THE FANTASTICKS AT PB DRAMAWORKS IS 52 YEARS YOUNG TO EVERYONE’S ENJOYMENT
WEST PALM BEACH, FL – Time is supposed to change everything. Wrong!
It was in the Spring of 1960 – 52 years ago – when the musical The Fantasticks opened off-Broadway at the Sullivan Street Theatre . It became the longest running production of any kind in the history of the American theatre.—17,162 performances. It was a simple production which wowed the critics and its audience alike.
This week, The Fantasticks was revived as the summer production at Palm Beach Dramaworks. Now, there is nothing new about that. After all, it has played in high school auditoriums, and theatrical venues in every state and every nation — with more than 11,000 productions worldwide over five decades. And, guess what?? It is still charming because of its simplistic sensitivity plus its soul of sophistication.
Time has remained kind to this musical wonder. In the right hands, it is a delight,
That does not necessarily mean that every production of The Fantasticks automatically becomes spectacular entertainment. In lesser hands or novices, it can be a disaster, a boring couple of hours despite the memorable music of Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt and its tender love story .
Fortunately, Palm Beach Dramaworks” director J. Barry Lewis put together a talented ensemble with stage presence and rich voices for an A-One production to tell this wonderful tale about a young man and a young woman whose love is tested and triumphs. It is Romeo and Juliet with a happy ending and a pocketful of delightful music – Try to Remember, Soon It’s Gonna Rain, Plant A Radish,They Were You
If you’ve seen The Fantasticks before, it won’t matter. Seeing this production is like watching a new show, thanks to astute direction, a cast with golden voices who seem to be having a good time in their roles, plus the artristry of musical director Craig D. Adams, at the piano with an assist from harpist kay Kemper
But, as good as pianist Adam s is at getting one’s attention, it is the quality of the singing by the talented cast which makes this Fantasticks so unforgettable. Hunky Jim Ballard turns his Narrator gig into a memorable moment as he kicks off the music as a baritone-headliner singing Try To Remember. He appears made to play this role.
As the two young lovers – Jennifer Molly Bell and Jacob Heimer – both display rich voices and believability as actors seeking realism. Their duets are emotionally fulfilling.
The rest of the cast, as well, is played to perfection: Barry J. Tarallo and Cliff Goulet as the two fathers who plot the romance, South Florida favorites Dennis Creghan and Tangi Colombel who appear to having ball hamming up their roles as aging actors, and Cliff Burgess as a mute who becomes a prop-master, without saying a single line of dialog.
It is the cast which beckons recall of the original production (yes, I was there!). However, it is the technical team which also must be praised: John Hall’s lighting, costumer Brian O’Keefe; and for the simple but effective set –Michael Amico, and sound by Rich Szczublewski,in particular
The Fantasticks will continue to endear itself to its fans through Aug 5. Call 561-514-4042 for tickets,
Woody Allen’s Love Letter to Italy “To Rome With Love” Comes to the Gables Cinema Starting July 6
Starting this Friday, July 6, Woody Allen’s breezy new summer comedy, To Rome With Love comes to the Gables Cinema for its South Florida First Run Engagement in 35mm. After his huge success with Midnight In Paris, Allen has moved on to the Italian center of love and passion. In this kaleidoscopic comedy, multiple story lines, and adventures and misadventures, entangle a bevy of American and Italian characters played by some of the biggest names in the movies today – Alec Baldwin, Roberto Benigni, Penélope Cruz, Judy Davis, Jesse Eisenberg, Ellen Page and of course, Woody Allen. The New Yorker raves “…light and fast with some of the sharpest dialogue and acting that he’s put on the screen in years.” Tickets for the seven-day-a-week screenings are $11 and under and are available in advance through the Cinema’s website www.gablescinema.com or in person at the box office during regular screening hours. Call 786-385-9689 or visit the website for full screening times, film trailers and more. The Cinema is located at 260 Aragon Avenue, directly across from Books & Books, in downtown Coral Gables.
