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‘The Fantasticks,’ off-Broadway’s longest-running show, set to close

Lisa Mayer and Josh Miller in a

Lisa Mayer and Josh Miller in a 1994 photo from "The Fantasticks." Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Try to remember a time when tourists couldn’t schedule in a performance of “The Fantasticks” along with stops at the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building.

That time will return June 4, when off-Broadway’s longest-running show closes at the Jerry Orbach Theater in Times Square (named for the late actor, who played El Gallo in the original Off-Broadway run of “The Fantasticks” and became the first performer to sing that show’s standard “Try To Remember”).

The tiny musical, a romance about young lovers with different goals, first opened downtown at the Sullivan Street Playhouse in 1960 and ran 17,162 performances before closing in 2002. The show, with music by Harvey Schmidt, book, lyrics and direction by Tom Jones, reopened in 2006 at the Orbach Theater at the Snapple Theater Center on West 54th St., where it will have played 4,390 performances when it closes. That will make a total of 21,552 performances.

Among its other achievements, the chamber musical is the only off-Broadway show to receive a Tony -- a special one in 1991 for Excellence in Theatre.

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