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Updating 'The Fantasticks' for a New Revival

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Updating 'The Fantasticks' for a New Revival

Performing Arts

Updating 'The Fantasticks' for a New Revival

Updating 'The Fantasticks' for a New Revival

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Tom Jones, who is reprising his role as Henry in the off-Broadway revival of The Fantasticks, also wrote the musical's script and lyrics and is directing the current production. Joan Marcus hide caption

toggle caption Joan Marcus

Tom Jones, who is reprising his role as Henry in the off-Broadway revival of The Fantasticks, also wrote the musical's script and lyrics and is directing the current production.

Joan Marcus

After just four years off the stage, The Fantasticks, the longest-running musical in American theater, is opening in a new revival. The production by Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt closed in January of 2002.

Through the years, Jones, the lyricist, has made various changes to one particular song, "It Depends on What You Pay". The song is about a fabricated abduction: a young girl's staged kidnapping allows a young man to save her life — and help the two fall in love.

The abduction is referred to as a "rape", and the original song offers all sorts of possible options: "rape with Indians", "a comic rape", "a gothic rape", etc. The song has caused some concern over the years; not least, for Tom Jones. He's directing the new production, in which he also acts.

Jones explains to Robert Siegel how his consciousness about "rape" — and hence, the lyrics — have changed. The revival of The Fantasticks is being staged at Broadway's Snapple Theater Center.

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