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November 26, 2009 - Image 72

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2009-11-26

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Arts & hntertainment

Poking Fun

The show


JET's next production, The Big Bang, is a
humorous musical take on show business
and the history of the world.

Suzanne Chessler

The idea for the musical came up dur-
ing a conversation the two creators had in
the 1990s. It started out with regrets about
he theater in the lower level of the the lackluster reaction to their previous
Jewish Community Center in West play, Eating Raoul. Feuer suggested they
Bloomfield will seem a bit more
move on by working on a piece they could
intimate during the month-long run of
perform, and Graham devised the audi-
The Big Bang.
tion scenario.
Audience members should feel as if they
For this production, director Mary
entered the threshold of a luxurious New
Bremer is working with actors Greg
York apartment while watching a parody
Trzaskoma and Brian Thibault. Paul
of a backers' audition with two performers Abbott will be at the piano in a set
trying to sell a musical.
designed by Monika Essen.
The comedy, presented Dec. 8-Jan. 3,
"I grew up in a musical family, but the
originally starred composer Jed Feuer
show doesn't have anything to do directly
along with book and lyrics writer Boyd
with my experiences," says Feuer, whose
Graham. Their many vignettes, coming
father, Cy Feuer, was a Broadway and
together as a staged history of the world,
Hollywood producer, director and writer.
include humorous takes on Adam and Eve,
"It does [have to do with] something
Columbus and Tokyo Rose.
that happens. There are lavish apartments
There's even a segment portraying the
where producers will bring investors and
mother of Jesus as a stereotypical Jewish
have the composers sing or actors per-
form. I've been to some backers' auditions
"Because the show encompasses the
at venues of one sort or another."
whole history of the world, it allowed us to
Feuer, who grew up around show busi-
write songs in every conceivable style with ness icons friendly with his father, never
operatic, Latin and Broadway included,"
thought of doing anything but being in the
says Feuer, 61, whose current performance entertainment industry.
interests place him on trumpet with his
"My father's father, Herman Feuer, was a
jazz quintet, Bipolar.
manager of a Yiddish theater in New York
"There are about 15 different styles of
at the turn of the century," Feuer says. "My
music represented. I was allowed to run
father grew up playing the trumpet, went
hog wild, and it took us two or three years
to Juilliard and produced a lot of the really
to get it up to speed. Although Boyd was
great Broadway shows — Guys and Dolls,
primarily focused on the words and I was
Where's Charley? and Silk Stockings.
primarily focused on the music, we influ-
"In that environment, I was a very
enced each other on a daily basis"
musical kid. I played the trumpet a lot.

Special to the Jewish News


41111° I Nate Bloom

Special to the Jewish News

1 1:2

New Flicks
eh Now in theaters for





the Thanksgiving
weekend are
Fantastic Mr. Fox and
Old Dogs.
The former is a
stop-action animated
film directed by
Wes Anderson and
co-written by Anderson and Noah
Baumbach (The Squid and the Whale),
40. George Clooney and Meryl Streep
star as the voices of a married pair of

November 26 = 2009

foxes (yes, the animals), who are called
Mr. and Mrs. Fox. Jason Schwartzman,
29, voices their son, Ash Fox.
Old Dogs, a comedy, stars John
Travolta (Charlie) and Robin Williams
(Dan) as best friends and co-workers.
Dan's ex-wife shows up one day and
reveals that she and Dan have six-
year-old twins: a boy and a girl. Dan
is forced to take care of the kids and
enlists Charlie's help. He also is aided
by another co-worker, who is played
by Seth Green, 35.

Tube Notes

The magazine The Week recently pub-
lished a list of the "top 10 most con-
troversial moments" in the 40-year-

18 musical


in every



That led to piano, and that led to music
composition. For a time, I got very
involved doing sculpture, but I went back
to music in my 20s."
Feuer, a dropout before completing high
school, started his first band when he was
12. While that effort focused on Dixieland,
his later interests turned to jazz with some
numbers drawing from pieces that pre-
cede the 20th century. Euphrates, Me Jane
is Bipolar's new CD.
"My father and I got along very well,
and his influence on me was more uncon-
scious than verbal," Feuer says. "I would
watch him work with all the composers
and writers. He wrote the music for about
150 movies, and I also wound up doing
some of that.
Feuer, who helped score the film
Someone Like You, also has composed
many independent pieces, such as
Rhapsodic Incident, 4 A.M. and A Brief
"I hope to enjoy what I'm working on so
much that I'm eager to get to the piano,"
he says. "If I'm having problems, I'm less
than eager and I procrastinate. I don't have
a routine. If I'm excited, I get to it any hour
of the day or night."
Feuer, who thinks of his Judaism in cul-
tural terms, has worked on projects with
Jewish themes. He wrote The Scoundral
"D" as an operatic drama for stage depict-
ing the Dreyfus Affair. He served as a
musical consultant for the PBS documen-
tary The Power of Conscience: The Danish
Resistance and the Rescue of the Jews.

history of Sesame Street. Making the
list was the "Death of Mr. Hooper," a
gruff grocer with a warm heart (and
an original character on the show).
Brooklyn-raised actor Will Lee
played Hooper, one of the many
Jewish roles he played during his long
career. Lee died in December 1982, at
age 74. Some months later, Sesame
Street aired a special episode that
sensitively dealt with the issue of
death in a way most, if not all, parents
found appropriate for young children.
Super Dave Osborne, the dare-
devil/comedic character created and
played by Bob Einstein, 67, the older
brother of comedian Albert Brooks,
returned to TV this month on cable

"I'm very involved with animal issues
and welfare," he says. "I write music for the
Humane Society of the United States."
While Feuer is deciding whether to
attend a local performance of The Big Bang,
he looks back on his many years-ago visits
to see friends attending the University of
Michigan. Albert Ahronheim, who was a
drum major while attending the univer-
sity, is an arranger-conductor-pianist who
works with Feuer on every project.
Feuer, in a long-term relationship with
editor Jennifer Josephy, relaxes by playing
"There's a long-held tradition that we
tried to re-create in The Big Bang," he says.
"The idea is that wealthy people come to
these backers' auditions with their check-
books at the ready" I 1

The Big Bang runs Dec. 8-Jan. 3
in the Aaron DeRoy Theatre in the
Jewish Community Center in West
Bloomfield. Performances: 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Dec. 8; Wednesdays, Dec.
9,16 and 23; and Thursdays, Dec.
10,17 and 24. Saturday shows are
at 5 and 8:30 p.m. Dec.12,19 and
26 and Jan. 2. Matinees begin at
2 p.m. Sundays, Dec.13, 20 and 27
and Jan. 3, and Wednesday, Dec.
23. New Year's Eve performances
are at 6 and 9 p.m. with special
celebrations. $15-$36; $50 and $75
New Year's Eve. (248) 788-2900;
jettheatre.org .

channel Spike TV,
which is running a
series of four Super
Dave specials on
successive Tuesday
nights at 9 p.m. The
last two episodes pre-
miere on Dec.1 and
Bob Einstein
Dec. 8. (Check the
network's Web site
for encore showings of all four shows.)
Among other stunts, Super Dave goes
to a NASCAR track and races a Mini-
Einstein also has a recurring role
as Larry David's friend "Marty
Funkhouser" on HBO's Curb Your

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