I am playing for the musical The Fantasticks in February and was
wondering if any harpists who have played for it before could tell me
what they thought about it (the most difficult song, trickiest part,
little hints, suggestions, etc. etc.).
I haven’t played the show since I subbed in the original Off-Broadway production quite a few years ago. Hank Whitmire was the last harpist to play the show, and he may have played it the longest, too. They rewrote the harp book, I seem to remember him saying. He’s probably the best person to get in contact with. It’s all playable, surprisingly, if you’re dextrous. With a sort of glib approach, like the show itself, it kind of fall into place. You have to do a lot of fast jumping onto different notes, placing, etc. but there should be enough time. The trickiest thing was having to play in a blackout until the lights came on. You probably won’t have that problem. There is an original cast recording, and if you listen carefully you can hear most of the harp part. It all moves along rather quickly, and is really lovely music. My favorite part was Soon It’s Gonna Rain. This Plum is Too Ripe is the trickiest, perhaps. It’s very syncopated, and you may have to play the claves as well as the harp.
I have a copy of the harp part that was given to me in ’97, but I don’t know if its the new or old version.
Also, from my dealings in musical theater, even if a show’s music is editted/rewritten/revised/etc., it does not mean the copys made available to the theater group will be the same as the new version.
I am in the same boat right now. Need to okay this show the first two weeks of December, but the organizer can’t get the harp part to me for another week or so. I haven’t played this music for 30 years, and I know it will take a lot of work.
Did you have any luck finding a copy of the harp part of the newer version of this harp part???
Also, I know that a couple of years ago harpist Alex Rannie was undertaking a project to re-work the harp part (with proper pedals, fingering, etc.) and have it engraved, etc. I don’t know what happened to it, but it certainly is about time for a proper typeset version that has been vetted by a working harpist!
But the show is TONS of fun to play!
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