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Try to remember the kind of September

When life was slow and oh, so mellow.

Try to remember the kind of September

When you were a young and callow fellow,

Try to remember and if you remember then follow.

Follow, follow, follow.

Like many of us, you may have spent a good deal of time lately looking back — remembering a time when life was, indeed, mellow. These days, life may not be slow or mellow, but from Friday, Sept. 25, through Sunday, Oct. 18, the Athens Theatre in DeLand is opening its doors to a production that feels like a familiar, old memory covered in magical fairy dust.

Whether you have seen The Fantasticks before or not, this production offers the perfect amount of sparkling nostalgia, humor and magic to light up your week, and will have you wanting to come back and see it again.

The Fantasticks’ poetic dialogue and creatively breezy music has made this romantic and funny show an ever-popular production.

Originally opening 60 years ago, it played off-Broadway for 42 years — making it the world’s longest-running show. And then, it was revived only four years after closing and ran for an additional 11 years!

This enduringly relevant show tells the love story of young Matt and Luisa. This young couple is about to jump off the edge of that magical cliff known as adulthood — with the world still full of excitement and wonder.

They are naive but optimistic. They test their independence. They defy their fathers. They remind us that there is a certain kind of magic that comes from how we experience life, especially when we come home to the people we love.

The Fantasticks takes us to a simpler time, where forbidden love under the moonlight is only half the story. Director Trevor Southworth has put together an incredibly talented cast who portray this tale with the same magic as if it were the show’s first time on stage.

Young Matt is portrayed by Zachary Mitchell, who was last seen on DeLand’s historic stage playing Dick in 9 to 5.  Countering Zach’s Matt is Luisa, played by Miranda Robinson, a seasoned actress whom the Athens Theatre is excited to have debuting on their stage.

The fathers will be played by Michael Funero (last seen as Arthur in Spamalot, along with several other Athens productions, such as Sweeney Todd, Les Misérables and Inherit the Wind) and Donald Fields (who has appeared in more than 18 Athens productions).

The show’s narrator and mysterious bandit, El Gallo, is played by Forrest Stringfellow, whose recent rollicking performance as one of the three actors in The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) [Revised] had audiences rolling.

Rounding out the cast are Henry, played by Christopher deJongh (The Wedding Singer, Jekyll & Hyde, Annie); Mortimer, portrayed by Nate Elliott (Jekyll & Hyde, Holiday Inn, Singin’ in the Rain, The Producers, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) [Revised], etc.); and the Mute, brought to life by Taylor Whiteman (Wedding Singer, The Producers, Annie).

The historic Athens Theatre has taken numerous precautions to ensure the safety of its patrons, staff, volunteers and actors. The theater is at 124 N. Florida Ave. in Downtown DeLand.

Showtimes and ticket information

The Fantasticks opens at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 25, and continues at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturdays, at 2:30 p.m. Sundays, and at 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. The last performance will be at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 18.

Tickets cost $30 for preserved seating (rows A-E, center); $25 for adults; $23 for senior citizens; $11 for students and children; and $21 per person for groups or eight or more. A $3-per-ticket processing charge will be added to each purchase.

To purchase your tickets in advance or to find out more specific information about dates, times and safety precautions, visit the Athens Theatre website at www.AthensDeLand.com or call the box office at 386-736-1500. Box-office hours are 1-5 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays, and 1 1/2 hours before live performances.


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