Harvey Schmidt, the composer of The Fantasticks, the longest-running musical in history, has passed away at 88. Pat Addiss who was once a producer for the show wrote: “It is with great sadness, but I wanted to let everyone know that our dear Harvey passed away last night after a long illness. There will be a small family-only funeral in Texas next week, but we will have a memorial service in New York in the future. ”
The Fantasticks, opened May 3, 1960, at the Sullivan Street Playhouse in Greenwich Village, and ran until January 13, 2002. Running a 17,162 performances—this became the longest continuous run of any show in American history. It returned in a 2006 for a revival that ran for 11 years.”I Can See It”, “Soon It’s Gonna Rain” and “Much More” were recorded by Barbra Streisand.
The show went on to have a abbreviated version of the show was broadcast by the Hallmark Hall of Fame on October 18, 1964. The cast included John Davidson, Stanley Holloway, Bert Lahr, Ricardo Montalban and Susan Watson.
A feature film directed by Michael Ritchie was completed in 1995 but not released until 2000. It starred Joel Grey, Brad Sullivan, Jean Louisa Kelly, Barnard Hughes, Jonathon Morris and Joey McIntyre.
The Fantasticks was a starting place for many stars. Jerry Orbach landed his first major New York stage role in the original off-Broadway production. Liza Minnelli, Elliott Gould, F. Murray Abraham, Glenn Close, Joel Grey, Susan Watson, David Canary, Robert Goulet, Richard Chamberlain, John Carradine and Ed Ames and Kristin Chenoweth.
The team followed with the Broadway musical 110 in the Shade in 1963, which ran for 330 performances and earned a Tony Award nomination for Best Composer and Lyricist. I Do! I Do! followed in 1966, which brought Mary Martin and Robert Preston to the Broadway stage. Jones and Schmidt were again nominated for the Tony Award for Best Composer and Lyricist and Best Musical. “My Cup Runneth Over” from the musical I Do! I Do!, was recorded by Ed Ames.
Schmidt and Jones’ last collaboration on Broadway was 1969’s Celebration, which ran for 109 performances. Other shows included
The Bone Room (1968), Colette (1970), Philemon (1973), Colette Collage (1982 revision), Grovers Corners (1987) starring Liz Callaway, Mirette (1996), The Show Goes On (1997) and Roadside (2001).
Schmidt wrote for Hollywood, composing scores for the 1964 short film A Texas Romance, 1909 and the 1972 feature Bad Company.
Both Schmidt and Jones were inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame in 1998 and received a 1992 special Tony Award for The Fantasticks. In 2012, the pair also was inducted into the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame.