The Fantasticks is a 1960 musical with music by Harvey Schmidt and lyrics by Tom Jones. It tells an allegorical story, loosely based on the play The Romancers (Les Romanesques) by Edmond Rostand, concerning 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 seem to save Luisa, ending the supposed feud. When the children 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 show's original off-Broadway production ran a total of 42 years and 17,162 performances, making it the world's longest-running musical. The musical was produced by Lore Noto. It was awarded Tony Honors for Excellence in Theatre in 1991. The poetic book and breezy, inventive score, including such familiar songs as "Try to Remember," helped make this show so durable. Many productions followed, as well as television and film versions. The Fantasticks has also become a staple of regional, community, and high school productions virtually since its premiere, with approximately 250 new productions each year. It is played with a small cast, two- to three-person orchestra and minimalist set design. Among many revivals, the show re-opened off-Broadway in 2006. As of 2010, its original investors have earned 240 times their original investments. The musical has played throughout the U.S. and in at least 67 foreign countries....LESS