Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Exclusive Blog Interview: Susanna Moross Tarjan, Part I

Meet Susanna Moross Tarjan, daughter of The Golden Apple composer, Jerome Moross. As the Moross' only child, Susanna has always known it would fall to her to be the keeper of the flame for her father's work, and it's a role she performs gladly and very diligently.

I spent a wonderful hour takling to Susanna and learned a lot about The Golden Apple, Jerome Moross, and all of her ongoing activities to make sure we continue to be exposed to her father's vast body of work.

In Part I of the interview I asked Susanna about her own memories of The Golden Apple's original production. She was just barely a teenager when it played, but she vividly remembers the wonderful production:
"I remember the show well. Because I was in school I didn’t hang around rehearsals a whole lot, but I saw it many times and have vivid recollections of the set and the amazing cast. I loved the whole show. Kaye Ballard played Helen. Kaye wasn’t a star until Golden Apple…it really made her a star. Steven Douglas, Bibi Osterwald and Portia Nelson were all fantastic. Jack Whiting was a terrific song and dance man.

It was a great artistic success, but unfortunately it moved uptown from the Phoenix Theatre to the Alvin Theatre (now the Eugene O'Neill) in May. Back then theatre didn't run the same during the summer, due to the lack of A/C. The show didn’t survive the summer because of the move. One big problem was that it didn’t have advanced advertising. The producers wouldn't let them advertise or sell advanced sales for the new theatre until all Phoneix seats were sold. Many requests for tickets received at the Phoneix were returned rather than forwarded to the new box office.

The Golden Apple won many Drama Critics Award, but the Music award went to Borodin for Kismet. Father laughed it off, but I’m sure it pained him.

Note: Borodin was a classical composer, long-dead, whose music was used for Kismet.

So, it sounds like politics and short-sighted business decisions are as timeless as the theatre itself!

Stay tuned for the next installments of the interview, where we'll discuss:

-Why Susanna thinks The Golden Apple is rarely-produced
-Her father's working style and habits
-Fully-staged Productions vs. Staged Concerts
-How Susanna keeps the Jerome Moross flame burning

Don't forget Susanna herself will be a part of the Sunday post-show audience talkback on Sunday March 26th.

Susanna is always happy to receive inquiries about her father and his work, and you can contact her directly if you're interested.

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