Show History



The Fantasticks is loosely based off of Les Romanesques by French dramatist, Edmond Rostand, more famously known as the playwright of Cyrano de Bergerac. The plot draws from several romantic stories, including the story of Pyramus and Thisbe from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Schmidt and Jones initially tried to make the story about two ranches, one Anglo and one Spanish, but were forced to throw everything away after facing an early deadline.

Elements of the original production drew from various sources. The role of El Gallo as omniscient narrator came from the use of an "invisible" Property Man in the Chinese Theatre. The choice to use the actors in a commedia dell'arte style came from a City Center production of Goldoni's A Servant of Two Masters. Jones was also greatly inspired by Shakespeare's poetry and tried to use his notions of verse, ending couplets and a unifying image.


The Fantasticks, with music by Harvey Schmidt and book and lyrics by Tom Jones, was originally written as a one-act play that premiered at Barnard College for one week in August of 1959. Once reworked, it then moved to New York and opened on May 3, 1960, at the Sullivan Street Playhouse in Greenwich Village. The original cast included Jerry Orbach, Rita Gardner, Kenneth Nelson and librettist, Tom Jones, under a pseudonym. The show's original production ran until January 13, 2002, having performed an astounding 42 years and over 17,000 performances.

Due to popular demand, an Off-Broadway revival of The Fantasticks opened in August 2006 at the Snapple Theater Center in New York City and continues to run.