San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Dominical Theater Brings First Musical to Stage

FOR the first time in its history of surf and jungle, Dominical will present an internationally casted production of the “Fantasticks.”

The Dominical Little Theatre’s first musical is a collaboration of a well-credentialed and well-traveled cast and crew.

They wrestled through a vacation-minded stupor induced by the sun and sand of this surfy Pacific coast town and created a production that will run for six nights over two weeks.

“It’s an inspirational story in an area where tropical lethargy tends to halt ambitious projects before they get off the ground,” director Monica Pérez said. “We’ve had to overcome numerous obstacles, but have persevered and the excitement keeps building.”

As the longest running musical in the world, the Fantasticks opened May 3, 1960 on the fringes of the feel-good 1950s era. It is a love story told with sparse props, two mute stage hands and no small degree of symbolism and exaggeration.

The story is populated with characters with names like The Boy and The Girl and set directions that order. For example: The Wall will always be represented by a stick.

The English-language production is narrated by El Gallo, played by Cartagoborn Gino Tubito, who is also a character who confounds the love story between The Boy and The Girl.

THE BOY, also known as Matt and played by Miami native Frank Witte, and The Girl, Louisa, played by Texas-born Los Angeles film student Drew Denny, fall in love from opposite sides of The Wall, unwitting pawns in their fathers’ plan that they should marry.

Their fathers faked a feud and built The Wall in the hope that their children would fall in love as an act of youthful rebellion.

The plan crumbles when one of the fathers comes clean and tells the kids about their attempt at reverse-child psychology.

The Girl then turns her apparently fickle attentions on the narrator. Fights, travel and torture ensue, swept along on a musical score.

The play has an impressive list of distinctions – besides being the longest running musical in the world, it is the most frequently produced in the world, has been seen in more than 11,000 productions in the United States – in more than 3,000 cities and towns in all 50 states – as well as in more than 700 productions in 68 foreign countries, and has played for seven U.S. presidents in New York.

DOMINICAL’S version is a conglomeration of professionals and amateurs from a number of countries pasted together with generous donations from local businesses and individuals.

“We have some world-class talent here,” Perez said. “(Dominical) is just so cosmopolitan.”

The dance choreographer is a ballet, jazz and tap instructor from New York, Cathy Marckwald. Joan Weiler is a makeup designer from Amsterdam, costume assistant Shawnell Parker lived in Kenya where her family started a dressmaking company and was schooled in Lebanon.

The playbill designer hails from Argentina and the sound and light consultant came on board as an example of the “serendipity,” as Pérez calls it, that has strung the performance together. It turned out the customer giving her lighting advice at the hardware store was a former sound and light engineer for the Melico Salazar Theater in San José.

The theater is in the Hotel Roca Verde, provided free of charge to the theater company by the owners Witte, who plays The Boy, and his older brother Michael. It is built around an open-air stage that doubles as the disco dance floor on weekends and has been modified into the semblance of an amphitheater.

The show runs April 26, 27, 28 and May 2, 3 and 4. Tickets cost ¢1,500 ($3.50), except Sunday, May 2, when the Spanish-speaking community can enter for a discounted price — ¢500 ($1.15) and will receive a plot synopses in Spanish to help understand the story.

TICKETS are on sale at the Hotel Roca Verde and Hammerheads.

To get to Domincal from San José, head to San Isidro, then take the highway 35 kilometers southwest – the trip takes about 3 and a half hours. Buses leave San José for San Isidro, from there take the Uvita or the Quepos bus, and get off at Dominical. Or take a non-direct bus from San José to Quepos and Uvita and get off at Dominical. By bus it takes at least five hours from San José.

For more info, call Monica Pérez at 787-8007 or 308-8855, Musical director Linda Young at 787-0056, Jazzy’s River House 787-0310, Roca Verde 787-0036 or Hammerheads at 787-0125.


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