category: Campus News

C-N Theater debuts The Fantasticks

photo credit: Helen Donahue

Carson-Newman University’s theater program continues the 2022-23 season with The Fantasticks, the captivating off-Broadway tale that has delighted audiences since it first opened in 1960 at the Sullivan Street Playhouse in New York’s Greenwich Village, starring Jerry Orbach. Written by Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt, the commedia dell‘arte inspired masterwork is a landmark of the musical theatre genre.

With a record-setting run of 42 years and 17,162 performances, “Try To Remember” a time when this romantic charmer wasn’t enchanting audiences around the world. At the heart of The Fantasticks’ breath-taking poetry and subtle theatrical sophistication is a purity and simplicity that transcends cultural barriers. The result is a timeless fable of love that manages to be nostalgic and universal at the same time.

Loosely based on the 1894 play The Romancers (Les Romanesques) by Edmond Rostand, The Fantasticks is a funny and romantic musical about a boy (John Sofield), a girl (Katherine Sweat), and their two meddling fathers (Sydney Parman and Alicia Reeves) who try to keep them apart. Employed by the fathers to help end the fake feud, El Gallo (Zac O’Connor) enlists the help of two aged Shakespearean actors (Helen Donahue and Ramsey Martin) who are comically up to the task.

With its minimalist approach, The Fantasticks is an intimate show that engages the audience’s imagination as they are asked to follow the narrator into a world of moonlight and magic—cleverly and whimsically created throughout the highly stylized production by The Mute (Sarahgrace Triplett). The moving tale of young lovers who become disillusioned, only to discover a more mature, meaningful love is punctuated by a bountiful series of catchy, memorable songs. 

The production is directed by Kyle Biery, associate professor of Theatre with musical direction by Dr. Joshua Zink, assistant professor of Music. Performances are Oct 27-29 at 7:30 p.m. and October 30 at 2 p.m. Reserved seating costs $12 adults, $10 seniors 60+ and $5 students with tickets available by visiting the theatre tab at

The Fantasticks is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International, New York with all authorized performance materials also supplied by MTI (

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