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  • People who experienced this intimate musical off-Broadway, and in local community theater productions around the country, will rightly be disappointed and even horrified by this film effort.

    Gone is the magic, the delight, and the imagination of a creation designed for small spaces, interaction with audiences, scant scenery and loads of beautiful melodies and poetic charm.

    They've taken a concept geared for a cabaret and ballooned into a huge overblown, literate production that comes off as strange and even weird. They've juxtaposed and cut great songs, and tried to make a small ensemble effort into a large Hollywood extravaganza.

    I agree this is one misfire that simply should have stayed on the shelf and not released--just written off as a tax loss.
  • I think the defining moment of "The Fantasticks" is the presentation of the song, "It Depends on What You Pay." In this film, that title is the only line from the original song that makes it into the film. That's because an alternate title of the original song is "Rape," the word being defined in the musical as "abduction," not the darker meaning. That explanation, curiously, remains in the film, but the other lyrics, describing different kinds of "rapes" are excluded. The exclusion of those lyrics is not surprising--what seemed only risque in 1960 now seems not only politically incorrect but surprisingly callous and insensitive. The fact, however, that one song from a 1960 Off-Broadway musical cannot fit into a 1995 movie, doesn't necessary mean the rest of the musical can.

    Much of what was classic in the past no longer fits into contemporary thought. Updating, however, cannot necessarily preserve what made it into a classic in the first place, and it is not just "It Depends on What You Pay" that's been updated.

    Speaking of the original "Fantasticks" as a whole, the score is something I fell in love with 34 years ago. The simplicity of it--scored basically for harp and piano--was a revelation compared to overscored Broadway shows. It also accentuated the music's occasional harmonic surprises, which seem to look forward to Stephen Sondheim. More than this, the minimalist staging--no real sets or props--also was very foward-looking, and assisted in making more timeless what might now seem like a very timebound story. I think the fact the original play has run non-stop for 41 years verifies this.

    All this is lacking in the film. Jonathan Tunick's updated orchestrations are good, but they blunt the impact of the score. In place of a bare bones stage, we now see location shooting and a huge carnival set. Other songs are abridged, and dialogue omitted. Maybe this had to be done to adapt the musical into something that didn't seem just a filmed stage event and adapt it for modern audiences, but it isn't really "The Fantasticks" anymore, and it shows on the screen. The film comes off hopelessly hokey and contrived. Worse, it comes off as the very thing I believe I remember Luisa asks God not to make her in the play's introduction to "Just Once": ordinary.

    Perhaps this is a film that should never have been attempted. And perhaps someone will have the foresight to release the 1960's TV version on video soon.
  • I am a big musical fan. As a high school choir teacher, I require my students to watch them. I won't be requiring them to watch this.

    Another comment on this forum said that the negatively opinionated people should cut the movie version some slack as there are always differences with a screenplay. True, but most of the screenplay versions have become classics in their own right--and for good reason. That reason being that the screenplay itself is an excellent adaptation and it is quality work. Not so with this disappointing movie.

    This movie had great potential with a good cast. I think that Jean Louisa Kelly was the bright spot, quite good actually, and the actor who portrayed El Gallo was the low spot.

    Ironically, the movie was like the story. Once Matt and Louisa had the freedom to see each other and empowered to make their relationship and fantasies materialize from abstract to concrete, the magic was gone. I felt the magic of the play was gone because much of what was the magic of our imagination and imagery gave way to too many concrete images on screen via sets, props, and what not. It simply didn't work.

    I remember the intimacy of doing this play in high school. I was not on stage, but I was one of the "pit" musicians. We did it in 3/4 in the round. The theater seated 70 people. The cast interacted with the pit and the audience. It was simply charming. It was magical. Not so with this movie.

    Like others, big question marks entered my head with the script. I kept saying to myself several times during the viewing, "I don't remember this," or "I thought something else happened (or was said)."

    No, I'm not going to cut this some slack just because a movie version is going to differ from the staged version. We own most of the movie versions of various musicals and we watch them and re-watch them and re-watch them again and again. Why? Because they're great. This one?....Well, I'm glad we rented it.

