The neighboring fathers pretend to feud; they hire actors to stage a mock abduction so that one child, Matt, can “save” the other child, Luisa. When the children find out that the entire debacle was staged, however, they separate. The children, having gone their separate ways, eventually find themselves disillusioned in the real world. They return to each other, both a little more bruised than before.

The show is presented through a special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). “At the heart of its breathtaking poetry and subtle theatrical sophistication is a purity and simplicity that transcends cultural barriers. The result is a timeless fable of love that manages to be nostalgic and universal at the same time,” MTI says.

The original production of The Fantasticks first opened on May 3, 1960, and played 17,162 performances before closing Jan. 13, 2002. In that 42-year span, the show became the world’s longest-running musical.

Tickets can be purchased on the Eisemann Center website.

This Story Originally Appeared on UT Dallas News Center