Review Roundup: Encores! THE GOLDEN APPLE
Closing out this season at Encores! is The Golden Apple- the John Latouche and Jerome Moross' cult classic. The Golden Apple stars Mikaela Bennett (Penelope), Jeff Blumenkrantz (Menelaus/Scylla), Ashley Brown (Mrs. Juniper/Madame Calypso), Carrie Compere (Lovey Mars/The Siren), Barton Cowperthwaite (Paris), Jason Kravits (Hector Charybdis), Alli Mauzey(Miss Minerva Oliver/The Scientist), Lindsay Mendez (Helen), N'Kenge (Mother Hare/Circe), and Ryan Silverman (Ulysses).
The ensemble includes Florrie Bagel, Daniel Berryman, Michael Buchanan, Brian Cali, Max Chernin, Andrew Cristi, Laura Darrell, Dionne Figgins, Hannah Florence, Tamar Greene, Jeff Heimbrock, Leah Horowitz, Monté J. Howell, Donald Jones Jr., Andrea Jones-Sojola, Naomi Kakuk, Evan Kasprzak, Reed Kelly, Bruce Landry, Quentin Oliver Lee, Brandon Leffler, Michael X. Martin,Skye Mattox, Sarah Meahl, Justin Prescott, Lindsay Roberts, Sarrah Strimel, Joseph Torello, Kathy Voytko, and Nicholas Ward.
Helen of Troy as a bored housewife? Ulysses as a dashing hero of the Spanish-American War? The whimsical and toweringly ambitious 1954 musical The Golden Apple does all that and more, reshaping the myths of The Iliad and The Odyssey into an all-American fable that conjures up the days when pie-baking contests were cutthroat and lovers eloped in hot air balloons. Despite its brief run, John Latouche and Jerome Moross' show was hailed by critics and introduced the classic torch song "Lazy Afternoon." The Encores! production will be directed by Michael Berresse with musical direction by Rob Berman and choreography by Joshua Bergasse.
Let's see what the critics had to say...
Jesse Green, New York Times: These are the ingredients of a camp Americana operetta, which is what "The Golden Apple" could so easily have been. But oh, the music: 135 glorious minutes of it, unsullied by dialogue. Moross, best known for his film scores to westerns including "The Big Country," was a member of Aaron Copland's coterie and brings the familiar sound we call American, with its modal harmonies and widely spaced voicings, to a work of astonishing breadth and beauty. There are, of course, plenty of genre pastiches in it: soft-shoe, jazz, ragtime, hoedowns. These are highly effective, but the glory of "The Golden Apple" is a series of complex musical scenes and let's-call-them-arias that define their own territory. "Lazy Afternoon," Helen's ripe plum of a blues, is the most obvious winner, having been recorded by singers as diverse as Kaye Ballard (the original Helen), Tony Bennett and Barbra Streisand. Here Lindsay Mendez sings it like it's a brand-new thought.
Matt Windman, amNY: Whether "The Golden Apple" grows on you or not, this production shows off the Encores! series at its best, in producing a unique and extraordinary but underappreciated musical that probably would not have otherwise received another major New York production. For all we know, it could take another 60 years for "The Golden Apple" to come back.