1998 cover of The Dramatist with a monochromatic photograph of two white men with gray goatee beards
Writers and Their Work: The Fantastick Jones & Schmidt

Longtime Guild member Tom Jones (co-writer of The Fantasticks, I Do! I Do! and 110 in the Shade) died August 11, 2023. In his honor, we reprint this 1998 interview with Jones and his co-author Harvey Schmidt by former editor Gregory Bossler.

Photo of two vintage vocal selection books and a 1998 issue of The Dramatist sitting on an upright piano.

That Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt ever met is a lucky happenstance. At the University of Texas in Houston, Jones was a drama major, and Schmidt an art major. Neither planned to become a writer, but both were drawn to the university’s drama dub. Since their initial collaboration at The Curtain Club, Jones and Schmidt have continued to work together for nearly five decades. After college, they came to New York City and received their first professional experience writing material for revues produced by the legendary Julius Monk and Ben Bagley.

In another lucky happenstance, fellow Curtain Club alum Word Baker asked them to write a one-act musical for a summer stock season he was doing at Barnard College. For this project, Jones dusted off a full-length show that he had written, but that had never satisfied him, and he and Schmidt reworked and rewrote it in less than three weeks. The show that emerged was The Fantasticks. A year later, the team turned it into a full­-length work, and it found its way to a tiny off-Broadway theatre on Sullivan Street, where it is still running today. In fact, it has become the longest-running musical in the history of world theatre.

After The Fantasticks, Jones and Schmidt soon found their way to Broadway. Their first two efforts, 110 in the Shade and I Do! I Do! each garnered them a Tony nomination for Best Score. Despite those successes, Jones and Schmidt wanted to create a different type of theatre than the big-budget Broadway musical. They opened the Portfolio Studio to experiment with the form and style of musicals and created several original small-scale works, including Celebration, Philemon, and The Bone Room. Even after dosing their studio, Jones and Schmidt have continued to experiment and refine a unique style in other small works like Colette Collage, big works like Grover’s Corners, and revues like The Show Goes On. Their latest effort is Mirette, which was produced at Goodspeed Opera House this past summer. Through it all, The Fantas­ticks continues to run, and it will begin its 40th season on May 3, 1999.

GREGORY BOSSLER:  Your collaboration has been one of the longest and most successful in musical theatre but, considering the careers you originally planned on at college, it seems unlikely that you two should have ever ended up writing musicals. 

HARVEY SCHMIDT:  It was a sheer accident for me. I arrived at the University of Texas planning to major in art, which I did for all four years, but there was an organization there called The Curtain Club. For drama majors, it was a chance to do a little, light musical weekly show. For kids who were not in the drama department, but who had an interest in theatre, it was a chance to be involved on some level. The group would do one big show a year as well as these little, weekly shows. I got in because they needed a pianist. I played quite well by ear, but I’d never trained and didn’t think I could ever have a career in music. My mother was a piano teacher and tried to teach me when I was small, but I had some kind of dyslexia about notes on a page. So, I’d always continued to play by ear.

GREGORY BOSSLER:  Your mother also played for the church.

HARVEY SCHMIDT:  Yes. I was surrounded by music. It was a very natural thing in our home. My thousands of Texas German farmer relatives all played and sang in their churches. They were all very musical in simple ways. Anyway, when I got to the university and into The Curtain Club, I could only play by ear and could only play in the key of C, but I could play well, so the people in the club thought I could accompany them. Now, this was just when LPs of Broadway shows were first coming out, and these drama kids had all the LPs: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, South Pacific, and Kiss Me, Kate. They would bring these to me and say, “I’m going to sing ‘Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend’ next Wednesday night, and I want you to play for me.”

So, I would take the LP and go over to the student union building, where they had a room with a piano and a phonograph, and I would play the record over and over. I could tell it wasn’t the key of C, but I didn’t know what it was. I didn’t know how music worked. So, I’d pick it out and find “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” until it was the same key that Carol Channing was singing. After weeks of doing this kind of thing, it dawned on me that it was all like the key of C, except that some songs were higher and some were lower, some had more black keys, which were just terrifying, and some had less. I thought I had discovered this on my own. I didn’t think anyone else knew it. I thought I had discovered Western music as we know it today. It was a great education for me, accompanying those drama kids. Once I learned how music actually worked, I eventually could play in every key, but I still can’t always transpose easily. It takes some work.

