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Off-Broadway's 'The Fantasticks' to close after 21,000 shows

Associated Press logo Associated Press 3/21/2017 By MARK KENNEDY, AP Entertainment Writer
FILE - This Jan. 13, 2002 file photo shows members of the off-Broadway show "The Fantasticks," James Cook, left, production stage manager, and actors Natasha Harper and Jeremy Ellison-Gladstone in New York. The off-Broadway phenomenon will end its record-breaking run this summer. Producers said Tuesday, March 21, 2017, that the musical will close June 4, having played a total of 21,552 performances in New York City. (AP Photo/Jim Cooper) © The Associated Press FILE - This Jan. 13, 2002 file photo shows members of the off-Broadway show "The Fantasticks," James Cook, left, production stage manager, and actors Natasha Harper and Jeremy Ellison-Gladstone in New York. The off-Broadway phenomenon will end its record-breaking run this summer. Producers said Tuesday, March 21, 2017, that the musical will close June 4, having played a total of 21,552 performances in New York City. (AP Photo/Jim Cooper)

NEW YORK (AP) — The off-Broadway phenomenon "The Fantasticks" will end its record-breaking run this summer.

The musical will close June 4, having played a total of 21,552 performances in New York City, producers said Tuesday.

For nearly 42 years the show chugged along at the 153-seat Sullivan Street Playhouse in Greenwich Village, finally closing in 2002 after 17,162 performances — a victim both of a destroyed downtown after 9/11 and a new post-terrorism, edgy mood. It opened four years later at an off-Broadway complex in the heart of Times Square.

The tale, a mock version of "Romeo and Juliet," concerns a young girl and boy, secretly brought together by their fathers and an assortment of odd characters, including a rakish narrator, an old actor, an Indian named Mortimer and a mute.

It long ago won the title of world's longest-running musical. "The Phantom of the Opera," by comparison, is Broadway's longest-running show with some 12,000 shows. The only rival to "The Fantasticks" is "The Mousetrap" in London, which is the longest-running show in the world, having passed 25,000 performances.

Scores of actors have appeared in the show, from the opening cast that included Jerry Orbach and Rita Gardner, to stars such as Ricardo Montalban and Kristin Chenoweth to Oscar winner F. Murray Abraham.

In 2015, producers also declared the show would close that summer but two donors stepped up and pledged to keep the stalwart, low-tech show open. This time, producers mean business: They've scheduled a new show, "The Crusade of Connorstephens," to start previews June 17 in the same theater.

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Online: http://www.fantasticksonbroadway.com

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Follow Mark Kennedy on Twitter at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits

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