COME SEE A SIMPLY FANTASTIC SHOW

It may be a beloved show that set a record as the longest-running play on Broadway, but the Fantasticks doesn't require a bombastic, Broadway-style production. In fact, a sparse staging is truer to the play's origins and a good match for the intimate setting of Moravian's Arena Theatre, says Bill Bauman, who's directing the Moravian College Theatre Company's production. "The show was written for a tiny space," he says. "A lot of the style is based on the space they had for the original production, which was the basement of a building." What makes the show so popular—Bauman says he's received numerous calls from people excited by a chance to see their favorite play gain—is the quality of its storytelling. "It's a love story between a boy and a girl; their two fathers manipulate things to get the two together," he explains. "Its themes are very universal, and there's wonderful, sweet music." And the absence of complicated sets and lavish costumes allows the actors to focus on character. "The students have developed all sorts of background on the relationships between the characters," he says. "It's been a lot of fun to hear them talk about the characters as if they're real." During fall break, some of the cast went to the current off-Broadway performance of the show, and met with their counterparts and one of the play's authors, Tom Jones. Bauman says directing the show has led him to consider it one of his all-time favorites. In fact, he only has one complaint: "There are seven different kinds of confetti used in the show, representing anything from snow to rain to fallen leaves. It's everywhere. And it can be a challenge getting all that stuff off your feet."

The Fantasticks premieres Thursday, November 1, at 8 p.m. It will be performed November 2 at 8 p.m., November 3 at 2 and 8 p.m. and November 4 at 2 p.m. All performances are in Arena Theatre, lower level of the HUB.