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March 30, 2006 - Image 76

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2006-03-30

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Arts & Entertainment

Past and Present from page 57

Broadway performer
and University of
Michigan graduate
Joan Barber: "I wanted
to go to a school that
was both strong in
academics and musical

Playwright Mitchell
Uscher: "All my
life, I heard stories
about my mother
and her two
best friends."

The lifelong friendship, then and now, of Shirley Quiat, Kate Lorber and Florence Uscher is the inspiration

for Mamelah!.

show Big while it was at the Fisher
Theatre in Detroit, worked in New
York after graduating from college
and then took off 10 years from the
stage to raise a stepdaughter.
Although divorced from a man
who was not Jewish, Barber is proud
his daughter converted to Judaism
and is becoming a cantor based on
relationships developed with the
actress' family
"I grew up on Long Island, and
I knew I wanted to go to a school

that was both strong in academics
and musical theater:' Barber says.
"That's why I picked the University
of Michigan. It was the only school I
applied to.
"After I moved to New York, I got
small professional roles in children's
theater, summer stock and din-
ner theater. My first big show was
Man of La Mancha with Richard
Kiley. When I went back to the stage
again, I played the same role in a
different version of Man of La

Mancha. The second production
was with Raul Julia."
Barber, who has taught private
students, also has been an acting
and musical theater instructor at
Cedar Crest College in Pennsylvania.
She appeared on Broadway in
Beauty and the Beast, The Sound
of Music and Follies.
"When I was in Big, I made a side
trip to Ann Arbor:' Barber says. "I
may do that again with this visit to
Michigan." EJ


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