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Student Production Preview: The Fantasticks

The world’s longest running musical, The Fantasticks, arrives at College Prep this Saturday at 7 pm! Adapted and directed by Alice Woo (‘17), this show will feature the hard work of seven actors, three pianists, three techies, and one director.

At first glance, The Fantasticks appears to be a simple love story as characters Matt and Luisa fall in love despite the wall their feuding fathers build between their gardens. After ensuing chaos, the story becomes more complex during the second act, where Matt and Luisa reevaluate their desires, departing from the traditional “happily ever after” theme.

On her choice for the production, Alice Woo (‘17) says, “I love the show, and in concept it is fairly simple. It fits our needs perfectly because it has a small cast of characters, and the music does not require a full orchestra.” Although Alice’s version of the musical retains the majority of the original musical’s lines and music, some parts of the songs and monologues had to be trimmed or cut completely. She explains, “we needed to trim most of the deadweight in order to get a tighter, more succinct show. In addition, because the show is actually from the 60s, we needed to culturally update it a little bit, For example, in the original, the word “rape” was used freely as a synonym for abduction. We’ve taken out all instances of that potential trigger word. I also cut the bit where one character portrays an Indian, complete with a headdress and tomahawk. Luckily, lines like, ‘Indians are off left!’ are easily adapted to be more PC.”

After these modifications, the production was ready to be rehearsed. Enlisting a cast, accompaniment, and techies was no easy feat. Scheduling for rehearsals was even harder. The cast met during breaks, lunches and free periods starting the week before winter break. After-school rehearsals for the production only began this week. With limited time to rehearse with one another, the cast and pianists had to spend a large amount of time practicing on their own. “It’s been a lot of fun in short little increments,” Alice comments. “We’ve rarely been all together as a complete cast, which had me worried about building the bonds that are normally a part of being in a show with friends. But in this week leading up to the show, we’ve really started putting everyone’s scenes and songs together and it’s been great.”  

Matthew Rosenberg (‘17) remarks on the unique experience of being a part of the show, “I really enjoy the smaller feel of the production because we have the ability to focus on our specific parts and songs during each rehearsal, and Alice can give us very direct feedback. I love doing the school musical, but it’s a nice change of pace to do a small-ensemble piece.” With the small cast size comes a smaller scale production, in this case characterized by a limited number of set changes and minimal costuming. As a result, Alice was able to focus more on the development and the perfection of the music in the show. One of the pianists, Stuti Bansal (‘16), describes the music as, “excellent – it’s really difficult to play, or at least my parts are, but the sound is incredible and the singers do a marvelous job.”

Although The Fantasticks was originally planned to have a small reveal, interest in and knowledge of the production has grown within the past few weeks. In response to this, Alice says, “honestly, I expected it to be a smaller deal than it’s turned out to be. But now, after seeing just how much effort has gone into this from everyone involved, in terms of actors, pianists, techies, scheduling, rehearsing, problem solving, and practicing, I think it deserves some recognition. A lot of time from a lot of people has gone into it. I’m happy with the way the process has gone.”

So, where will you be on Saturday night at 7 pm? I’m not sure about you, but I’m planning to be at the Buttner Auditorium, enjoying the hard work of the extremely talented actors, pianists, and techies who have spent countless hours on College Prep’s very own adaption of The Fantasticks. As Matthew Rosenberg puts it, “it’s sure to be (dare I say it?) fantastic.”

With the involvement of all four classes, the production draws upon the talents of the following students:


Matthew R ’17

Abbie J ’19

Jacob M ’18

Sofi S ’16

Anthony Z ’18

Sofia B ’16

Hank S ’17


Oliver R ’18

Stuti B ’16

Nikhil P ’16


Jack R ’17

Risa S ’16

Josh T ’17

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