    Go see the real thing. On a stage.
  • danhicks12 September 2002
    Given the resources and talent involved, one would have hoped for much more, but the movie lacks the sparkle of even a mediocre stage production.

    Joel Grey as Bellamy phoned in his performance. Even making allowances for the fact that he was 63 when he made the movie, his performance was remarkably lifeless and his singing was unremarkable, even strained at times. Brad Sullivan as Hucklebee was even worse, flat performing and flat singing. Joseph McIntyre as The Boy turned in a passable performance, though he didn't really do the role justice. Jean Louisa Kelley as The Girl was perhaps the brightest spot in the lineup, delivering an adequate if not inspired performance.

    Jonathon Morris was sadly miscast as El Gallo. He had the agility and strength needed for such a physical role, but lacked the proper menacing look needed. His acting was, if not totally flat, at least rather plastic. And the one song he needed to really carry -- "Try to Remember" -- he didn't have the voice for.

    The staging was the most inspired part of the movie. Simply filming the minimalistic stage production wouldn't have worked, but the movie's set -- two homes and a carnival set in the prairie -- was sufficiently minimalistic to honor the play's concept while still bending to the requirements of the big screen. This facilitated devices that helped to flesh out some of the more ambiguous scenes in the play.

    The script was unfortunately a Bowdlerized version. The song substituted for "The Rape Ballet" was incredibly uninspired and inconsistent. It was almost as if the writer wanted the substitute to be bad, in retaliation for pulling the original piece. In addition to "The Rape Ballet" substitution, several other songs were changed from the original, generally not for the better, and the delightful "Plant a Radish" was omitted entirely.

    Perhaps the saddest change of all from the stage play was that the role of The Narrator was essentially omitted, and with it some of the most enchanting poetry in the script.
  • As I am reading the comments here I am finding that they are just as I has thought. Some are voraciously against this adaptation, these all seem to be those that are purists of the original stage play. Some are rabidly in love with it, these are primarily families and those that love Joey (sorry, Joe) McIntyre. But the majority, of which I include myself, simply like it.

    I watched this with an open mind since I love the original play and had to watch it a second time to really see how I felt about it. Some of the modifications are admittedly baffling, such as the rewrite of "Metaphor", but by no means really detract that much from the original. If there is one thing you can see from this production it is that Hollywood does not know how to deal with a musical anymore. They all panic about marketability and political correctness which can ruin a great show. That being said, I still really enjoyed this production. The addition of the Carnival allowed for a fanciful feel while still grounding the main characters in reality. The character of El Gallo is allowed more freedom to orchestrate the romance between Louisa and Matt by taking a theatre convention of the omniscient observer and applying it to a film. We in the theatre are used to seeing a character come on and off stage, setting scenes and so forth, yet it is a convention rarely used in film but can be done far more effectively since the character does not have to worry about getting set pieces on and off and can simply be a mystical figure. The performances are wonderful, though Joel Grey is woefully underused. Jean Kelly is fabulous as she always is (Uncle Buck, Mr. Holland's Opus). Joe McIntyre is not the greatest actor but his lack of skill adds to the awkwardness of Matt that is revealed once reality sets in. Jonathon Morris is a fabulous El Gallo, much more charming and witty than some of the "salesman-like" El Gallo's I have seen. All in all the things that differ from the original play do not detract from the film itself. All they do is differ from the play. Would that this filmed production were done on stage it would be a mere shadow of the original stage version, but that is why this is a movie and that is a play.
  • This is a film that could have had a lot going for it. I liked the set, which was a clever solution of how to film a play with such a minimalist set.

    But how could they destroy the material like this? This is one of those handful of musicals ("Oklahoma!", "Fiddler on the Roof," "Guys and Dolls" are some others) where everyone knows the opening song. "Try to Remember" is totally eliminated at the beginning, and at the end, El Gallo sings only two of the three verses. "Plant a Radish," one of the show's highlights, is totally gone (except on the DVD as an "extra"). Some of my favorite moments on the CD are Jerry Orbach's poetic narrations, especially "You wonder how these things begin." Here, only one of the three--or rather half of one--is preserved.

    There should be a rule somewhere that if you don't like the original you shouldn't get to film it.

