...the heart is hollow." Anybody? Who knows the reference? C'mon, somebody?
I hope that little snippet of lyric took a few of you back in your memory to one of the most charming of shows, The Fantasticks! I love The Fantasticks. I really do. And I have never seen it on Broadway, in fact I have never seen a live performance. (Why is that?) I do own the movie on DVD that was made a few years ago, celebrating the longest-running Musical in New York City, working on 50 years right now and certain to be around much longer.
Why? How can a little simplistic show with only a handful of characters and minimalist set keep drawing people in, night after night, year after year?
Its message is universal and it offers something for all ages to identify with. While at face value it appears pretty straight forward and basic, beneath the surface it offers a richness of philosophy, and its greatest calling card, I think, is an unforgettable score. The music is entrancing, hummable, simply beautiful, and in some ways even haunting. The songs of The Fantasticks have become a part of me. They often replay in my head, lifting me with hope, allowing me to wallow in sadness sometimes, and helping me to remember that through trials come strength of character and strength of love.
It employs a common device. The end of Act One appears to be the "perfect ending". We could all go home then thinking, 'Wasn't that nice? I love happy endings.' Of course, as in life, the 'happily ever after' is usually premature. The real struggle comes with a few doses of reality. Things aren't always as bright and shiny as we hope. Tarnished by challenge, the real beauty of life eventually surfaces.
For those not familiar with this show, find a way to acquaint yourselves. For those that already love it, I hope this little reminder will help you to hum a new song today, one that you haven't thought of in awhile. Try to Remember...