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March 31, 1995 - Image 84

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1995-03-31

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

15th Anniversary
Gala Concert

NEM

NMI

L yric
_L

Ix: Chamber
WAN Ensemble

Fedora Horowiti — Artistic Director

"Musical Gems
Through The Ages"

This Sunday • 3:30 p.m.

TEMPLE BETH EL

7400 Telegraph Rd. (14 Mile Rd.) • Bloomfield Hills
Sponsored by Franklin Bank

Copland

Appalachian Spring Suite

Albinoni

Trumpet Concerto

St. Saens

Caprice on Danish & Russian Airs
for flute, oboe, clarinet and piano

Haydn

Sinfonie Concertante in B Flat,
Op. 84 for violin, cello, oboe and
bassoon

Chausson

Brian Benben as Roger in `Radioland Murders'.

Ramon Parcells

Chanson perpetuelle for soprano
and orchestra

Featuring an outstanding array of Detroit's "creme de la creme":
Ramon Parcells, trumpet
Fedora Horowitz, piano
Marcy Chanteaux, cello
Ervin Monroe, flute
Joseph Curt, piano
Valerie Yova, soprano
Robert Williams, bassoon
Louis Nagel, piano
Earnestine Nimmons, soprano
Donald Baker, oboe
Emmanuelle Boisvert, violin
Joseph Striplin, conductor
Theodore Oien, clarinet
James Van Valkenburg, viola

Concert Tickets: $18/$15
Available in advance or at the door

For additional information, please call The Lyric Chamber Ensemble at 810-357-1111.

(Entertainment coupon accepted)

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Brian Benben's Roles:
`Jewish' Sensitivity

MICHAEL ELKIN SPECIAL TO THE JEWISH NEWS

I

t takes a mensch to play a
Jewish shlepper, and Brian
Benben has the role down pat.
Make that roles. Mr. Benben
is the star of "Dream On," a
trendy and untraditional TV com-
edy series about poor desk-bound
Martin Tupper, who goes
through life with his in-basket
empty.
Mr. Benben is also the star of
Radioland Murders, a whimsi-
cal, wacky sendup of comedic
mysteries from the '30s. He plays
a radio writer named Roger, who
could line his walls with life's re-
jection slips.
There is a certain Jewish sen-
sitivity that Benben brings to
these two comedic roles. The
irony of that? "I'm not Jewish,"
he says.
But he plays the parts so well.
One such role probably stands
out more than others. "I met my
wife when we were playing hus-
band and wife on The Gangster
Chronicles," he says of meeting
Madeline Stowe on the TV minis-
eries.
They have been wed nine
years.
"I was playing Meyer Lansky
— although that wasn't his name
because Lansky was still living
at the time."
At this time in his life, Mr.
Benben thinks he has a dream
life — a success with "Dream On"
and a burgeoning film career
starting out with Radioland Mys-

teries.

Brian Benben himself is no
man of mystery; he's upfront and
forthright. "There was no great
master plan," he says of the de-
cision to go into show business.
His career started out gay and

Michael Elkin is the
efeertainment editor of the
Jewish Exponent in
Philedelphia.

carefree. "I started acting in a
radical gay theater in New York,"
the straight actor remembers of
the company which "was dedi-
cated to theater of gay play-
wrights or gay themes — which
left out virtually nothing."
When he left the theater com-
pany, he moved on to Broadway,
starring in Slab Boys, opposite
Kevin Bacon, Val Kilmer and
Sean Penn.
"All the girls would squeal
when they came out. Then it was
my turn, and the squeals
stopped," he says.
What hasn't stopped is the at-
tention he's gotten in the busi-
ness, playing it seems, a
preponderance of Jewish parts.
Martin Tupper wears his feel-
ings not so much on his sleeve as
all over his body.
He's gotten stabbed in the back
so many times, he buys shirts
with the backs pre-ripped.
But Mr. Benben disagrees
that Tupper's is a timid image.
A shlepper? Nah, says Brian
Benben. "He's a mensch. He's an
optimistic, forward-looking per-
son.
"It's just events conspire to sup-
press him."
There's no suppressing Mr.
Benben's enthusiasm for Radi-
oland Murders. The role of Roger
is a killer part, with Brian Ben-
ben in perpetual motion trying to
solve a series of murders that oc-
cur as a new radio network goes
on the air.
In typical Tupper-like fashion,
all evidence points to him as the
killer.
While others worry about the
killer on the loose, Roger is try-
ing to lose the police hot on his
trail as he tries to gather evidence
exonerating him.
In one scene, he dons a dis-
guise, parading as Carmen Mi-
randa, complete with fruit on his

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