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Riverside, Calif. (Oct. 8, 2015) -- California Baptist University's theater program will open the 2015-16 season this weekend with "The Apple Tree." Performances are scheduled on Fridays and Saturdays from Oct. 9-17, with a Thursday performance Oct. 15.

"The Apple Tree" is a series of three musical plays in one by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, the songwriting team behind "Fiddler on the Roof." Each act has its storyline, but all three take a lighthearted look at the choices one has to make.

"We all have choices," said Lisa Lyons, a theatre adjunct and director of the production. "You make a choice; you face the consequences. Some of them are harder to face than others."

The first act is "The Diary of Adam and Eve," a quirky, touching spin on the tale of the world's first couple adapted from Mark Twain's "Extracts from Adam's Diary." The second act is "The Lady or the Tiger?", a fable set in a mythical kingdom that explores the fickleness of love. The final act, "Passionella," is based on Jules Feiffer's offbeat Cinderella-story about a chimney sweep whose dreams of being a "glamorous movie star" nearly sabotage her one chance for true love.

Melanie Overton, a Christian behavioral science senior, plays Ella, the chimney sweep. She hopes the audience leaves feeling entertained, she said.

"There are little lessons here and there about making wise choices and dreams not always being what they seem, but the show is full of humor," Overton said. "If someone leaves having been able to forget about their stresses and cares for a little while, I think the zany show will have fulfilled its purpose."

Gabrielle Green, a senior theatre major, plays Eve. She also designed and helped to get 36 costumes ready in a matter of weeks while memorizing her lines. She has enjoyed both roles, she said.

"Performing and designing together is difficult, but wonderfully rewarding," Green said.  "I love making Eve grow, because the audience gets to follow this character from her birth all the way through her life, and as an actor that is so much fun."

Performances begin Friday, Oct. 9, at 7:30 p.m. and continue Saturday with a 2 p.m. matinee and a 7:30 p.m. offering. The play will resume Thursday, Oct. 15 through Saturday, Oct. 17, with performances each evening at 7:30 p.m. and a 2 p.m. Saturday matinee.

General admission tickets are $15, with discounts offered for matinees, senior citizens and CBU students, faculty, staff and alumni.

Productions scheduled later in the season include "Fahrenheit 451;" "The 39 Steps" and "Pirated."   

For more information or to purchase tickets, call the Wallace Theatre box office at 951-343-4319.