Nebraska Theatre Caravan will bring the world's longest-running production, "The Fantasticks," to the Community Arts Center at 7:30 p.m. Sunday.
"It's a story about finding, understanding and practicing true love," Chad Bradford, who plays El Gallo, said. "What at first seems like a simple story of forbidden love between a sweet boy and an imaginative young girl soon gets turned on its head when they realize what happens after 'happily ever after.' "
"The Fantasticks" was written in 1960 by Harvey Schmidt, with the lyrics by Tom Jones. It was loosely based on the play "The Romancers" by Edmond Rostand.
The original off-Broadway production became the longest-running musical in the world, running for 42 years with a total of 17,162 performances. The Community Arts Center performance will offer a steampunk twist to the musical.
Bradford's character, El Gallo, is the narrator of the piece.
"Not only do I invite the audience to come and enjoy the story and give commentary on the action, I also decide to take part in the action to provide a little mischief, in order to keep the story moving along," Bradford said.
What is steampunk?
Steampunk is a genre that came into prominence in the 1980s and early 1990s and incorporates elements of sci-fi, fantasy, alternate history, horror and speculative fiction. It involves a setting where steam power is widely used - whether in an alternate history such as Victorian-era Britain or "Wild West"- era United States, or in a postapocalyptic time - that incorporates elements of either science fiction or fantasy. Works of steampunk often feature anachronistic technology or futuristic innovations as Victorians might have envirisioned them, based on a Victorian perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style and art. This technology includes such fictional machines as those found in the works of H.G. Wells and Jules Verne, or the contemporary authors Philp Pullman, Scott Westerfeld and China Mieville.
Other examples of steampunk contain alternative history-style presentations of such technology as lighter-than-air airships, analog computers or such digital mechanical computers as Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace's Analytical Engine. Steampunk also refers to art, fashion and design that is informed by the aesthetics of steampunk literature.
Selected steampunk works include:
"20,000 Leagues Under the Sea"
"The Time Machine"
"Master of the World"
"Captain Nemo and the Underwater City"
"Wild Wild West"
"The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen"
"The Golden Compass"
Bradford first began acting professionally while in college, and later earned a master's degree in acting from Penn State University.
"Since then, theater and music have been my sole profession. I knew this was my path when I was 16 and found myself sitting, still mesmerized long after the curtain fell, in the mezzanine of a Broadway theater. My companions had already left with much of the audience, but I was transfixed. It was one of my first Broadway shows. In that moment, I realized that it was my dream to learn to give others the magic that I had just experienced," Bradford said.
"The song 'Try to Remember' is one that most baritones run across during their training," Bradford said. "I also saw the show off-broadway when it reopened in Midtown Manhattan back in 2006 with Burke Moses in the role of El Gallo."
According to Bradford, the travelling theater experience is one that has opened up new friendships for him so far.
"One of the wonderful things about doing theater for a living is having the opportunity to befriend a truly remarkable and beautiful array of different people. We travel together, at times in very close quarters, so actors have a knack for finding a way to see the good in everyone," Bradford said.
After performing in this show, Bradford has upcoming theater plans in store.
"I'll go on to direct Shakespeare's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' for the Shake on the Lake Shakespeare Festival in western New York, and have a few other projects in the works after that," Bradford said.
"The Fantasticks" tour will be running until April 27, and will travel next from New York to Washington, then down to New Mexico and over to Florida.
"In one way or another, I can't see my life apart from theater, music and art. I heard one famous acting teacher recently say that our profession is not one that we choose, but chooses us. I think that there is an artist inside each one of us, and I feel privileged to be able to make my living through art. And, as my girlfriend reminds me from time to time, I don't know how to do much else," Bradford said of his future.
The show will begin at 7:30 p.m., and tickets are on sale now. For ticket information, visit www.caclive.com or call 570-326-2424. For more information on "The Fantasticks," visit www.fan tasticksontour.com.
Additionally, "The Fantasticks" will be performed at 7 p.m. Saturday at Lackawanna College, 501 Vine St., Scranton. For more information, call 570-961-7810.