Thursday, October 8, 2009

One of us: Andrew Volkoff, Fantasticks Director

Cory Micheal Smith belts out a song. Kevin Sprague photos.

Like most LGBT people these days, Andrew Volkoff has been "out" for a while. No biggie. Besides, now that he is directing musicals, isn't that almost a requirement? Of course not, but some people think that liking musicals translates to being gay. But all it really means is that you enjoy stories and songs about what it means to be alive.

Andrew Volkkoff, Director of The Fantasticks

Volkoff's take on The Fantasticks is quite traditional. It's a musical that has been around for fifty years, and in fact is the most often performed musical in the world. Its story is simple, even if its lessons are complex. A boy, a girl, two parents and a wall.

Steve Wilson and Cory Michael Smith in The Fantasticks.

"I think the conflict with parents in the piece may seem familiar," says Volkoff. In the musical the parents connive in an effort to manipulate their children's lives. . "The Fantasticks can also speak to many gay men and women," he says. We have been fortunate to talk about the musical both with Volkoff, who is directing the fresh new production at Barrington Stage Company (Interview Here) and with Tom Jones (Story Here) who wrote the words and lyrics for it.

You may remember Volkoff as the director of BSC’s I Am My Own Wife which starred the wonderful Vince Gatton. It told the story of the amazing Charlotte Von Mahlsdorf, a man who somehow survived the Nazi and Soviet regimes dressed as a women.

The Fantasticks is being choreographed by Janet Watson (choreographer of current NY production). Christopher D. Littlefield is musical director.

A scene from The Fantasticks. Kevin Sprague photo.

"It seems that hardly anyone is immune to its timeless story. I know it touches me," says Volkoff. You can read our interview with him here in Berkshire Fine Arts. And you shouldn't miss this show. "Try to Remember" is one of its touchstone songs, and it is a show you will never forget. Following the Sunday, October 11 matinee at 3pm there will be a talkback with Fantasticks co-creator Tom Jones. Andrew has extended an invitation for the GLBT community to "come check us out!"

The show runs from October 7 through 18 on the BSC Mainstage, with an official opening on Saturday, October 10 at 8pm. Performance times are: Wednesday 7pm; Thursday-Saturday 8pm; Sunday 3pm. Additional performances will take place on Sunday, October 11 at 7pm, Wednesday, October 14 at 2pm and Saturday, October 17 at 4pm. Tickets are $15-35. $15 mezz/$20 orchestra tickets are available for October 7 and 8 previews. Tickets are on sale now at 413-236-8888 and

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