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Fantasticks' is timeless musical about first love



After opening in May 1960, "The Fantasticks" went on to become the country's longest-running musical. Partly inspired by "Romeo and Juliet," its age-old story of love found, then lost and found again, speaks to audiences of all ages and cultures.

The CitySpace setting retains the intimacy that launched the show 47 years ago. It's a joy to see a musical where singers work without mics, and effects work is performed through imaginative style, not tons of machinery. Rain, for example, is done with handfuls of silver confetti sifted onto the actors.

Director Michael Jones has put together a great show, including himself as Henry, the old actor. Jones and Mike Waugh as Henry's partner, Mortimer, play the comic relief nicely, choosing an understated approach to the carnival-esque duo.

Oklahoma City University students Amy Stevens and Thomas Stewart are terrific as the young lovers, capturing both the heart-racing shyness of first love and the despair of disillusionment. Brent Goble makes a wonderful Mute, always engaged but never intrusive. As the fathers, Marcellus Hankins and Steve Emerson have an infectious good time with arguably the least exciting characters in the script.

Thomas Cunningham powers the show as El Gallo, the ne'er-do-well who engineers most of the plot. He effortlessly finds the character's cunning darkness, but more interestingly, also illuminates the aging bad guy's longing to find love himself.

With standards like "Try to Remember" and "Soon It's Gonna Rain," this show will pull you not only back to more innocent times, but leave you with deeper thoughts.

"?Linda McDonald


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