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Gateway Playhouse presents
The Fantasticks

Book and Lyrics by Tom Jones
Music by Harvey Schmidt
Suggested by the play Les Romanesques by Edmond Rostand

With

STEVE BRADY DAN COONEY NEAL EVERETT
BOB FRESCHI JULIANA
ASHLEY HANSEN
ROBERT R. OLIVER
GEDDETH SMITH NICK SPANGLER
Producer
PAUL ALLAN
Associate Producer
JEFF BELLANTE
General Manager
GALE EDWARDS
Artistic Director
ROBIN JOY ALLAN
Production Manager
BRIAN LOESCH
Company Manager
ERIN KRAUS
Production Stage Manager
CONNIE BAKER
Costume Coordinator
MARIANNE DOMINY
Lighting Design
MARCIA MADEIRA
Scenic Design
KELLY TIGHE

Musical Direction by
ROBERT FELSTEIN

Directed and Choreographed by
MICHAEL LICATA

“TRY TO REMEMBER AND IF YOU REMEMBER THEN FOLLOW... ”

The world of The Fantasticks is indeed an enchanted one. Audiences have been falling in love with this magical show for over 40 years.

Show History The Fantasticks

Induction into the Theatre Hall Of Fame. An Obie. The ASCAP-Richard Rodgers Award. A special Tony. Stars on the Off-Broadway Walk Of Fame. Tom Jones (no, not the Welsh one) and Harvey Schmidt have received just about every accolade there is for their musical, The Fantasticks. But considering its rocky start, no one would ever have predicted it.

Jones and Schmidt met at the University of Texas in 1950, where they were majoring in theatre production and commercial art, respectively. They collaborated on a revue, called Hipsy-Boo!, directed by a friend, Word Baker. The three toyed with the idea of making a musical from Edmund Rostand's play, Les Romanesques. After college, Schmidt and Jones continued writing songs, even mailing each other tapes during their service in the Korean War. Upon discharge, they moved to New York where Schmidt became a successful commercial artist at NBC-TV's new color department, and Jones scraped together jobs directing and teaching. After having several addresses they rented a West Side apartment where Schmidt still lives today.

The two authors envisioned their show as a big budget, Oklahoma! style Broadway musical, then in vogue. It was to be titled Joy Comes To Dead Horse, set on two adjoining ranches, one Spanish, one Anglo, complete with live horses on stage! Rostand's souffle of a play could not support such grandiose treatment, and Schmidt and Jones repeatedly failed to make the concept work.

Meanwhile, Word Baker had accepted a job directing a student production of three one-act plays, to be overseen by actress Mildred Bannock at Barnard College's 1959 summer series at Minor Latham Playhouse. He went straight to Jones and Schmidt's apartment and offered them the chance for Joy Comes to Dead Horse to be produced - provided they could turn it into a one-act. The authors jumped at the challenge and threw out everything they had written except one song - "Try To Remember" - and wrote the basis of what would become The Fantasticks in only three weeks.

By the night of the first dress rehearsal, a handful of producers were interested in seeing the show, including a mysterious man dressed completely in white who insisted on seeing that particular rehearsal. Jones and Schmidt despaired - the leading lady had laryngitis and bruised ribs, making both dancing and singing impossible, they weren't ready for the pressure of an audience. The man in white, Lore Noto, assured them he knew all about rehearsals, and after seeing the show told them he would bring it to Off-Broadway - provided they develop it into a more salable two-act show, and that they would keep him out of all the artistic decisions! "He said, 'I'll step in if you have a disagreement, but I want you to have creative control.' That's what made us go with him," Jones has said.

