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December 14, 2006 - Image 51

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2006-12-14

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Cole "Unforgettable"-inspired rendi-
tion of Brel's "If You Go Away," with
Michelle Hooks-Stackpoole singing
to the screen-sized version of Brel's
face singing back, largely betrays what
is missing from this show. On the
mammoth scrim, the beads of sweat
mingling with Brel's tears divulge his
passion and fire, a performance done
at the edge of one's comfort zone,
seemingly at the peril of one's life. His
music has to be infused with that kind
of zeal at every turn; otherwise, the
intent is lost.
In the program notes, Director Mark
A. Lit writes of seeing Brel's music
performed in the late '60s and being
struck by its power. As he recalls,
"Almost everyone was ... wondering
how we ended up in a very controver-
sial war with new lost American boys
being named every day, and swearing
the world was coming to an end. Oh,
and how the whole world hated us. We
are so lucky everything has changed
since Brel first opened."
Of course, we all know much of
the world still does hate us. People
the world over, Americans or not, are
dying senselessly every day. Things are
very much the same, except perhaps
we have changed. From the looks of it,

The Inside Scoop

Rose Mattus, the 90-year-old co-
founder of the Haagen-Dazs ice
cream company, died on Nov. 28.
The New York Sun's obituary gave
some interesting "Jewish" details.
Rose and her late husband,
Reuben Mattus, were both
Eastern European Jewish immi-
grants who came to America as
children; they
met, when
they were kids,
in Brooklyn,
where his fam-
ily owned a fro-
zen food plant.
The two mar-
ried in 1934,
soon after
Rose Mattus
Rose went to
work as the
plant's bookkeeper.
In 1959, Reuben invented
Haagen-Dazs, which was much
richer than other ice creams then
on the market. Reuben went from
store-to-store marketing the ice
cream, while Rose handled most
of the financial end of the corn-

this staging feels emblematic of our
time, like it's holding back and uncom-
fortable to put itself on the line.

JET's production of Jacques

• Middle Eastern Carry-Out • Catering
• Fresh Baked Sweets & Breads


• Tabouli • Fattoush • Hummus
• Falafel • Baba Ghanouge

Brel Is Alive and Well and Living
in Paris runs through Jan. 6 in

the Aaron DeRoy Theater at
the Jewish Community Center,
6600 W. Maple Road, in West
Bloomfield. Performances
are at 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays-
Thursdays, 5 and 8:30 p.m.
Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays.
A special matinee at 2 p.m.
Wednesday, Dec. 27, replaces
that evening's show. A New
Year's Eve celebration will follow
a 9 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 31, perfor-
Regular tickets: $29-$39,
with discounts for seniors and
students; $17 rush tickets may
be available from an hour and
a half until a half hour before
each performance. Tickets and
information: (249) 788-2900.

party. It was a true partnership.
Haagen-Dazs, which soon earned
a cult following, caught on with
the general public around 1970,
and during the '70s it was the
only super-premium ice cream
that was nationally distributed.
Rose and Reuben knew people
would make the assumption that
any ice cream with a European-
sounding name was a fancy
import. They assumed it would sell
well and be profitable. However,
their choice of the ice cream's
specific name has an interest-
ing origin. The couple decided on
a "faux Danish" name for their
ice cream as a tribute to the
Danish people's heroic rescue of
almost all Danish Jews during the
Holocaust. (in actuality, the words
"Haagen Dazs" don't mean any-
thing in any language.)
The Mattuses were strong
Zionists, and a high-tech training
center in Herzliya, Israel, is named
for them. They sold the Haagen-
Dazs company to Pillsbury in


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December 14




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