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January 20, 1989 - Image 74

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-01-20

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

,

Wild

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says Ryder. "They were built
especially to be texturally in-
teresting."
Wild Swan's concern about
openess extends to the tex-
tual material they choose as
well. "We're drawn to stories
about different cultures,"
Ryder says. They've adapted
African folktales, Georgian
stories and Japanese legends,
as well as more contemporary
tales from A.A. Milne, Shel
Silverstein, I.B. Singer, Dr.
Seuss and the late Arnold
Lobel.
Though Wild Swan is based
in Ann Arbor it has perform-
ed beyond its boundaries.
"We've covered the whole of
southeast Michigan," says
Cohen. For many of its au-
diences Wild Swan's presence
is a singular experience. "So
many schools are losing fund-
ing for the arts," Ryder ex-
plains. "We're all they get.
One 45-minute performance.
We try to make the most of
it."
The lack of funding is a
perennial issue for Wild
Swan, as it is for almost any
children's theater in the U.S.
"I don't think we've gotten
paid in years," says Ryder
directly. "We can barely make
expenses.". Instead they've
gone after and received sup-
port from agencies and
organizations such as the
Michigan Council of the Arts,
Kiwanis, Lions Clubs and the
Junior League of Ann Arbor.
They've performed in Detroit
Public Schools, at Beth Israel
Congregation in Ann Arbor,
on the University of Michigan
campus and all around town.
Cohen sees rosier times
ahead. "This past year has
really been a year of growth,"
she says. "We're finding a way
to combine the touring and
mainstage productions so
that we can continue to be ac-
cessible to all children."
Wild Swan will begin the
1989 season with two
performances next month at
the U-M's Museum of Art.
"We'll be doing an adaptation
of Jane Yolen's The Emperor
and the Kite," says Cohen.
The Emperor and the Kite is
about a small princess, so
small in fact that nobody
seemed to remember that she
exists. "She was like a tiny
star in the emperor's sight."
Eventually, through her kite
sailing, she saves her father
from evil men and she in turn
is noticed and loved. Bill
DeYoung and U-M students
will do the choreography and
John Gutoskey will make the
fabulous masks. "We're also
going to be using .a child to
play (the main character)
Djeow Seow," says Ryder.
"Kids really identify with
seeing a child on stage."

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FRIDAY, JANUARY 20, 1989

ENTERTAINMENT

Lisa Gottlieb-Clark signs in a Wild Swan Theater production. Performing
with her are from left: Hilary Cohen and Sandy Ryder.

That experience is similar
to Cohen's own history. "I
grew up in children's theater,"
she explains. "I was on a TV
program in Minneapolis." Her
professional accomplishments
are numerous. Besides her
work with Wild Swan, she
teaches in the theater depart-
ment at the University of
Michigan where she's an
assistant professor. Her in-
volvement with accessible
theater is deep and heartfelt.
She serves as vice president of
the Association for Theater
and Disability and has been
the prime organizer of a sym-
posium, which includes per-
formances, to be held in
March at the U-M that
spotlights the issue of sign
language and theater.

Detroit-native Ryder is
probably best known to locals
as the owner and "head
cheese" of "Say Cheese," a
local institution on W Huron

in Ann Arbor famous for its
New York-style cheesecakes.
As Ryder explains, she began
baking cheesecakes in 1980
so that she could support
theatrical interests, which in-
clude more than Wild Swan.
But even in her cheescake
kingdom Ryder's first love
isn't neglected as any of her
customers can attest. When a
cheescake lover enters the
bakery a mural of Maurice
Sendak's children's classic In
the Night Kitchen stands
sentinel.
The Emperor and the Kite
will be presented by the Wild
Swan Theater on Feb. 18 at
10 a.m. and 11 a.m. at the
University of Michigan's
Museum of The perform-
ance is free and open to the
public. Admission is by free
ticket only. For information
about the performance or
Wild Swan, call: Hilary
Cohen,. 995-0987; or Bobbie
Levine, 747-0522. 0

I GOING PLACES I

Continued from preceding page

admission; 656-1130.

WOODS PLAYERS
Oakland Community
College, Royal Oak,
auditions for The Sunshine
Boys, Wednesday and
Thursday. 546-4806.
VILLAGE PLAYERS
Hunter and Chestnut,
Birmingham, Anything
Goes, now through Sunday,
Jan. 27-29, Feb. 3-4,
admission. 644-2075.
MUSIC HALL CENTER
350 Madison Ave., Detroit,
Negro Ensemble- Company
performs From the
Mississippi Delta, today and
Saturday, admission.
963-7680.
MICHIGAN THEATER
Ann Arbor, Broadway

Bound, Sunday, admission.
668-8397.

MUSIC

UNIVERSITY
MUSICAL SOCIETY
Hill Auditorium, Ann
Arbor, Montreal Symphony
Orchestra, Wednesday,
admission. 764-8489.
EARLY MUSIC SERIES
Detroit Institute of Arts,
Richard Luby and John
Van Buskirk, program
includes Beethoven and
Schubert, Thursday,
admission. 832-2730.

ART SHOWS

TROY ART GALLERY

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