Ron Levitt, ENV Magazine, Florida Media News
FORT LAUDERDALE – It wasn’t a repeat of the Civil War (with the North winning again). After all, theatre people are really “one big, happy family.” Nonetheless, the northern counties (meaning mostly Palm Beach) dominated the 36TH annual Carbonell Awards Monday at the star-studded Broward Center for the Performing Arts.
Maltz Jupiter Theatre –which had received 25 nominations (the most of any South Florida venue) took home seven of the Carbonell awards – the area’s prize closely akin to the Tonys for theatrical excellence — generally for the jukebox musical Crazy for You. In many cases, Crazy for You was competing against other Maltz nominees.
Most of the awards were picked up by the likeable Maltz Producing Artistic DIrector Andrew Kato, who told the audience he got his start there as a waiter when it was the Burt Reynolds Dinner Theatre. Among the Maltz musical honorees were best actor (Matt Loehr), best musical direction ( Helen Gregory) – all for Crazy for You , plus other productions at Maltz — costuming Jose M., Rivera (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat) and Catherine Walker for best actress in a musical (The Sound of Music). If that wasn’t enough, Maltz also received the Bill von Maurer award given annually to a theatre company which ”exemplifies” the best in programming and educational outreach .
Also in Palm Beach county were the winners in the drama department, which kept producer Bill Hayes running to the acceptance podium on stage. Palm Beach Dramaworks was honored for best production with its debut show, Arthur Miller’s All My Sons, which also was the winning play for direction(J. Barry Lewis) and its lead actor (Kenneth TIgar). Dramaworks recently moved to an expanded West Palm Beach downtown site.
A third Palm Beach County company, Caldwell– with its best news in months after having its financial woes all over the news outlets locally– had three victories. The Caldwell’s production of Michael McKeever’s Stuff, inspired by real-life hoarders , won Carbonells for best new work, best supporting actress( the vibrant , obvious audience-favorite Angie Radosh) and best design, for Tim Bennett’s extraordinary set. Voters honored the cast of Broward County’s Mosaic Theatre’s for The Irish Curse — Ken Clement, Todd Allen Durkin, Barry Tarallo, Shane Tanner, Ryan Didato and director Avi Hoffman — with the best ensemble award. The award received an ovation for Mosaic founder/producer Richard Jay Simon.
Hoffman also received a unanimous applause after being named Best Actor in a supporting musical role for his turn in Hairspray at Actors Playhouse in Miami-Dade.It was his first Carbonell win in a career in which he has received multi nominations over the last 15 years here.
Deborah L. Sherman, who just shut down Broward’s Promethean Theatre(she was co-founder), won the best actress Carbonell for her performance in Mosaic’s Side Effects. Marckenson Charles won best supporting actor for his performance in Tracy Letts’ Superior Donuts at GableStage, the only award won by the usually drama-dominant theatre in Dade County, despite pre-award hype for its production of the provocative play Masked. However, the Pulitzer Prize-winning August: Osage County at Actors’ Playhouse, was the evening’s “ most shocking shutout,” according to several critics including the Miami Herald’s influential Christine Dolen.
Producer and former Carbonell board chairman Jay Harris was presented the Carbonells’ highest honor — The George Abbott Award for Achievement in the Arts. Also honored with a special award was Broward Cultural Division director Mary Becht, who received the Howard Kleinberg award for arts encouragement.
Following is the list of nominees with winner in boldface.
