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''The Fantasticks'' is an off-Broadway musical, loosely based off ''Les Romanesques'', that first premiered May 3rd, 1960 and is currently the [[LongRunner worlds' longest running musical production]], originally running for 42 years. As of this writing (January 31st, 2011), it has been revived at the Snapple Theater, also known as the Jerry Orbach Theater, and has been running there since August 23, 2006, now making it about ''50 years old''.

It's a very popular choice for high schools and small theaters, with its cast of eight, minimal set and costumes, and longtime popularity. Furthermore, the casting frequently crosses the gender line: any roles except Matt, Luisa, and El Gallo can be played by either men or women.

The show begins with [[LemonyNarrator the]] [[InteractiveNarrator narrator]] [[MagnificentBastard El Gallo]] (pronounced GUY-o) introducing the audience to the characters and the story. A girl named Luisa, who's a bit... [[CloudCuckoolander out there]] and thinks she's a princess. She wears a necklace that belonged to her mother and considers it the most precious thing in the world to her. A boy named Matt, who is in love with Luisa and she loves him. The two are separated by a wall (who is actually played by [[TheSpeechless a person]]) built by their [[FeudingFamilies fathers]]. They think they're StarCrossedLovers, but it's truly a plot by their fathers, who are actually very good friends, to have them fall in love. According to them, if you tell a kid no - they'll do it for sure!

During a secret meeting between Matt and Luisa, Luisa reveals she had a [[{{Foreshadowing}} vision]] of a man coming to kidnap her and Matt fighting him off. Not long after, the fathers meet and discuss how to end their false feud. Matt's father proposes that they hire a professional to do the job. In enters El Gallo, who processed to explain all the various set-ups he can create for the kidnapping. After agreeing on a "first class" kidnapping, El Gallo sets off to find actors to help. Soon he finds Henry (an old Shakespearean actor) and Mortimer (who is really good at death scenes). Both are far past their prime, but he allows them to join anyhow.

Not long after, Matt and Luisa meet again in the forest. El Gallo and the actors appear to kidnap Luisa, but are easily "thwarted" by Matt. Thus the faux-feud ends and everyone lives HappilyEverAfter... [[YourPrincessIsInAnotherCastle Or do they?]]