    Would it be too much to ask if
  • The pluses for this are terrific art and production design which is beautifully displayed by the cinematography of Fred Murphy but pretty pictures only go so far. The piece's other strong suit is a fine score with many lovely songs however they are compromised by being given to the two leads who have thin reedy voices without distinction or subtlety and the tunes suffer because of it. The score was a favorite of the young Barbra Streisand and she recorded several of the numbers, listen to her versions of Much More, Soon It's Gonna Rain and particularly I Can See It and you'll understand what has been lost in the pallid interpretations offered here. Alas it is of no help that the same romantic leads share zero chemistry on screen with McIntyre practically disappearing from the screen, so bland is his presence. The best work is turned in by Brad Sullivan and Joel Grey but their parts are small and Grey is especially wasted. Catch the live show instead.
  • "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.
  • This show ran for over 40 years off-Broadway, where I saw it late in its run. It has certainly been done a lot on stages everywhere and often the approach is so heavy-handed that the simplicity and charm of the show are lost. So after all the delays and re-cuttings, the film came out and I had to give it a try. The good news: it worked and worked well. In fact, I can't imagine it being done much better given the difficulty of adapting stage musicals to the screen. "Act One" is full of youthful idealism (with adult plotting going on behind the scenes). "Act Two" is the reality check wherein one sees all the flaws that had been masked by that youthful idealism. A simple love story with some of Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt's most enjoyable music, this film is a wonderful entertainment.
  • Upon hearing of the upcoming DVD Release of "The Fantasticks", I was overjoyed because the film ran for only one week in the theatres and was missed by many. So when I learned that this Special Edition DVD had numerous deleted scenes and excised songs, I was ecstatic. Well, upon seeing the DVD, I can say that someone at MGM Home Video had the sense to release all these extras in the DVD. Personally, had MGM/UA marketed this film properly instead of assuming it would fail and had they not foolishly re-edited it, the film might have fared better. One gripe I have is that the only use of "Try To Remember" is the reprise at the end of the film. Granted, the excised footage and alternate ending are extras on the DVD but, it would have been nice had the film been restored to the way it was originally intended to be seen and released on DVD. For some reason, after seeing "Try To Remember" as a bonus and watching the film minus the song, it seems empty. I will say that this DVD is worthy to add to your collection and a must for musical fans... On a last note, Ritchie's commentary is quite interesting but listen to it when you rewatch the film, not the first time you see it.
  • This is one of the most inane and unsupportable interpretations of a work I have ever had the misfortune to see. I can't even call it absurd. It is just as if the directors had never even heard the score. The production isn't sung, it isn't acted or reacted... it is nothing. A work, a film--- this is an ugly and unflinching look has several glaring and unforgivable errors. First, these people aren't singing well and many seem to actually have talent (we know Joel Gray does!) that is deliberately covered with dross. The pitch problems are awful--- causing a beautiful score to be reduced to unsingable drivel. The production value is as cheap as the interpretation of it is! I would highly suggest avoiding this piece because I found not a single redeemable point. See a live production--- ANY production would have to be superior. This film was simply a crime against the love and history of the work and all involved should pay to buy up remaining copies and destroy them.
  • dgl119920 February 2005
    While I appreciate the effort to give a fresh perspective to this timeless classic, it just doesn't work. Others argue that it isn't easy to translate a musical from stage to screen. While I respect everyone's opinion I also have to ask what show were you watching? The Fantasicks has NO set, everything is minimalist; I mean come hard would it be to adapt it to film? There was way too much attention to altering the non-cumbersome dynamic of the stage version to make it more "interesting." To that end it has been hacked apart and re-assembled as something virtually unrecognizable. The pacing and flow are terrible as is some of the singing and acting. But if I had to nail one (ok, a few things) thing, it's that El Gallo is not the narrator, Teller is not the Mute, and "Try to Remember," the show's anthem, is at the end???? There does not seem to be any reason for these alterations other than it appears that being different was a greater imperative for the director than was remaining honest to the charm and simplicity of the original. I gave it a chance. But I still say skip this garbage.
  • The Fantasticks is one of my favorite musical shows ever, and i was thrilled to know that a film version of it is available. Unfortunately, the best thing about the film is the casting of Joe McIntyre as Matt; he is thoroughly adorable and sings his part beautifully. The best-executed number in the whole show is "I Can See It", his duet with the Narrator/El Gallo. Other excellent numbers include "Soon It's Gonna Rain" and "This Plum Is Too Ripe". The part of Luisa played by Jean Louisa Kelly was all right. While Joel Grey looks the part of the girl's father Bellomy, his singing is not as good as one would expect, so his witty duets with the other father Hucklebee, played by Brad Sullivan, came off a little flat. But the biggest disappointments to me are the casting of a colorless Jonathan Morris in the important part of El Gallo aka The Narrator, and the replacement of the Rape song with a number that's less clever, though I suppose still serviceable. If you've never seen a decent version of this show on stage, you will probably not know what you really missed anyway.
  • I wasn't completely disappointed with the film "adaptation" of "The Fantasticks". It had a number of enjoyable cast members in it. That's why I felt generous enough to give it a 2 rating. If not for the likes of Joel Grey or Bernard Hughes or Teller, I would have figured out a way to give it a negative number. As a fan of the stage version (and a former cast member) I was not just dismayed to see some of the best numbers reduced or in some cases replaced or removed, I was actually hurt that anyone could mangle so completely such a simple, eloquent musical. I can only hope that now that the original off broadway production has closed someone will come along and make a real film of one of the best musicals ever written.
  • I am surprised how many negative reviews there are on this site. THE FANTASTICKS is a good movie. The director made some

