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Tom Jones, creator of the longest-running musical 'The Fantasticks,' dies at 95

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NEW YORK (AP) — Tom Jones, the lyricist, director and author of “The Fantasticks,” the longest-running musical in historical past, has died. He was 95.

Jones died Friday at his dwelling in Sharon, Connecticut, in line with Dan Shaheen, a co-producer of “The Fantasticks,” who labored with Jones for the reason that Eighties. The trigger was most cancers.

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Jones, who teamed up with composer Harvey Schmidt on “The Fantasticks” and the Broadway exhibits “110 within the Shade” and “I Do! I Do!,” was inducted into the American Theatre Corridor of Fame in 1998.

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“The Fantasticks,” primarily based on an obscure play by Edmond Rostand, doesn’t essentially have the makings of a success. The set is only a platform with poles, a curtain and a picket field.

The story, a mock model of “Romeo and Juliet,” considerations a younger woman and boy, secretly introduced collectively by their fathers, and an assortment of wierd characters.

Scores of actors have appeared within the present, from the opening solid in 1960 that included Jerry Orbach and Rita Gardner, to stars equivalent to Ricardo Montalban and Kristin Chenoweth, to “Frozen” star Santino Fontana. The present was awarded Tony Honors for Excellence in Theatre in 1991.

“So many individuals have come, and this factor stays the identical — the platform, the picket field, the cardboard moon,” Jones advised The Related Press in 2013. “We simply come and do our little factor after which we cross on.”

For practically 42 years the present chugged alongside on the 153-seat Sullivan Road Playhouse in Greenwich Village, lastly closing in 2002 after 17,162 performances — a sufferer each of a destroyed downtown after 9/11 and a brand new post-terrorism, edgy temper.

In 2006, “The Fantasticks” discovered a brand new dwelling in The Snapple Theater Heart — later The Theater Heart — an off-Broadway complicated within the coronary heart of Occasions Sq.. In 2013, the present celebrated reaching 20,000 performances. It closed in 2017, ending because the longest-running manufacturing of any type within the historical past of American theater with a complete of an astonishing 21,552 performances.

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“My thoughts doesn’t grasp it, in a means,” Jones stated. “It’s like life itself — you get used to it and also you don’t discover how extraordinary it’s. I’m grateful for it and I’m astonished by it.”

Its finest recognized track, “Attempt To Bear in mind,” has been recorded by a whole lot of artists over the many years, together with Ed Ames, Harry Belafonte, Barbra Streisand and Placido Domingo. “Quickly It’s Gonna Rain” and “They Had been You” are additionally among the many musical’s most acknowledged songs.

The lyrics for “Attempt to Bear in mind” go: “Attempt to keep in mind the sort of September/When life was sluggish and oh, so mellow./Attempt to keep in mind the sort of September/When grass was inexperienced and grain was yellow.”

Its longevity got here regardless of early opinions that weren’t too type. The New York Herald Tribune critic solely preferred Act 2, and The New York Occasions’ critic sniffed that the present was “the kind of factor that loses magic the longer it endures.”

In 1963, Jones and Schmidt wrote the Broadway present “110 within the Shade,” which earned the duo a Tony Award nomination for finest composer and lyricist. “I Do! I Do!,” their two-character Broadway musical, adopted in 1967, additionally incomes them a Tony nomination for finest composer and lyricist.

Jones is survived by two sons, Michael and Sam.

“Such an excellent man. I actually adored him,” wrote Broadway veteran Danny Burstein on Fb.


Mark Kennedy will be reached at

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