GREGORY BOSSLER:  One of those drama kids was you, Tom.

TOM JONES:  Yes. I had decided by the time I was twelve years old that I was going to be in the theatre, and I started to prepare myself in a town where there was no theatre. I say, ‘no theatre,’ there was one year our town had a little theatre group. In that group was one of my teachers, who encouraged me. He directed Our Town and cast me, a twelve-year-old, as the Stage Manager in an otherwise all-adult production.

HARVEY SCHMIDT:  I’m sure you were the best actor in the town, even at that young age.

TOM JONES:  Well, I was, but that isn’t saying too much. I also ushered at a movie theater for a while. I not only ushered but, after the first show on Wednesday night, I would rush back home and put on my bow tie. In town, we had a little, tiny airbase with three hundred guys learning basic flying. So, I seized upon that, and I would go every week and entertain the troops. Those poor guys. I would emcee an amateur hour and do fifteen minutes of jokes and then my comic imitation of a conductor leading Grieg’s “In the Hall of the Mountain King.” I would also do imitations of Zero Mostel, who I had heard on the radio.

GREGORY BOSSLER:  You had your own USO show.

TOM JONES:  That’s right. I would organize people who could sing or play the trumpet or drums or whatever. I was trying to be Donald O’Connor and Peggy Ryan all rolled up into one.

GREGORY BOSSLER:  Did the university drama department frown on you when you continued doing such light musical entertainment with The Curtain Club?

TOM JONES:  It was a curious relationship between the drama department and The Curtain Club. As I mention in my book Making Musicals, The Curtain Club started before there was a drama department, which was begun by Stark Young, a very famous New York theatre critic and book editor. For many years, the university allocated the drama department’s money through The Curtain Club. The drama department was in fact supported by this extracurricular activity, which was very strange. Almost everybody in the drama department was either in or auditioned to be in The Curtain Club.

HARVEY SCHMIDT:  Everybody had to audition to get in, and you had to read scenes. They gave me a scene from Golden Boy. Now, I can’t act my way out of a paper bag, so I know I didn’t get in because of my acting but simply because I was a piano player.

TOM JONES:  A piano player and also an artist. The first thing Harvey did at The Curtain Club that I remember was the posters for Beggar on Horseback. The posters were great, but we couldn’t keep them up, because people stole them. They were put up around the campus, but people took them down to frame and hang in their apartments. So, they had a wonderful effect, yet had no effect because, every time we put up more, they were stolen.

HARVEY SCHMIDT:  A couple of years later (maybe 1950), Word Baker, who eventually directed The Fantasticks off-Broadway, wanted to do a revue of American music, a look back at the first 50 years of this century. We put together this revue called Hipsy-Boo, which was a huge smash. Tom wrote and directed all the comedy sketches. I was musical director and wrote these elaborate arrangements based on MGM musicals I’d seen. By then, I knew how important key changes were.

TOM JONES:  On this tiny stage, we had 50 [women]. Word did a big Ziegfeld number for the 1920s section. The girls all had differently colored hair and, when they loosened their hair, it came cascading down the steps.

HARVEY SCHMIDT:  The show was an absolute smash. They were standing out in the rain because they couldn’t get tickets. That was the first time Tom and I worked together, but we really didn’t work together, because all the pockets were separate. Word did the musical staging. I did the musical arranging. Tom did the comedy sketches.

GREGORY BOSSLER:  So, you didn’t write any songs together for Hipsy-Boo.

TOM JONES:  No. All the songs were from the American songbook, so to speak, except the title song, to which Harvey wrote both lyrics and music for the Hipsy-Boo girls.

HARVEY SCHMIDT:  After Hipsy-Boo, Tom asked me if I’d be interested in collaborating on a show. Tom seemed so brilliant to me. He was a couple of years ahead of me and president of The Curtain Club. I was this tall, thin, dumb person with pimples. He was a real star to me. When he asked me to collaborate with him, I thought, “Well, that’s an offer I can’t refuse.”

GREGORY BOSSLER:  That was for Time Staggers On.

HARVEY SCHMIDT:  Yes. That was our first book musical, but the title was not ours. The journalism department produced it each year, and it was always called Time Staggers On. It was a play upon the newsreel title Time Marches On.

TOM JONES:  Originally, it had been an annual revue, and they would do sketches. It eventually became a book show with the same title every year.