The intimate Sullivan Street Playhouse was booked, but backers were slow to commit funds and the creative team auditioned actors in their apartment. The original cast eventually included three other U of Texas alumni, and a friend of Baker's - a 24 year old Jerry Orbach. Baker, Jones and Schmidt encouraged the cast to contribute ideas as they rewrote the show and created the second act. Ed Wittstein, whom Schmidt had met at NBC, came onboard as all-purpose designer - he would serve as costumer, set designer, prop master and lighting designer. Despite the fact that nearly everyone connected with the production had bought shares, and Noto had sunk his life savings into the show, it was still short $4000. Sheldon Miles Baron saw a notice that Noto was producing a new show and called to audition. When he learned the show was short money, he and his producing partner, Dorothy Olim, who ran the summer stock theatre Saranac Lake Comedy and Mystery Theater, saw the show and invested, despite Olim's reservations. With a budget of less than $1500 for set and costumes, Wittstein created a minimal, traveling-show style set with little more than a platform, a ladder, and a plywood cut-out moon. He raided the NBC costume shop for bits and pieces for El Gallo, the fathers, and the Old Actors, and used yards of China silk he'd kept from a Barnard production of Pericles. The title came from the original English translation of Rostand's play, which Schmidt was drawn to because of the distinctive extra K. Even the logo was an in-house creation - after looking at five choices of typeface, the creative team went with the spiky, unusual design that became so highly identified with The Fantasticks - it was Schmidt's own handwriting.

Baker held the first public preview at midnight on April 23, 1960, so that New York's working actors could come see it after their shows. Although it was a smash that night with the theatre community, opening night suffered flop sweat. The audience, made up of critics, friends, and backers, was ominously quiet. Someone fell asleep and began snoring loudly. Charles McHarry, critic for the Daily News, left apologetically at intermission after his inebriated female companion had complained loudly throughout the first act that she didn't understand the show. The second act seemed off-kilter and curtain calls were tepid. Despite this, the reviewers didn't pan the show.but they didn't rave either. They were so lukewarm that Noto was advised at the opening night party to consider closing the show - The Fantasticks would be competing for ticket buyers with Gypsy (starring Ethel Merman), Once Upon A Mattress (starring Carol Burnett), The Music Man, My Fair Lady, and A Raisin In The Sun. Noto, however, believed in his tiny musical, and vowed to scrape together more money to keep it running. The first three months were dicey, with the show losing money steadily, sometimes there were no more than four patrons in the audience. But word of mouth developed as fans like Ann Bancroft used their influence to help The Fantasticks find its audience. Noto also took the unusual step of going on abeyance, moving the entire show to East Hampton's Guild Hall for an eight-show run, because "the right people will see it." He was right - people who wouldn't dream of slumming down to the Village gladly went to the Hamptons for the show and equally gladly spread the word upon returning to the City. In the next four months, the little-show-that-could earned back its entire investment.

Amazingly, once it got its footing, the show ran, and ran, and ran. It has been staged more than 11,000 times in more than 2000 cities in every U.S. state. It has been exported to more than 67 countries. Over the more than 40 years it ran at Sullivan Street Playhouse, its cast has included Glenn Close, Liza Minnelli, Richard Chamberlain, and Ricardo Montalban. It finally closed, in January 2002, after 17,162 performances, making it the world's longest running musical.

Those connected with the show continued in successful careers, although nothing else ever achieved the magic and serendipity of The Fantasticks. Olim became president of ATPAM, the press agents and managers' union. Baron gave up showbusiness for sculpting under the name S. Miles Baron. Baker was in demand around the world as a director, although he never worked with Schmidt and Jones again. Schmidt and Jones wrote other shows, including I Do! I Do! and 110 In The Shade, both produced on Broadway. Noto attempted another production, based on The Yearling, but when it failed, he devoted himself entirely to The Fantasticks, even playing Hucklebee some 6,000 times. He tried to close the show in 1986, but his fellow backers refused to allow it and he retired. The man whose vision and belief in The Fantasticks kept the project alive, died a few months after the show closed in 2002, as if they could not exist without each other.

