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'Fantastick' news, except for 'Chess' fans

January 18, 2009 | 11:41 am

It's checkmate for the L.A. production of "Chess."

Reprise Theatre Company says it has scrapped plans to stage the 1980s musical at UCLA in May and will instead mount a production of "The Fantasticks," which is already enjoying a revival off-Broadway.

JFantasticksthumbason Alexander, artistic director of Reprise, said "Chess" was undone by the death Nov. 25 of Gerald Schoenfeld, president of the Shubert Organization, who he said had "commissioned and brokered" the Reprise revival of the musical that features music by Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson of ABBA, with lyrics by Tim Rice.

"Without his support, our production of 'Chess' simply is not possible at this time," Alexander said in a news release. He offered no other details.

Alexander said the company already had been planning "The Fantasticks" for next season and simply decided to move it up. The show will now run May 5-17 at UCLA's Freud Playhouse. Tickets for "Chess" will be honored at the same dates and times; individual tickets for "The Fantasticks" go on sale Feb. 24.

Featuring music by Harvey Schmidt and lyrics by Tom Jones, "The Fantasticks" opened at New York's Sullivan Street Playhouse in 1960 and continued running for nearly 42 years, earning the title of world's longest-running musical. A revival has been running at the Snapple Theatre Center in New York since 2006.

-- Lee Margulies