HARVEY SCHMIDT:  Tom wrote a totally original book about college life, but we were both greatly influenced by an album of On the Town—not the original cast album, but one with a symphony orchestra and the Robert Shaw Chorale. It was a fabulous recording. Instead of the two workmen in the morning, Tom wrote this lyric for two cleaning women. On the Town, you remember, starts: “I feel like I ain’t out of bed yet.” Well, our first song was called “Good Morning, Mrs. Harrison.” The women were cleaning up the classrooms, very early in the morning. Then all hell breaks loose.

TOM JONES:  Instead of three sailors, we had three students coming in for their first day.

HARVEY SCHMIDT:  One of the lead characters was based on Liz Smith, who was there at the university at that time. She was already writing a gossip column called “Forty Acres.” It was a very sophisticated book Tom wrote, unusually sophisticated for college fare at that time. It was a huge hit, as big as Hipsy-Boo.

TOM JONES:  Those were our big hits. We’ve never had hits like that since!

HARVEY SCHMIDT:  We even put out a cast album, which, for college students, was unheard of at that time.

TOM JONES:  Rip Torn was in Time Staggers On. It was the first thing he did at the University of Texas.

GREGORY BOSSLER:  That must have been some class: Rip Torn, Liz Smith, and the two of you.

HARVEY SCHMIDT:  It was incredible. I used to play for a dance class that had—all dancing together in one room—Barbara Barrie, Rip Torn, Jayne Mansfield, and Kathryn Grant who married Bing Crosby and became Kathryn Crosby.

TOM JONES:  Harvey’s roommate, and later our roommate in New York, was Robert Benton, who’s now won many Academy Awards for writing and directing films.

HARVEY SCHMIDT:  It was an incredible time. There was so much energy there. It was right at the time when all the G.I.s had come back.

TOM JONES:  A lot of the professors too had been off in the war. They came back so eager to work. It was a period of unparalleled high energy.

HARVEY SCHMIDT:  All this creativity sparked each other’s ambitions. It was incredible, that kind of excitement and energy. All that was so exciting to me because I had only lived in little Texas towns. I’d always hoped that somebody in one of the schools would teach music or art or something that I was interested in, but of course they didn’t. The towns were just too small.

GREGORY BOSSLER:  You were born in Dallas, though.

HARVEY SCHMIDT:  Yes. That was when my father was at SMU and working on his master’s degree, but he was a Methodist minister, and we moved every couple of years. I was always hoping I’d get to a school where, if they didn’t teach the arts, at least some of the kids would be interested in them, but I never had any friends who were. I was in total isolation. I was always composing by myself. I was always drawing by myself. Looking back, I realize that this had its own value. I learned to do things my own way. It was very creative. It was very creative, but it was out of a desperate need.

TOM JONES:  Not knowing the rules, you did things that were more original.

HARVEY SCHMIDT:  I went through a period where I felt it would be great to do fashion illustration for the stores in Houston. At that time, they had big newspaper ads with big drawings though they don’t anymore. The ads were engraved, so everything had these tiny dots. Well, I thought the artist drew all the dots. I made these drawings that would break your heart. I did all the dots by hand. It made Seurat look like grammar school.

TOM JONES:  Harvey also did a comic strip called Beverly Beret, which was set in Manhattan. His view of New York was that all the streets were reflective, like marble.

HARVEY SCHMIDT:  It’s hard for younger people today to even imagine what the world was like then, especially in Texas. Where we lived, in these little towns, the only thing we had was radio and movies. What TV has done is to bring you the whole world. New York was some pie in the sky, way off somewhere, that I only knew from movies and radio. I only knew New York from the musical numbers I’d seen in movies, where the streets always appeared to be black waxed floors. So, I thought Broadway had black waxed floors.

GREGORY BOSSLER:  What was Beverly like?

HARVEY SCHMIDT:  She was copied after Veronica Lake, which I stole from Al Capp, who had a character at that time based on Veronica Lake. Beverly Beret was a blatant copy of Al Capp’s character. I put her in a penthouse overlooking Central Park. I had her attending War Bond rallies, and something called “Rockefeller Premieres,” with palm trees in very tasteful containers and klieg lights in the middle of Broadway.

GREGORY BOSSLER:  So, in both art and music, it seems you found your way and your voice by first copying others.

