Tom Jones, the legendary lyricist, director, and writer of the renowned musical “The Fantasticks,” has sadly passed away at the age of 95. Jones, who had been battling cancer, died at his residence in Sharon, Connecticut.
Known for his immense contributions to the theater world, Jones was honored for his exceptional work when he was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame back in 1998. One of his most remarkable achievements was “The Fantasticks,” which is based on a relatively obscure play by Edmond Rostand. This musical went on to make history as the longest-running production of its kind.
“The Fantasticks” captivated audiences with its simplistic yet captivating set design. Featuring nothing more than a platform, poles, a curtain, and a wooden box, the show relied on its truly enchanting storyline to captivate theatergoers. Throughout its nearly 42-year run at the Sullivan Street Playhouse, the production saw a remarkable cast come and go, including renowned actors such as Jerry Orbach, Rita Gardner, Ricardo Montalban, Kristin Chenoweth, and Santino Fontana.
After the tragic events of 9/11 and changes in audience preferences, “The Fantasticks” closed its doors at the Sullivan Street Playhouse. However, it found a new home at The Snapple Theater Center, later renamed The Theater Center, in the bustling Times Square. This move allowed the show to continue enchanting audiences until its final performance in 2017, totaling an astounding 21,552 shows. This feat secured “The Fantasticks” as the longest-running production in the history of American theater.
One of the musical’s iconic songs, “Try To Remember,” became a widely recognized and cherished tune, showcasing the enduring appeal of the show, despite initial mixed reviews. Throughout his career, Jones also made significant contributions to other Broadway productions, including “110 in the Shade” and “I Do! I Do!”
Jones’s legacy lives on through his two sons, Michael and Sam, whom he leaves behind. Following his passing, heartfelt tributes from the Broadway community poured in, honoring his immense talent and contributions to the world of theater. Tom Jones’s remarkable journey as a lyricist, director, and writer will forever be remembered and cherished by theater enthusiasts globally.