Now, you can stop the heart palpitations for a second ladies… it is NOT THAT Tom Jones.
Tom Jones the singer is still kicking, but Tom Jones the lyricist, director, and writer of “The Fantasticks” has passed away, reported Billboard.
He was 95 years old.
His family stated that Jones finally lost his long-running battle with cancer on August 11, 2023.
While Jones will always be known for “The Fantasticks,” he has more than a dozen theater credits to his name.
It was “The Fantasticks,” however, that cemented his name in history in the theater world.
When the show was originally written (based on the play by Edmond Rostand) nobody could have predicted what was to become the longest-running musical in history.
When the show first hit the stage in 1960, some of the roles were filled by Jerry Orbach and Rita Gardner. More recently, names on the marquee included Ricardo Montalban, Kristin Chenoweth, and “Frozen” star Santino Fontana, reported the New York Post.
In 1991, the show won the Tony Award for Excellence in Theatre.
The show played for an amazing 42 years in a small theater in Greenwich Village called the Sullivan Street Playhouse, which featured a mere 153 seats.
The show closed in 2002, after an amazing 17,162 performances. More than four decades of continuous running.
In 2006, the show would get a reprieve, opening at The Snapple Theater Center, which would later be renamed The Theater Center.
Seven years later, the show would celebrate its 20,000th performance. Sadly, in 2017, after 21,552 performances, the curtain came down for the final time.
During a 2013 interview, Jones stated, “So many people have come, and this thing stays the same — the platform, the wooden box, the cardboard moon. We just come and do our little thing and then we pass on.”
What is even more impressive about the run the show had was that it was not exactly received warmly by critics, especially as it endured through the years. For instance, a New York Times critic called the play “the sort of thing that loses magic the longer it endures.”
So, it just goes to show, the so-called experts do not know squat!