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November 28, 1986 - Image 76

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-11-28

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

C I U 11111A

dining room, carry-out and trays
• breakfast • lunch • dinner

fl

9ftS

11

•• after-theater • kiddie menu
open tuesdays thru sundays

v.. To)(444,

J

iff

'.

968-0022

A Tradition
Since 1934

anin9 ala CocLit4i13

Fred Bayne at the organ nightly

1128 E. Nine Mile Road (1 1/2 Mile East of 1-75))

.;--ir

1

e

-44 0.46

Recommended by AAA & Mobile Guides

FUNG L

(313) 541-2132

'S

SZECHUAN, MANDARIN, CANTONESE & AMERICAN

Mon.-Thurs. 11-10, Fri. & Sat. 11-11 Sun. 12-10

• CARRY OUT •• CATERING
UET FACILITIES]
8410 W. NINE MILE, W of Livernir
444-1021

GOLDEN . BOWL

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22106 COOLIDGE AT 9 MILE In A & P Shopping Center

DINE IN & CARRY-OUT
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SZECHUAN, MANDARIN, CANTONESE & AMERICAN CUISINE

OPEN 7 DAYS—Mon.-Thurs. 11-10, Fri. & Sat. 11-11, Sun. & Holidays 1 p.m. to 10 p.m.
• Banquet Facilities
.
Your Chef: FRANK ENG

43-,

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CARRY-OU
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THE GOLD COIN]

.OPEN 7 DAYS — YOUR HOST: HOWARD LEW

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Friday, November 28, 1986 THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

My Fair Lady

Continued from preceding page

10 a.m. to 11 p.m.

lincoln shopping center, 10 1 /2 mile & greenfield. oak park

ENTERTAINMENT

in rehearsals and perform-
ances as she would in teach-
ing music to children in the
classroom.
She began her operatic
career in 1948, with a Detroit
Opera Founders Guild prod-
uction of The Tales of
Hoffman at the old Vanguard
Theater, in which she played
the role of the mechanical
doll, Olympia.
"I was so terrified, I was
- absolutely frantic," she said,
recalling her first perform-
ance. "The others literally
pushed me out on the stage:
Had there been a window
somewhere, I'm sure I would
have gladly jumped out."
In addition to her many
appearances in operatic prod-
uctions since that first har-
rowing night, Benyas, a sop-
rano, has long been active in
recital work, often perform-
ing with son, Eddie, an
oboist. The two began per-
forming as a duo when he
was in high school, and most
recently appeared together in
a concert version of Cosi fan
Tutte at the Jewish Commu-
nity Center last summer, in
which Eddie conducted the
orchestra.
She did relatively few
onstage performances when
her sons were growing up,
she said. "It took us awhile to
start our family and we
wanted to spend as much
time with the boys as we
could." Eddie was actually
responsible for her "com-
eback" about seven years ago
when he convinced her to.try
out for a musical theater role
(Golde, in Fiddler on the
Roof) at the Will-O-Way
Theater, while he auditioned
for a place in the orchestra.
After landing that role, she
went on to others at the
Will-O-Way, including Hor-
tense in Zorba and Fraulein
Schneider in Cabaret. My
Fair Lady will mark her first
musical theater appearance
in five years.
As for dramatic theater,
her participation was un-
planned. Her first role came
about almost by accident.
"Wayne University was
doing Chekhov's The Three
Sisters at the Bonstelle in
1959, and they didn't have
anybody old enough to play
the oldest sister, Olga," she
said. "I had already
graduated, but I just hap-
pened to be there, working on
an opera, and they asked me
if I'd take the part. And, for
some reason, I said yes, al-
though I'd never done
straight drama before."
(Although she needn't have
worried, she was so unsure of
abilities as a dramatic actress
that she performed under her
married name for the first
time. Previously, she had
used her maiden name in all
professional appearances.)
Since then, area critics
have used superlatives like
"great" and "superb" to de-
scribe Benyas' work in

