“The Fantasticks” opens Mar. 26—here’s what you need to know


The Fantasticks
Get your game face on—this story will take you for a ride. Photo via Bham Now.


“The Fantasticks”, a timeless tale embracing everything love has to offer, good and bad, shows at the Virginia Samford Theatre Mar.26-Apr.5 in Birmingham. Watch what happens when meddling fathers and one enigmatic narrator interfere with two teenagers attempting to navigate life. Get tickets now.

“The Fantasticks” is about finding true magic

Sword fighting
Sword fighting, mayhem and more ensue in this love story. Photo via Bham Now.

Without love, what do we have? “The Fantasticks” explores all the feelings of falling in love through the lens of two teenagers—Matt and Luisa.

However magical it may seem at first, smokescreens block the truth of what lies beneath those feelings. El Gallo, the mysterious narrator, is there to pull the couple back into reality and show them that, “without a hurt, the heart is hollow.”

“El Gallo sets Matt and Luisa up for experiences and adventures to open their eyes to the truth of the world, and what it means to find true ‘contentment.'”

Carl Dean, who plays the role of El Gallo

Every age and person can relate to the show

Maybe you’re like Matt and Luisa—an adolescent falling in love for the first time. Or, you’re a parent thinking of how you hope the world is kind to your children. No matter your age, the show has elements you can relate to—mainly that life can’t be controlled.

“Hopefully what audiences can take away from the show is that you have to take life on its terms.

You can’t expect every moment to be filled with ‘magic,’ but if you open yourself up to all the experiences you go through, the positive and the negative ones, you will find that the true magic of life lies in the beauty of embracing the simple fact that life itself is a gift.”

Carl Dean

Carl also mentions that finding love, family and a place to belong is ultimately the greatest adventure of them all. Find out what happens next—purchase tickets.

How Virginia Samford Theatre is keeping the longest-running American musical in theater history fresh

The cast of The Fantasticks
Ta-da! Catch the cast Mar.25-Apr.5 on the Virginia Samford Theatre mainstage. Photo via Bham Now.

When you take a powerful story such as “The Fantasticks” there’s no need to fill in the background with unnecessary frills. The story itself is strong and poignant. All you need to do is sit back and listen.

“Everything moves at such a rapid fire pace these days, and everywhere we turn we are bombarded with the hyper excess of competing images. 

What is fresh about ‘The Fantasticks‘ is that it strips those things away. It asks the audience to go on a journey in which they must use their imaginations and become part of the story being told.

Carl Dean

By using your imagination and placing yourself in the situations placed on stage in front of you, you’ll find a deeper connection to the story. Maybe, you’ll even discover something about your own life.

Carl Dean uses personal experience for his role

The Fantasticks
I’d like to be in on this conversation. Photo via Bham Now.

Like any role, it’s impossible to embrace it properly without understanding it. Having been in Matt and Luisa’s place himself and now watching as his children take on the world, Carl’s lived through the show in real life. As a very active and well-known member of the theater community, Carl knows how important the themes in this show are.

Why he’s perfect for the role

To start, Carl has played the role before—about 25 years ago. However, in his opinion, he didn’t have enough life experience to really understand what El Gallo was attempting to show the young couple.

“At the time I was, in all honesty, far too young to fully grasp the gravity and truth of all El Gallo attempts to teach Matt and Luisa in the play.” 

Carl Dean
Scene from the show
Want to know what’s happening here? Get your tickets NOW. Photo via Bham Now.

So over two decades later, what’s changed in Carl’s life to prepare him for the role? I can give you a not-so-simple one-word answer: life.

“I was compelled to return to the role now that I am 45 and have experienced far more of life, love, loss, and self examination of purpose, understanding, and the idea of finding contentment. 

How have I prepared for the role? I have lived.”

Carl Dean

Don’t miss the whimsical tale

The Fantasticks
The other half of Matt and Luisa. Photo via Bham Now.
  • What: “The Fantasticks”
  • When: March 26-April 5
  • Time: Thurs.-Sat. at 7:30PM | Sundays at 2:30PM
  • Where: Virginia Samford Theatre, 1116 26th St S, Birmingham, AL 35205
  • Tickets

“We don’t get much time these days for reflection, without very conscious effort. 

This play reminds us that we must find ways to slow down and take in all that is around us to truly find what the world has in store, and to face those things with courage.”

Carl Dean

Reflect with El Gallo as he tells us the story of Matt and Luisa finding their own identities and discovering their strengths as a couple in times of both darkness and light.

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