Tom Jones, lyricist and librettist of the beloved musical The Fantasticks, is giving this musical a makeover. Jones has rewritten his musical with the help of collaborator Michael Lluberes. Lluberes serves as Producing Artistic Director at Flint Repertory in Michigan where the reimagined classic will premiere. The non-profit theater company will present the musical from June 3rd through the 19th.
The Creation of The Fantasticks
The co-creator, Harvey Schmidt, passed away in 2018, but his legacy with Tom Jones lives on. Announced on Playbill.com, “[t]he LGBTQIA+ focused rewrite features two young gay men, Matt and Lewis, at the center of the story, instead of a young man and woman (the original characters were Matt and Luisa).” Actors Jeremiah Porter and Neil McCaffrey will play Matt and Lewis, respectively.
The Fantasticks is loosely based on a play called The Romancers which was written by Edmond Rostand in 1894. According to Broadway.com, the Jones and Schmidt musical holds the record for the world’s longest running musical as it premiered in 1960 in New York’s Sullivan Street Playhouse before closing in 2002.
LGBTQIA+ Representation and Looking Ahead
Seeing this record-breaking and cherished musical reimagined centering an LGBTQIA+ story shows audiences how far we have come since 1960. When audiences can imagine timeless stories in new ways, it opens doors for other classics to keep innovating within the greater Broadway community. This adaptation/reimagination is a (small) step in helping expand the diversity of Broadway’s stories. This ultimately helps the theatrical medium to become more reflective of the world around us.
To see a story originally written before the twentieth century showcasing queerness in 2022 is truly remarkable. It is easy to forget how far we’ve come, especially considering the fight for LGBTQIA+ rights is far from over. But for now, we celebrate this story and queer representation.
Find ticket information and more here.