Mr. Fantastick

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Jonathan Schwartz ’10 plays Matt in the off-Broadway revival of The Fantasticks. (Photo by Ellis Gaskell)

Schwartz ’10 makes his New York acting debut

Six days a week, Jonathan Schwartz ’10 takes a New Jersey Transit train into Manhattan to work. The job involves some singing and dancing and being ready for the unexpected, like trying to belt out his lines in front of 200 people with confetti stuck in his mouth.

That’s all in a day’s work for Schwartz, who recently made his New York acting debut as the male lead in the off-Broadway production of The Fantasticks (a role that includes one scene in which confetti is sprinkled over the actor’s head). Schwartz, a sociology major, has been doing eight performances a week since March 30 while carrying a full course load.

The Fantasticks was the longest-running musical in the world, opening in 1960 and playing more than 17,000 shows before closing in 2002. The show’s revival at the Snapple Theater Center in Times Square opened in June 2008. The story is a romantic comedy about a boy (Matt, Schwartz’s role) and a girl (Luisa) who fall in and out of love at the hands of their meddling fathers.

Schwartz, a Cranford, N.J., native, has been acting since he landed a part in the chorus for a community theater production of Oliver at age 4. “I learned my right from my left in that show because I had to wave,” he says. Since then, he has performed in some 30 musicals and plays, starring as Buddy Holly in The Buddy Holly Story and Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. On campus he’s been involved in the Princeton University Players, Triangle Club, and the Nassoons.

When Schwartz was offered the part of Matt during midterms, he considered taking time off from school, but ultimately decided to push on. He loads up on classes during Tuesday, the theater’s “dark” day, and uses his commuting time to do homework. Two weeks ago he handed in his junior paper. “I’m not shooting for A’s,” he says, “but I’m doing the best I can.” By Katherine Federici Greenwood

Last-chance lessons

Classes have ended for the semester, but seniors are still headed to lecture. The Last Lecture Series, which runs from April 27 to May 8, gives the Class of 2009 an opportunity to hear some of Princeton’s best lecturers speak about their fields of expertise. Seniors crowd into McCosh 10 on Monday and Wednesday nights to soak up these last tidbits of knowledge before heading out into the real world in June.

Robert George, the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and a constitutional law expert, spoke to the group April 27 on the topic of “Natural Law, God, and Human Rights.” George outlined his view on the principles of justice and human rights from his viewpoint as a natural law theorist.

In his primer on natural law theory, George argued that humans recognize the “intrinsic value” of social relationships, and thereby set the basis for human-rights law. “Natural law theorists do not deny that God can reveal moral truths, but many moral truths can be grasped by ethical reflection even without revelation,” George said. According to this theory, people can reach consensus on human-rights law without the confirmation of an existence of a higher being.

John Fleming *63, the Louis W. Fairchild ’24 Professor of English and Comparative Literature emeritus, tackled the issue of “What Are the Humanities?” April 29. Identifying the humanities as the “artifacts of human intellection,” Fleming stressed the importance of understanding the cultural context when reading literature.

In speaking about Shakespeare and Chaucer, Fleming said that “we are in that string of humanity, but there’s no way that we’re going to become 14th-century people. … The challenge of the humanities is to try and see them against the profile of the stark differentiation that separates us.”

Lectures continue this week with Professor Ed Felten discussing digital media and Professor Eric Wieschaus speaking about cell embryos. By Sarah Harrison ’09

Arts briefs: Romeo & Juliet at Lincoln Center; Alumna’s documentary on PBS

From May 14-17, the Mark Morris Dance Group will perform “Romeo & Juliet,
On Motifs of Shakespeare” at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater in New York. The ballet is set to the original score composed by Sergei Prokofiev, recently rediscovered by Princeton professor and musicologist Simon Morrison *97. Morrison will speak about the production May 14 at a special pre-performance event for New York City alumni.

Deborah Fryer *93‘s award-winning documentary film Shaken: Journey Into the Mind of a Parkinson’s Patient will air on several PBS affiliates in May.

One thought on “Mr. Fantastick

  1. Jon

    I saw the show months ago and the Fantastick is back better than ever, though I didn’t know it had left. This classic has the most glorious music,and the man who plays El Gallo has an incredible voice.The love couple Matt and Luisa are adorable, particularly Matt(Nick Spangler) who is on the Amazing Race with his sister. There are no swear words so you can take your 8yr old and your Granny, and everyone will be happy.

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