The Steampunked Fantasticks

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Fantasticks1This is just a hunch, but I suspect that some steampunks may enjoy musical theatre. For them, the Nebraska Theatre Caravan is touring a steampunk-inspired staging of The Fantasticks. Chicago-area productions swing through in March 2014.

The Fantasticks is the longest-running uninterrupted musical. Its off-Broadway premiere was on May 3, 1960. It continued for 42 years and 17,162 performances, closing on January 13, 2002. Based on “The Romancers” by Edmond Rostand, two fathers feign a feud in order to bring their children, Luisa and Matt, together. The ruse works in Act I, but in Act II, things appear different in the light of day.

The book and songs of authors Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt remain consistent, but the production designs are derived from steampunk. Director Carl Beck explains, “It’s not an intrusive concept. 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.”

“It’s classical simplicity,” he adds. “It’s not a contemporary character tale. It’s about a boy who is overly in love with a girl. [Their] fathers are trying to keep them together by pulling them apart…. Steampunk seems to lend itself to this story by finding beauty among the broken pieces.”

The Nebraska Theatre Caravan production of The Fantasticks makes several stops in Chicagoland.

March 5: Doudna Fine Arts Center, Eastern Illinois University, 600 Lincoln Avenue, Charleston, IL

March 8: Prairie Center For the Arts, 201 Schaumburg Court, Schaumburg, IL

March 9: Rialto Square Theatre, 15 E. Van Buren Street, Joliet, IL

March 15: Fermilab’s Ramsey Auditorium, Wilson Hall, Batavia, IL


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1 Comment.

  • 1 Larry Frievalt Mar 5, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    Call the Box Office at 847-263-6300 and use the password STEAMPUNK and get buy one get one free tickets to the Fantasticks on March 7th at 7:30pm.

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