Better than Broadway.
That’s how director Randy Kottwitz describes — and with good reason — the latest Hastings Community Theatre production, “The Apple Tree,” which opens at 7:30 p.m. Friday for a two-weekend run through June 15 at Hastings Community Theatre, 515 S. Fourth Ave.
Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday each weekend for the three-vignette musical production, the follow-up effort to “Fiddler on the Roof” from the iconic playwright team of Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Bock.
What makes the final HCT production of the 2014 season especially alluring — besides its highly-talented cast that features Shani Daws and Matt Kramer in lead roles and a five-piece orchestra — is that it includes collaboration with Harnick himself.
Kottwitz contacted the 90-year-old via social media and has updated references in the script — with Harnick’s blessing and input — to fit modern times. Similar adaptations made for a follow-up Broadway version of the production some years back were deemed less than satisfactory by Harnick.
“He has been incredibly supportive,” Kottwitz said of Harnick. “Here we are, this little community theatre production in rural Nebraska, consulting with one of the greats in American musical theatre. It just shows you that celebrities are real people, too.”