By KAITLYN CONNELLY
WESTERN CAROLINA UNIV.
CULLOWHEE – “The Fantasticks,” the world’s longest-running musical, will bring a steampunk-styled allegory about deceit, disillusionment and devotion to Western Carolina University’s John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center on Sunday, April 27, at 5 p.m.
Narrated by bandit El Gallo, the romantic musical follows the lives of young Matt and Luisa as their fathers con the pair into becoming lovers. The fathers, Mr. Hucklebee and Mr. Bellomy, believe their fake feud will only bring their children closer together. Ultimately, the couple’s disillusionment causes them to discover a deeper, more matured love.
The production features WCU School of Stage and Screen alumnus Peter O’Neal, a 2013 graduate, in the role of Matt.
Steampunk is a literary genre that focuses on industrialization, steam-powered machinery and post-apocalyptic settings. Steampunk works often feature futuristic technologies based on Victorian culture and style. Famous steampunk works include “Sherlock Holmes,” “Wild Wild West” and, most recently, “Hugo.”
Of the steampunk style incorporated in the WCU adaptation of “The Fantasticks,” Paul Lormand, director of the Bardo Arts Center, says, “It seems like the allegoric-quality can blend with the fantasy, giving it a quasi-period feel and making for a stronger statement than ‘The Fantasticks’ usually gets. Steampunk seems to lend itself to this story by finding beauty among the broken pieces.”
Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt wrote “The Fantasticks,” and the musical made its debut off-Broadway in 1960 in New York City’s Greenwich Village. The production was performed 17,162 times before closing in 2002; however, the Snapple Theatre Center in New York revived the musical in 2006. The show, which includes classic songs such as “Try to Remember” and “Soon It’s Gonna Rain,” is performed all over the world today.
Lormand said he believes this adaptation will “provide an unparalleled experience, whether you are revisiting this show or seeing it for the first time.” The stop at WCU is the final performance of a 65-city national tour produced by the Nebraska Theatre Caravan, he said.
Ticket prices are $20 for adults; $15 for WCU faculty and staff; and $5 for students and children. For tickets or additional information, contact the Bardo Box Office at 828-227-2479 or go online to bardoartscenter.wcu.edu.
The production, the final show in WCU’s 2013-14 Galaxy of Stars Series, is sponsored by Bear Lake Reserve and Holiday Inn Express.