'The Fantasticks' is one fantastic show

Final weekend for musical at Sutter Street Theatre
By: Review Don Chaddock, Telegraph Managing Editor
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Sutter Street Theatre’s version of “The Fantasticks” is a night of entertainment well worth the price of admission. From the songs to the acting to the minimalist set, this musical offers it all. This is the final weekend for the play, running at 8 p.m. Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday. Comedy, tragedy, despair, love and hope are themes that underscore this otherwise basic tale of a boy and a girl and their love for each other. The story begins with the introduction of characters by El Gallo (Ryan Adame), who acts as a sort of narrator in this tumultuous tale. According to director Connie Mockenhaupt, the play started in 1960 at a theater about the same size as Sutter Street Theatre. “Originally, this was meant to be a big Broadway production with horses and cowboys,” she said, looking over her shoulder at the quaint stage behind her before the play began. “Boy, am I glad they changed their minds.” According to Mockenhaupt, “The Fantasticks” is the longest running musical in the world, having hit the stage the first time in 1960 in New York. She said it ran for 42 years there and has since been produced all over the globe. The story follows the forbidden love of Luisa (Emily Kelly) and Matt (Nick Adorno) and the rocky relationship between their fathers, Hucklebee (Mike Jimena) and Bellomy (Steve Read). The strong vocal talents of lead actors Kelly, Adorno and Adame clearly allow this show to take flight. The tale delves into the glow of falling in love, the blemishes of marriage and the heart of redemption and regret. All the lead actors turned in strong performances. Mortimer (Brady Tait) and Henry (Allen Schmeltz) provided comic relief throughout the production. Kelly, 16, is a shining star in this production, going from a dreamy “girl next door” to a world-tripping cynic relishing in the pain and misery of others (thanks to El Gallo’s spell). Her dancing skills are put to the test, which are equal to the task since she studies at Hawkins School of Dance in Folsom. Kelly is a junior at Bella Vista High School in Fair Oaks. Adorno’s voice and acting are superb. Some theatergoers might recognize him from his role in “Forever Plaid - Plaid Tidings” and “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.” Adame’s sheer presence is enough to warrant a mention, but combine that with his villainous velvety voice and you have a standout. Cian, my 12-year-old son, said his favorite character was The Mute (Holly Wilson). He recognized her from her role in “Sleeping Beauty.” Probably one of the more challenging roles in the play, 19-year-old Wilson must react with facial expressions to what’s happening around her. The other characters in the play acknowledge her presence, even going so far as to ask her the occasional question, to which she responds with shrugs. Wilson is a Folsom Lake College student. Sutter Street Theatre regular Tait’s antics on stage during a mock death scene left my 11-year-old daughter Parker in stitches. Tait is home schooled, has bronze medals in fencing and archery and is taking college courses through Brigham Young University. Her favorite actor was Kelly, she said, because she loved the dancing sequences. The two dads, played by Jimena and Read, are worth watching. KNOW AND GO “The Fantasticks” When: 8 p.m. Saturday, 4 p.m. Sunday Where: Sutter Street Theatre, 717 Sutter St., Folsom Admission: $23 for General Admission, $21 for seniors and SARTA members, $18 for students, $15 for children Information, reservations: (916) 353-1001 Rating: 5 out of 5 stars THE CAST Ryan Adame Emily Kelly Nick Adorno Mike Jimena Steve Read Holly Wilson Allen Schmeltz Brady Tait BEHIND THE SCENES Rishanne Baldridge, piano Kaitlyn Avery, stage manager Mike Jimena, set design Colin Hoyt, lighting design Eileen Beaver, costumes Jennifer Blair, board operator Dylan Gray, spot operator Susan Mason, vocal assistance