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'Fantasticks' opens as first theater-in-the-round show

Carly Evan Hughes (Luisa) and Justin Gregory Lopez (Matt) rehearse a song. Carly Evan Hughes (Luisa) and Justin Gregory Lopez (Matt) rehearse a song.

"The Fantasticks," the world's longest running musical, opens Thursday and runs through May 11 at the Flat Rock Playhouse Downtown.


Part of the Playhouse's "Season of Laughter and Love," the musical tells the story of two neighboring fathers who trick their children, Luisa and Matt, into falling in love by pretending to feud.
The fathers hire traveling actors to stage a mock abduction, so that Matt can heroically seem to save Luisa, ending the supposed feud. When the children discover the deception, they reject the arranged love match and separate. Each then gains disillusioning experiences of the real world, seen in parallel fantasy sequences. They return to each other bruised, but enlightened and they renew their vows with more maturity.
Sponsored by The Cliffs, the show marks the first the Playhouse will perform completely in the round. It uses elaborate riggings and "old time theatre tricks" that play to the strength of the musical.
Directed by Playhouse Producing Artistic Director Vincent Marini, the musical stars Maria Buchanan, Preston Dyar, Justin Gregory Lopez, Carly Evan Hughes, Ryan Hilliard, Richard Gang, Peter Gosik, Chris Allison and Kelley Hinman.
Performances will be 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Matinees are 2 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $40 and can be purchased by calling the Playhouse box office at 828-693- 0731, toll-free at 866-732-8008 or online at The Playhouse Downtown is located at 125 S. Main Street.