–Brothers Beckett by David Michael Sirois (Alliance Theatre Lab)
–Captiva by Christopher Demos-Brown (Zoetic Stage)
–The Cha Cha of a Camel Spider by Carter W. Lewis (Florida Stage)
–Stuff by Michael McKeever (Caldwell Theatre Company)
Production of a Play
–All My Sons (Palm Beach Dramaworks)
–August: Osage County (Actors’ Playhouse on the Miracle Mile)
–Clybourne Park (Caldwell)
–The Pillowman (Infinite Abyss)
Director of a Play
–Joseph Adler, Red (GableStage)
–Jeffrey D. Holmes, The Pillowman, (Infinite Abyss)
–J. Barry Lewis, All My Sons (Dramaworks)
–Stuart Meltzer, Captiva (Zoetic)
–Richard Jay Simon, Side Effects (Mosaic Theatre Company)
Actor in a Play
–Ken Clement as Marley, Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol (Actors’ Playhouse)
–Avi Hoffman as Arthur in Superior Donuts (GableStage)
–Kenneth Tigar as Joe Keller, All My Sons (Dramaworks)
–Gregg Weiner as Mark Rothko, Red, (GableStage)
–Scott Douglas Wilson as Katurian, The Pillowman (Infinite Abyss)
Actress in a Play
–Kati Brazda as Maureen, The Beauty Queen of Leenane (Dramaworks)
–Elizabeth Dimon as Kate Keller, All My Sons (Dramaworks)
–Annette Miller as Violet, August: Osage County (Actors’ Playhouse)
–Deborah Sherman as Lindy, Side Effects (Mosaic)
–Laura Turnbull as Barbara, August: Osage County (Actors’ Playhouse)
Supporting Actor in a Play
–Antonio Amadeo as Ahmad Ahmadazai, The Cha Cha of a Camel Spider (Florida Stage)
–Marckenson Charles as Franco Wicks, Superior Donuts (GableStage)
–Mark Della Ventura as Doug, Brothers Beckett (Alliance)
–Ryan Didato as Ken, Red (GableStage)
–Todd Allen Durkin as Matthew, Captiva (Zoetic)
Supporting Actress in a Play
–Barbara Bradshaw as Mags, The Beauty Queen of Leenane (Dramaworks)
–Renata Eastlick as Number Two, Eclipsed (Women’s Theatre Project)
–Elvire Emmanuelle as Number Four, Eclipsed (Women’s Theatre Project)
–Angie Radosh as Susie Gage Frost Collyer, Stuff (Zoetic at Caldwell)
–Laura Turnbull as Marie, Lombardi (Mosaic)
Production of a Musical
–Crazy For You (Maltz Jupiter Theatre)
–Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Maltz)
–The Light in the Piazza (Broward Stage Door Theatre)
–Song of the Living Dead (Promethean Theatre Company)
–The Sound of Music (Maltz)
Director of a Musical
–Margaret M. Ledford, Song of the Living Dead (Promethean)
–Michael Leeds, The Light in the Piazza (Broward Stage Door)
–Mark Martino, Crazy For You (Maltz)
–Mark Martino, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Maltz)
–Marc Robin, The Sound of Music (Maltz)
Actor in a Musical
–Matt Loehr as Bobby, Crazy For You (Maltz)
–John Pinto Jr. as Joseph, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Maltz)
–Michael Sharon as Captain von Trapp, The Sound of Music (Maltz)
–Dylan Thompson as Fabrizio, The Light in the Piazza (Stage Door)
Actress in a Musical
–Colleen Amaya as Marian Paroo, The Music Man (Stage Door)
–Joline Mujica as Tracy Turnblad, Hairspray (Actors’ Playhouse)
–Vanessa Sonon as Polly, Crazy For You (Maltz)
–Gabrielle Visser as Margaret Johnson, The Light in the Piazza (Stage Door)
–Catherine Walker as Maria, The Sound of Music (Maltz)
Supporting Actor in a Musical
–Clay Cartland as Larry Hardman, Song of the Living Dead
–Michael Brian Dunn as Zangler, Crazy For You (Maltz)
–Avi Hoffman as Wilbur Turnblad, Hairspray (Actors’ Playhouse)
–Bruce Rebold as Signor Naccarelli, The Light in the Piazza (Stage Door)
–Ryan Williams as the Pharaoh, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Maltz)
Supporting Actress in a Musical
–Lara Hayhurst, as Clara, The Light in the Piazza (Stage Door)
–Julie Kleiner as Penny Pingleton, Hairspray (Actors’ Playhouse)
–Natalie Ramirez as Franca, The Light in the Piazza (Stage Door)
–Avery Sommers as Motormouth Maybelle, Hairspray (Actors’ Playhouse)
–April Woodall as the Mother Superior, The Sound of Music (Maltz)
–Helen Gregory, Crazy For You (Maltz Jupiter Theatre)
–David Nagy, Hairspray (Actors’ Playhouse)
–Kim Douglas Steiner, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Maltz)
–Garret Taylor, The Light in the Piazza (Stage Door)
