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Priscilla Gillette and Stephen Douglass in the 1954 Broadway production of The Golden Apple. (Cornell Capa)

The music for the opening prelude of The Golden Apple is rhythmically propulsive, sweeping, syncopated, heroic. In a word, it sounds American. The composer Jerome Moross, born in Brooklyn in 1913 and a protégé of Aaron Copland, was known for his distinctly American musical language.

While not exactly a household name in the history of twentieth-century music, Moross had a surprisingly wide-ranging and active career which included work in film, theater, ballet, television, orchestral works, and chamber music. He is probably best known for his work as a composer of film Westerns, including the Academy Award-nominated score for The Big Country (1958). In the theater, The Golden Apple was his most successful and best-remembered work.

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May 10, 2017 by New York City Center

John Latouche in 1940. (John Rawlings/Condé Nast via Getty Images)

Gore Vidal called him “an extraordinary genius of the same rank as Sondheim.” Dawn Powell wrote, “He is so multi-gifted that he seems to leave people as worn as if they’d been to a circus, and while he shoots sparks in all directions, in the end it is the others who are depleted and he is renourished.” The man in question was John Latouche, a near-mythic New Yorker who napped in bathtubs, threw séances, consumed Four Roses bourbon by the bottle, and contributed brilliantined lyrics to Cabin in the Sky, The Ballad of Baby Doe, and Candide before his death at the age of 41. A biography, Howard Pollack’s The Ballad of John Latouche, will be published this fall; for now, here’s Latouche explaining how the seeds were planted for The Golden Apple, which is returning to New York in an Encores! revival.

I set out to tell the stories of Ulysses and Penelope, Paris and Helen, as they would have happened in America. It was to be no adaptation of Homeric grandeurs, but a comic reflection of classical influence on the way we think nowadays. Therefore any myths we might use were to arise out of our native songs, dances, jokes, and ideas.

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April 25, 2017 by New York City Center

Big River, The New Yorkers, The Golden Apple

We’re delighted to announce the 2017 season of City Center’s Tony-honored Encores! series, which will kick off with Roger Miller’s Big River from February 8-12, 2017. The season will continue with Cole Porter’s The New Yorkers, running from March 22-26, 2017, and close with Jerome Moross and John Latouche’s The Golden Apple, running from May 10-14, 2017. Encores! Artistic Director Jack Viertel explains why we’re bringing these shows back to life.

The 2017 Encores! season will lead audiences all across the USA—and take a hundred years to do it. Our 24th season features three distinct American regions and three historic time periods. Beginning with Big River, which is set along the Mississippi River Valley in the 1840s, we’ll move to the East Coast for Cole Porter’s 1930 Prohibition jape The New Yorkers, and conclude with a visit to the Pacific Northwest, where The Golden Apple retells the stories of The Iliad and The Odyssey, setting them at the base of that other Mount Olympus, at the end of the Spanish-American War.

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May 10, 2016 by New York City Center
Cabin in the Sky Movie

A poster for the bowdlerized 1943 film of Cabin.

Vernon Duke and John Latouche’s jazz-filled fable Cabin in the Sky is returning to New York for an Encores! run from February 10-14. Below, Encores! Artistic Director Jack Viertel explores the 1940 musical’s creation, as well as the painstaking work that has gone into restoring the show for Encores!

African-American musicals have never found an easy welcome on Broadway, though they’ve been a presence since the end of the 19th century. Clorindy, produced in 1898, is generally considered to be the first Broadway musical featuring an all-black cast and was followed in 1903 by In Dahomey, starring the first black superstar comedy team, Bert Williams and George Walker. In 1921, Shuffle Along became a reigning hit (a revised version dramatizing the events surrounding that show’s creation will open on Broadway this spring), and George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, in 1934, was the first and, to date, the only “golden age” black musical to become a permanent part of the repertoire.

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February 1, 2016 by New York City Center
Cabin in Sky Cast

We’re thrilled to announce that J. Bernard Calloway, Chuck Cooper, Marva Hicks, Carly Hughes, LaChanze, Norm Lewis, Forrest McClendon, and J.D. Webster will star in the Encores! production of Vernon Duke and John Latouche’s jazz-filled fable Cabin in the Sky, which will play seven performances at City Center from February 10-14. The 1940 musical will be directed by Tony Award winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson with choreography by Bessie Award winner Camille A. Brown.

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December 7, 2015 by New York City Center
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