Young love is at the center of "The Fantasticks," a beloved musical that opened at the Coastal Repertory Theatre over the weekend. Photo courtesy Joyce Morrell

The current Coastal Reporatory Theatre performance is guaranteed to be fantastic. Or rather, “fantastick.” That’s because it features a familiar story and lively tunes that are recognizable to theatergoers the world over.

The local production of “The Fantasticks” began on Friday and continues weekends through Aug. 25. All performances take place at the Coastal Rep, 1167 Main St., Half Moon Bay.

The story concerns a pair of neighboring fathers who drum up a make-believe feud in order to trick their children into falling in love with one another. If it’s not a story as old as time, it sure seems that way. The off-Broadway production opened in 1960 and ran continuously into 2002, making it the longest-running musical on record. It ran for 17,162 performances and along the way such notables as Elliott Gould, Glenn Close, Kristin Chenoweth and Liza Minnelli took on roles.

The music is as memorable as the action on the stage and includes the unforgettable “Try to Remember.”

The local production is the result of a 2018 pitch made by director Barbara Williams. She said she saw the production in the early 1960s in San Francisco. She thinks she knows why the show has such staying power.

“It’s exquisitely crafted,” she said on the eve of Friday’s opening. “The show is simple. It deals with young love, which is something we’ve all experienced. It’s magical.”

The young lovers in this one — Luisa and Matt — are double cast. Erin Reis and Danny Martin play two weekends, and Coastsiders Amabel Gale and Zach Troutman take the roles this coming weekend.

The show may be long-running, but it’s also evolved. Most recently, that means author and lyricist Tom Jones changed the lyrics of “It Depends On What You Pay” to excise the “rape” that is central to the song.

“I’m happy he made the changes to keep up with the times,” Williams said.

“The Fantasticks” continues with three shows this weekend and another three shows the following weekend. For show times and tickets, visit coastalrep.com or call (650) 204-5046.

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