Milk And Honey – Original Broadway Cast Recording 1961
ACT I The calmness of a morning street scene in modern Jerusalem is shattered when a policeman orders a Yemenite boy to remove his flock of sheep to a side street. Phil Arkin (Robert Weede), an American visiting his married daughter, defends the boy, and in the ensuing fracas he meets Ruth Stein (Mimi Benzell), a tourist traveling with a group of widows from the United States. She is impressed with Phil’s command of Hebrew as he explains the meaning of the word “Shalom.” They keep running into each other and together they celebrate Israel’s Independence Day (“Independence Day Hora”). Their friendship begins to deepen and Phil’s conscience starts troubling him. Although he has been separated from his wife for many years, he does not think it right to continue seeing Ruth since he is still a married man. Phil’s daughter Barbara (Lanna Saunders), however, likes Ruth and invites her to go with them to the farm that she and her husband own in the Negev. After some hesitation, Ruth accepts. On the farm – called a Moshav – Phil tries to talk Barbara and David, her husband (Tommy Rall), into going back to Baltimore with him. But the young man vows his devotion to his country and is joined in its praise by his neighbors, including his cynical friend Adi (Juki Arkin), who claims he would rather live in the city (“Milk and Honey”). Phil, who is falling in love with Ruth, asks her to stay at the Moshav a little longer. In fact, he is even thinking of building a house of his own there that he would like her to share (“There’s No Reason in the World”). Meanwhile, the group of touring widows comes to visit the Moshav. When they eye the virile young farmers, the ladies, led by Clara Weiss (Molly Picon), reveal their hopes of finding suitable husbands. Though their dreams are quickly dashed when all the men turn out to be married, Clara is still optimistic (“Chin Up, Ladies”). Later, Phil tells Ruth that he has bought the property for a home, and she gives him her approval (“That Was Yesterday”). But Barbara is shocked at the news, and urges her father to tell Ruth about his marriage. Reluctantly he does, but he also tells her why she must remain (“Let’s Not Waste a Moment”). At a wedding ceremony that they attend (“The Wedding”), Phil and Ruth, envious of the younger people, express their deep love for each other and – forgetting the consequences for the moment – go off together. ACT II Phil energetically feels the spirit of the new land and goes out to work the fields with the other farmers (“Like a Young Man”). Barbara, however, brings news that Ruth, realizing the consequences of living with a married man, has run away to Tel Aviv, and Phil goes off to bring her back. When they are alone, David, convinced that Barbara really longs to go back to the United States, asserts that he would go anywhere to be with her (“I Will Follow You”). In Tel Aviv, Phil finds Clara at the Café Hotok, but she refuses to tell him where Ruth is. When he leaves, Clara accidentally meets one Sol Horowitz, a widower from Jerusalem, and they promptly show mutual interest. Alone, she seeks her late husband’s permission to remarry if Sol proposes (“Hymn to Hymie”). Back at the Moshav, Phil, after much inner conflict, realizes that it would be wrong to live with Ruth. Although she comes back to him (“As Simple As That”), he tells her that she must leave. At the Lydda Airport, outside of Tel Aviv, the touring widows are preparing to board the airplane home. Phil and Ruth have their final, brief moment together during which he promises to fly to Paris, where his wife lives, and plead for a divorce. Ruth boards the plane with the hope that somehow Phil will succeed and she will be able to come back to him (“Finale”).
Porter: Burt Bier Shepherd Boy: Johnny Borden Policeman: Ronald Holgate Ruth: Mimi Benzell Phil: Robert Weede Clara Weiss: Molly Picon The Guide: Ellen Berse Mrs. Weinstein: Addi Negri Mrs. Strauss: Dorothy Richardson Mrs. Breslin: Rose Lischner Mrs. Segal: Diane Goldberg Mrs. Kessler: Ceil Delli Mrs. Perlman: Thelma Pelish Barbara: Lanna Saunders David: Tommy Rall Adi: Juki Arkin Zipporah: Ellen Madison Cantors: Lou Polacek, David London Maid of Honor: Matt Turney Wedding Couples: Jose Gutierrez, Linda Howe, Michael Nestor, Jane Zachary Café Arab: Renato Cibelli Man of the Moshav: Art Tookoyan Mr. Horowitz: Reuben Singer Soldiers, Hassidim, Arabs, Tourists, etc.: Marceline Decker, Urylee Leonardos, Terry Marone, Sandra Stahl, Marilyn Stark, Patti Winston, Myrna Aaron, Nina Feinberg, Penny Ann Green, Judith Haskell, Linda Howe, Susan May, Matt turney, Jane Zachary, Burt Bier, Gerald Cardoni, Renato Cibelli, Murray Goldkind, David London, Ed Mastin, Lou Polacek, Robert Rue, Art Tookoyan, Anthony De Vecchi, Louis Gasparinetti, Jose Gutierrez, Stuart Hodes, Alex Kotimski, Carlos Macri, John Mandia, Michael Nestor, Dom Salinaro, Walter Stratton, Eddie Roll, Ronald Holgate.