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Patty Holley (Luisa) and David Brown (Matt) on either side of the “wall” built by the characters’ fathers in “The Fantasticks.” Photo by Peggy Blackburn
Patty Holley (Luisa) and David Brown (Matt) on either side of the “wall” built by the characters’ fathers in “The Fantasticks.” Photo by Peggy Blackburn

Depot debuts ‘The Fantasticks’

Published 9:04am Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Wetumpka Depot Players’ latest delightful production debuted Thursday evening. “The Fantasticks” – America’s longest-running off-Broadway musical – features familiar songs and a charming and talented cast that captivate audiences.
The tale begins with neighboring fathers who trick their children, Luisa and Matt, into falling in love by pretending to feud. The meddling fathers hire traveling actors to stage a mock abduction, so Matt can “save” Luisa, ending the supposed feud.
Things go awry when the children discover the farce and they separate. The show traces their journey back to each other.
“Opening weekend was wonderful,” said Kristy Meanor, Depot executive director, who is also director of the show. “Audiences really seemed to enjoy the unique charm and vintage quality of the show.
“From memorable music, to a timeless romantic story to a stellar cast of characters, the musical really does offer something for everyone. Audience members seeing it for the first time have said they enjoyed it so much and were charmed by the music and story. Others that have seen it before on other stages said that this production and cast brought a new life to the show. From a directing point of view, that makes me very happy.”
The characters are brought to life by Jimmy Veazey as El Gallo, Jeff Langham as the Mute, Patty Holley as Luisa, David Brown as Matt, Lee Bridges and Tom Salter as the doting fathers, and Ed Drozdowski and Bill Nowell as the “old” actors.
“The cast continues to amaze me each performance,” said Meanor. “I wonder how they can keep growing and making their characters stronger but they do each show.
“Jeff Langham makes me laugh with his silent but hilarious antics. Jimmy Veazey has an amazing voice and presence on stage. Tom Salter and Lee Bridges make me think a great deal about the challenges of parenting. Bill Nowell and Ed Drodowski are a hoot and add so much comedy and color.
“David Brown and Patty Holley are just remarkable. They are spot on each performance and can make me laugh out loud and wipe a tear all in the course of one song. It’s just such a special ensemble of actors working together to share with audiences a timeless and charming story.”
Meanor said the show holds appeal for all ages.
“On Friday night I saw an entire family enjoying the show together,” she said. “It was delightful to see grandparents, parents and children all get something from the show.
“That is the real reason the show is the longest-running show in American theatre history. No matter what season you are in your life, you will take something from the show. One of our younger audience members said walking out the door, ‘that is the best movie I have ever seen!’ We’ll take that as a huge compliment coming from a generation of young people who don’t see much live theatre anymore.”
Musical direction for the production is by Dr. Marilyn Swears and choreography by Mary Katherine Moore. “The Fantasticks” is the second offering of the Wetumpka Depot Players’ 33rd season.
Remaining show dates are April 25-27 and May 2-4 at 7:30 p.m. and April 28 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance at the box office or $12 online and at the door.
For information, visit wetumpkadepot.com, call 334-868-1440 or email kmeanor@wetumpkadepot.com.

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