–Aaron McAllister, The Sound of Music (Maltz)
–Chrissy Ardito, The Music Man (Stage Door)
–Chrissy Ardito, Song of the Living Dead (Promethean)
–Barbara Flaten, Hairspray (Actors’ Playhouse)
–Mark Martino, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Maltz)
–Shea Sullivan, Crazy For You (Maltz Jupiter Theatre)
–Michael Amico, All My Sons (Dramaworks)
–Tim Bennett, Stuff (Caldwell)
–Douglas Grinn, Lombardi (Mosaic)
–Sean McClelland, August: Osage County (Actors’ Playhouse)
–Michael Schweikardt, The Sound of Music (Maltz)
–Paul Black, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Maltz)
–John D. Hall, All My Sons (Dramaworks)
–Andrew Meyers, The Light in the Piazza (Stage Door)
–Jeff Quinn, Red (GableStage)
–Patrick Tennent, Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol (Actors’ Playhouse)
–Brian O’Keefe, All My Sons (Dramaworks)
–Jose M. Rivera, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Maltz)
–Ellis Tillman, Hairspray (Actors’ Playhouse)
–Ellis Tillman, In the Next Room, or The Vibrator Play (GableStage)
–Ellis Tillman, Song of the Living Dead (Promethean)
–Victoria Deiorio, The 39 Steps (Maltz)
–Alexander Herrin, Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol, (Actors’ Playhouse)
–Keith Kohrs, Crazy For You (Maltz)
–Marty Mets, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Maltz)
–Rich Szczublewski, All My Sons (Dramaworks)
–Brothers Beckett (Alliance)
–The Brothers Size (GableStage)
–Clybourne Park (Caldwell)
–The Irish Curse (Mosaic)
CORALGABLES, FL – How wrong can one be? I was certain Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, currently at Actors’ Playhouse here, would be of lesser quality than the one also produced by Actors’ which swept the Carbonells a dozen years ago and the 2011 production at Maltz Jupiter which is in running for the theatrical prize again this year.
Well, if the standing ovation and rousing reception this newest production of the popular Tim Rice-Andrew Lloyd Webber musical is is any indication, this version of Joseph will be another smashing success.
The popular musical, directed again by David Arisco, has an A-One cast, several award-worthy performances and choreography by Barbara Flaten which is more than memorable. It is pure dance ala excellence!
Overall, this whimsical biblical tale of Joseph and his 11 brothers is charming and enjoyable.
There are enough children in the show’s choir (I counted 30) to assure a record audience, particularly if their relatives all buy tickets. That, not withstanding, the youngsters provide a talented backdrop for narrator Amy Miller Brennan , whose melodic voice reverberates through the theatre. She is priceless!
In fact, there are stelllar performances throughout the show, in addition to Brennan. Nick Duckhart , an award-winning actor as the Elvis-like Pharoah, is a show-stopper and Josh Canfield is perfectly cast and vocally perfect as Joseph. He looks and acts so clean-cut, one visualizes why he is the one brother in the Biblical tale who is different. And, he can sing!!!! Add to that the inspiring Apache dancer Celia Louise Merendi, vocals by Henry Gainza and the always reliable, multi-talented Christopher Kent plus a string of local talent and you have an agreeable family-oriented show.
In fact, one of the treats of the show is picking out one’s favorite local talent from the huge bearded and /or beautifully costumed (by Mary Lynne Izzo) cast, including Carl Waisanen, Colleen Amaya, Nikki Allred, Aaron Goldenberg, Clay Cartland, John Hensley, Ivore Rousell, ErIc Michaud, Philip de la Cal, Walter Kemp ll, David Perez Ribada, Sarah Amengual, Renata Eastlick, Leslie McQueen, and Nicolette Violet Sweeney.
Eric Alsford and his six piece orchestra keep the music on pace as Joseph recounts the story of the Biblical brothers and their re-encounter in Egypt.
Diector Arisco rightfully refers to this producton as its “revival.” That may be the case, but this production – thanks to its perfect cast – seems more like an “original.”
Joseph runs through April 8 Call 305 444-9293.