TWISTED APPLES: Stories from Winesburg, Ohio

TWISTED APPLES: STORIES FROM WINESBURG, OHIO is a new music-theater piece based on Sherwood Anderson’s classic American novel Winesburg, Ohio. Created by librettist JIM PAYNE and composer ROBERT ELHAI, it tells the story of residents of Winesburg, as they struggle to overcome loneliness and isolation, and long to create a life of the imagination in a small town at the turn of the century.

The production is directed by Nautilus’ artistic director BEN KRYWOSZ, and features performers GARY BRIGGLE, JP FITZGIBBONS, JOSHUA HINCK, NORAH LONG, and ERIC MORRIS, with musical direction by JERRY RUBINO and JILL DAWE. The production is touring communities throughout Minnesota, thanks to a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. Nautilus commissioned and developed the work, and has presented semi-staged-workshop productions over the last few years in the Minnesota Fringe Festival.

Sherwood Anderson’s novel Winesburg, Ohio is a series of interconnected short stories, published in 1919. Seen as a precursor to the great American novelists such as Fitzgerald, Faulkner, and Hemingway, it is widely respected and now considered to be one of the most influential portraits of small-town life in the United States.

Honoring Anderson as their source material, Payne and Elhai have created an extraordinary trilogy of theatrical portraits. The score is rooted in musical Americana, including “roots“ orchestration (piano, violin, accordion, and string bass), in a vernacular folk style consistent with the characters’ rural culture and psychological state. Gorgeous melodies and expressive harmonies complement lyrics which are both clever and poignant, creating a masterpiece of musical storytelling that combines the accessibility of musical theater with the emotional scope of American opera.

Performances on tour:

Mora MN @ The Paradise Theater: March 3 and 5
Northfield MN @ the Northfield Arts Guild Theater, March 17, 18, and 19
Albert Lea MN @ The Marion Ross Performing Arts Center, April 6, 7, and 8

At our studio in St Paul:

9 performances only:
March 23, 24, 25, 27,
30, 31, April 1 @ 7:30 • $25
March 26, April 2 @ 2:00 • $20

Presented at the Nautilus Studio
in Lowertown St Paul, 308 Prince St #190

Tickets through Brown Paper Tickets:
For more information, call 651-298-9913

TWISTED APPLES: STORIES FROM WINESBURG, OHIO consists of three one-act pieces: Act One is “Answered Prayers”, which tells of the Reverend Hartmann’s struggle with his sexual attraction to Kate Swift, the local high school teacher. Kate, in turn, is drawn to her former student George Willard, both  as an intellectual protege and a possible lover. Act Two is “Untold Lies”, about farmhand Ray Pearson, whose friendship with a young co-worker re-ignites in Ray his own longing for domestic freedom and youthful aspirations. Act Three, “Twisted Apples”, tells of George’s mother Elizabeth Willard, her thwarted artistic ambitions, and her determination to ensure that George will not be railroaded into a conventional life of mediocrity.


ANSWERED PRAYERS: “Beautifully staged, gorgeous and evocative libretto and score, and knock-out singing / a human character study set to music and acted with superb and believable nuance / what a gorgeous show! / another fine example of how Nautilus and its typically superb composers, actors, and musicians pay attention to the subtle details that establish real characters and show us what they think and feel; they take away the extraneous, punctuate musically, and the heart reveals itself onstage”

UNTOLD LIES: “It’s hard to imagine a more deeply affecting work / The musical idiom is hearty Americana, with the simplicity of folk music and an operatic richness and complexity / the songs are beautifully complex and the singers and musicians are well up to their demands / gorgeous, moving, and beautifully done show / plenty of musically rewarding moments / the music and lyrics are rich and compelling / very well written, composed, and performed, this show is probably more folk opera than musical theatre, but utterly accessible”

TWISTED APPLES: “This show has been mounted by seasoned and richly talented professionals / the subtle, nuanced text is amplified by delicate, gossamer music / an excellent script and some truly gorgeous music, approachable and singable, yet boasting Charles Ives-like intensity / breath-taking; heart-wrenching; quietly powerful; beautiful / both the music and the libretto are fantastic; poetic, yet always serving to develop the characters and story / it gives beauty and nobility and a clear voice to natural facts that are easy to repress / as usual, Nautilus comes through with top quality in all aspects.”