3 April 2001 | RitchCS
Don't Be So Harsh, it's a Movie!!
"The Fantasticks" has been a part of my life since 1960 when I first saw Kenneth Nelson, Rita Gardner, and Jerry Orbach play in the original. Over the past forty years I've directed, played-in, or played-for hundreds of performances from New York to Miami. I feel I know the play inside and out, even adding many touches for the mute that was never off-Broadway. Thirty some-odd years ago, I saw it on television, as I recall, it was John Davison, Lesley Ann Warren, and Ricardo Montalban (as El Gallo). I, being a purist, thought the TV show was abominable. But I was younger and hadn't learned to tolerate or respect other viewpoints or interpretations. I held my breath as I started playing the DVD after finding out that the opening "Try to Remember" was gone....but the more I watched...Jonathan (Stephen Sondheim's musicals) Tunnick's orchestrations started working a magic on me, and by the time "Soon It's Gonna Rain". finished, I was charmed and captivated. I didn't object to the new "Depends on What You Play", for the melody as always been in the score, only played by the "orchestra" as the Rape music ballet. Reading the other posts on IMDB board, I think many comments were unfair to this movie. There is NO way you could capture the original staging on film. A compromise had to be reached. And since it was Jones and Schmidt who wrote the screenplay, they and they alone had to right to do with it as they wished.