Cast of Characters
(in order of appearance)

El Gallo - DAN COONEY*
Luisa - JULIANA ASHLEY HANSEN*
Matt - NICK SPANGLER
Hucklebee - STEVE BRADY*
Bellomy - BOB FRESCHI*
Henry - GEDDETH SMITH*
Mortimer - ROBERT R. OLIVER*
The Mute - NEAL EVERETT
* members of Actors' Equity Association

STEVE BRADY (Hucklebee) is quite pleased to be making his Gateway Playhouse Debut. finally! Attempts at theatrical glory include The National Tour of The Exonerated, with Lynn Redgrave and Robin Williams; Enigma Variations with Donald Sutherland in Toronto; and String Fever (Helen Hayes Nomination) at Theatre J, in Washington DC. He's also had hours of crossword puzzle time at Cincinnati Playhouse, Wilma Theatre, Papermill Playhouse, Charlotte Rep., Irish Arts Center, Arden Theatre, Mill Mountain, Provincetown Playhouse, Allenberry and others. Exciting television appearances include Law & Order, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Law & Order: Haven't We Seen This?, Seinfeld, Late Show with David Letterman, Spin City, Beverly Hills 90210 and more. Steve lives in New York City with his rabbit-eared television and life size poster of John Wayne.

DAN COONEY (El Gallo) is very happy to be back at The Gateway Playhouse where he was last seen as Bill Sykes in Oliver! Broadway: Les MisÚrables. Off-Broadway: The Thing About Men, Once Around the Sun, Under the Bridge. Nat'l Tours: the First National Tours of Les MisÚrables and Frank Wildhorn's The Civil War, Evita (Che), Fiddler on the Roof (Perchik). Regional: Never More (Poe, Signature Theatre) World Premiere, Measure for Measure (Lucio, Yale Rep.) Company (Peter, the Kennedy Center); The Last Five Years (Round Table Rep.); Carousel (Billy) at Connecticut Rep; Evita (Che) at Papermill Playhouse, the Muny, Theatre Under the Stars, Gateway Playhouse; Jesus Christ Superstar (Judas, Maine State Music Theatre), (Herod, Gateway Playhouse). Dan is a 1999 graduate of the Yale School of Drama.

NEAL EVERETT (The Mute) is from Los Angeles, CA where he is an aerial artist. He has appeared in several shows for various circus theaters which include Eye of Newt Circus and Cirque Berzerk, where he directed A Circus Cabaret. He is also a coach and choreographer for aerialists and contortionists. Neal has appeared onstage as an actor and dancer in productions of A Chorus Line, Swan Lake, Carmina Burana, and more. Neal has also made numerous appearances on film and television to include Terminator 3, The Storyteller, Star Trek Enterprise, and Will and Grace. He recently choreographed the aerialists for AT&T's newest commercial campaign. Neal holds a BA in Dance and Biology from the University of Arizona.

BOB FRESCHI (Bellomy) has appeared on Broadway in The Most Happy Fella, Abe Lincoln in ILLinois (Lincoln Center), Me and My Girl, Little Me, The 1940's Radio Hour, the original Annie, Irene and most recently 70 Girls 70 at City Center ENCORES. Bob has performed in regional theatres throughout the country including the Doolittle Theatre in L.A., Goodspeed Opera House, Yale Rep., Coconut Grove Playhouse and Kennedy Center. Some favorite roles include Senex in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Max in The Sound of Music, Herbie in Gypsy and Papa in Meet Me in St. Louis.