TOM JONES:  Well, many do begin by copying. As Harvey said, our first musical was greatly influenced by On the Town. We opened early in the morning with workers singing, followed by three young guys who were seeing the campus and going from place to place in a ballet number.

HARVEY SCHMIDT:  On the Town opened the door to wild creativity for us because it broke all the rules. It was so unlike any other show we had ever heard. The music had lots of dissonance in it.

TOM JONES:  The humor was like dynamite, and it still holds up.

HARVEY SCHMIDT:  When I saw Lucky Stiff [by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty], I had the same feeling as when I first heard On the Town. For years, I’d been hoping that some new, young composers would come along whom I’d react strongly to, and I did to Lucky Stiff. The music and lyrics were not standard, and yet they were totally accessible, in the way On the Town was. It seemed to me brilliant and fresh. It was unlike other scores, but you got it all on the first take. You didn’t have to hear it more than once. The humor in Lucky Stiff also had some of that same kind of wild humor as On the Town.

TOM JONES:  Flora, the Red Menace [by John Kander and Fred Ebb] is another of the best scores I’ve heard, but it really didn’t do well the first time, even though Liza Minnelli got a Tony for it. Sometimes, good shows just don’t get the recognition they deserve.

GREGORY BOSSLER:  Well, your first show in New York obviously has gotten recognition.

HARVEY SCHMIDT:  People like to say, now that The Fantasticks didn’t get good reviews but triumphed despite that, though it’s not entirely true. The reviews weren’t that terrible. The two most important ones, Brooks Atkinson at the Times and Walter Kerr at the Herald Tribune, each liked one act better than the other act—but the reverse acts. If you put the two together, it makes a very good review.

TOM JONES:  Each successive review got better, but the first ones were so devastating to us that we felt we couldn’t survive.

GREGORY BOSSLER:  I like the one opening-night quote you mention in your book Making Musicals: “It loses magic, the longer it endures.”

TOM JONES:  Yes. The day after the opening, I had a terrible headache. On my way to the theatre (I was performing in the show) I was barely able to make it to the corner restaurant. The waiter—this wonderful, old, sweet guy who was following my career, which was nonexistent—said, “Congratulations,” because the afternoon papers had come out and were much better. Then the magazines were very good. Though it was still a hell of a struggle.

HARVEY SCHMIDT:  In fact, that opening night, there were several people, really big people in the business, who were advising Lore Noto, the producer, to close the show. They said, “These aren’t money reviews,” after hearing the Times and Tribune. They said, “You can save a lot of money if you close tonight. Then you don’t have to pay the actors for the rest of the week.” I overheard this and thought, “Oh, my God. Why don’t you run just one more night,” because all the seats in that small theatre had gone to critics. I wanted some friends to come see the show. I was so pleased when Lore ran it through the weekend, but I never thought about it going beyond that.

GREGORY BOSSLER:  Or that it would still be going almost 40 years later.

TOM JONES:  Yes, but the real miracle was just getting through that first night, then the first week. We took it one step at a time.

HARVEY SCHMIDT:  The first weeks were very tough.

TOM JONES:  The first three months were tough! 

HARVEY SCHMIDT:  We would have very small houses, but they would be very often filled with big luminaries from the theatre and movies. There’d be only three people in the audience, but they’d be Richard Rodgers, Vivien Leigh, and Tallulah Bankhead.

GREGORY BOSSLER:  Speaking of Richard Rodgers, I understand that the show was originally called Joy Comes to Deadhorse and was fashioned after Rodgers and Hammerstein.

TOM JONES:  Yes, but we didn’t have the skill to do that. Later on, I think we acquired enough skill to do that. The story also was just too light and airy, too presentational, to turn into that kind of big musical. At the time, there was a growing idea about a different kind of theatre than what was absolutely everywhere at that time, that more representational theatre. The idea of not even having a proscenium, of having a thrust stage, was just beginning to germinate and catch on.

GREGORY BOSSLER:  Was that also around the time of Circle in the Square in New York?

TOM JONES:  Yes. Theatre in the round began with Margo Jones in Dallas* and had been picked up by Nina Vance at the Alley Theatre in Houston. However, that idea is different from the idea of presentational theatre and the thrust stage. The two ideas are not the same. In presentational theatre, you openly admit that the show isn’t realistic, that you’re going to use symbols which will become real by the way we perceive them and use our imaginations. That idea was just growing in America. Of course, the ultimate example of presentational theatre is Shakespeare. Word Baker and I had both had a wonderful training in Shakespeare from B. Iden Payne, to whom The Fantasticks is dedicated. We were greatly influenced by him. So, when we realized we couldn’t make Joy Comes to Deadhorse work in a satisfactory way in the Rodgers and Hammerstein mode, we decided to do what we wanted: a thrust stage and presentational theatre.

