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July 29, 2014
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arts & leisure

Theatre Beat: “Guys and Dolls” and “The Fantasticks”

"Try to Remember" a longer running musical than The Fantasticks... The timeless classic will be staged by the Sullivan County Dramatic Workshop for six performances - June 15, 16, 17, 22, 23, 24 at the Rivoli Theatre in South Fallsburg. Pictured are Marissa Cohen, left, Christopher Sheridan and Allen Eckers)


Great tunes, plenty of laughs and Runyon’s cartoonish characters all combine to make “Guys and Dolls” a lot of fun, and provide long-time patrons and newcomers alike an opportunity to experience the high octane entertainment that the playhouse has to offer. Since “Legally Blonde, The Musical” is on the docket, I’m looking forward to seeing what the company’s dolls have up their sleeves. This one goes to the guys, hands down.

For reservations, visit www.FBPlayhouse.org or call 845/794-1194.

Over at the Rivoli Theatre in South Fallsburg, the SCDW has produced a favorite rarely seen in the Catskills: “The Fantasticks.” Aside from several familiar songs written by Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt, “The Fantasticks” has the unique distinction of being “the worlds longest running musical” (The show's original off-Broadway production ran a total of 42 years).

A charming story that borrows liberally from Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,”“The Fantasticks” has feuding parents, second-rate actors, a dashing hero and the requisite star-crossed lovers, with a mime thrown in for good measure. Director Sally Gladden takes advantage of the show’s devices-a sparse set and a seemingly bottomless trunk full of props, which gives the production’s glittering score the opportunity to shine.

The cast, Hayley Cosgrove, Jim Sullivan, Marissa Cohen, Chris Sheridan, Allen Eckers, Heather Strauss, Harold Tighe and Mike Washburn, is a bit of a mixed bag, with some performers more on the mark than others. Sullivan’s El Gallo is a subtler rendition of the character than I’ve seen in the past, and a bit more machismo and swagger would have gone a long way, as the character should ooze a sexy, dark demeanor that was missing for me.

The teenaged lovers, Matt and Luisa (Sheridan and Cohen) both have lyrical voices and sounded pretty, but lacked a stage presence that perhaps, comes with maturity. In an interesting twist, the parents (traditionally both fathers) were mom and pop in this version, and director Gladden’s decision to recast worked seamlessly. Straus’ interpretation of Bell was fun and tuneful, which helped elevate Eckers’ efforts to keep up, both musically and comically.

Fantasticks Review

I find that the review of the SCDW’s Fantasticks would have had more merit if the reviewer had stayed passed the first act. In my opinion, if you do not view the entire show, do not review it. If you had stayed, perhaps you might have seen character development or redeeming qualities in some performances. I do not believe a comprehensive review could have been done without seeing the entirety of the show.