We Will Not Have to Try and Remember Harvey Schmidt the Composer of The Fantasticks

We Will Not Have to Try and Remember Harvey Schmidt the Composer of The Fantasticks

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

The original Off Broadway cast Jerry Orbach as El Gallo, Rita Gardner as Luisa, Kenneth Nelson as Matt, and librettist Tom Jones in disguise.

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.

John Davidson, Stanley Holloway, Bert Lahr, Ricardo Montalban, Susan Watson

John Davidson, Stanley Holloway, Bert Lahr, Ricardo Montalban and Susan Watson

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.

Joel Grey

Joel Grey

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

Liza Minnelli and Robert Goulet

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.

110 In The Shade

110 In The Shade

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.

Mary Martin, Robert Preston

Mary Martin, Robert Preston

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.

Obituaries

Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email: suzanna@t2conline.com

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