The cast of The Fantasticks
Photo-The Drama Studio
Book and Lyrics by Tom Jones
Music by Harvey Schmidt
Directed by Debra Rice Endris
Review by Kate Barry
Entire contents are copyright © 2014 Kate Barry. All rights reserved.
Young love and all of the giddiness it contains shines in The Drama Studio’s summer stock musical, The Fantasticks.
As an ensemble, the cast put a lot of heart into their production. With themes of innocence, falling in and out of love and wide-eyed aspirations, this is the perfect play for a small ensemble made up of young theater artists. A small platform, handmade props and set pieces accentuates the simplicity of the timeless themes within the production. The less-is-more concept is the strongest in the play’s most pivotal moments including Matt and Luisa’s reconciliation on a bench as well as El Gallo’s deceitful ploy against Luisa on a ladder.
Each actor brings youthful energy to his or her role, further escalating the production into a mode of playfulness. As seemingly dueling fathers, Bellomy and Hucklebee, Kevin Renn and Jason Effinger play off of each other with great charisma as they handle the play’s humor with great timing. Grace Robertson and Dustin Behr, who play the elderly actors, Henry and Mortimer, provide additional strong performances. Robertson and Behr provide fine, subtle character work both physically and verbally within the scripts wittiest lines.
Chelsea Endris and Michael Hommrich play lovers Luisa and Matt. Inspired by awakenings and dreams, these young actors do well capturing the spirit of being young and in love. Ms. Endris particularly stands out during Luisa’s “Don’t Let Me Be Normal” speech; she is comical and lively without being over the top within the monologue as well as the song “Much More.” As for El Gallo, Harrison Coffman provides omnipotent narration scoping from witty observation to in depth participation. Coffman embraces the challenge of what El Gallo represents in the overall production and transforms with ease from a mysterious rogue to villainous seducer.
I think it’s fair to say that The Fantasticks at the Drama Studio is a delightful production that reminds us all of a time, as the song says, when life was so tender.
July 24-26, 2014 @ 7:30pm
July 27 , 2014 @ 2:00pm
The Drama Studio
at The St Genesius Theater
128 E Bell Ave