JULIANA ASHLEY HANSEN (Louisa) Juliana is thrilled to be making her Gateway Playhouse debut in The Fantasticks, a role she has long dreamt of playing! Later this summer, she'll be playing the role of Belle in Disney's Beauty and the Beast at Forestburgh Playhouse. Between 2003-2004 Juliana entertained audiences across the country in Thoroughly Modern Millie - 1st National Tour (Millie u/s, Gloria), in which she performed the title role several times. Other favorite credits include Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz (Sacramento Music Circus and CLO SouthBay), Ariel in Footloose (Stages St Louis), Jennifer in Paint Your Wagon (Music Circus), Kim MacAfee in Bye Bye Birdie, Kitten in Last Dance (AEA Workshop) and Mary Lennox in The Secret Garden, for which she won a Dramalogue Award. When she's not performing in musical theatre, Juliana can be seen playing guitar and rocking out across the country with Bruce in the USA - a Vegas based Bruce Springsteen Tribute band. She can be heard on numerous recordings for Fynsworth Alley and LML Music, including Everyone Has a Story, Unsung Schmidt and Jones, Sondheim - a Stephen Sondheim Album and New Guy in Town (produced by Bruce Kimmel). She can also be heard as lead dinosaur Ali in The Land Before Time IV and had the pleasure of working with Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz on Disney's Pocahontas. Juliana wishes to thank everyone at Abrams Artists, Bruce Kolb, and God, and she dedicates this show to her wonderful parents in California - the first show they'll not be able to attend.

ROBERT R. OLIVER (Mortimer) is a veteran of Off-B'way and has appeared in its two longest-running hits-Tony n' Tina's Wedding, and The Fantasticks (which he also taped for Lincoln Center Archives). With more than 70 productions to his credit, Robert has performed on radio, television, film, cruise ships, dinner theaters, tours, etc. Some of his favorite roles are Pete in Girl Crazy (with Lorna Luft), Hysterium in A Funny Thing. Forum (for which he received a Carbonell Award Honorable Mention), and Doolittle in My Fair Lady, among others. Watch for him in the upcoming feature film "LBS" which premiered at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival.

GEDDETH SMITH (Henry) was last seen at the Gateway Playhouse as Mr. Lundie in Brigadoon. He recently played Merryman in Sir Peter Hall's production of The Importance of Being Earnest at BAM. Broadway: Waiting in the Wings, Alice in Wonderland, The Imaginary Invalid, Tonight at 8:30, A Touch of the Poet. Off Broadway: Irish Repertory Theatre (Philadelphia, Here I Come, The Shaughraun, Shadow of a Gunman). Regional: Cleveland Playhouse (Otto Boltzman in world premiere of Restoring the Sun), Geva Theatre Center (Matt Haffigan in John Bull's Other Island), Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey (John of Gaunt in Richard II), Huntington Theatre Company (Elder Piper in The Sons of Ulster); also Hartford Stage Company, Walnut Street Theatre, Philadelphia Drama Guild, et al. in a wide variety of parts, over fifty of them in Shakespeare's plays. Television: Man Without a Country, Milligan, Blue Hotel, among others. Affiliate Artist with the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble and the author of two biographies of 19th century American actors: The Brief Career of Eliza Poe and Thomas Abthorpe Cooper, America's Premier Tragedian.

NICK SPANGLER (Matt) is currently earning his B.F.A. in musical theatre at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. A native Californian, Nick's past credits include: Bat Boy in Bat Boy: The Musical, Zack Morris in Saved by the Bell: The Musical, Sparky in Forever Plaid, Tommy in The Who's Tommy, and Riff in West Side Story. In his upcoming final year at NYU, Nick is excited to have been cast as Jamie in Jason Robert Brown's The Last Five Years.

PAUL ALLAN (Producer) has been involved in theatre since before he can remember. In the early days of Gateway, he spent his summers following around his grandfather who had his hands full trying to make ends meet - running a theatre in the 60's. Paul grew up here, looking forward to each summer and being able to do more each year. By the time he was a teenager he was beginning to take charge of maintaining this 7 acre complex as well as becoming an integral part of the back stage crew. In the 80's as a young Gateway producer, Paul spent part of the winter months working in NY on many off-Broadway shows - serving as technical supervisor, production manager, and/or show carpenter. At the same time he cofounded a touring company whose shows traveled throughout the US and other countries worldwide. The set rental company was also founded at this time and Gateway scenery is constantly being trucked to various theatres across the country. The main focus, though, is still the productions he produces here for our patrons. This season began with his 158th production, as well as a new generation of producer added to the Gateway Family; Paul's first son, Luke.

