The Fantasticks

The Fantasticks; 7:30 p.m. August 1, 6 and 7; $20-$52. Warren Edward Trepp Stage, Sand Harbor in Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park, 2005 Highway 28 in Incline Village, Nev.; Through August 22.
Rated 3.0

The Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival has paired The Fantasticks—a small musical revue from 1960with Romeo and Juliet. Both shows deal with manipulative dads and their hopelessly idealistic teenage kids, who fall in love. The major difference here is that in The Fantasticks, the young lovers don’t take their lives. The pairing of the two shows is quite complementaryespecially when you compare the giddy dialogue between the respective teenage couples in their early scenes. The cast of seven professional actors give this production more zip than a community production. The Fantasticks also has a lot of Shakespeare spoofing (by the superannuated character Henry, an old actor spouting a mishmash of famous lines by the Bard, played with overripe grandeur by M.A. Taylor). Alas, The Fantasticks is better suited to a cozy cabaret than a 1,100-seat amphitheater. And while the show scores some points about life and love, its message is undercut (at least for today’s audiences) by the fact that adult life is represented entirely by men—the only female with lines is a dizzy teenage girl (nicely rendered by Clare Howes Eisentrout). A few ethnic generalities that didn’t raise eyebrows in 1960 seem dated now (though in this production, actor Michael Padgett manages to downplay the cheesier “Latin lover” aspects of his character El Gallo). The score boasts one hitthe oft-recorded “Try to Remember”; the other numbers are witty but slight. The two-piece band does nicely; the choreography (Gregory Daniels) brightens things up.