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San Miguel Playhouse to Stage The Fantasticks, the World’s Longest-Running Musical


By Fredric Dannen

When Barnard College theater students Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt created The Fantasticks in 1959, they had no idea that it was going to set a record as the world’s longest-running musical. But after the play opened at the Sullivan Street Playhouse in New York City in May 1960, it continued running for the next 42 years.

It’s not hard to understand why, with a score including songs that have become standards, such as “Soon It’s Gonna Rain,” “Try to Remember,” and “I Can See It.” The show is often celebrated for the aspiring young actors it has over the years turned into stars: Jerry Orbach, Liza Minelli, Elliot Gould, F. Murray Abraham, Glenn Close, and Kristin Chenoweth.

San Miguel de Allende celebrity, actor, and director Jim Newell has played El Gallo, the mysterious bandit who doubles as the musical’s narrator and central character, at the Sullivan Street Playhouse. Since October 2014, when he cofounded the San Miguel Playhouse, Newell has had a longing to stage The Fantasticks.

The hour is at hand: Newell will recreate his role of El Gallo in a San Miguel production of The Fantasticks at the Playhouse. He will also direct. The production is rounded out by Peggy Powell as assistant director and choreographer, Susan Varcoe as musical director, and Moises Alzuro as assistant musical director. The outstanding cast includes Ginna Acosta, Rodrigo Demian, Fil Formicola, Tomás Burkey, Howard Bach, and Henry Vermillion.

The Fantasticks is a romantic story with swashbuckling action and heavy dollops of comedy. Matt and Luisa are young next-door neighbors in love, their homes separated by a wall because their fathers are enemies. The feud is a reverse-psychology ruse created by the fathers, secretly friends, to abet their children’s plans to marry. The fathers hire the bandit El Gallo to abduct Luisa so Matt can heroically rescue her. The gambit works perfectly until there are unforeseen consequences. In the end, the young lovers are shorn of their starry-eyed fantasies, but their love is intact.

Two talented young Mexican actor/musicians, Ginna Acosta (The Language Archive, Last of the Red Hot Lovers) and Rodrigo Demian (Long Day’s Journey into Night, The Madres, Kiss of the Spider Woman), play Luisa and Matt.

Tickets are 400 and 350 pesos, on sale at Boleto City, Mercado Sano, Ancha de San Antonio 123, Monday through Saturday, 11am to 5pm; or online at; or at the theater starting one hour before each performance.

“Moonlight is expensive, but it’s in demand,” says El Gallo, in The Fantasticks, a musical with book and lyrics by Tom Jones and music by Harvey Schmidt. The whimsical line comes directly from the musical’s source, a French play called Les Romanesques by Edmond Rostand.



The Fantasticks

Starring Ginna Acosta, Rodrigo Demian, and Jim Newell

San Miguel Playhouse

Av Independencia 82

Thu–Sat, Aug 15–17 and 22–24, 7pm

Sun, Aug 18 and 25, 3pm


400 and 350 pesos

Boleto City, Mercado Sano


Tickets also at the door one hour before showtime



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