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111 of 121 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Fantasticks: Try to Remember...
It was the spring of 1960. Dwight D. Eisenhower was the President, and Senator John F. Kennedy had yet to squeak by VP Richard Nixon in a to become President. Elvis Presley had recently been discharged from the U.S. Army. The average American's annual salary was around $4800, and minimum wage was $1.00 per hour. Cadillac had lowered their high tail fins. Elizabeth Taylor...
Published on September 2, 2002 by John Williamson

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bought it because I saw the original play MANY years ago.
This was a bit of nostalgia for me because I say the musical some 45 years ago. Maybe not quite as dramatic as it seemed at the time, though, b ut a couple of good songs.
Published on September 7, 2011 by joereno


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111 of 121 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Fantasticks: Try to Remember..., September 2, 2002
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This review is from: The Fantasticks (Original 1960 Off-Off Broadway Cast) (Audio CD)
It was the spring of 1960. Dwight D. Eisenhower was the President, and Senator John F. Kennedy had yet to squeak by VP Richard Nixon in a to become President. Elvis Presley had recently been discharged from the U.S. Army. The average American's annual salary was around $4800, and minimum wage was $1.00 per hour. Cadillac had lowered their high tail fins. Elizabeth Taylor won an Oscar for her performance in Butterfield 8. The first manned space flight wouldn't take place for another year.

The formation of the Peace Corps was a year away as well. Gary Powers was shot down in a U2 spy plane over the Soviet Union. Barbie dolls had just been introduced the year before. The Flintstones were almost five months away from their premiere. The Beatles hadn't even cut their first single record, and there were no Russian missiles in Cuba. Osama bin Laden was only three years old. The World Trade Center wasn't even on the drawing board yet.

But in early May, a small band of actors entered the Sullivan Street Playhouse, a tiny 150-seat theater in Greenwich Village, to perform a beautiful, romantic little musical about a boy, a girl and the pains of young love.

The week that The Fantasticks opened on its sparse stage, it was suggested to producer Lore Noto that he close the show. It suffered from mixed reviews, and the ticket sales could have been better. He decided to try and keep the show running for awhile, to the relief of the relatively unknown cast members. One of these was a young actor with a rich baritone voice named Jerry Orbach, who played the role of El Gallo, the narrator. He imagined that the show could well succeed if it had time to develop a following.

"I thought it could run for like five years," Mr. Orbach recently recalled.

It ran for thirty-seven years beyond that then-optimistic estimate.

The Fantasticks featured music by Harvey Schmidt and lyrics by Tom Jones, who began writing musicals together when they were students at the University of Texas. It became the longest running musical in the world and the longest running show of any kind in the history of the American theater.

But on Sunday evening, January 13th, 2002, after 17,162 performances, The Fantasticks did what few thought possible: it made its final bow.

Lyricist Tom Jones told those who offered their sympathies, "You can't be sad for a show that has run forty-two years, " as he and composer Harvey Schmidt greeted the closing night crowd. The final performance was delayed for nearly a half hour late as the show's former cast members, many who hadn't seen each other in years, held tearful reunions in the aisles and largely disregarded the ushers' attempts to get them to stay seated. Among the attendees were the original "Girl" Rita Gardner, original "Mortimer" George Curley, Oscar-winner F. Murray Abraham, who had played one of many El Gallos throughout the run, and set/costume designer Ed Wittstein.

The timing of its closing is particularly moving, given the horrible deaths of other lasting New York City monuments in the past few months. The message of The Fantasticks proved to be dissonantly significant in the days after the September 11th terrorist attacks. The opening words of Tom Jones' lyrics could have been written that very week:

Try to remember the kind of September
when life was slow and oh, so mellow.
Try to remember the kind of September
when grass was green and grain was yellow.
Try to remember the kind of September
when you were a tender and callow fellow.
Try to remember and if you remember
then follow...

It's been noted often that there were quite a few handkerchiefs wiping tears from the eyes of the patrons in the theater when this song was performed during those performances last September and into the fall.

On Sunday night, there probably wasn't a dry eye in the house, either.

Don't miss this excellent remastering of the 1960 off-off Broadway original cast recording. Simply put, it's superb.

