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April 21, 2005 - Image 62

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2005-04-21

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

Arts I Life

Uses Kosher
products in
separate kitchen

HAIRSPRAY

from page 61

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Wishes everyone a Happy Passover
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Rosalie Beer: "I have to decide these
things on a gut feeling."

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Theatre in May, although she declined
to invest in the 2003 Broadway produc-
tion of that show. It was a wise decision
because the show closed and lost money.
"I have to decide these things on a gut
feeling," she explains. "I think the road
version will be better here. Investing is
often like going to the casino; you're tak-
ing chances, and you have to be lucky."
Licht's first investment was in a show
called Baby 22 years ago, in which he
made money after a long time period.
He followed that investment with The

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Real Thing Hurly Burly, Angels in
America, The Odd Couple (male and
female versions) and other shows.
"But The Producers and Hairspray have
been my most rewarding investments,"
he said. "I've added money for the tour
versions in London, Australia and two
road companies in North America."
He'll also be involved in the planned
movie of Hairspray, the Musicah by New
Line Cinema. "Historically, the movie
always has made the stage show even
more popular," he said. "Chicago is a
classic example of that."

No Biz Like Show Biz

Beer and Licht figure they have a 70
percent success rate in their overall
investments — "and some shows return
six or eight times the original amount of
money," Licht beamed.
Both investors attend New York open-
ing nights free and meet the star per-
formers but have to pay for tickets if
they see the shows again. Beer has seen
The Producers six times. Licht also has
attended several Tony Award shows and
other show business events in New York.
Beer and her husband are active sup-
porters of the Jewish Ensemble Theatre
in West Bloomfield; she helps advise
JET on new playwrights and scripts.
The couple attend the opera, Hilberry

Theatre and just about any stage show
they hear about in the Detroit area.
"I have the Playbill of every theater
production I've seen since 1969," she
mused. "And I own posters of all the
shows I've invested in."
Her advice: "Anyone who doesn't
attend the theater is really missing out;
there's great passion and excitement in
the live theater."
Hairspray will bring some of that
excitement to the Masonic. The show
will maintain the tradition of having a
man play the role of Tracy Turnblad's
mother, Edna. He is J.P. Dougherty,
who gets his big chance after being an
understudy for the role for almost three
years to Jewish actor Harvey Fierstein,
who won a Tony Award for the part.
(Fierstein's now playing Tevye in Fiddler
on the Roof on Broadway.) Dougherty
previously played Thenardier, the "mas-
ter of the house," in Les Miserables.

Ron Licht: "The Producers" and
"Hairspray" have been my most reward-
ing investments."

Tracy is played by Keala Settle of
Hawaii, who's been acting since the age
of 2. The original Tracy was Marissa
Jaret Winokur, a relatively unknown
Jewish actress who shot to stardom in
the role and also won a Tony. Two
Detroiters in the cast are Leonard
Sullivan as Thad and Brent Davin Vance
as Duane. Sullivan graduated from
Western Michigan University and Vance
is a Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines dance
veteran. ❑

Hairspray opens Tuesday, April 26,
at Detroit's Masonic Temple
Theatre and plays through Sunday,
May 15. Performances are 8 p.m.
Tuesdays-Saturdays; 2 p.m.
Saturdays and Sundays and 7:30
p.m. Sundays. Tickets, at $33-
$75.50, may be purchased at the
box office, (313) 872-1000;
through Ticketmaster, (248) 656-
6666; or on the Web at
www.NederlanderDetroit.com .

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