© Dave Mathieson - Amherst Daily News
The Fantasticks, a Showcase Production, is running three nights at the Susan Taylor Theatre at ARHS. Show time is 8 p.m. Starring in the musical is (from left) Jacob Sicheri as Hucklebee; Holly McArthur as Mute; Veronica Trenholm as Neptune, Hannah Melanson as Luisa; Fisher Goldie, also as Mute; Connor Somers as El Gallo.
AMHERST – How do you get two teens to fall in love? Just tell them they cannot, under any circumstances, be together.
“The show is about two father’s who pretend to hate each other so their children will fall in love,” said, Janice Melanson, the producer of The Fantasticks.
The Fantasticks is a Showcase Productions Society musical running three nights, beginning Thursday at 8 p.m., at the Susan Taylor Theatre at Amherst Regional High School.
The cast has been rehearsing the play since mid-August and ran through the entire show three times during final rehearsals over the weekend.
“The cast is very dedicated,” said Melanson. “For 15 and 16-year-olds they’re doing a great job. It’s going to be a fabulous show.”
The Fantasticks is a coming-of-age story, and is the world’s longest running musical.
It ran off-Broadway for 42 straight years, from 1960 to 2002.
The show re-opened in 2006, and is still running at the Jerry Orbach Theatre in New York City.
Asked how to describe The Fantasticks, Melanson said, “It leans more towards a love story with a splash of comedy.”
Melanson said part of the plays appeal is its timelessness and simplicity.
“It’s based on old-type stories, such as Romeo and Juliet, and other story’s that have been played since time immemorial,” said Melanson. “Often musicals are set in different periods but this play can be set in any period. We choose to set it in the period it was written, in the 1960s, but it could be played in any time.
“And this play has a fairly simplistic set. It’s one set with all the props on stage, and they have one basic costume that gets changed around at times,” she added. “That simplicity is why this show has had such a long run.”
Melanson has been with Showcase production in different capacities but this is the first play she has produced for the society.
She said it has been a great experience.
“I read the script the first day and I’ve been to all the rehearsals and I’m still chuckling, so the audience can expect some good times,” said Melanson. “I can’t speak for every musical theatre-goer, but I’m just looking to have a good time.
“This play has chuckles with a little bit of seriousness and there’s fantastic singing,” she added. “There’s something for everyone in this play.”
The Showcase Productions Society is celebrating more than 20-years of community theatre in Amherst.
Showcase has handed out in excess of $100,000 in scholarships and sponsorships to students in Cumberland County over the past 20 years.
“You don’t have to be part of Showcase to receive a scholarship,” said Melanson.
The Fantasticks starts Thursday and runs until Saturday. Showtime is 8 p.m.
Tickets are available at the door, or at McCully Market in downtown Amherst or at Gordon’s Ladies Wear at the Amherst Centre Mall.