    poor choices, but it is still a delightful, worthwhile movie. Luckily, the wonderful songs "Depends on What You Pay" and

    "Plant a Radish" which were cut are available as extras on the

    DVD. People need to stop comparing this to the stage production.

    Movie adaptations of musicals almost ALWAYS change things and

    purests can always point out major differences. Cabaret, Grease, Sound of Music...the list goes on and on. The fact is, the movie needs to be assessed on its own. It is a different entity than the play. Yes, we all know and love the stage production. Can't you simply enjoy the movie for what it is? Frankly, I thought it captured the mood of the play quite well. It was filmed on the praire of Arizona and has a very nostalgic,

    theatrical feel to it. El Gallo is not the best, but Louisa and Matt are charming.

    Especially Louisa. She is beautiful. And it's got Joel Grey, for gosh sake. Anything he's in is worth

    seeing. So stop complaining. Don't grade on a scale of "1 to stage

    production". Appreciate the movie for what it is. I know I did. It deserves more than a 5.4 weighted average (63% of users gave

    it a "10").
  • This is one of my favorite musicals... EVER. I was blessed to see it before it closed off broadway. I bought this simply because of love for the original stage source material.

    It's NOT horrible. MANY BAD choices in my opinion, though. The deletion of It Depends on What you Pay is by far it's worst mistake. Plant a Radish is missed too, but I feel It Depends on What you Pay was probably cut because of censorship...

    If you watch the cut scenes on the DVD, you can see it could have been a much better movie if some had been included... HOW CAN YOU CUT THE OLD ACTOR'S FINAL SPEECH! At least you can watch the scenes.

    Otherwise, if you haven't ever seen it, it's a decent representation... You get the basic idea, but it could have been much better. Although, the show might be simply too intimate to work on film. ...remember me in the light.
  • It's a mystery to me why this film sat on the shelf for 5 years. It's no masterpiece, but it's colorful and entertaining. The songs are beautiful and well performed by ALMOST the entire cast. The story is interesting but gets confusing at the half-way point--I'm assuming it's because of the 15 minutes cut out of the original print. Unfortunately there's one huge problem with the movie--Joey McIntyre. He can sing OK, but sounds bad compared to everyone else. And his acting is horrendous! At one point he's trying to be romantic with his girlfriend on a porch bench--he was so bad the audience I had was in hysterics by the end of the scene. Also, he's not good-looking at all (sorry!) and just unbelievable. Without him this might have been a great musical. Sadly, it just misses the mark. Still worth seeing though.
  • The other review of this movie is great and talks about the differences between the movie and the stage production.

    The movie certainly doesn't pay homage to the longest running musical in the history of American Musical Theatre, but you do get a chance to see some, not all, of the amazing music.

