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April 01, 1988 - Image 67

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-04-01

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

ENTERTAINMENT

GOING PLACES

WEEK OF April 1-7

COMEDY

HOLLY HOTEL

110 Battle Alley, Holly. Mark
Davids, Jason Vines, Lowell
Sanders now through Saturday.
Mark Hamilton, Sheila Kaye,
Thursday through April 9,
admission, 634-1891.

Marjorie Gordon,
Elaine Lebenbom
and Sylvia
Starkman confer
on their opera,
"The Witch, the
Wise Man and the
Fool."

DUFFY'S ON THE LAKE

3133 Cooley Lake Rd., Union
Lake, Bob Posch and. John
Cionca, now through April, 9:30
and 11:30 p.m. Fridays and
Saturdays, admission,
reservations, 363-9469.

COMEDY CASTLE AT
PUZZLES

29900 Van Dyke, Warren, Pam
Matteson, Tuesday through April
9. 8:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday,
8:30 and 11 p.m. Friday and
Saturday, admission.

THEATER

Good. Magic

ATTIC THEATER

Attic Theater Playhouse, Detroit,
Knock Knock now through April
10, admission, 875-8284.

WAYNE STATE UNIVERSITY

Hilberry Theater, Nicholas
Nickleby, now through April 16,
admission, 577-2972.

Evil loses again in a new
opera by two area musicians

DAVID HOLZEL

Staff Writer

111 s there still room for a little
magic and wonder among Jews
today? Two Detroit-area musi-
cians are betting that there is.
Composers Elaine Lebenbom
and Sylvia Starkman have written an
opera of good and evil, magic and
mystery, calculated to arouse a flicker
of delight in even the most rational
soul.
Their work, entitled The Witch,
the Wise Man and the Fool, is set in
the now near-legendary East Euro-
pean Jewish past. The composers
weave Jewish themes and elements
from Jewish folk tales into the fabric
of a story which, they hope, will ap-
peal to families, Jewish and non-
Jewish alike.
While it is targeted for general
audiences, "There's no doubt that this
is a Jewish opera," says Starkman,
who wrote the libretto. "It couldn't be
anything but Jewish."
The opera took four years to write,
according to Lebenbom, who compos-
ed the music. The easy part — or at
least the fun part — of the project ap-

pears to be in the past for Lebenbom
as she doggedly copies the 200-page
piece from her penciled shorthand to
readable manuscript form. "I hope to
have it in Marjorie Gordon's hands by
May," she says.
Gordon, the managing director of
the Piccolo Opera Company, will pro-
duce the work when it is ready to be
staged. The three women discussed
the project one recent snowy morning
at Lebenbom's Bloomfield Township
home.
"It's a real fairy tale," Starkman
emphasizes as she scans the white
shrouded scene ouside the window. "It
begins 'Once upon a time.' "

Like any fairy tale worth its salt,
the story concerns a family: a mother
and father, two evil sisters named
Alta (meaning "old") and Karna
(Hebrew for "horns"), and a good
sister, Batya (which means "daughter
of God").
The family falls under the spell of
the Baba Yaga, a witch popularized in
Eastern European folk legends. Baba
Yaga hauntsthe woods, lives in a but
which stands on chicken legs and
traverses the heavens in a mortar and
pestle.

MEADOW BROOK THEATER

Oakland University campus,
Rochester, Deathtrap, now
through April 17, admission,
377-3300.

VILLAGE PLAYERS

Village Players Playhouse,
Birmingham, The Boyfriend,
today and Saturday, admission,
644-2075.

DETROIT REPERTORY
THEATER

13103 Woodrow Wilson, Detroit,
The Colored Museum, Mornings
at Seven, now through May 8,
admission, 868-1347.

Marjorie Gordon: "Our message is through
the music."

Although drawn from non-Jewish
sources, the Baba Yaga crept into
Jewish folklore as well. "Even my
husband recalls being told as a child
in Poland, 'Don't go in the woods or
the Baba Yaga will get you,' " says
Starkman.
It falls upon two unlikely heroes
to defeat the evil witch and rescue the
virtuous Batya: Herschel Ostropolier,
a "wise fool;' and a scholar named
Ariel.
According to Lebenbom and
Starkman, Ostropolier was the real-
life jester to the 18th Century
Chasidic master Rabbi Baruch of
Medzebozh. Ariel, a creation of the
two composers, is a young student ii

BIRMINGHAM THEATER

211 S. Woodward, Birmingham,
Doubles, Tuesday through May 8,
David Groh, admission,
644-3533.

FISHER THEATER

Fisher Building, Detroit. Me and
My Girl, now through April 24.
Tim Curry, Donna Bullock,
Barrie Ingham. Admission.
872-1000.

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
GILBERT AND SULLIVAN
SOCIETY

911 N. University, Ann Arbor,
The Gondoliers, Wednesday
through April 17, admission,
761-7855 through
Sunday,beginning Monday,
763-1085.
Continued on Page 69

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

67

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