FANTASTICKS is Light Summer Fare

by Gary Labowitz

Musicals, even light-weight ones like THE FANTASTICKS require the performers to act, sing, dance, and hopefully have a good time doing it. It’s the nature of the beast. The production of THE FANTASTICKS at The Stagecrafters gave the audience an uneven musical experience.  While half of the actors seemed at ease; others appeared tight and unsure.

Matt (Jeff Wildermuth) & Luisa (Jen Fellman) have at it in a scene from THE FANTASTICKS, playing through June 27 at The Stagecrafters. (Photo by Joe Herman)

The old pros did workmanlike jobs. Jan Fellman (Luisa) has a strong upper register and seemed involved in the emotions of the play. Tony McNichol (El Gallo) made an impressive first appearance, taking the stage and commanding it in an appropriate way. He gave a fine imitation of Indiana Jones in Argentinian garb and a black hat (in real life he’s an archeologist). Wren Workman (Mortimer) died on stage several times, on purpose, and made it fun to watch. Rich Geller (Henry), Joe Giglio (Hucklebee), and Kyle Paul Dandridge (The Mute) hammed it up as required, with Mr. Geller taking the “Best Ham” award.

The staging was bare bones. Luckily, this show doesn’t need elaborate sets, complex orchestrations, or pinpoint timing with lights. The imaginative use of drapes and confetti, well done lighting, and an accompaniment score (played well on keyboard by Samuel Heifetz) gave the audience a chance to use its imagination.

Like much summer fare, this FANTASTICKS is like an after dinner mint: momentarily appealing, sweet, easy to take, and leaves no lasting after taste.

Book & Lyrics by Tom Jones
Music by Harvey Schmidt
Directed by Catherine Pappas
Musical Direction by Samuel Heifitz
June 11 – 27, 2010
The Stagecrafters
8130 Germantown Avenue
Chestnut Hill, PA

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