The book-in-hand revival of the 1961 musical about Jewish-American tourists visiting the young state of Israel on its Independence Day is directed by Thomas Sabella-Mills. James Stenborg is music director.
Here's how Musicals Tonight characterizes the show: "Phil Arkin (Richard White), from Baltimore, is visiting his daughter Barbara (Yael Gonen) and her new husband David (Michael Mott) who are living on a kibbutz. Ruth Stein (Barbara McCullogh), recently widowed, is on a tour comprised of other American women who are both Jewish and widows. The other women on the tour — Clara Weiss (Verna Pierce), Mrs. Kessler (Sandy Rosenberg) and Mrs. Segal (Deborah Jean Templin) are unashamedly searching for eligible Jewish men to marry, but Ruth is not. Yet she and Phil fall in love.
"The marriage between David and Barbara almost succumbs to the rigors of desert living. The Jewish Yemenite marriage ceremony between fellow Kibbutzniks Ari (Aaron Berk) and the very pregnant Zipporah (Emily Glick) almost succumbs to bickering. The love affair between Mrs. Weiss and fellow tourist Mr. Horowitz (Peter Tedeschi) begins to bloom. But the relationship between our principals is faced with a major hurdle when Phil admits to Ruth that he is estranged from — but not divorced from — his wife. And as the curtain descends, all the romantic problems approach solutions, and we all sing 'Shalom.'"
The libretto is by Don Appell. The robust and optimistic score is also tinged with rueful ballads that would prefigure later Herman scores for Hello, Dolly!, Mame, Dear World, Mack & Mabel and La Cage aux Folles. The show was nominated for 1962 Tony Awards in the categories of Best Musical, Best Composer, Best Actress in a Musical (Molly Picon), Best Costume Design (Miles White), Best Producer of a Musical (Gerard Oestreicher).
Among songs in the score are "Let's Not Waste a Moment," "Chin Up, Ladies," "That Was Yesterday," "Shalom," "Like a Young Man," "I Will Follow You" and "Hymn to Hymie." A cast album was released. The song "Shalom" was recorded by Eddie Fisher.
Milk and Honey plays The Lion Theatre at Theatre Row (410 West 42nd Street – between 9th and 10th Avenues) Tuesday-Saturday at 7:30; and Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at 2 PM.
Tickets are $25. Visit Telecharge.com or call (212) 560-2186 or visit the box office.