GOING PLACES I
WEEK OF DEC. 11-17
Tapper's Jewelry, Franklin
Savings Center, Southfield, "An
Evening of Elegance," holiday
party to benefit Detroit
Symphony League, 6-9 p.m.
today, free, 886-1933.
Attic Theatre, 7339 Third Ave,
Detroit, "A Holiday Cabaret," to
benefit conservatory, 7:30
Wednesday, admission, 646-3347.
Michael Unger and David Nackman take a break on the set of "Biloxi Blues."
Two nice Jewish boys portray two nice Jewish
boys in Part II of the Neil Simon trilogy
ing Jewish was not a re-
quirement for the roles of
Arnold Epstein and Eu-
gene Jerome in Neil Si-
mon's Biloxi Blues now
playing at the Birmingham Theater
through -Dec. 20. But for David
Nackman, formerly as Epstein and
currently as Jerome and Michael
Unger as the current Epstein it didn't
According to Bronx-born
Nackman, being Jewish gave him a
special feeling for the character of
Jerome, a nice Jewish boy and a bud-
ding writer who chronicles his ex-
periences at the Mississippi based
U.S. Army training camp circa World
War II. "I connect to this play very
strongly in a lot of ways. When I first
saw it in New York, there was some-
thing in Epstein, in the Yiddishkeit
of him, how he uses Talmudism the
way he examines both sides of a ques-
tion, his essential decency and prin-
cipledness" that attracted Nackman.
On the other hand, Unger said
that parallel life experiences at-
tracted him to the character, rather
than the fact that both he and Eps-
tein are Jewish. "What makes me
connect to Epstein in a very special
way is that I've been through a lot of
things this character's been through."
As an example, he recalled how in
junior high he was bullied by some
fellows of larger physical stature,
much as Epstein is bullied by the
character Joseph Wykowski. But, he
added, one doesn't have to be Jewish
to play a Jew; an actor just has to
bring "truth" to the role.
"Whatever role you're doing as an
actor, you have to approach it in the
same way, whether it's Jewish and
you're Jewish or you're Buddhist or
you're Chinese. I mean it doesn't mat-
ter. You have to have a certain truth
to bring to the role. I mean that's an
actor's job . . . I do ken to Epstein's
sensitivity in a very strong way. Not
because I'm Jewish, because I'm a
What he finds attractive about
the character of Epstein is that he's
a fighter, not physically, but morally.
"I love the fact that Epstein won't give
in. He'll fight. And it's not that he's
got an ego. It's as if he knows what's
right." At the same time, Nackman
found a certain sweetness and in-
nocence in Eugene Jerome, and the
fact that the character is a close
observer of humankind, also was
found to be inspiring.
"The thing I like about Eugene,
I don't know if it's really to like so
much, but it is the way he chronicles
life. That he takes it all in and he's
always watching and waiting to use
it later. He never lets anything pass
For Nackman, Jerome is the se-
cond role he's portrayed in Biloxi
Blues. At first, he understudied the
role of Epstein and Jerome. Later, he
auditioned for the role of Epstein and
had the role as the play opened at the
Birmingham. When a new director
came in recently, he turned the lead
of Jerome over to Nackman and
brought in Unger to do the Epstein
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
GILBERT AND SULLIVAN
Michigan League Building, Lydia
Mendelssohn Theatre, Ann
Arbor, Patience, 8 p.m. today and
Saturday, 2 p.m. Saturday and
Sunday, admission, 763-1085.
Harrison High School, 29995 W.
12 Mile Rd., concert, 3 p.m.
Sunday, admission, 661-4610.
Wayne State University,
Community Arts Auditorium,
Detroit, music by Heitor Villa-
Lobos, 3:30 p.m. Sunday,
27375 Bell Rd., Southfield,
Halevi Choral Society, 7 p.m.
Sunday, free, 357-5544.
Varner Recital Hall, Oakland
University, Rochester, choral
concert, 8 p.m. today; classical
guitarist Alice Artzt, 3 p.m.
Sunday, admission, 370-3013.
DETROIT PUBLIC LIBRARY
5201 Woodward, Bel Canto
Choral Society, Hanukkah
concert, noon Tuesday, free,
Prudential Town Center,
Southfield, David Jorlett
Chorale, 10 a.m. Sunday,
PEANUT BUTTER PLAYERS
Austin Hall, 18000 E. Warren,
Detroit, Pinocchio, lunch at
noon, 1 p.m. Saturday and
Sunday, admission, 559-6PBP.
Continued on Page 83
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS