The Apple Tree Cast & Crew
The Apple Tree Cast
|THE SNAKE||DOUG ERWIN|
|KING ARIK||JOHN SCHNABLE|
|PRINCESS BARBARA||LINDSEY JONES|
|CAPTAIN SANJAR||DAN JONES|
|KING ARIK’S COURT||ANNE MCGOWAN, CHRIS LONG, COLLEEN HART, GEORGE LAMB, JULIE LABEAU, JULIE STRATHMAN, WAYNE MACKENBERG|
|ELLA AND PASSIONELLA||JULIE LABEAU|
|MR. FALLIBLE||GEORGE LAMB|
|THE PRODUCER||JOHN SCHNABLE|
|FLIP, THE PRINCE CHARMING||WAYNE MACKENBERG|
|FAIRY GODMOTHER VOICE||DEBBIE BIXLER|
|THE COMPANY||ANNE MCGOWAN, CHRIS LONG, COLLEEN HART, ELIZABETH SWOBODA, GEORGE LAMB, JULIE STRATHMAN, MELISSA DOHACK|
| CREW |
The Apple Tree - Chris Gibson
Over Due Theatre Company is dedicated to presenting works that are not regularly performed and The Apple Tree, though recently revived for a short run on Broadway, certainly qualifies on all counts. A collection of three one act musicals that illustrate relations between men and women over the ages, it’s a cute show that doesn’t deserve to be so neglected.
The music by Jerry Brock with lyrics by Sheldon Harnick isn’t especially hit laden, but is enjoyable and filled with humor. Mary Sutherland does an excellent job as musical director, providing wonderful accompaniment as well as conducting the small but effective ensemble that backs her. The volume is contained to a level that allows all the performers to be heard clearly and the voice work among the cast is generally solid as well.
The first musical centers around the story of Adam and Eve and is based on material by Mark Twain. This is the longest of the pieces and the most thoroughly plotted. Chris Long is a fitful Adam. He plays the part a bit deliberately, but provides a generally steady voice in his few numbers. His best moment comes during “It’s a Fish”, an amusing song about his impressions of their first born. Melissa Dohack makes a fetching Eve and possesses a very strong voice which is a necessity since she carries the musical portion of this act. Doug Erwin delivers a tuneful tenor and playful approach to his role as the snake in the Garden of Eden. This act is the longest of the three and suffers from a lagging pacing.
The second musical, “The Lady and the Tiger” was written by Frank Stockton and tells the age old tale of a kingdom where the fate of wrongdoers is decided by their choice of doors. One leads to a hungry tiger, and if chosen guarantees the accused of being guilty as well as being eaten. The other leads to a beautiful woman and innocence, which is followed quickly by marriage and the presumed loss of said innocence, but that’s another matter. The music in this act was the most interesting to me because it was more exotic rhythmically and more diverse instrumentally. Lindsey Jones gives a great performance as Princess Barbara, secretly carrying on a forbidden love affair that leads to her lover having to make the dreaded choice between doors. Jones performance of “I’ve Got What You Want” is a show stopper and made all the more funny by the warrior princess costume she wears. Doug Erwin appears again as the Balladeer and, once again, is in fine vocal fettle.
The last show is called “Passionella” and is Jules Feiffer’s 60’s era take on the classic Cinderella story. Julie La Beau is a chimney sweep who longs to be a movie star. La Beau’s purposely off key rendition of “Oh, to be a Movie Star” ala Marilyn Monroe is a wacky delight. The music for this act is the most dynamic, but the least memorable. Doug Erwin appears again as the narrator and manages to steal some well timed laughs.
Wayne Mackenberg’s direction is a bit loose at times and the punch lines to some of the acts aren’t always clearly delivered and given the proper impact. Also, some of the blocking and transitions between scenes are a bit awkward as well. But, these are fixable issues that can be tightened up. These same problems plague Anne McGowan’s choreography, especially during “The Lady and the Tiger”, with the ensemble work coming off ragged and unsure.
Despite some shaky moments, I enjoyed this show. Hopefully a few of the items can be addressed because The Apple Tree is a forgotten musical that deserves an audience.
Over Due Theatre Company’s production of The Apple Tree continues April 13th through the 22nd at the Olivette Community Center. For ticket information call 636-978-5830 or visit www.overduetheatrecompany.com .