9/2/2002
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When less gives more, June 5, 2000
This review is from: The Fantasticks (Original 1960 Off-Off Broadway Cast) (Audio CD)
If a show opens in 1960 and is still running after about 16,000 performances, one can reasonably assume it is a good show in every sense of the words. Standing on the other pole (so to speak) from the current run of Broadway's visually rich/musically barren spectacles, <The Fantasticks> is a charming little work designed for a basement production and so perfect that many have seen it several times, especially when friends come in from out of state. In fact, when they wanted to close it at last, the neighborhood would not let them!
So I don't have to sing the praises of this classic, which has been available for many years on the original cast LP. Now the Good News is that it has been made available in a "re-mastered, completely repackaged edition," as the press release expresses it on the Decca Broadway label (314 543 665-2). So sit back and enjoy once more the voices of Jerry Orbach, Kenneth Leson, Rita Gardner, William Larsen, Hugh Thomas, and all the others in this anti-spectacular with good dialogue, decent lyrics, and (Heaven be praised) lovely melodies. (And give the Rostand play, "The Romantiques," a read too. It is lovely.)
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastick! (pardon the pun), June 28, 2000
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This review is from: The Fantasticks (Original 1960 Off-Off Broadway Cast) (Audio CD)
THE FANTASTICKS is my favorite show. The simplicity of the show, and some of the most beautiful music written, has kept this show playing sine 1960.
I was glad to see the remaster of the original cast recording. Having purchased the Japanese tour, I was disappointed in some of the portrayals, and I'm glad to hear the original performers on this recording.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is more than any metaphor will ever ever be., April 21, 2000
From the first staccato notes of the solo piano to Jerry Orbach and company urging us to "Try to Remember" this is a classic CD. The music and lyrics, though possibly a little odd at first, is witty, whimisical, clever, smart, and beautiful. This is one of the few cast albums of a show in which there is not a single bad song. The performances do nothing but enhance the music. This simple little show, which has been running off-Broadway for over thirty years, is well represented with this CD. Thirty years of audiences can't be wrong, and they aren't. This is a wonderful recording of a wonderful show. I gureente you will not be dissapointed.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the GREATS!, July 20, 2006
This review is from: The Fantasticks (Original 1960 Off-Off Broadway Cast) (Audio CD)
Still holds up as one of the best stage scores ever. I've seen it in NY several times, a friend of mine was the musical director/pianist for several years. Never tire of it. Every song a gem and just about my all time favorite song is They Were You. A masterpeice.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jerry Orbach Was One of the Best!, January 3, 2005
By 
Alan Rockman (Upland, California) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Fantasticks (Original 1960 Off-Off Broadway Cast) (Audio CD)
While I did know that Mr. Orbach was a very talented Broadway star before he became the very cynical curmudgeony Lenny Briscoe on "Law and Order" I never knew that he was one of the first to do "The Fantasticks" or that his was the rich voice behind one of the most loved songs of the past century, "Try to Remember"...

Broadway singer, dancer and star and Drama hero, Jerry Orbach did it all.

"Lenny", we will remember, and we'll never forget you, Jerry Orbach. Rest in Peace.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love Jerry, March 7, 2006
By 
wiz (Bucks County, PA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Fantasticks (Original 1960 Off-Off Broadway Cast) (Audio CD)
Our regional theater, Bristol Riverside Theater, Bristol, PA had just presented a great rendition of the show and I was encouraged to purchase the original soundtrack. The pleasure of hearing Jerry Orbach some 45 years ago is priceless. The music and the voices are grand. Anyone who saw Jerry in Promises, Promises or Chicago or 42nd Street would really enjoy this soundtrack. May he rest in glorious peace.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars MOSTLY GREAT, WITH ONE EXCEPTION, July 31, 1999
By 
Ron M (Texarkana, Texas) - See all my reviews
"The Fantasticks" is a great play, and this is a great CD with one exception. The songs are wonderful, but Rita Gardner has to have the SHRILLEST voice around! I have to turn down the volume every time she sings! "Metaphor" and "Soon It's Gonna Rain" are two beautiful songs, but when she gets wound up, it ruins the mood of the songs. What was this woman thinking when she sang like that? I wonder if her mike was turned up too loud or something like that...on the plus side, Jerry Orbach's voice is something to be experienced. And, the "Plant A Radish" song is a favorite with my kids. My suggestion is to buy the CD and skip Rita's songs or else TURN DOWN THE VOLUME when she sings!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastck!!!!, August 2, 2001
This review is from: The Fantasticks (Original 1960 Off-Off Broadway Cast) (Audio CD)
I have seen the play, i actually work in the crew, i was the stage manager and i loved this show, it's amazing! the romanticism, the moods, enough to make you cry. And it is a pleasure to hear it over and over again... Try to remember... Understand and feel the joy and sadness of those two lovers... Amazing!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The Fantasticks". Still a hit ., March 16, 2006
This review is from: The Fantasticks (Original 1960 Off-Off Broadway Cast) (Audio CD)
This cd has all the qualities of a musical that can be listened to over and over again.The songs are crisp and clean.The music is timeless.The story line is universal.Two young lovers trying to

find their way in a complicated world.Two fathers who want only the best for their children.One anti-hero who manipulates them all.

The songs could have been sappy or too sentimental but,instead

run the gammet from hysterical to very romantic.I highly

recommend this cd to everyone.
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The Fantasticks (Original 1960 Off-Off Broadway Cast)
The Fantasticks (Original 1960 Off-Off Broadway Cast) by Harvey Schmidt (Audio CD - 2000)
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