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March 19, 2004 - Image 43

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2004-03-19

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

`The Robber Bridegroom'

The Theatre Company stages Uhry musical fantasy.

"We haven't done a musical comedy in some time,
so we thought we'd begin with one that has country
music and dancing," says director Arthur Beer.
"We'll have a guitar player on stage as well as a syn-
laywright Alfred Uhry has written about
thesized score. Our cast will be able to learn the
Southern Jewish culture in Driving Miss
choreography rather quickly because it
Daisy, The Last Night of
involves square dancing and reels."
but
Parade,
Ballyhoo and
The play, based on a novella by Eudora
his focus has been less ethnic with
Welty,
has script and lyrics by Uhry with
The Robber Bridegroom, a musical
music
composed
by Robert Waldman. It
about a make-believe South of long
brought
Uhry
a
Tony
nomination when first
ago.
produced
in
New
York
some 30 years ago.
The fantasy production, being
Uhry,
who
grew
up
in
Georgia's Jewish
staged through April 4 by the
community,
graduated
from
Brown
Theatre Company of the
University and early on was hired as a lyri-
University of Detroit Mercy, is a
cist for Broadway icon Frank-Loesser. His
bawdy fairytale set in 18th-century
skills as a comedy writer were used on the
Mississippi. Romance and proceed-
television shows Hootenanny and That
ings that go awry because of mis-
Was the Week That Was. While seeking
taken identities bring the melodra-
Uhry: Pulitzer, Tony and
writing
opportunities for both stage and
ma some humor.
Osca•-winning w riter
film, Uhry worked as a high-school

SUZANNE CHESSLER
Special to the Jewish News

ro

teacher and college instructor in New York.
The cast for this production of The Robber
Bridegroom features Sarah Shirkey as Rosamund, a
rich planter's daughter being pursued by three suit-
ors. Peter Proutz plays Jamie Lockhart, a merchant
and robber of the woods. Megan Messmer portrays
Rosamund's evil stepmother, while Patrick Gough
takes the role of Little Harp, who shows another
criminal personality.
Harold Jurkiewicz, stage manager at the West
Bloomfield-based Jewish Ensemble Theatre,
appears in the role of Clemment Musgrove,
Rosamund's father, a character he played in sum-
mer stock at the Gateway Playhouse on Long
Island.
"I like the charm of the piece and the country
music," Jurkiewicz says. "It really is a lot of fun." 17

The Theatre Company performs The
Robber Bridegroom 8 p.m. Thursdays-
Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays, through
April 4, at the McAuley Theatre, 8200 W.
Outer Drive, Detroit. $12/$10 seniors/$8
students. (313) 993-6461.

that has to keep on changing. I think
it's great to bring out information in an
entertaining way, and I've heard that
women feel connected by watching
this."
-
The musical, written by Jeanie
Linders, debuted just three years ago
running.
It
starts
with four women fighting for
Off-Broadway, where it is still
bargains at a lingerie sale and takes them through the shared knowledge of hot
flashes, chocolate binges and other signs of change with the help of 26 classic
baby-boomer songs given new lyrics.
"Most women know intuitively that every other woman is experiencing
memory loss, night sweats or hot flashes, but when they are in a theater with
many other women — not just a few friends who are sympathetic by nature —
and all are laughing and shouting, `That's me!' then they become a sisterhood,"
Linders says.
The 90-minute musical, co-directed by Kathryn Conte and Patty
Bender, has a live band with musical arrangements by C.T. Hollis.
The cast features PJ Jenkinson as an Iowa housewife, Rhonda Freya
as a powerful executive, Judy Dery as a hippie turned earth mother
and Kim Vanbiesbrouck as a soap star.
Although different in personalities, the characters find that
menopause gives them common ground.
Linders, who has worked with arts development and advertising
for 30 years, says the musical was inspired by a hot flash and bottle
of wine. She believes women should look at menopause as the
beginning of an exciting new phase of life.
"Facing menopause in groups can be very bonding," King says.
"Let's take it out of the closet." Li

`Menopause The Musical'

Musical parody set to classic baby boomer songs heralds the not-so-silent passage.

SUZANNE CHESSLER
Special to the Jewish News

Jr

an King, who tries to lighten the heavy experience of menopause by
responding with jokes, looks forward to learning how others have respond-
ed by setting their midlife crisis to music.
King, author of When You're Hot, You're Hot: How I Laughed My
Way Through Menopause, explained her outlook at Michigan's Jewish Book Fair
just a couple of years ago, and she is looking out for the time when Menopause
The Musical comes to
a stage close to her
California home.
The production
begins March 17 at
Detroit's Gem
Theatre, where, dur-
ing its open-ended
run, audience mem-
bers can attend a pre-
show cheese, fruit and
wine reception or a
post-show dessert,
coffee and meet-and-
greet with the cast.
"I've heard that
women go in groups
to see this, and I hope
to do the same," King
says. "Menopause was
seen for too long as a
taboo subject, and
Celebrating "the change"

Menopause The Musical opens March 17 at the Gem Theatre,

333 Madison Ave., in Detroit. Performances are 8 p.m.
Tuesdays-Fridays, 4 and 8 p.m. Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays.
$39.50/$36.50 for groups of 10-14; $10 for pre-show
party/$7 for post-show party. (313) 963-9800.

3/19
2004

43

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