Hastings, MN- On the heels of the recent passing of Minnesota’s marriage equality bill, Artistic Director of NewBridge Theatre Company, Elizabeth Tanner, decided it was time to bring a fresh take on the world’s longest running musical, The Fantasticks.
“Traditionally, The Fantasticks is performed as a lighthearted, kitschy musical comedy about a boy, Matt, and a girl, Luisa, who live next door to each other, and by their fathers’ pretending to feud are manipulated to fall in love. While NewBridge’s production of this classic musical will still be performed as a comedy, I decided to take it to a bit of a more real, even darker, level,” says Tanner.
Tanner, who is directing this production, has taken the characters of the two fathers, Huck and Bell, and turned them into two mothers who are secretly in love with one another. It becomes more and more clear as the show progresses that these two mothers, played by Emily Lodsun and Annelise Eckelaert, indeed love each other deeply, but are unwilling to be out in the open about their feelings toward each other.
“The character I play, Huck, is a complex character,” says Lodsun. “She is a mother to a young son whom she wants to become more of a man, a gardener to a garden she is constantly pruning, and a lover to a neighbor whom she must pretend to hate. It is clear that Huck has an overwhelming need to make everything and everyone around her strong - Bell, her son, her garden even - because she herself is weak and afraid of the world outside of her yard and the judgment of society.”
Joseph Pyfferoen and Lindsey Oetken, who play Matt and Luisa, were also asked by Tanner to look deeper into the emotions and pasts of their characters.
“There is subtext to the lines written into the script for these characters that indicate a kind of emotional suffering, and I wanted my actors to find what it is that created this pain, use that to motivate the speech and actions of their characters, and bring complexity to their relationships,” stated Tanner.
NewBridge Theatre Company’s purpose is to bring a unique element to every production, whether it be a musical comedy or a Shakespearean tragedy, that makes the shows and its characters more honest and more relatable to their audiences, by delving into the emotional realities of each role. With an intimate space that only seats up to 50 people and staging that is inches from the closest audience members, it is essential to Elizabeth Tanner and every member of this company that they not only put on productions that are entertaining and engaging, but also that they create characters that are powerfully honest and real.
The Fantasticks begins performances on September 20th through 22nd and continues September 26th through September 29th at it’s space located at 105 2nd Street E Hastings, MN 55033. Tickets range from $15 to $20 and may be purchased online at www.newbridgetc.com or by calling 651-295-3224.
Matt: Joseph Pyfferoen
Luisa: Lindsey Oetken
Huck: Emily Lodsun
Bell: Annelise Eckelaert
El Gallo: Adam Scarpello
Henry: Megan Johnson
Mortimer: James Napoleon Stone
The Mute: Kelly Nelson
Lighting & Set Design: