THE FANTASTICKS Shines Bright in the Moonlight of West Palm Beach
Palm Beach Dramaworks made great use of their new space on Clematis Street in downtown West Palm Beach with a fresh production of the world's longest running musical "The Fantasticks" on Friday night. This beautifully designed and crisply-performed version breathed new life into an aging show with such high potential to miss the mark. However, director J. Barry Lewis wisely reminds his audience that there is much more to this love story; that there lies a great deal of complexity amid its simplicity. ...This strong company of actors...tells the story with the honesty and integrity necessary to highlight the darkness lurking underneath the surface. Jim Ballard's El Gallo is just the right amount of creepy and his smooth voice makes his "Try to Remember" hard to forget. It was a pleasure to see a dancer in the role of Luisa. Jennifer Molly Bell does a great job of making complete sense out of the childlike character, and Jacob Heimer is an unapologetic and vibrant Matt with a spark of boyish charm. Barry Tarallo and Cliff Goulet are a joy to watch as the comic pair of fathers whose cleverly staged duets have you tapping your toes. ...While the performances were excellent, this production's success was in large part due to its creative team. A purposefully bare stage was smartly designed by Michael Amico... Craig Ames' beautiful blend of voice, piano and harp is immediately noted during the opening, and John Hall's lighting comes alive in "Round and Round" ... This top-notch production is proof that Palm Beach Dramaworks is creating quality and worthwhile theatre in South Florida.