New York City Center Encores! "The Golden Apple" - New York City Article

New York City Center Encores! "The Golden Apple" 

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New York City Center Encores! "The Golden Apple"

Published May 1, 2017
Updated May 2, 2017

City Center

131 W 55th St., CityTix (212) 581-1212

Wednesday (May 10) through Monday (May 14)

In 1954, The Golden Apple, with music by Jerome Moross and libretto by John Latouche opened Off Broadway, and was so immediately successful that only a month later it was transferred to Broadway proper. By this point, everyone was expecting it to be a boffo success, but alas, it only ran a few months. Then, to everyone’s surprise, The Golden Apple achieved a very different kind of immortality – the kind that neither the cast nor the investors actually wanted. The Golden Apple became the definitive example of a “cult show”: a musical that disappeared 60 years ago yet gave birth to a well-known standard song. (That song is the beautiful “Lazy Afternoon,” widely-known from recordings by Tony Bennett, Barbra Streisand, Sarah Vaughan, Eartha Kitt, Cassandra Wilson and dozens of major jazz instrumentalists.) The plot, in a peculiar way, anticipates the 2000 Academy Award-nominated Coen Brothers – George Clooney film O Brother, Where Are Thou? in that it takes the iconic stories of Homer (The Illiad and The Odyssey) and updates them to a rustic Americana setting, adding in lots of music along the journey. Is it any good? Since neither I nor hardly anyone else has seen it, I can’t actually tell you, but the cast album verifies that the rest of the score is just as good as Lazy Afternon – my favorite is the mock Hawaiian number, “Goona-Goona”) and that the City Center Encores! Production will be as good as the show can possibly be. Broadway buffs and theater nerds will be lining up around the block to see this one – and henceforth all shows that flopped on Broadway yet yielded classic songs (like The Yearling and “Why Did I Choose You”) will be known as “Golden Apples.” It’s precisely the opposite of a Trojan Horse – even though, of course, this story is actually where the very idea of a Trojan Horse comes from.

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Author: Will Friedwald
Photography by: STEPHEN SOROKOFF

Author: Will Friedwald

Will Friedwald writes about music and popular culture for THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, VANITY FAIR and PLAYBOY magazine and reviews current shows for THE CITIVIEW NEW YORK. He also is the author of nine books, including the award-winning A BIOGRAPHICAL GUIDE TO THE GREAT JAZZ AND POP SINGERS, SINATRA: THE SONG IS YOU, STARDUST MELODIES, TONY BENNETT: THE GOOD LIFE, LOONEY TUNES & MERRIE MELODIES, and JAZZ SINGING. He has written over 600 liner notes for compact discs, received ten Grammy nominations, and appears frequently on television and other documentaries. He is also a consultant and curator for Apple Music.

New Books:

THE GREAT JAZZ AND POP VOCAL ALBUMS (Pantheon Books / Random House, November 2017)