Polk State Theatre will continue its love-themed season with The Fantasticks, an off-Broadway smash that’s been performed for nearly 50 years.
The show’s run at the College begins with a free preview Nov. 13 at 7:30 p.m. at the Polk State Winter Haven Fine Arts Theater, 999 Ave. H N.E. Additional show dates are Nov. 14-16, 17, 21-23 and 24; all at 7:30 p.m., except for Sunday matinees at 2:30 p.m.
The Fantasticks is the tale of two young lovers, whose romance is made all the more complicated by meddlesome parents, who go so far as to build a wall to separate their children. The two still find a way to meet and fall in love, which as it turns out was the parents’ plan all along.
The musical was opened in 1960, logging 17,162 performances before it closed in Jan. 2002. The shutdown was short-lived, however; the play’s revival came in 2006, and it’s been performed ever since at the Snapple Theatre in New York City.
Director Mark Hartfield said the story is built on the themes of romance and the harsh realities of love — two things anyone who’s ever been in a serious relationship understands well.
“The first act of this play is about the romance, being out in the moonlight,” he said. “The second act is about what the story books don’t tell you — that when the light is turned on, things are tougher, and sometimes life doesn’t turn out like you think.”
Hartfield added the play’s lessons are made all the more powerful by the simplicity of its staging. Taking a cue from the original version, Polk State’s production will involve only a handful of musicians, and a few platforms.
“It’s the magic of theatre,” he said. “You can do some amazing things with actors and platforms on the stage, and not a lot of fancy extras.”
The Fantasticks continues Polk State Theatre’s love-themed 2013-14 season, which kicked off in October with Pride & Prejudice and continues in the spring with Brighton Beach Memoirs.
All shows are free to College employees and students with ID, and all high school students with ID. Tickets for the general public are $8. Tickets are available at the box office an hour prior to each show.
The cast of The Fantasticks includes:
Larry Helms, The Old Actor (Henry), Mulberry
Skyler Knopp, The Narrator (El Gallo), Auburndale
Tiffany Nystrom, The Mute (Once), Davenport
Matthew Pyle, The Girl’s Father (Bellomy), Lakeland
Samantha Ryan, The Girl (Louisa), Haines City
Maria Salamanca, The Mute (Again), Lake Wales
Alayna Shumate, The Boy’s Mother (Hucklebee), Auburndale
Jacob Thomas, The Boy (Matt), Auburndale
Ryan Wingfield, The Man Who Dies (Mortimer), Frostproof
Mark Hartfield, director
Virginia Zechiel, music director
Jenni Berry, choreographer
Kent Michael Altman, set and lighting designer
Cristina Hartfield, costume designer
James Sharp, technical director
Jacob McKinnon, stage manager
Paul Carbonell, producer
In addition to Polk State Theatre, Polk State Fine Arts includes Music and Visual Arts, all of which enjoy outstanding statewide reputations.