2006-03-10 / Community

Rockaway Theatre Company Begins 2006 Season With 'Fantisticks'

The first production of The Rockaway Theatre Company's 2006 season opened at the Post Theater in Fort Tilden last weekend where, according to a RTC spokesperson, it entertained and delighted audiences.

"Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt's The Fantasticks is a sweet and simple tale of an eager young boy and the starry eyed girl-next- door who fall in love (Romeo and Juliet style), when their fathers pretend to feud," the spokesperson relates "The young lovers long to pursue the excitement and dangerous attractions of the big wide world. But, under the harsh light of day, they perceive that their moonlit dreams have lost their allure. After their hurt and disillusionment, they discover that their deepest happiness was found in their own backyard, with each other, all the time. It is an old fashioned story that radiates a timeless sweetness."

In this production, RTC veteran performers Anthony Marino and Najat Arkadan step into the roles of Matt and Luisa, the young lovers. They are excellent, experienced actors who exude an infectious freshness, charm and youth that immediately sweeps over the entire audience. Their chemistry and poise on stage, as well as their wonderful singing voices, are a delight to see and hear. Luisa's father, Bellomy, is played by a staple performer of the RTC, Robert Fahn, whom audiences will recognize from past performances in Fiddler, The King and I, My Fair Lady and Little Shop of Horrors. Fahn's character portrayals always prove very amusing to RTC audiences and the cantankerous Amos Bellomy is no exception. In this play he is joined by his friend, neighbor and co-conspirator, Hucklebee, portrayed by Chris Robin, an RTC newcomer who is actually a talented veteran of many Queens Community Theatre stages. In this pair, too, there is a perfect on stage chemistry creating a comical and appealing alliance in which the fathers plot to outsmart their children by using reverse psychology and enlisting the aid of of a charming rake going by the name of El Gallo, (pronounced El Guyo), who acts as narrator, facilitator, scene setter and swashbuckling, dueling bandit. The role is aptly played by a dashing young actor named George Tsalikis. El Gallo then hires two over-the-hill thespians hysterically portrayed by the ever popular John Gilleece and Frank Caiati. One other constant presence is The Mute who acts as prop manager and facilitator and is tacitly and gracefully portrayed by superb RTC dancer, Michelle Micale. Joining this extremely talented cast, on stage, is the finest orchestra in community theater led by Jeffrey Arzberger and consisting of Rich Louis-Pierre on bass and keyboards, Heather Zabrocki playing wind instruments, Liza C. Jensen on harp and Walter Birkhold at the drums.

The original production of The Fantasticks began charming audiences at the Sullivan Street Playhouse in Greenwich Village on May 3, 1960 and played 17,162 performances before closing on January 13, 2002, making it the world's longest running musical and the longest running show in American Theater History. The Fantasticks is unique in musical theatre in that it is a very simple unassuming little show. There are no glitzy show stopping numbers, no big breathtaking sets, no amazing special effects, just eight actors and some simple props and costumes. In the case of The Fantasticks , less is definitely more. If you have never seen a production of The Fantasticks , you are missing a piece of American Musical Theatre History. Even if you've seen a production before, see this one...You won't be disappointed! Perhaps you were fortunate enough to see the original production in Greenwich Village years ago, but the details of the show are not very clear by now. The Rockaway Theatre Company's splendid production of The Fantasticks will surely help you "Try to Remember"...

The Fantasticks will be presented in the Post Theater at Fort Tilden, Breezy Point. There will be performances on March 10th, 11th, and 18th at 8PM. Matinee performances are scheduled for Saturday, March 11th at 3PM and Sunday March 19th at 2PM. Tickets are $20.00 for adults and $15.00 for seniors and children. However, reservations are a must! To reserve seats before shows are sold out, call the RTC hotline now, at 718-850-2450.

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