    Johnathon Morris who plays El Gallo and who sings the most famous song from the show "Try To Remember" is very weak and doesn't portray the "evilness" needed for the role.

    I have heard that the movie wasn't all that bad until Frances Ford Coppala got a hold of it and decide to edit it into non-recongition Don't expect much at all from the movie and you might not be disappointed. There are a few cute/tender scenes.
  • Actrjay17 March 2003
    This has got to be the worse movie adaptation of a stage musical since Paint Your wonder it sat on the shelf for five years. The incredible talents of Joel Grey were wasted.Songs were cut out

    for no apparent reason.I understand that when adapting a stage show for the screen some changes are made to open up the story,that I can live with.Most of the time these are changes for the better.But here the changes serve no purpose.

    If you haven't had the chance to see this wonderful musical done

    on stage,make a point do do so soon.This show ran off Broadway for 40 years,there's a reason it did.Don't let this movie be the image that comes to mind when you think of The Fantasticks.
  • Ok, maybe it can be argued that it is simply not possible to make a decent film of this wonderful musical. But even given that, one certainly could have done a better job than this. I rate this at the bottom of the pile of stage to screen transfers along with the dreadful Bye, Bye, Birdie and Paint Your Wagon.

    First, why cut "Try to Remember" (the one song that practically everyone knows) from the beginning of the picture (and trim it at the end). It establishes the whole mood of the show - calling the audience to remember back when they first fell in love and the magic of that moment. This show just opens with Bellamy sewing (?)

    Then, because they wanted to make it more like a traditional movie musical, they cut the narrator - and with him went most of the wonderful dialogue much of it spoken in poetry and verse (note the absence of the speech before "Soon Its Gonna Rain"["You wonder how these things begin...]; trimmed down is the "Curious Paradox" speech the most important part being cut out; gone is Louisa's self-description that sets up "Much More" as well as Matt's intro to "Metaphor"; and most important of all the speech opening the second act is gone which explains much of what the story is about).

    Gone also are all the wonderful metaphors (the whole idea behind the song of the same title)that prevade the show - the gardening metaphors are gone (hence why "Plant a Radish" was cut, though one wonders why they left in "This Plum is Too Ripe"); gone also is the metaphor of the wall (one of the most important in the show, leading to the most significant, if not most enigmatic, line in the play "Leave the wall, you must always leave the wall.")

    Not surprisingly the mute is cut, but other characters are changed as well. With the narrator gone, the motive of El Gallo is unclear. Why is he doing these things? Why does he say the curious paradox speech if he is not going to explain why he hurt them (and himself)? Only the part of Henry remains fairly faithful to the original play (even Mortimer is given over to Teller as a non-speaking role). Louisa is played too simperingly sweet rather than as a self-absorbed teenage girl fascinated more with the idea of being in love than actually loving Matt. Her transition at the end (from "I am love" originally in Metaphor to "You are love" at the reprise) makes no sense in this version.

    Yes, most of the songs are there. But they are often trimmed down, replaced with safer songs (like the absolutely horrible "Abductions" replacing the clever "It Depends on What you Pay) or the lyrics are completely rewritten("Metaphor"). I know the arguments for replacing "Depends", but I have directed the show twice and played El Gallo once and have not ever heard a complaint about the song - you simply have to introduce it correctly.

    One wonders why they even decided to film this show if they were going to change it so much. I believe a fairly decent film might have been made if they had stayed with what they had. Instead they decided to go Hollywood with it and the result is nothing like the original story. No wonder it stayed in the can for 6 years before being released. It probably should have stayed there. One big disappointment.
  • because this isn't The Fantasticks that I fell in love with the first time I saw it some 50 years ago and later had the pleasure of performing in on 3 different occasions.

    I avoided watching this movie for many years, mostly because I didn't want to spoil my memories of the play. Recently, however, I found a copy in the local thrift store and thought to myself "why not?" I wish I'd left it in the scratch and dent bin.

