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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

In Tandem Theatre Picks From ‘The Apple Tree’

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Be careful what you wish for: While real life often reminds us to heed this adage, rarely do we receive said advice in a musical format. In the mid-1960s, however, Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Bock wrote The Apple Tree, a program of three musical shorts based on the popular saying. In Tandem Theatre presents the three-piece suite in a brand-new production opening at the Tenth Street Theatre this week.

The show opens with a retelling of a folk tale from Genesis as seen through the eyes of Mark Twain in The Diary of Adam and Eve.Luke Leonhardt plays Adam to Georgina McKee’s Eve in a musical short also featuring the talented David Flores in the role of the snake. The three actors take center stage in the other two stories as well, which feature a prisoner given a rather strange “Let’s Make a Deal”-typescenario in The Lady or the Tiger and the story of a chimney sweep who dreams of being an actress in Hollywood in Passionella.

The central cast of Leonhardt, McKee and Flores showcases three different talents. Leonhardt is a remarkably poised leading man with a flair for comedy. McKee, who appeared in a shorts program with In Tandem last year, has shown considerable talent for both drama and comedy since she started appearing in Milwaukee productions. And Flores’ unique theatrical charisma is no stranger to intimate stages like the Tenth Street Theatre.


The production looks to add a fresh touch to the 43-year-old musical with new interstitial scenes written by playwright Neil Haven. Haven weaves a story about the fairy-tale nature of the three musical shorts as a father and mother tell their daughter stories to try to get her to sleep.

TheApple Tree is a collaborative project with UW-Milwaukee’s music, theater and dance departments. Ten students are set to form a chorus and play small roles in the production. This collaboration will provide an opportunity for some very talented students to work with professional actors. The students, who have been preparing as understudies for the major roles, will be featured in those roles in a specially discounted performance Monday, May 3.

In Tandem’s production of The Apple Tree runs April 30 through May 16 at the Tenth Street Theatre.

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