HARVEY SCHMIDT:  Though what really triggered the show was Word Baker getting a job at Barnard, where Mildred Dunnock had a summer theatre. He was going to direct three one-act plays, and he decided he’d like to have one as a musical. So, he asked if we would do a musical for him in two weeks. Tom and I then decided to take this material we felt wasn’t working and do it as simply as possible, do it in this presentational vein. We had all talked a lot before about chat kind of cheater because, when we first came to New York, we had worked with Word on a revue in that style, with a thrust stage.

TOM JONES:  In fact, for that revue, Harvey had designed a set that was a platform with six poles, which is exactly what became the set for The Fantasticks. When the show was done at Barnard, it was on a proscenium stage, but it still used direct address to the audience and was written using verse.

GREGORY BOSSLER:  In Making Musicals, you mention that Harley Granville-Barker’s book On Dramatic Method influenced you.

TOM JONES:  Yes, as far as the use of language, that book and Shakespeare’s Imagery, which was also about language. That author had gone through all of Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets, as well as plays by Beaumont and Fletcher and others of that period, and tabulated the images used in each of the works. How many images of flowers and so forth. It was all broken down. You could really see that certain kinds of images form a fabric, a pattern in certain plays. The images inform the world. They become the world really. That book, in addition to what Granville-Barker had said, was a great influence.

GREGORY BOSSLER:  What are some of the images you were working with in The Fantasticks?

HARVEY SCHMIDT:  I remember, at one point, when The Fantasticks was pretty much written already, Tom decided to put in a lot of vegetarian and garden imagery. He went back through the entire script, and it really enriched The Fantasticks enormously.

TOM JONES:  It helped glue it together in a way. This fascination I have with the seasonal change and the implications of the seasons I can trace specifically to Shaw’s preface to Androcles and the Lion, in which he talks at great length about the origins of religion and the idea of cutting down to make grow. That had a very powerful effect on me. Also, when we were in college, Christopher Fry was writing plays with elaborate language like Shakespeare, and that had another enormous effect on me. Fry wrote plays for each of the four seasons. When Harvey and I were doing revue material in New York, we also wrote a lot about the seasons.

HARVEY SCHMIDT:  We wrote a piece called “The Seasonal Sonatina,” which we did for Julius Monk’s revue. It was in four sections, one for each season.

GREGORY BOSSLER:  Another recurring image in your work is that of a hot spot on stage, especially in your Portfolio Studio shows like Celebration and Philemon.

HARVEY SCHMIDT:  The idea of the hot spot became very clear and very pronounced with Philemon. The production was absolutely gorgeous at our workshop. We designed it just for that theatre, which had once been a wedding chapel for immigrant couples. I wish more people could have seen it there.

TOM JONES:  For our first season at Portfolio, we planned four shows. You could get tickets to all four for ten dollars. The first show we did was Portfolio Revue, which was similar in many ways to The Show Goes On. It got wonderful notices and did tremendous business. The second one was Philemon, which got the best notices of our career. The phones started ringing. People were lining up. All the things you want. But we just couldn’t deal with it. We thought we had to go on to our next production, and our next two productions were absolute bombs. We should have extended Philemon and told the people who had already bought season tickets, “Here’s your $5 back for the other two shows.”

GREGORY BOSSLER:  With the Portfolio, it seems you returned home after a sidetrack—albeit a successful sidetrack—for a number of years on Broadway with 110 in the Shade and I Do! I Do! It seems you returned to experimenting with form and exploring the ideas of Granville-Barker and the thrust stage, ideas in The Fantasticks.

TOM JONES:  You’re right. As I write in Making Musicals, it was definitely going back home. We always harbored the hope that we would have the same thing happen at Portfolio that had happened with The Fantasticks.

HARVEY SCHMIDT:  It’s curious though that we took Celebration, our first Portfolio show, to Broadway. The critics who didn’t like it felt that we were just trying to do The Fantasticks on Broadway. They really resented it.