MICHAEL LICATA (Director/Choreographer) is delighted to be making his directorial debut at the legendary Gateway Playhouse. After a twenty-five year career as an actor, which included Sweet Charity and Evita on Broadway and The Fantasticks Off-Broadway, he embarked on a career as a director. His directing credits include The Most Happy Fella, My Fair Lady, Guys and Dolls, Chicago, Jekyll and Hyde, The Music Man, Carousel, Sweet Charity, Fiddler on the Roof, Lend Me A Tenor, South Pacific, Shear Madness, The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940 and The Man Who Came to Dinner, The King and I, Oklahoma, Gypsy, Same Time Next Year, Driving Miss Daisy, Rags, Man of La Mancha and My Way. Most recently, he directed The John Jakes adaptation of A Christmas Carol at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, Anne Meara's After-Play at the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia, Miss Saigon, the national tour of Stand By Your Man, The Tammy Wynette Story. Michael is grateful for the love and support of his better half Lorelei. He dedicates his work to the memory of his Father, Joseph P. Licata.

ROBERT FELSTEIN (Musical Director) is delighted to be back at Gateway, where over the past years he has music directed Pippin, Oklahoma! and Forbidden Broadway. He has performed in Broadway pits and music directed over 50 Equity productions at theatres around the country. With Bravo Broadway! concerts, he has the pleasure of performing as pianist-conductor with many of the finest and best-known singers of music theatre. Show Music magazine, reviewing Robert's most recent CD, the first cast recording of the classic musical Foxy, said, "Music director Robert Felstein's piano playing makes the listener forget there is no orchestra". His original works include a musical Orpheus in America written with well-known playwright Robert Patrick and, most recently, The Ghosts of Rowan Oak, a musical based on William Faulkner ghost stories with a book by Michele Rittenhouse, produced earlier this year. He is active as a vocal coach and a pianist in NYC, and is on the faculty of the Hartt School of the University of Hartford.

ROBIN JOY ALLAN (Casting and Artistic Director) has been the Casting Director at Gateway for the last twelve years. Four years ago, she became the Artistic Director at Gateway which includes not only several Manhattan excursions to cast all productions, but involves planning advertising strategies for all productions, hiring creative staff, designing season ads, posters and booklets, overseeing artistic aspects of each production, costumes, sets and wigs, overseeing Children's Theatre, beautifying the Gateway property from choosing paint colors for actor housing, to adding new perennial floral additions to the Gateway landscape. Prior to moving back home into the wonderland setting of her childhood, she did thrive in Corporate America, spending five years in Los Angeles, casting several TV pilots, MOW's and feature films. You'll find her name on the feature films; Parenthood, When Harry Met Sally, Lord of the Flies, Side Out and Ghost. Along with her Artistic and Casting Director duties, she is the force behind Gateway's Acting School Division, where she teaches the advanced classes. This is her most impassioned work. Her daughter Hayley, inspires her every day. She hopes her effort is good enough to honor her family, and their amazing effort all these years to bring theatre with integrity to Long Island.

MARCIA MADEIRA (Lighting Designer) is pleased to design her 18th production for Gateway Playhouse. Her favorites are: Sugar, 42nd Street, On The Town, Swing, Jesus Christ Superstar, Forbidden Broadway, West Side Story, The Will Rogers Follies, and The Wizard of Oz. Recently she designed her fourth ice show for Royal Caribbean, Freedom Ice.com for the new largest cruise ship in the world, Freedom of the Seas; Guys and Dolls directed and choreographed by Daniel Pelzig at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre, in Florida. She received a Tony nomination and won the Drama Desk Award for Nine directed by Tommy Tune with Raul Julia. Other Broadway designs include My One and Only with Tommy Tune and Twiggy; Marilyn, An American Fable with Allison Reed and Scott Bakula; and The Music Man with Dick van Dyke. Off- Broadway designs include: Side by Side by Sondheim at the Dicapo Opera Theatre; Cloud 9 directed by Tommy Tune; Privates On Parade with Jim Dale and Simon Jones directed by Larry Carpenter, choreography by Daniel Pelzig; and The Transposed Heads at Lincoln Center, written and directed by Julie Taymor.

