ELKINS – Davis & Elkins College Theatre Department’s Stage and Screen Program will present “The Apple Tree,” a musical comedy about love and its common foibles set in three very different worlds. Directed by D&E Assistant Professor of Theatre Bridget Esterhuizen, performances will take place February 6, 7 and 8 at 8 p.m. and February 9 at 2:30 p.m. in Myles Center for the Arts Harper-McNeeley Auditorium.
Tickets may be purchased online at www.dewv.edu/arts-entertainment, by calling 304-637-1255 or at the box office prior to the show. General admission is $10 and free to Davis & Elkins College students, faculty and staff and non-D&E students will a school ID. While the Myles Center is under construction, access to the auditorium and box office is suggested at the lower level of the building with parking in The McDonnell Center lot.
“Our production delivers quirky love stories, heartfelt songs and lots of exciting dances,” Esterhuizen said. “I love directing musicals because students enjoy teaming up to sing, dance and laugh. This has been a dream of a group, from our cast and crew to our Musical Director Donna Baroudi-Huffman and dance choreographer Susannah Crawford. Our student designers and production team have impressed me along the way by continually rising to the challenge.”
A cast and crew of 20 D&E students will perform a series of three musicals adapted into one show from the works of Mark Twain’s “The Diaries of Adam and Eve,” Frank R. Stockton’s “The Lady or the Tiger” and Jules Feiffer’s “Passionella.”
The first act introduces Adam (Matthew Weintraub) at the dawn of time, who soon after discovering a magical Eden, encounters the enigmatic and intelligent Eve (Ester Bolmenaes). In their journey they struggle to understand each other and the world around them. The writing of Mark Twain shines vibrantly in this story of two ordinary people falling in love without realizing it.
“It’s incredibly exciting to be in this production,” said Bolmenaes, a senior from Tibro, Sweden. “The production team is doing great creative work to reinvent ideas and themes, and it’s delightfully challenging to be a part of that process.”
Act Two travels to two more worlds. The first is a distant land of war, passion, bloodshed and jealousy where a couple hides their forbidden love only to have it tested in a way neither of them expect. Princess Barbara (Kyatt Bailey) must choose the fate of her lover Sanjar (Abby Cain) when her father, the watchful King, discovers their affair.
The second world of Act Two is presented in the “here and now.” It opens with the main character, Ella (Megan Augustine), fantasizing about fame and fortune, which soon accelerates into a dream life captured in dances, songs and utter glamour. It’s a fast ride that ends with an unexpected twist.
“I’m both excited and sad that this will be my last college theatre production,” said Augustine, a senior from New Orleans, Louisiana. “I had so much fun becoming Passionella and making her more myself.”
Autumn Simon, props manager and actor who portrays a snake and balladeer, adds, “I am very excited to be a part of such a great musical. I look forward to everyone seeing how amazing this cast and crew is.”
“The Apple Tree,” a Broadway musical by Jerry Bock, Sheldon Harnick and Jerome Coopersmith, won a Tony for star actress Barbara Harris’ 1966 performance. It was remounted in 2006 starring Kristin Chenoweth. The play is presented with music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, and is based on the book by Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Bock, with additional book material by Jerome Coppersmith. The original production was directed by Mike Nichols and produced on the Broadway Stage by Stuart Ostrow. “The Apple Tree” is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI, www.MTIShows.com.
“This is a fun show,” Esterhuizen said. “I think the audience will enjoy it as much as we do. It will be a great way to spend a cold February night and celebrate Valentine’s Day a little early this year.”