TOM JONES:  I think some of the critics took personal resentment at our leading character, Mr. Rich, who is an old, burned-out man—as were some of the critics. On opening night, the first act went great. It was like dynamite. But in act two, Ted Thurston, who was playing Mr. Rich, was so exhilarated by the whole thing that he began to get carried away. His performance started getting bigger and bigger. I thought, “I’ve got to talk to Ted and tell him to calm down, to give his regular performance.” Then I realized that act two was so written that Mr. Rich is on this platform. When he’s not in a scene, he’s under this glittering umbrella, sitting up on this platform and watching. So, I wrote a note, put on a cloak, and started crawling out on stage. Then I thought, “Wait a minute! This is opening night on Broadway. You can’t do this.” There’s got to be a time when you let go. You can’t crawl out on stage and hand your actor a note, especially [on] opening night on Broadway—or opening night anywhere.

HARVEY SCHMIDT:  It’s the kind of show though where probably no one would have noticed it.

GREGORY BOSSLER:  You stayed at the Portfolio and developed shows for eight years but produced only one season. Why did you give it up then?

HARVEY SCHMIDT:  For one thing, it became like the U.S. government, costing more and more money. Somehow those things always grow. Also, the back wall of the building was about to fall down. The landlord was getting spookier and spookier. He would say, “Meet us at the phone booth on the corner of 48th and Broadway to give us the rent.”

TOM JONES:  Aside from that, we also felt that we had done what we set out to do, and we began to question, in spite of the good side of being auteurs, whether we wouldn’t profit from having a little cross-pollination with other creative people. As well, it hadn’t paid for itself. It hadn’t done what we had hopefully thought it might do. A year or so after we left the Portfolio, Michael Bennett tried a similar thing and created A Chorus Line. That was the kind of success that we had hoped for—well, I don’t think that we had hoped for that much—to pay for doing other works. However, Portfolio didn’t prove commercially popular or successful.

GREGORY BOSSLER:  Creatively, though, did it pay off for each of you?

HARVEY SCHMIDT:  Oh, it was a wonderful time. I don’t regret having done it. It cost a lot of money and I could use the money now, but it was highly creative. We did a lot of experimental things with music, primitive kinds of things. It was a lot of fun.

TOM JONES:  In a sense, I feel I began my musical theatre education at the Portfolio. We’d been going on talent and instinct, which had served us well, but there came a point when I realized I had better study structure, I had better be harder on myself than I’d been. The good side was that there was a lot of ebullience, and we took a lot of chances. The bad side was that I felt I could have done better if I had worked harder, if I had studied harder, if I knew more, if I had learned more. I owed it to myself, and to the work, to do as well as I could.

GREGORY BOSSLER:  Even after having been on Broadway, you still felt that you didn’t know what you were doing?

TOM JONES:  Our shows on Broadway were adaptations. It’s not a question that we had the skill to do adaptations. As well as a lot of people can, we can take a source material and bring it to life musically. I’m talking about creating an original work and, aside from that, creating new work, work that is uniquely ours. Although you can certainly find unique elements of our preferences, tastes, and style in those Broadway works, it’s not the same as The Fantasticks, for example, which couldn’t have been done by anybody else. It’s totally, uniquely, and personally ours.

HARVEY SCHMIDT:  I’m awed sometimes now when I go down [to Sullivan Street Playhouse] and see The Fantasticks. It’s a unique piece, very exotic and beautiful. I’m stunned. As time goes by, I appreciate more and more what it is. It’s incredible that it’s as good as it is for us being so young when we did it.

TOM JONES:  For so many rules being broken and for so many things that we didn’t know. Yet, we found other solutions to things that we didn’t have the known solutions to.

HARVEY SCHMIDT:  It’s far more daring than anything we’ve done since, though you might not think so now when you see it.

TOM JONES:  Particularly the longer it runs. Right before it opened, if you had asked me what I thought was going to happen with The Fantasticks, I would have said, “It’s going to be too special, too offbeat.” Well, the public responded.

*Editor’s Note: Theatre in the round existed centuries prior to Margo Jones. Through her Theatre ‘47, she helped repopularize arena staging in twentieth-century American theatre.

Photo of a clean-shaven white man wearing round, wire framed glasses and a black polo shirt.
Gregory Bossler

 is the former editor of The Dramatist as well as Dramatics and Teaching Theatre for the Educational Theatre Association.