Monday, June 13, 2011

Jack and Matt On the Road

The show’s rhyming, intellectual, Beat-style dialogue and Schmidt’s dissonant, polytonal jazz vocabulary came to the forefront, especially with their new orchestration, scored for just piano and harp. They took their new title from Fleming’s translation of Les Romanesques, called The Fantasticks, complete with quirky spelling. The original French title had implied not just people who were romantic, but more than that, adventurous, a hallmark of the Beats most famously described in Jack Kerouac’s bohemian odyssey, the genre-busting 1957 novel On the Road, which would eventually serve (comically) as a model for Matt’s adventure around the world in Act II of The Fantasticks. There was no direct English translation of that idea of romantic adventurousness, but Fleming’s consciously whimsical misspelling of an approximate English equivalent seemed to convey exactly that sense of rebelliousness the musical’s authors were looking for, a hint of outrageousness, subversiveness. And as a successful graphic artist, Schmidt also thought the title looked better that way.

From Inside The Fantasticks by Scott Miller

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