Book by Jo DiPietro
Music by Brett Simmons
Lyrics by David Howard
Based on the play Adam Alone by David Howard
Directed by Larry Rabin
York Theatre

Reviewed by David Spencer

I have to admit, I’m of the mind that any musical based on the Adam and Eve legend really needs to be snuffed out at birth. For one thing, nobody has ever come near the level of wit, sophistication and tenderness of The Diary of Adam and Eve, a.k.a. Act One of Bock and Harnick’s The Apple Tree (and theirs being an adaptation of Mark Twain’s pass at the legend, it’s not surprising), which is the only musical version that seems necessary (yes, I know, Children of Eden, and I love Stephen Schwartz too, but, sorry)—and once something that definitive is in the canon, it seems folly to tread on the same ground. Plus, Adam and Eve variations are a hoary old cliché of literature (they used to show up so much in bad science fiction that, as far back as 1967, Harlan Ellison was driven to parody them in a short-short story called “The Voice in the Garden”). But all right, let’s say that’s just me. Let’s concede that The Apple Tree is more cult show than classic and that, despite its authorship and a brief new millennium Broadway revival, not everyone knows it. And that therefore Adam and Eve is fair game.

               The problem is still that at the core, it’s a short story. Indeed—putting religion aside—a fairy tale. And at that, one that exists in a world without much in the way of other characters. Add God, add the Snake. Then what? So there’s not much you can do to stretch the story without long-windedness, over-writing of obvious thematic points and just plain padding. (The other advantage The Apple Tree’s take has is that it’s but one act in an evening of three stories—so along with many other virtues it’s compact!)

               Thus, Falling for Eve, at the York, pretty much does everything you expect an Adam and Eve musical to do, even when it’s allegedly being original. Among the big “twists” are that when Eve (Krystal Joy Brown) bites the apple, Adam  (Jose Llana) doesn’t follow suit; and there are a male-female pair of angels (Nehal Joshi and Jennifer Blood) who do God’s bidding, rather than a Serpent who doesn’t. And God is played alternately by two performers: a man (Adam Kantor) and a woman (Sasha Sloan). What makes it all less twisty than it may sound is that the adjustments (in the book by Joe DiPietro, based on a play called Adam Alone by lyricist David Howard) feel like populist nods to social and political correctness, rather than thoughtful variations. The music by Bret Simmons has a commensurate Muzaky inoffensiveness that never digs deeper than an appropriate middle-of-the-road pop trope.

               Under the bland-but-harmless direction of Larry Raben, the cast are kind of agreeable, with the women being notably better than the men.

               Not that I have any argument with a musical whose main goal is providing lighthearted fun. But to appropriate a boxing term, Falling for Eve is strictly featherweight (and easily forgettable) all the way…

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