THE APPLE TREE
YALE CABARET, 2017
PRODUCTION PHOTOS: T. Charles Erickson
BOOK, MUSIC, AND LYRICS BY JERRY BOCK AND SHELDON HARNICK
Directed by Rory Pelsue
Dramaturgy: Molly FitzMaurice
Music Director: Jill Brunelle
Scenic Design: Ao Li
Costume Design: Matthew Mallone
Sound Design: Tye Fitzgerald
Lighting Design: Krista Smith
Projection Design: Christopher Evans
Stage Manager: Abigail Gandy
The second show of Cab 50 is sheer delight. With music by Jerry Bock and lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, both of Fiddler on the Roof fame, and book by both, the story of Adam and Eve, as filtered through Mark Twain’s “The Diary of Adam and Eve,” is retold as a tuneful, funny, rueful, and wise consideration of gender roles. Associate Artistic Director Rory Pelsue directs The Apple Tree with a loving grasp of the material.
-Donald Brown, New Haven Review
Pelsue has never not stuck a landing at the Cab, and this show—his first musical, and first true comedy—is no exception...
It is a show of quiet victories, placing forbidden fruit and bad jokes on the same level for wondrous results. In a compelling move for costume design, Matthew Malone has dressed Adam and Eve in all-white country club-esque garb to represent their nakedness, which is to say their lack of knowledge. Their brains, like the bodies they inhabit, are initially blank slates. Everything is the pristine white of milk, almost asking to be stained....As Adam and Eve gain knowledge, red blooms around them: first as accessories, then garments, then household items. By the end of the show, everything is soaked in red: the apples, the clothes, the watering can with which Adam learns to tend plants. Lights flicker in yellow and red above, everything vibrant as their world becomes de-sanitized. Along the way are weighty lessons in love, touch, sex, parenthood and aging that sneak up on the audience, hilarious until they're suddenly heart-rending instead.
We end there, much better people for it. The Apple Tree isn’t not a groundbreaking show like last week’s One Big Breath, or even Pelsue’s sublime Mies Julie earlier this year. It doesn’t pretend to be. Instead, this Adam and Eve have learned the lessons our teachers never dared to teach us. They have seen the world in technicolor, and aren’t going to go back. We shouldn’t either.
-Lucy Gellman, The Arts Paper