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October 08, 1993 - Image 71

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1993-10-08

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

Ent r

nt

F ami l lir
Tradi t ion

SUZANNE CHESSLER

SPECIAL TO THE JEWISH NEWS

Actor-singer Joel Grey

Joel Grey will mix

his father, his daughter,

Cabaret and George M

into his November 1st

appearance in Detroit.

finger, dancer, actor Joel Grey
finds himself in the middle of a
family tradition, and he couldn't
be happier.
The star of the 60th an-
niversary Balfour Celebration
Concert — 7:30 p.m. Monday,
Nov. 1, at the Fox Theatre — is
the son of the late and leg-
endary entertainer Mickey Katz
and the father of actress Jen-
nifer Grey.
'ye finally gotten to see the
different sides," said the stage,
screen and television personal-
ity, who tries to steer clear of
giving his daughter advice.
"But if we're talking about
things that matter, she'll hear
from me what I heard from my
dad: 'You never underestimate
audiences. They deserve 100
percent and more, and you don't
do less, ever.'
"He had a commitment to
performing that was quite spe-
cial, true and an inspiration to
me. He worked very hard and
thought whatever he was doing

was his obligation to the audi-
ence."
When Mr. Grey steps into
the spotlight at the Fox, he
plans on bringing that family
message to life by presenting
the show he currently is taking
around the country.
The Nov. 1 program, spon-
sored by the Metropolitan De-
troit District of the Zionist
Organization of America, comes
soon after an engagement at
the Hollywood Bowl, where he
appeared with the Los Angeles
Philharmonic Orchestra, at-
tracting crowds of 18,000 on
successive nights.
"It's essentially an evening of
variety and talk and reminis-
cence and a compilation of the
music I always have loved and
wanted to perform," said the en-
tertainer, who travels with two
musicians and three techni-
cians and is joined by local or-
chestras. In Michigan, the
Mack Pitt Orchestra will be fea-
tured.
"There will be songs from
Cabaret and George M, and I
draw heavily on my father's
material," added Mr. Grey,
whose George M numbers
awaken memories of an earlier
Motown visit.
"We tried out the musical in
the city in the dead of winter,
when there was an enormous
newspaper strike," he recalled.
"There were a lot of problems.
"While we were playing the
show, we were working all day
long on a big, 20-minute num-
ber for Act II because Detroit-
ers told us they wanted to see a
full rendition of all of the Cohan
hits.
"We kind of assumed in the
original planning of the show
that people wouldn't want to
see those songs done in a pro-
duction way. We were doing
them dramatically.
"It was the hardest show I
ever did, and we put in that
new number with costumes and
sets the day we left Detroit. We

really thought the show was
done, but we opened the next
week in Philadelphia and were
a big smash.
"All the work that was done
in Detroit let us open as a hit in
Philly."
For his role in George M, Mr.
Grey received one of his four
Tony nominations. He won a
Tony for best supporting actor
in a musical based on his per-
formance in Cabaret, which also
brought him an Oscar for best
supporting actor.
Mr. Grey recently received
an Emmy nomination for his
portrayal of a concentration
camp survivor in CBS-TV's

Brooklyn Bridge.
"Some of the most difficult
things that I do are the things
that I remember most," said the
versatile performer, whose act-
ing career began at age 9 in
Cleveland and continued
through classes in New York.

"I never thought I'd
sing or dance."

—Joel Grey

"They're very often the most
satisfying.
"I did a play called The Nor-
mal Heart about the AIDS cri-
sis. That was right at the
beginning, before anybody ac-
knowledged that there was a
crisis.
"The production was like a
docudrama because many peo-
ple watching it were experi-
encing AIDS in their own lives
— families, mothers, fathers
and lovers. They were in the au-
dience in horror and in mourn-
ing, and their feelings were
palpable. We actually could
hear them weeping, and the
play became a very important
event."
When Mr. Grey started
working in theater, he believed

TRADITION page 82

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