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Thursday, August 22, 2019

The Last Apple Tree musical captures audiences’ imagination

The Last Apple Tree musical captures audiences’ imagination

It was a beautiful, sunny, Colorado day when the Catamounts theater company and Bonnie and the Clydes musical group took the stage. The location was Semper Farm near 92nd Avenue and Pierce Street. The day was a mid-August afternoon. The setting was the late-1800s on a farm outside of Denver in an area that had not yet been incorporated as the City of Westminster. The Last Apple Tree, a story of the Semper and Allison families and their homestead, was ready to be performed.

“We wanted to create an immersive outdoor theatrical and musical experience,” said Parks, Recreation and Libraries Marketing Supervisor Rich Neumann. “By creating this play/musical with the Catamounts and Bonnie and the Clydes, we’re relating the history of this historic site in a fun, engaging way.”

The title for musical comes from a state champion apple tree that was planted at Semper farm in the late 1800s and is the largest apple tree in Colorado.

Through vignettes and music, the city-commissioned musical, The Last Apple Tree, brought history to life Thursday, Aug. 8 – Sunday, Aug. 10. Written by Amanda Berg Wilson of The Catamounts, the play was divided into five vignettes that performed key moments in the lives of the Semper and Allison families. Each vignette was punctuated with a musical performance by a member of Bonnie and the Clydes during the family members’ moments of doubt or personal journey.

“Each vignette took place at a different spot on Semper Farm and audience groups rotated between the community garden, post office building, champion apple tree, creekside and the barn,” said Neumann.

After the audience groups had experienced each vignettes, they were all brought back together for a rousing performance by the entire Bonnie and the Clydes musical group.

Linda Allison, whose grandfather, John Allison purchased the farm from the Semper family, even attended one of the performances and loved it. She is pictured with Eloise Berg Wilson, who portrayed a young Linda Allison in the musical.

“The city is so excited to have worked with The Catamounts and Bonnie and the Clydes for this musical,” said Neumann. “The plan is to take this ‘seed’ of outdoor engagement with Westminster residents and have it ‘bloom’ into more outdoor arts and culture opportunities in the city.”

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