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A CurtainUp Review
Falling for Eve

I really like being with you. — Eve.
That's good because there is no one else here. — Adam
falling for Eve
Krystal Joy Brown and Jose Llana
Carol Rosegg (Photo: Carol Rosegg)
Joe DiPietro's award-winning writing credits (notably Memphis, The Toxic Avenger, The Thing About Men, and the long-running revue I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change) are a reasonable indicator that he is as desirable a collaborator as any composing team would want. His cmusical collaborators Bret Simmons (music) and David Howard (lyrics) on Falling for Eve owe him a great deal. DiPietro's contribution appears to be a mighty one as his often sly and witty text is far superior to the mediocre musical and lyrical components that it surrounds. But he is generally in harmony with set designer Beowulf Boritt and lighting designer Herrick Goldman who have placed this mostly pop rock piffle into a whimsically abstracted pop-art frame.

It seems plausible, if anything is meant to be plausible in the book of Genesis, that the first man — God's creation in his own image — in the Garden of Eden would be instantly likeable, personable and agreeable. After all, if God (Adam Kantor) is a good-looking, egotist with a snappy sense of humor ("God, It's Good To Be Me"), it also stands to reason that Adam (Jose Llana) would be no slouch. Notwithstanding Adam's admirable physique and fully bared rear end that gets an early appraisal and approval from two of God's angels Sarah (Jennifer Blood) and Michael (Sasha Sloan), Paradise isn't going to be complete without a woman. An "Ouch" is all that Adam has to say as Eve (Krystal Joy Brown) is plucked from his rib. It's an amusing start. If only that modest level of amusement, under the direction of Larry Raben, was sustained for all of the mostly redundant 90 minutes.

Eve, a shapely looker arrives already smartly sarong-ed to compliment Adam's recent acquisition of a loin cloth. But wait, here comes God again — only this time she's an all-knowing woman (is there any other kind?) . God She (Sasha Sloan) is also a knockout of feminine pulchritude with a Paradise-piercing voice. God She takes a personal interest in Eve and promises her and Adam that "Good Things Are A Comin'."

considering the options, it's easy to understand why Adam and Eve like each other. They kiss (sort of), roll around on the lawn (which is literally rolled out). They also engage in a little pillow fighting (some brightly colored throw pillows adorn Paradise,) sing the score's most digestible ong "Apple, Apple, Apple, Apple" and sleep (but no hanky panky) in each other arms.

So you have figured out that this is not a revival of the first part of the Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick's musical The Apple Tree, based on Mark Twain's The Diary of Adam and Eve. Instead, it's a completely new musical with its own twist on Genesis.

Falling for Eve had its genesis with Adam Alone, a play by Howard. DiPietro was brought in to write the book for the musical to which Howard has contributed the lyrics to music by Simmons. A workshop reading followed at the York under Raben's direction.

The promising premise of Falling for Eve is that Adam and Eve do not both bite that infamous apple from the tree of knowledge at the same time, and that Eve is the only one to get banished for disobeying God's orders. You may assume that their separation will not be permanent, that is if Adam really wants Eve enough to take that bite even if it takes twenty one years, which it does.

The question you may ask yourself as you watch these two adorable innocents frolic and even sing without electronic enhancement and apparently remain unaware of procreation (one assumes that they are not very observant, or that the animals in Eden have not been very active or forthcoming). It does take quite a few musical numbers in the pop rock idiom that generally lack melodic variety before Eve gets a reprieve and is allowed to return to Adam in Eden. The songs, such as they are, however, reasonably listenable, if always sung too loudly. By the time they meet again twenty one years have elapsed and Eve apparently has aged, but Adam hasn't. Isn't that just typical?

So the question is whether Adam will relent and bite the apple and return with Eve to the outside world with the knowledge of procreation. The point we gather is that Eve was brave and wanted to see and know everything and Adam's a slug and wanted to play it safe.

Perhaps designer Boritt, who created that stunning collage environment for the revue Sondheim on Sondheim earlier this season, goes too far with some depressing projections of Hitler, the A Bomb and other nightmares of our civilization. Otherwise the stage is more happily aglow with colored plastic floor lamps (trees?). The tree of life with its liquid filled red balls (apples) is a delightfully conceived object d'art. Hanging above the audience are an array of illuminated lighting fixtures that someone near me correctly said looked like a fleet of sputniks. So true.

Llana, who memorably created the role of "Chip" Tolentino in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee on Broadway and Brown, who is making her debut at the York, cavort as charmingly as their material will allow. Kantor has the most droll of DiPietro's lines and struts smartly about in a snazzy white brocade outfit created (not by God) but by designer Bobby Pearce. How chic it is that God She has been given a matching outfit. Speaking of matches, the angelic Joshi and Blood are also destined for true love "Just Beyond Where the World Ends" before we are all mercifully allowed to get back to earth.

Falling for Eve
Book by Joe DiPietro
Music by Bret Simmons
Lyrics by David Howard
Directed by Larry Raben

Cast: Jennifer Blood (Sarah), Nehal Joshi (Michael), Adam Kantor (God He), Jose Llana (Adam), Sasha Sloan (God She), Krystal Joy Brown (Eve).
Scenic Design: Beowulf Boritt
Costume Design: Bobby Pearce
Lighting Design: Herrick Goldman
Properties Design: Buist Bickley
Musical Arrangements and Direction: Kim Douglas Steiner
Musical Staging: Lee Martino
Orchestra: Keyboards/Conductor- Kim Douglas Steiner, Drums/Percussion- David Purcell, Woodwinds- Robjacoby, Guitars/Bass- Daniel Levy
Running Time: 90 minutes no intermission
York Theatre at Saint Peter's, 54th Street, just East of Lexington. (212) 935 - 5820
Tickets: $20 to 67.50
Performances: Tues at 7 PM, Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat at 8 PM; matinees Sat and Sun at 2:30 PM
From 7/06/10; opening 7/15/10; closing 8/08/10
Review by Simon Saltzman based on performance 07/10/10

Musical Numbers
The Creation Prelude /Sarah & Michael God, It's Good To Be Me /God/He, Sarah & Michael Another Day In Paradise /God-He, Sarah, Michael & Adam I Like You /Adam, Eve & God-She Only Human /Sarah, God/He, God-She & Eve Apple, Apple, Apple, Apple /Adam & Eve I've Got Plans For You /Michael & Sarah Where Will I Sleep Tonight?/ Eve Now What? /Michael, God-He, Sarah & Adam There's A Space Next To Me /Adam, Eve, Sarah & Michael Good Things Are A Comin' /God-She, Michael, Sarah &Adam Just Beyond Where The World Ends /Eve, Sarah & Michael Eve Adam Once A Life Ago /God-She, Eve &Adam Something Just Happened To Me /Adam Paradise Is You /Company
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