Love Story Musical for Valentine’s Season

SOCORRO, N.M. February 5, 2014 – Make plans to celebrate Valentine’s Day in a fantastic way, with a gourmet dinner and a steampunk version of the longest-running musical in history, when New Mexico Tech’s Performing Arts Series presents “The Fantasticks” on Wednesday, Feb. 12.


The Nebraska Theatre Caravan presents a steampunk rendition of 'The Fantasticks' on Feb. 12 at Macey.


Begin the evening with a social hour and dinner at 5:30 p.m. in New Mexico Tech’s Macey Center Galena Room hosted by Tech Club-Club Macey. Then enjoy a simple, romantic comedy about a boy, a girl, their meddling fathers and the wall that divides them. The performance will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Macey Center Auditorium. (Tickets for the dinner and the show are sold separately.)

The Nebraska Theatre Caravan will offer two free workshops for aficionados of singing and theater as part of their visit to Socorro: “Making Music” for singers and choral students at 10 a.m. in the Macey Center Annex and “Introduction to Theater and A Glimpse Backstage” at 3 p.m. in the Macey Center lobby. All are welcome.  

“This version of The Fantasticks is based on the original script and music, but with steampunk costumes and set pieces, which is very cool for New Mexico Tech,” said Series Director Ronna Kalish.

Steampunk is defined as a genre of science fiction that typically features steam-powered machinery rather than advanced technology, and can refer to fashions from that time period.

“The trend tends to blend modern styles with a Victorian flavor, such as corsets, petticoats and bustles, suits with vests, city-coats, top hats and spats, or military-styled clothing,” Kalish said. “Steampunk is hugely popular, and this is first the Performing Arts Series event to showcase the style.”

The Fantasticks, written by Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt, opened off-Broadway on May 3, 1960, at the Sullivan Street Playhouse in New York City’s Greenwich Village with the late Jerry Orbach – most recently of Law and Order fame – in the leading role.

The musical went on to play a record-breaking 17,162 performances before closing on Jan. 13, 2002, making it the world’s longest-running musical and the longest continuously running  production of any kind in the U.S.

Nebraska Theatre Caravan, a veteran touring company, is producing this version of The Fantasticks as part of a 65-city national itinerary. The production utilizes Jones’s and Schmidt’s alternate version of the song, “It Depends on What You Pay,” which replaces controversial words with alternative lyrics, for entertainment appropriate for the entire family.

The basic plot begins with two neighboring fathers who trick their children, Luisa and Matt, into falling in love by pretending to feud. The fathers hire traveling actors to stage a mock abduction, so that Matt can heroically “rescue” Luisa, ending the supposed feud.

However, when Luisa and Matt discover the deception, they reject the arranged love match and separate. Each then gains disillusioning experiences of the real world, seen in parallel fantasy sequences. They return to each other bruised but enlightened, and they renew their vows with more maturity. The result is a timeless fable of love that manages to be nostalgic and universal at the same time.  

People will recognize songs from the production, many of which have become classics, such as “Try to Remember,” which was covered by a wide range of singers from Frank Sinatra to Bobby Darin; and “Soon It’s Gonna Rain,” recorded by Duke Ellington and Barbra Streisand, among others. The song was even chosen by an American Idol top finalist.

Director Carl Beck, costume designer Georgiann Regan and scenic designer Jim Othuse are to be credited for this fresh, new steam punk adaptation of the classic musical, which promises to provide an unparalleled experience, whether you are revisiting this show or seeing it for the first time.

Of the steampunk concept, Beck said, “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.”

He added that the story is not being re-written or changed in any way. Outside of the costumes, set and props, this show is, in its entirety, the original.

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

The Performing Arts Series has named The Fantasticks as this season’s Betty Clark Memorial Platinum Inaugural Endowment concert. Other sponsors are Wells Fargo, WESTAF, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New Mexico Tech Graduate Student Association, the University’s Student Government Association, and Super 8.

Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for seniors and $10 for youth, and are available at the Tech Cashier’s Office, Brownbilt Shoes and Western Wear, Burrito Tyme Drive-up or at the door.               

– NMT –

By Valerie Kimble/New Mexico Tech

            Tech Club-Club Macey is hosting a Valentine’s Dinner on Wednesday, Feb. 12, in the Macey Center Galena Room featuring a choice of two entrees – roast stuffed leg of lamb or herb-roasted cornish game hen (a vegetarian option is available upon request.)

            A social hour begins at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 6 p.m.

            The dinner precedes a performance of The Fantasticks at 7:30 p.m., sponsored by the Performing Arts Series at New Mexico Tech.

            Tickets for the dinner, which are being sold separately from the concert, are $25 for members of Tech Club-Club Macey, and can be purchased through Auxiliary Services in the Fidel Center, Macey Center or the Performing Arts Series office at Macey Center.

            Cost is $25 for members of Tech Club - Club Macey and $30 for non-members. For additional information, please call 575-835-5050 or the PAS office at 575-835-5688.