Show Business: The Eternal Return

If the Manhattan theatergoers who are flinging themselves with glad abandon upon the recent hit revivals of My Fair Lady and Threepenny Opera think they are seeing the rebirth of the nation's longest-running musicals, they are wrong. The record is held by an unprepossessing little Off-Broadway show called The Fantasticks, and it does not need to be reborn for the simple reason that it never died.

Last week The Fantasticks, a winsome fantasy by Tom Jones with music by Harvey Schmidt, celebrated its 16th birthday with the usual flurry of statistics: 6,668 performances have grossed $4.2 million, with a return of $1.5...

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