The Golden Apple

–       Score by John Latouche and Jerome Moross

In 1954, a Broadway musical opened to rave reviews. Lauded as clever and creative, the production even won an award from the New York Drama Critic’s Circle. It was the very first Off-Broadway venture to make it to New York. Yet, not even a year after its debut, the production shut down and virtually disappeared from the theater scene. Since then The Golden Apple, based on the works of Homer, is kept alive only by a small loyal following. Performances are rare. A filmed version has never been recorded. Still, The Golden Apple endures. 

The musical transposes the events of ancient Greece to turn of the century America. Helen, the young wife of the old Sheriff, runs off with Paris, a traveling salesman. The men of the town including Ulysses are sent to retrieve the wayward girl. During this quest they must confront the temptations of the city. Meanwhile Penelope contemplates the future of their marriage.

Today the production lives on mostly through its music. With no dialogue and an operatic quality, the performance has been compared to productions like Porgy and Bess and Candide. Unfortunately the complete score has never been recorded and the existing records inserted dialogue that did not exist in the original. To be honest, The Golden Apple was ahead of its time and the audiences were just not prepared to deal with something so different.

The most famous song that emerged from the stage onto the radio was “Lazy Afternoon” originally sung by Kaye Ballard. Years later, luminaries such as Barbara Steisand would also tackle this soothing, magical song.