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Broadway classics: The Apple Tree July 29, 2007

Posted by Jeff in Musicals, Theater.

Okay, I’m as much of a Kristin Chenoweth fan as the next metrosexual, but putting her in The Apple Tree is like casting Ethel Merman in The Fantasticks.

The recent Broadway production was a revival of the 1966 original production of the Jerry Bock-Sheldon Harnick show, starring Alan Alda, Barbara Harris and Larry Blyden. It was Bock and Harnick’s first show after Fiddler On The Roof, and the first Broadway musical directed by Mike Nichols (whose second was Spamalot, thirty-nine years later).

The Apple Tree is an evening of three one-act musicals. The first act (and best, judging by the cast album), is based on Mark Twain’s The Diary Of Adam and Eve. Here, Adam (Alda) sings of his ambivalent attraction to Eve (Harris):

Eve thinks that Adam is put off by her lack of intelligence, which gives the Snake (Blyden) the perfect opening:

The second act is based on Frank L. Stockton’s “The Lady Or The Tiger?” Harris plays Princess Barbara, whose lover Sanjar (Alda) is sentenced to the fate famously laid out in the original story: behind one door in the arena is a tiger who will kill him, behind the other is a beautiful lady whom he must marry. Come to think of it, I guess I can imagine Chenoweth in this number …

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1. Jeff - January 24, 2007

Alan Alda’s father was Robert Alda, best known as the original Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls.

The Apple Tree was Alda’s second musical, after something called Cafe Crown which closed after one performance (and which he talks about here).

Although he hasn’t done another musical on Broadway, he sang in the 1996 Woody Allen movie Everyone Says I Love You. A lot of the critics talked about Alda’s singing as some sort of anomaly, overlooking that he’d gotten a Tony nomination for Apple Tree thirty years earlier.

2. leslie r - January 24, 2007

Whoa! I cannot see Kristin Chenoweth playing this role at all. I am such a big fan of Alan Alda, but I had no idea that he could SING! I am going to have to get a copy of this.

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