Become an aficionado of theater by seeing ‘The Fantasticks’ at Ocala Civic Theatre

Jack Petro
Jack Petro

Just for the record, there is no such word as Fantasticks.  But that did not stop this very light musical from running in New York for 42 continuous years, an all-time record.  Its most memorable songs are “Try to Remember” and “Soon It’s Gonna Rain.”

“The Fantasticks” is a fairy tale. If you do not accept that from the get-go, the show is totally boring.  All the magical essentials for the tale are present:  A love story, exaggerated characters that interfere with or aid the lovers, and a happy ending.

The Mute (Megan Brown) nicely fills in slow spots, provides help with props, and symbolically makes a fence with a stick.   In other plays, The Mute feigns making a fence with building blocks. Ocala Civic Theater’s Mute is in a black costume with some faux leather parts that reflect the stage lights—a distraction.

Voices of the young lovers Luisa (Shannon Guinn) and Matt (Joseph Campfield) are more than adequate for this play. Their fathers, Hucklebee (Tom Ferreino) and Bellomy (Brian Watson) are friends.  They want their respective offsprings to marry, but reason that if they could pretend to be against the romance, the youngsters would rebel and come closer together.

El Gallo is the narrator in the spotlight. Daryl Champine needs to climb one step higher to reach cockiness of the “The Rooster,” the Spanish translation.

The tableau at the ending of Act I and beginning of Act II are a total delight.

If you want to become an aficionado of theater, you need to have a night with “The Fantasticks” in your resume.  That opportunity exists now at the Ocala Civic Theatre at a reasonable price. The show runs Thursdays-Sundays through Feb. 26. For further information visit their Web Site at

Villager Jack Petro reviews local theater for