Crowds Saw Fresh Faces and Fond Farewells
By Leah Morrison
“The Fantasticks,” New York City’s longest running Broadway show, continued to excite audiences at East Stroudsburg University’s Dale Snow Theater this past weekend.
The story, directed by Dr. Margaret Ball, followed two mothers, next-door neighbors, who pretend to feud with each other and build a wall between their gardens.
The mothers had been plotting to arrange a marriage between their son and daughter, Matt and Luisa, and initiated the feud to disguise the plot. Upon the first act, it seemed as though the mothers could pull it off.
However, the show gets more complicated when Matt and Luisa find out. They grow bored of each other, and realize that the other isn’t as perfect as they had thought.
Matt leaves to find himself, and El Gallo steps into the picture romancing Luisa.
After exciting and dangerous dancing scenes, Luisa and Matt find their way back to each other, and live a happy ending.
Opening night was a landmark for the cast and crew, asTom Jones, the writer and lyricist of “The Fantasticks,” was in attendance. Though the pressure was on, the performance went smoothly.
Several performances throughout the run were quickly sold out. The small cast size as well as the small theater size really enhanced the performance and got the audience engaged.
The live music greatly contributed, as it is something less commonly used in ESU productions.
The harpist and pianist complemented each other and filled the theater and set the mood for each scene.
Two separate casts performed the show, one cast for the matinee show and one cast for the evening show. Both casts included many new faces to ESU’s theater organization, adding fresh, new talent to the already established group.
Sam Kashefska, a freshman at ESU, made his debut with his lead role as Matt during the evening showing.
As a Fantastick, Kashefska showed his ability to act, sing and dance on center stage, and to say he did a fantastic job would be an understatement. It was clear that he belonged on the stage as he radiated confidence and owned the spotlight.
Kashefska is a musical theater major, and you can expect to see much more from him throughout his upcoming years at ESU.
Another freshman, Tim But win, made a second-time debut at ESU as Matt during the matinee showing.
This major role showcased a side of Butwin different from his previous role in Jackie & Me. Also a theater major, you will be sure to see more from him in future productions. For Jenna Worrell, also making a second debut at ESU, this performance gave her great exposure.
Worrell, a freshman, played Mortimer at every showing with both casts.
Mortimer, the handyman with hilariously dramatic dying scenes, is a small but impactful part of the play, and Worrell certainly delivered.
Dying is “one of her specialties,” she said, as she gave the audience a laugh with each drawn-out collapse to death. Sadly, this show marked the end of an ESU theater career for Katie Reardon.
Reardon played Luisa during the evening showing, marking the last role she will play at ESU.
“Getting the opportunity to play Luisa for Tom Jones was a once in a lifetime experience!” she exclaimed.
“‘The Fantasticks’ was such an incredible show and it was a privilege to be able to perform with such a talented cast and crew.”
Reardon will graduate in May with a degree in English and say goodbye to ESU’s theater group, as she moves on to bigger and better things.
“The theatre department has become my second home over the past three years and performing on the ESU stage for the last time was certainly sad,” she said.
“I am beyond grateful for all the memories, experiences, and opportunities the theatre department has provided me with.”
The productions don’t stop with this one, though, and you can expect more to come from ESU’s theater group this spring!
“For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf” will come to life April 19-23 in the Smith- McFarland Theater in the Fine and Performing Arts Center.