Newies but Oldies

Pop music kick-starts an 1890s drama but fails a record-store musical

Teen dream: Spring Awakening's Michele and Groff
photo: Joan Marcus
Teen dream: Spring Awakening's Michele and Groff

Details

Spring Awakening
By Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater
Based on the play by Frank Wedekind
Music by Duncan Sheik
Eugene O'Neill Theatre
230 West 49th Street
212-239-6200

High Fidelity
By David Lindsay-Abaire
Songs by Tom Kitt and Amanda Green
Imperial Theatre
249 West 45th Street
(Closed)

The Apple Tree
By Jerry Bock, Sheldon Harnick, and Jerome Coopersmith
Roundabout Studio 54
254 West 54th Street
212-239-6200

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At those prices, the Roundabout's draggle-tail revival of Bock and Harnick's sweetly trifling 1966 triple bill, The Apple Tree, staged by Gary Griffin with an astonishing lack of brio, comes off like a case of anorexia theatralis. Its intended chief asset, Kristin Chenoweth, looks gorgeous and sings gorgeously, but her gleamingly perfect persona wholly lacks the tenderness and vulnerability that made the world love Barbara Harris. Even smudge-faced, in a chimney-sweep smock, Chenoweth reads sexpot. Brian d'Arcy James, no comedian, is stoutly dull as the men in her three lives; such meager liveliness as flourishes onstage comes from Marc Kudisch, in the bill's thankless third role.

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