Goodbye, Apple Tree Theatre


I was sad, but not entirely shocked, to learn that Apple Tree Theatre in Highland Park is closing its doors, effective immediately.

I assume this also impacts the Eileen Boevers Performing Arts Workshop and Theatre for Young Audiences — two highly respected programs, founded by the recently deceased Boevers, that educate students and children about the arts.

Apple Tree has been producing professional plays and musicals for nearly 30 years. During this tenure, their work has earned them 117 Jeff nominations and 32 Jeff Awards.

They are represented this season with two Jeff nominations for their leading ladies’ musical performances in Wings (Mary Ernster) and John and Jen (McKinley Carter). Doug Peck is also recognized for his music direction in Wings.

Recently, Apple Tree was the first theatre outside of New York to produce Ahrens and Flaherty’s Dessa Rose.

For whatever lame reason, I didn’t visit Apple Tree until this season, where I caught Wings (my review here) and Third (my review here). Three things I noticed about these productions: 1) great acting; 2) inventive, resourceful and intimate staging; and 3) incredibly small audiences.

So, not a surprise they are closing their doors. But very, very unfortunate.

3 thoughts on “Goodbye, Apple Tree Theatre

  1. This saddens me. I grew up seeing so many wonderful shows at the Appletree Theatre on a regular basis. Thanks to them I saw Merrily We Roll Along (Hollis was Gussie), Sugar, Search for Signs of Intelligent Life, Zorba, Marriage of Bette and Boo, Romance/Romance (this ended up getting taped for television with Susan Moniz and John Herrera), Anna Karenina the musical (another breathtaking Susan Moniz performance), Cyrano de Bergerac, Violet, The Heiress, Stand-Up Tragedy, Kindertransport, The World Goes Round, and Assassins. They used to allow volunteer ushering and I saw some of those shows severl times. I remember for Merrily a friend and I were there every single weekend of the entire run including on some weekends every performance. I still have the signed 10th Anniversary program where they brought back an original member from each of their productions to perform a number from the show. I can still see Darius DeHaas singing “The Right Track,” Mary Ernster’s “Old Maid,” Alene Robertson’s A Little Priest, and Hollis singing a breathtaking “Meadowlark.”

    1. Thanks for sharing those memories, Steven. An amazing history, Apple Tree had!

      Do you have a video of the 92 TV Romance/Romance? I’d love to see it.

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