dramatic roles.
Last year, she was named
Best Supporting Actress in a
Detroit-area theater produc-
tion by the Detroit Free
Press for her role as the
bohemian artist, Anna
Trumbull, in The Theater
Company's What I Did Last
Summer. Also last year, she
was given an Outstanding
Performances award by the
Detroit News, again for her
work in What I Did Last
Summer, and for her por-
trayal of the vitriolic, racist
mother in the Attic Theater's
Wedding Band.
"Anna was a kind of
down-on-society, bohemian-
type, wanting to liberate a
young boy, to show him how
to be himself. She's called
`The Pig Lady,' and she's a
very earthy character. Dres••
ses in old shirts, old hats,
that kind of thing — corn-
pletely different to anything
I'd ever done before.

"I was so terrified,
I was absolutely
frantic," she said,
recalling her first
performance.
"The others
literally pushed
me out on the
stage."

"One of the most difficult
parts I've ever played,
though, was the mother in
Wedding Band. The play is
set in the Deep South in
1918, and I played the role of
a white mother whose son is
in love with a black woman.
She is trying to break up
their affair, and the venom
that comes out of her mouth,
the racism — I found it very,
very difficult. I tried to bring
a little humanity . to the role,
but I was never pleased with
it — although that's nothing
really unusual. I'm never
satisifed with what I do."
Benyas has no "secret" to
acting success, no particular
rituals she follows to prepare
herself for a role. "You just
try to bring yourself into
whatever you do," she said.
For a change of pace from
heavy drama, Benyas said
she enjoys doing television
commercials.
"I love doing them," she
said. "They're really a great
deal of fun. You're treated so
nicely — and they pay very
well."
There is, however, one
small drawback, she said:
when doing commercials, she
usually ends up having to
carry her "hair" around in a
box. "I rarely get TV work
with my own hair, because it
doesn't look like anyone
else's. So, I have to resort to
wigs."
What would she like to do
that she hasn't done yet?

"There are still a lot of
things. I'd love to do The Gin
Game especially, and 'Night,
Mother.
"Also, there's a wonderful
British play called Love Let-
ters On Blue Paper, about a
dying union organizer and
his wife that I'd very much
like to do someday. The wife
never expresses any of her
feelings out loud. But she
writes her dying husband all
these letters, filled with all
these things she can't say to
him, and all her love and
beauty comes across in those
letters. It would be a wonder-
ful role."
In the future, Benyas said
she also looks forward to
doing more dramatic readings
for audiences at the Sholem
Aleichem Institute.

-

"Bob and I are both very
active in the Sholem
Aleichem Institute," she said.
"I began going to the school
there when I was about 8,
studying history, literature,
languages. As a matter of
fact, it was a teacher there —
Moishe Haar — who thought
I might have some talent as a
singer, and took me to my
first voice teacher, Max Levy.
Mr. Haar studied with Max
Reinhart in Germany, and
had set up a children's thea-
ter at the institute in those
days.
"My mother and father,
who were Russian immig-
)•ants, spoke Yiddish, and I
developed a great love for
Yiddish as I was growing up.
The literature is so beautiful,
and I do a lot of readings in
it at the institute. One of my
actor-friends, Leo Mogill, and
I have done a number of pro-
grams — some short stories
from Sholem Aleichem, some
one-act plays. We've done the
entire Dybbuk several times
— most recently, about two
years ago."
Benyas likes to emphasize
that many of the demands
made on her — especially
those during gruelling re-
hearsal schedules and nightly
performances — are relieved
by the support she receives
from husband, Bob.
"It takes an awful lot of
time," she said. "And, some-
times, when I'm in rehearsal,
it's like we just pass each
other now and then. But he's
wonderful at helping me with
my lines. He goes down to
many of the performances —
some, he'll sit in on; others,
he'll take tickets, sell candy,
help out in any way he can.
"We were at a paity once,
when a lady came up to us
and insisted that Bob looked
very familiar, that she was
sure she'd seen him some-
where before. Later on in the
evening, it came to her: 'Now,
I know where I've seen you,'
she said. 'You sell candy at
the Attic Theater!'

"No, she didn't remember
me in the play at all."



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