Coming to Bedford Hills Stage: A ‘Fantastick’ Show

The magic and mystery of The Fantasticks, the longest running show in the history of modern American theater, will grace the Bedford Hills stage on March 4, 5, 6, 11, 12 and 13 when Bedford Community Theatre presents the classic fable.

Experienced director, artist and photographer Tristan Pope leads this production with Elizabeth Gerbi providing musical direction.

“The magic of the theater is truly at its finest in this play,” said Pope, who won an Emmy Award for his work on the animated TV series South Park. “The true magic of The Fantasticks is that even as we age and perhaps, use our imaginations less, this show frees us to ‘let go’ and the play takes on a life of ‘your own,’” he said.

The ensemble cast includes Jeffrey Hernandez as El Gallo, Sophie Milkes as Luisa, and Joe Copolla as Matt. The two fathers will be played by John Thompson and Blake Rowe. Gene Pope is Henry, the old actor, and Austin Galvin plays Mortimer. Jennie Leclere, as the Mute, rounds out the cast.

The imagined nature of the play requires bold, expressive work by the actors. Experienced fight choreographer, Denise Hurd, will teach stage combat sequences and elaborate sword play encounters for El Gallo, Matt and other characters.

“Good fight choreography is defined by believability,” Pope said. “It’s important to get the motions and moves lined up so that you watch it, not as a choreographed fight, but a brawl you might see out on the street.”

This local production is getting a touch of off-Broadway as well. Janice Noto-Helmers, daughter of Lore Noto, original producer of The Fantasticks, lives nearby and is sharing her knowledge of this historic show with the cast and production team.

“Her stories stretch over the 40-plus years this show first ran in New York,” said co-producer Laurie H Lewis. “She’s an amazing resource and her first-hand accounts and insights are inspirational.”

In addition, Blake Rowe, who plays Luisa’s father, Bellomy, in the BCT production has a family connection to the play. His father, Hansford Rowe Jr., played the role of Matt’s father, Hucklebee in the off-Broadway show in 1965.

The Fantasticks marks the first time Bedford Community Theatre will be producing three shows in a calendar year.

“We’re thrilled to be bringing this classic musical to our local stage,” said Lewis. “Our performance space at the Bedford Hills Community House offers an intimate and charming venue for this beguiling piece of theatre,” she said. “We plan to conjure up a bit of stage magic in March— a perfect opportunity for people to revisit this well-loved show or share it with those of the current generation who may not have been lucky enough to see The Fantasticks during its 45-year run on Sullivan Street.”

Tickets are $20 and can be reserved by calling the BCT box office at 914.244.0474, or by e-mailing bctonline@optonline.net (subject line: Fantasticks Tickets). The ticket cost of $20 includes a base ticket price of $18 and a $2 surcharge for BH Community House rental costs. Further information, including directions to the theater, can be found at www.bedfordcommunitytheatre.org.

Performances are Friday, March 4 and Saturday, March 5 at 8 pm; Sunday, March 6 at 3 pm; Friday, March 11 and Saturday March 12 at 8 pm, and Sunday, March 13 at 3 pm.

Bedford Community Theatre is a community-based, self-funded theater company that operates in cooperation with the Town of Bedford. The Fantasticks is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI Inc.).

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