Flint Rep does re-imagined LGBTQIA ‘Fantasticks’ 6/3-19
FLINT, Mich.–The Fantasticks, the world’s longest-running musical, is being produced by Flint Repertory Theatre this summer, June 3 – 19. But there is an unusual plot twist in the Rep’s production that will make theatre history: A fresh new rewrite with an LGBTQIA+ focus by the show’s original book writer and lyricist, Tom Jones, in collaboration with director Michael Lluberes.
This new version of The Fantasticks features two young gay men as the main characters instead of a young woman and man. The Fantasticks premiered off-Broadway in 1960. It tells an allegorical story loosely based on the 1894 play The Romancers (Les Romanesques) by Edmond Rostand, concerning two neighboring parents who trick their children into falling in love by pretending to feud.
“Transforming the boy and the girl into two boys (Matt and Lewis) is an idea I’ve had for a long time,” said the Rep’s Producing Artistic Director Michael Lluberes. “Rethinking the show through the lens of two young gay men reveals so much about first love, identity and self-discovery.”
Lluberes approached Jones with the idea. Jones loved it and wanted to do the rewrite himself.
“I knew that, to be done properly, it would require a lot of rewriting, especially of lyrics. The more I thought about it, the more interesting it seemed. And when I actually began working on it, I became more and more enthusiastic,” said Jones. “I had great fun doing it. I hope people have great fun viewing it.”
“The collaboration has been so exciting,” said Lluberes. “Tom is a theatre legend, and his openness at 94 years old to reinvent this classic show from 1960 in such a fresh way is so inspiring.”
The show’s original off-Broadway production ran a total of 42 years, making it the world’s longest-running musical. It was given a special Tony award in 1991. The show was revived off-Broadway from 2006 to 2017 and has been produced throughout the US and in at least 67 foreign countries.
Flint Rep’s new version of The Fantasticks isdirected by Producing Artistic Director Michael Lluberes (The Boy in the Bathroom), choreographed by Brad Willcuts, music directed by Brian E. Buckner, scenic design by Shane Cinal, costume design by Brandon McWilliams and lighting design by Chelsie McPhilimy.
The Fantasticks cast includes Jason Briggs, Ben Cherry (Indecent), Janet Haley, Diane Hill, Neil McCaffrey (Billy Elliot), Richard Payton, Jeremiah Porter and Catherine Shaffner.
The Fantasticks is sponsored by John P. MacDonald. Tickets are on sale now online and at the Ticket Center box offices at The Whiting and Capitol Theatre or by calling (810) 237-7333.