The age-old tale has Hero, the victorious warrior making the supreme mistake of falling in love with the Princess and getting caught. The King puts him on trial, and he has to choose between two doors: behind one is a beautiful girl; behind the other is a ferocious tiger. However, in this version the hero turns out to be a seedy wandering minstrel, full of folk-rock ballad songs and snatches; the Princess is a “Baby-Doll” type, sucking her thumb and clutching her teddy bear at an age when she should have been interested in more grown- up things; and the King is a kind of despotic Nero. Faced with the choice of sexual bliss or a messy death, Hero asks the Princess to make the choice. She points to one of the doors: and which door did she choose? The lady or the tiger?
Based on an 1882 short story by Frank R. Stockton, this story had been used earlier as one third of the Broadway musical “The Apple Tree” written by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick. The English version was quite different in style. With a cast of just four, and two musicians, and no scenery, it originated at the Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond.
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