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Tom Jones Revises The Fantasticks for a LGBTQIA Production

Flint Repertory Theatre will put two men at the center of the coming-of-age love story.

Tom Jones, lyricist and book writer of The Fantasticks, has revised portions of the musical for the Flint Repertory Theatre production.
(© Allison Stock)

Flint Repertory Theatre will produce a revised version of the iconic musical The Fantasticks this summer, running from June 3-19. With rewrites by the show's original book writer and lyricist, Tom Jones, the production will have an LGBTQIA focus, featuring two men as the story's central romantic pair.

The Fantasticks, which premiered off-Broadway in 1960 and ran for 42 years, tells an allegorical story loosely based on the 1894 play The Romancers (Les Romanesques) by Edmond Rostand. With music by Harvey Schmidt, the plot follows two neighboring parents who trick their children into falling in love by pretending to feud.

Flint Repertory Theatre's producing artistic director Michael Lluberes, who conceived of this new version, will direct the production, with choreography by Brad Willcuts, music direction by Brian E. Buckner, scenic design by Shane Cinal, costume design by Brandon McWilliams, and lighting design by Chelsie McPhilimy.

The Fantasticks cast includes Jason Briggs, Ben Cherry, Janet Haley, Diane Hill, Neil McCaffrey, Richard Payton, Jeremiah Porter, and Catherine Shaffner.

"Transforming the boy and the girl into two boys (Matt and Lewis) is an idea I've had for a long time," said Lluberes. "Rethinking the show through the lens of two young gay men reveals so much about first love, identity and self-discovery."

"I knew that, to be done properly, it would require a lot of rewriting, especially of lyrics," said Jones, now 94 years old. "The more I thought about it, the more interesting it seemed. And when I actually began working on it, I became more and more enthusiastic. I had great fun doing it. I hope people have great fun viewing it."

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