CONNIE BAKER (Production Stage Manager) is thrilled to be returning to Gateway Playhouse, where she was Stage Manager for the Holiday Spectacular 2005 at the Patchogue Theatre. She recently was Stage Manager of I Love You, You're Perfect at the Carousel Dinner Theatre, where she's also served as PSM on Footloose, A Chorus Line, Anything Goes & Smokey Joe's Cafe. Other credits include the 2005 Elan Awards in NYC honoring Susan Stroman, as well as the 2004 Elan Awards, the Off-Broadway show NEWSical, Penguin Rep, Actor's Fund HAIR at the New Amsterdam and Broadway Cares Nothing Like A Dame at the Marquis in NYC. She is married to John Sabo, mother of Kristine Ogena, and a proud member of Actors Equity Association. Many thanks to Paul and Robin Allan for this opportunity.

KELLY TIGHE (Scenic Designer) Off Broadway: Almost Heaven. Regional: Aida, Cats, The Full Monty, and Jesus Christ Superstar (Gateway Playhouse); Beauty and the Beast, Grease, Titanic, The Who's Tommy, My Fair Lady (Contra Costa Musical Theatre); Annie, Kiss Me Kate, Joseph/Dreamcoat (Ohio's Carousel Dinner Theater); West Side Story, The Scarlet Pimpernel (Diablo Light Opera Co.); Around The World In 80 Days, The Pavilion, Picasso at the Lapin Agile (Center Repertory Co.); The Laramie Project, A Midsummer Nights Dream (PPAS/ NYC). Mr. Tighe served as the resident Scenic designer for Western Michigan's Cherry County Playhouse (The Music Man starring William Katt and Josie DeGuzman, and the world premiere of Will's Women starring Amanda McBroom), as well as Center Rep in the San Francisco Bay Area. Television: Sunday Night Woah! (starring Mo Rocca) for Animal Planet as well as several spots for Verizon, Kit Kat, Disney, and the Oxygen network. Awards and recognitions: Northern California's "Shellie", Drama-Logue, and the S.F. Bay Area's Outer Critic's Circle. Kelly resides in New York City.

MARIANNE DOMINY (Costume Designer) is happy to be designing yet another Gateway Production. Past Gateway credits include Godspell, Twist & Shout, Jesus Christ Superstar, and The Full Monty (Mainstage), Sweeney Todd (Acting School), and many Gateway Children's Theatre productions. In the past Marianne has also served as Props Mistress and Stage Manager. She loves being part of the artistic staff at Gateway and would like to thank Matthew Gerakaris for his support and inspiration-and Gale Edwards for thinking of me 14 years ago. XO to all my 4- and 2-legged friends.

STEVI VAN METER (Assistant to the Director): Stevi Van Meter's Broadway credits include Timon of Athens and Sinatra, His Voice, His World, His Way. Regional credits include Anytime Annie in 42nd Street; My One And Only; Mame; Bubbling Brown Sugar with Diahann Carroll; Damn Yankees with Tony Randall, and Will Rogers Follies. Stevi has done numerous independent films as well as national commercials and can be seen in many MTV videos, including C&C Music Factory's "Sweat", "Things That Make you Go Hmmm"and "Here We go, Lets Rock and Roll." She was assistant choreographer for Showtime's The Red Shoe Diaries; Damn Yankees in Hilton Head, South Carolina, and the 2005 Season aboard the Queen Elizabeth 2. Stevi has been a Radio City Rockette for the past 11 years. She is thrilled to be making her debut at the Gateway Playhouse and thanks the amazing cast and crew for their wonderful support, with very special gratitude and deep appreciation to Michael Licata for making this marvelous opportunity possible. Lots of love to my Mom, my brother in Iraq, as well as my dear friend, Casey, for believing.

Musicians

Conductor / Piano - ROBERT FELSTEIN
Harp - SALLY FOSTER
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