November 29, 2023

UNITED KINGDOM: Tom Jones, the co-author of the e book and lyrics for the famend musical “The Fantasticks,” handed away on Friday on the age of 95 in his residence in Sharon, Conn. The reason for his demise was confirmed by his son, Michael, who acknowledged that it was on account of most cancers.

Tom Jones, together with the late composer Harvey Schmidt, crafted the enduring musical allegory “The Fantasticks.” This iconic manufacturing made its debut in 1960 in Greenwich Village and continued to captivate audiences off-Broadway for an unimaginable 42-year span. Notably, for its opening tune, “Attempt to Keep in mind,” the musical has left an indelible mark on the world of theatre.

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Jones was born on Feb. 17, 1928, in Littlefield, Texas. He met his longtime collaborator, Schmidt, on the College of Texas at Austin. Jones moved to New York after serving within the Korean Struggle, the place he started his theatre profession by writing the revues that Julius Monk, a theatrical producer, was placing on.

He additionally labored with composer John Donald Robb on the musical Western “Pleasure Involves Deadhorse,” which attracts a few of its inspiration from Edmond Rostand’s 1894 play “Les Romanesques.” When the 2 couldn’t agree on how you can go creatively, Jones turned to Schmidt for assist. Schmidt ultimately completed the challenge, which turned “The Fantasticks.”

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In 1959, Tom Jones and Schmidt carried out a condensed, one-act model of their play beneath the title “The Fantasticks” at a summer season pageant at Barnard Faculty. After seeing the play at Barnard, producer Lore, Noto introduced the musical, now in two acts, to the Sullivan Road Playhouse in Greenwich Village, the place it debuted on Could 3, 1960. As a part of the unique solid, Jones performed Henry, the Outdated Actor, whereas Jerry Orbach performed El Gallo, the narrator and performer of “Attempt to Keep in mind.”

Though “The Fantasticks” garnered blended opinions, it achieved exceptional success, operating for over 17,000 performances at Sullivan Road till 2002. This spectacular run established it because the longest-lasting musical in US theatrical historical past.

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Tom Jones and Schmidt, the gifted duo behind “The Fantasticks,” collaborated on different profitable works akin to “I Do! I Do!” and “110 within the Shade,” which premiered on Broadway in 1963, having fun with a run of 330 performances. Jones obtained Tony nominations for each “I Do! I Do!” and “110 within the Shade,” and he was honoured with the Drama Desk Vernon Rice Award for “The Fantasticks” in 1961.

A revival of “The Fantasticks” was staged in 2006, charming audiences for over 4,300 performances till 2017. Directed by Jones himself, the off-Broadway manufacturing featured his reprised function as Henry, the Outdated Actor.

Tom Jones is survived by his sons Michael and Sam Jones, born from his second marriage to choreographer Janet Watson, who handed away in 2016.

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