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March 28, 2003 - Image 119

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-03-28

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Because the play is about an Asian society,
Schulman has managed to cast the play with 95
percent Asian representation in a company of 32,
including 13 children.
What Schulman likes best about the production
is what she calls "the arc" through which Anna
and the King travel during the course of the play.
"I think it's so brilliantly constructed in how
they meet and butt heads in the beginning, and
how they slowly learn to respect each other," she
says. "And how the show gives
them wonderful plot moments
where you can see how they
begin to question their own val-

Like Rodgers and Hammerstein, Jennifer Gould
Alan Jay Lerner (1918-86) and
Frederick Loewe (1901-88)
achieved immortality with a
string of great musicals, includ-
ing Brigadoon, Paint Your Wagon,
Camelot and their greatest suc-
cess, My Fair Lady.
Last year, Stratford presented
My Fair Lady to uniformly rave
Adrienne Gould
reviews. The 2003 season fea-
tures Gigi, Lerner and Loewe's
1973 adaptation of their blockbuster screen musi-
cal, which starred Maurice Chevalier, Hermione
Gingold and Leslie Caron.
Gigi is based on Colette's novel about a young

girl being trained in the social
graces by her two aunts so she
can become a courtesan. A rich
young man falls in love with her
and transforms her life.
In 1959, the movie won nine
Oscars, the largest number ever
won by a film in the 31 years of
the Academy. Fate would be less
kind to the stage version, which
lasted three months.
When the French writer
Colette wrote Gigi, she was
nearly 70. It was 1942, and
Europe had been conquered and
destroyed by Hitler's Nazis.
Colette's beloved third husband,
Frederick Loewe and Alan Jay Lerner: A lovely story.
Maurice Goudeket, who was
Jewish, had been arrested by the
definite plus in portraying the feisty, energetic 15-
Germans and sent to a concentration camp in
year-old Gigi.
But Gigi is not Jennnifer's only role during the
By the time Colette published Gigi, both author
Ontario festival's season. She also plays La
and reader were in great need of a lovely story that
Esmeralda, the ill-fated Gypsy girl, in The
carried them to another place and time. The
Hunchback of Notre Dame. Performing two major
novella recalls the belle e'poque of Paris in 1900,
roles in repertory, and switching back and forth, is
when the world was optimistic and fun.
something she enjoys during the long Stratford
A Tale Of Two Sisters
The sisters say there is no sibling rivalry, nor any
competition, between them. Each regards the
For sisters Jennifer and Adrienne Gould, sharing
other as a friend.
the same stage in Gigi is a first. Jennifer plays the
Jennifer began acting at age 10 when her father,
title role; her younger sister, Adrienne, is one of
a lawyer and amateur actor, persuaded her to audi-
the dancers and plays Madame Laverne.
Jennifer's porcelain beauty belies her 32 years, a
STRATFORD on page 68

Both wanted to be profes s . ional performers and
began working together in small theater nightclubs
in Greenwich Village in the 1930s as part of an act
called the Revuers with Judy Holliday, born Judith
Tuvim (Tuvim is Hebrew for holiday).
It was Holliday for whom they would create their
biggest Broadway hit, Bells Are Ringing, in 1956.
Comden and Green wrote the score and Jewish
composer Jule Styne, their most frequent collabora-
tor, wrote the music and libretto.
In 1944, their friend Leonard Bernstein su ested
Comden and Green as lyr.cists and librettists when he
and choreographer Jerome Robbins planned to turn •
their ballet, Fancy Free, into a full-scale Broadway musi-
cal. It became On The Town, in which both Comden
and Green had leading roles on stage as well as off.
On The Town was a smash hit, launching the suc-
cessful careers of its four young Jewish creators.
Comden and Green also wrote the lyrics for
Bernstein's Wonderful Town (1953), for which they
won a Tony for Best Score.
Among their numerous screenplays, Comden and

Green wrote what
many critics con-
sider the greatest
movie musical of
all time, Singing
in the Rain, star-
ring the immortal
Gene Kelly.
Cy Coleman
Sam Strasfeld
In 1978,
Comden and
Green wrote the libretto and lyrics for On The
Twentieth Century, a mock operetta with music by
Cy Coleman (born Seymour Kaufman in New York
City in 1929), yet another Jewish musical prodigy.
Based on Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur's 1932
comic play, Twentieth Century, about the love and
rivalry between a down-and-out theater producer and
a temperamental Hollywood star, the tale was set on
the famous luxury train of the title, and Coleman's
music had the rushing excitement of a locomotive.
Despite glowing reviews and Tony Awards for its
book and lyrics, the musical had trouble appealing


I Remember It Well


to 1970s audiences and remains
one of the team's most underrat-
ed works.
Sam Strasfeld, 22, makes his
debut at the Shaw Festival as a
singing porter in On The
Twentieth Century. A Toronto-
Jewish actor/dancer, he
Kurt Weill
also has been appointed dance
captain of the musical and will
be an understudy for one of the principal roles.
T Ast season, Strasfeld was a member of Stratford's com-
pany, performing in the chorus in My Fair Lady and The
Threepenny Opera. When the season ended in November,
he performed in Peter Pan in Hamilton, Ontario.

The Fourth Penny

Kurt Weill, the son of the chief cantor in a Dessau
(Germany) synagogue, wrote the musical Happy End





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