The Golden Apple (musical)
|The Golden Apple|
1954 Original Broadway Cast Recording
|Lyrics||John Treville Latouche|
|Book||John Treville Latouche|
|Basis||Iliad and Odyssey of Homer|
1961 Equity Library Theatre
1962 York Playhouse
1995 Light Opera Works
The Golden Apple is a musical adaptation of parts of each of the Iliad and Odyssey epics of Homer, with music by Jerome Moross and lyrics by John Treville Latouche. The musical premiered Off-Broadway in 1954 and then transferred to Broadway.
The Golden Apple was one of the first musicals produced Off-Broadway at The Phoenix Theatre, where it opened on March 11, 1954. The musical transferred to Broadway on April 20, 1954 at the Alvin Theater where the cerebral and through-sung musical played for only 125 performances despite rave reviews. The original production starred Kaye Ballard as Helen, and Stephen Douglass as Ulysses. It was the first Off-Broadway show to win the Best Musical award from the New York Drama Critics' Circle. Latouche's lyrics are much praised; Steven Suskin wrote: "The Golden Apple benefits from imaginative theatricality in all departments but it was the more-than-glorious score that carried this brilliant musical theatre experiment from Off Broadway to the Alvin."
The musical is entirely through-composed and exhibits features similar to more operatic musicals like Porgy and Bess, Candide, and The Most Happy Fella. Jerome Moross was a classical composer of concert music, ballets, as well as a highly appreciated film score. The musical has developed a cult following, even though the full score has never been commercially recorded and the show has never been revived on Broadway. The musical is remembered in part for introducing the standard "Lazy Afternoon", sung by Ballard, and its fantastical, suggestive settings by William and Jean Eckart.
There was an off-broadway revival in 1961 at the Equity Library Theatre. In 1962 it was remounted at the York Playhouse. Both productions were directed by Robert Ennis Turoff and starred Roberta MacDonald as Helen and Stan Page as Ulysses.
The piece continues to receive occasional productions. For example, a 1990 production by the York Theater Company in New York featured Muriel Costa-Greenspon. The work was produced in 1995 by Light Opera Works in Chicago, Illinois and in 2006 by the 42nd Street Moon Company in San Francisco, California. The Shaw Festival, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada, presented a staged concert in October 2006. The complete piano-vocal score was published for the first time in 2009, by Alfred Music Publishing. A production was mounted in October of 2014 for the first time with a full orchestra since its Broadway Debut by Lyric Stage in Dallas Texas under the direction of Stefan Novinski and music direction under Jay Dias. On February 8th, 2015, Los Angeles' esteemed Musical Theatre Guild performed a one night engagement of The Golden Apple with full orchestra at The Moss Theatre in Santa Monica.
The Original Broadway Cast Recording, released by RCA Victor had to cut a great deal of the lengthy sung-through score in order to fit on a single Long Playing disc. Extended cast albums were unheard of at that time, with the precedent being set two years later with a triple Lp of Frank Loesser's The Most Happy Fella. This fifty minute version of the score was the only one available for nearly six decades.
It was announced in early 2015 that record label PS Classics had recorded performances of the Lyric Stage production in order to assemble the first full-length recording of the score, to be released May 19, 2015.
Roles and original cast
- Helen - Kaye Ballard
- Lovey Mars - Bibi Osterwald
- Penelope - Priscilla Gillette
- Ulysses Spelvin - Stephen Douglass
- Paris - Jonathan Lucas
- Hector Charybdis - Jack Whiting
- Menelaus - Dean Michener
- Mrs. Juniper - Geraldine Viti
- Miss Minerva Oliver - Portia Nelson
- Mother Hare - Nola Day
In the U.S. state of Washington, near Mt. Olympus, at the turn of the 20th century, the small town of Angel’s Roost is thrown into confusion when old Menelaus's fancy-free wife, Helen, runs off with a traveling salesman named Paris. He's in town to judge an apple pie bake-off. Ulysses, just returned from the Spanish-American War, is already restless and goes to retrieve Helen, leaving his wife Penelope for a ten-year adventure.
√ Note: During the Broadway run of the show, the finale was replaced on the insistence of the producers with a more mainstream reprise of "Coming Home Together" with the chorus. This finale was recorded for the cast album, but subsequently replaced in the published score by the original ending.
- "The Phoenix Theatre listing" Internet Broadway Database, accessed November 1, 2011
- Green, Stanley and Green, Kay."Chapter: 1954; The Golden Apple" Broadway musicals, show by show (1996), Hal Leonard Corporation, ISBN 0-7935-7750-0, p. 160
- Suskin, Steven."'The Golden Apple'" Show tunes (4 ed., 2010), Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-531407-7, p. 410
- Harris, Andrew B. (March 8, 2006). Performing Set: The Broadway Designs of William and Jean Eckart. University of North Texas Press. ISBN 978-1574412123. Retrieved 23 October 2014.
- Lortel Archives
- Holden, Stephen. "Review/Theater;Homer in Song and Dance In 'Golden Apple' Revival" The New York Times, March 30, 1990
- Williams, Albert. "Homer on the Range", The Reader, August 25, 1995, Section 1, p. 36
- Connema, Richard. "A Vivacious and Ingenious Production of 'The Golden Apple'; Review, San Francisco" talkinbroadway.com (based on April production), accessed November 1, 2011
- Lawrence, Mark Andrew."Shaw Festival Kicks Off Its 45th Season This Week" broadwayworld.com, accessed November 1, 2011
- Krasker, Tommy."The Golden Apple - First Full Length Recording" psclassics.com, accessed February 21, 2015
- Synopsis, production notes and other information from Musicalnotesnmore.com
- Production and synopsis from guidetomusicaltheatre.com
- The Golden Apple at the Internet Broadway Database
- Time Magazine review of the original production
- Photo of album cover