As act two opens, everyone is beginning to realize that HappilyEverAfter isn't all it's cracked up to be. With the wall torn down, everyone is slowly getting on each other's nerves. A month later, Matt has run away to see the world, leaving Luisa behind and [[HeroicBSOD heartbroken]], and the fathers have rebuilt the wall. Now El Gallo swoops in and Luisa pleads for him to take her to see the world. He promises he will, and tells her to pack, under the condition that she leave her beloved necklace with him as a promise she will return. As she leaves, Matt returns, bloodied and beaten, and fully aware the world [[JadeColoredGlasses isn't all adventure and fun as he hoped]]. El Gallo turns to leave with Luisa's necklace, but Matt makes an attempt to stop him. He merely brushes him off and disappears. Luisa comes back to find Matt and comforts him as it [[SnowMeansLove begins to snow]] and they begin to remember their feelings for each other once more.
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!! This show provides examples of:
* AnywhereButTheirLips: Luisa wishes to be kissed on her eyes.
* AdaptationExpansion: The French play ''Les Romanasques'' (The Romancers) is the source for Act I. Act II is entirely new, and is a {{Deconstruction}} of the romantic ideals of the first act.
* BerserkButton: Don't mess with Bellamy's plants. Or Huckabee's for that matter.
* BlackComedyRape:
** The Rape Ballet. El Gallo insists on referring to "abduction" as "rape" out of loyalty to poetics.
** "It Depends On What You Pay", which is basically just a long list of different types of "rape." To quote the first lines:
--> [[LargeHam RAAAAAAAAAAAAAPE! RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAPE! The pretty rape! Such a pretty rape...]]
* {{Cloudcuckoolander}}: Luisa and her father. Must be a family trait.
* CurtainCall: In the film adaptation, the cast comes on for a curtain call after it's over. They're done in order of credit, so the first-credited people (Joel Grey and Barnard Hughes) come on first, even though they don't have the lead parts.
* DarkReprise: The introduction to "I Can See It" which El Gallo sings to Matt before he goes down the road to see the world is reprised when El Gallo is luring Luisa down that same path, only now Matt sings of despair and El Gallo sings of marvels.
* DeathAsComedy:
** Mortimer's specialty is death scenes. His demonstration for El Gallo is generally played as so over the top it's hilarious.
** Also El Gallo "dying" during the [[BlackComedyRape Rape Ballet]], which can be played with generous amounts of ham.
--->'''El Gallo''': [[TemptingFate Haha! I'm not dead!]]
* FeudingFamilies: Subverted, then played straight.
* {{Flynning}}: When Matt rescues Luisa from El Gallo's "Bandits."
* FundamentallyFunnyFruit: "You're... standing... in... my... '''kumquats!'''" "Sorry!"
* GenreSavvy: The parents' ploy to get Matt and Luisa to fall in love is based around the fact that children always do what their parents forbid them to do.
* HammerspaceHideaway: Henry and Mortimer generally appear out of the box that holds the props {{Justified|Trope}}: At one point (before they appear) El Gallo says that everything else the show needs is in the box. Implied to be props until the "need" for a couple of actors happens.
* HeroicBSOD: Luisa after Matt leaves.
* ITakeOffenseToThatLastOne:
--> '''Matt:''' You're childish.\\
'''Luisa:''' Child-like.\\
'''Matt:''' Silly.\\
'''Luisa:''' Soulful.\\
'''Matt:''' And you have freckles.\\
'''Luisa:''' ''That's a lie!''
* TheIngenue: Luisa, and she's practically proud of it.
* InsistentTerminology: "I know you prefer 'abduction', but the proper word is 'rape'. It's short and businesslike."
* ItsPronouncedTroPAY: It's pronounced "El GUY-o". In Spanish double l's [ll] make a "ya" sound.
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: El Gallo hurts Matt and Luisa to show them how much they care about each other. He admits he hurt himself as well.
* LargeHam: Henry (especially), Mortimer, and El Gallo.
* LiveActionAdaptation: A film was made in 1995.
* NoBudget:
** About eight actors needed, a piano, and one harp. Gallo describes some of the scenes to us in poetry instead of using props or settings, and their moon is made of cardboard. The cardboard moon became such an iconic feature that it's now a traditional prop for the play.
** InUniverse, the budget for a first class rape is reduced to near zero - hence the jobs for Henry and Mortimer, as opposed to ''good'' actors.
* NoFourthWall: It's El Gallo's job as the narrator to [[InteractiveNarrator interact with the audience]]. Everyone else gets in on the action a bit too. It's arguably the best part about the show.
* SatireParodyPastiche: The musical parodies romanticizing things, but also plays it straight a bit.
* SnicketWarningLabel: The end of Act One is El Gallo practically TemptingFate about how long this HappilyEverAfter can last - tempting the audience to stay around for Act Two.
* SnowMeansLove: Luisa and Matt's feelings rekindle for each other as it begins to snow.
* StarCrossedLovers: Matt and Luisa, or so they think.
* TheSpeechless:
** The wall/ The mute. He also serves as sort of the prop master.
** In the film version, Mortimer is played by Teller of PennAndTeller fame, and true-to-form has no intelligible lines (though he does speak in some of the deleted scenes).
* ThreeChordsAndTheTruth: In a ''good'' way. The music is simple, the lyrics and ideas are sincere, and it can be performed by a cast on any level of talent, pretty much. (With one possible exception: Luisa's role is very difficult to sing, with lots of coloratura soprano sections.)
* TooDumbToLive: Mortimer, [[IncrediblyLamePun unfortunately]].
* TribalFacePaint: Mortimer frequently wears it.
* YourPrincessIsInAnotherCastle: The conclusion to Act 1 seems to wrap up everything that's happened so far.
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