June 27--Theatre UCF opens the classic musical "The Fantasticks" this Thursday, June 27, in the Main Stage theater at the University of Central Florida.
"The Fantasticks" holds the record for the longest-running production of any kind in the history of American theater: Opening in 1960, the original off-Broadway production ran for 42 years.
Director Be Boyd is staging UCF's production as if a troupe of traveling actors, called "The Vagabond Players," is presenting the play to the UCF audience.
The musical tells the tale of two young neighbors, Matt and Luisa, and their meddlesome parents, Hucklebee and Bellomy. The parents devise a complicated plan for their children to fall in love, which involves a professional kidnapper and a troupe of actors, but the plans go awry, leaving the young lovers to clean up the mess.
"I thought it would be an interesting idea to have traveling actors 'perform' the story of 'The Fantasticks,'" Boyd says. "The characters in 'The Fantasticks' are larger-than-life archetypes of some of the characters we experience in life -- the young lovers, the overprotective yet well-meaning parents, the heroes, the villains, the class clowns and the classic storyteller. ... Before the show begins, the audience will have an opportunity to meet The Vagabond Players and learn a bit about the company."
The roles of Matt and Luisa are being performed by Salvatore Vieira and Leigh Green. Though both are just finishing their freshman year at UCF, they are veterans of the Main Stage. Vieira performed the role of Fakir in last fall's production of "Side Show" and Green was Thea in the spring production of "Spring Awakening." The roles of the parents will be performed by musical-theater faculty members Earl D. Weaver and Tara Snyder.
El Gallo, who sings the familiar show-opening tune "Try to Remember," will be performed by music major Hunter Curry. Theater majors Tyler Houck, Devan Seaman and Patrick Mounce are also in the cast.
Mounce wasn't expecting to take the stage at first.
"I was cast as the understudy for all five male roles, so I had to do a lot of homework," he says. "At first I was very scared, when I realized I basically needed to memorize the entire script. But I talked to a couple of people who had done swing on Broadway and they were very encouraging and gave me good advice."
When he was called up to the main cast, he was prepared.
"The lessons you learn, the confidence you learn from being an understudy is invaluable," he says. "It's not all glitz and glam -- you have to work hard, so that you aren't caught on stage unprepared."
WHEN: The show is playing in repertory with "Boeing Boeing." Showtimes for "The Fantasticks" are 8 p.m. June 27-29 and July 11, 13 and 19; 2 p.m. June 30 and July 21. The production will then return to the UCF stage Aug. 22-Sept. 1. The theater recommends arriving early to catch the preshow entertainment.
WHERE: UCF, 4000 Central Florida Blvd., Orlando
COST: $20; $18 seniors; $10 students
(c)2013 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.)
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