The composer of a musical that opened during the Eisenhower administration and went on to a 42-year run has died. The AP reports that Harvey Schmidt, the composer of “The Fantasticks,” died Wednesday. He was 88.
“Schmidt teamed up with lyricist, director and storywriter Tom Jones on ‘The Fantasticks’ as well as the Broadway shows ‘110 in the Shade’ and ‘I Do! I Do!’ Both men were inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame in 1998,” the AP reports.
The original Off-Broadway production of “The Fantasticks” debuted in 1960 and reportedly ran for 17,162 performances, making it the longest-running musical in history. The show’s best-known song, “Try to Remember,” has been recorded by hundreds of artists, including by Ed Ames, Harry Belafonte, Barbra Streisand and Placido Domingo, the report notes.
Schmidt reportedly wrote the melody of “Try to Remember” in 5 minutes. The play, which has minimalist set design, is a staple of regional, community and high school theater, reportedly inspiring as many as 250 new productions annually.