    Another reviewer described the stage version as "a bubble balanced on the head of a pin" and that's as good an analogy as any of the fragility of the magical effect the play has on its audiences. This doesn't translate to the film version, not at all. To anyone reading this review: if you've seen and enjoyed a stage production of The Fantasticks but haven't seen the movie, don't bother; if you've seen the movie, but never the stage play, do yourself a favor - see the stage play if ever you have the chance, and also buy the original cast album to learn what the music is supposed to sound like.
  • Let's get the usual remarks out of the way:

    1. I saw "The Fantasticks" on Sullivan Street. 2. I've played Hucklebee. 3. I love the show.

    The movie was OK. Not special; but OK. This will seem egotistical, but it's not: John Corona & I were SO much better than Joel Grey and Brad Sullivan, and that's on a community theatre level. It's not that we were brilliant, but Brad Sullivan was so completely god-awful that Joel Grey (who at least is competent) was completely sandbagged. Why in the name of David Merrick would you cast someone in a major musical part who can't carry a tune in a bucket? I lamented that "Plant a Radish" was cut from the movie until I saw it as a DVD extra. "Oh. That's why they cut it. The singing sucks."

    The young lovers were OK. Jonathon Morris acted wonderfully as El Gallo, danced well... and his singing was OK but breathy. None of the power associated with the role.

    The best ones in the movie were Barnard Hughes as Henry & Teller as Mortimer... so of course their parts were heavily trimmed, prompting the heading on this review. Apparently when Francis Ford Coppola was editing the movie, he was shocked and aghast at Teller speaking. Teller is now silent in the film.

    Some of the changes from play to film are clever, and there is some beautiful photography. But in a musical, without the voices you're sunk.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    A wonderfully cast and colorful film about the wickedness of the world and how, if we are not careful, we can lose not our innocence, which none of us has anyway, but our purity--our holiness. The villain who steps into the lives of the four peaceful people on the plain is at first hard to discern. Is he evil? Is he neutral and only having fun at the expense of the unaware? Or, could it be? Maybe he is actually something like a guardian angel who saves the young couple from ruin by allowing them to see the world from the safety of the stage--as actors playing parts instead of actual victims of real-life thieves, prostitutes, drug dealers, and--in the girl's case--psychic vampires. This one really sets well with me. It is unique--nothing else like it that I am aware of. I'd definitely see it again, and again, and maybe even again.
  • LCShackley8 August 2010
    I can't believe that Jones & Schmidt, the creators of this marvelous bit of theater, were complicit in the creation of this disastrous movie version that cuts the heart out of the original musical.

    If you haven't seen the original, it's performed with very little in the way of props or sets. There's no "back story" for El Gallo, and no real history of the two fathers and their kids. As originally written, this show would not make a compelling movie - although it's a wonderful live event. So I didn't really mind that they opened it up and created an actual "location" for the story to take place, in this case the San Rafael Valley of Arizona, apparently sometime in the Depression. The two families live in quaint little houses in the middle of nowhere. Fine so far. And in order to beef up the chamber-style accompaniment of the play, they hired the wonderful Jonathan Tunick to orchestrate it: probably the best decision made by the producers.

    In order to give El Gallo some background, however, the writers introduce an entire traveling circus that for some reason chooses to set up in a neighborhood containing only four people. It's a little creepy, and more than once reminded me of "Something Wicked This Way Comes."

    The casting is the next problem. Hughes and Teller seem right as the "players." Joel Grey is good as always, but Brad Sullivan is a dud. (Try to picture Bert Lahr and Sterling Holloway in these roles - they were in the 1964 TV version. Now THAT was a cast.) The young couple is OK - Jean Louisa Kelly is charming, and she was about to make a splash in "Mr. Holland's Opus." El Gallo as played by Jonathon Morris, seems to be trying to channel Cary Elwes from "Princess Bride" and has an unimpressive singing voice. Too bad they couldn't have cast Kevin Kline or someone with a real voice as well as charisma.

    So it starts with questionable raw material, then falls apart when they begin trimming songs, creating phony new dialog, and even substituting a lifeless new song for the biggest number of the musical. The lackadaisical approach to the original material spoiled the show.

    If you've never seen "The Fantasticks," please go to see it live, even if it's just done by the local high school. Then you will capture the poetry and simplicity that made this a huge hit off-Broadway.
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