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September 13, 1960 - Image 87

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1960-09-13

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M akes

History a

When "Show Biz. USA," the
Newberry-Gomberg Michigras pro- trophy case for a month before
duction for 1960 won three top the show and construction of the
prizes, it made Michigras history. prefabricated parts began three
What is the process by which a weeks before the show.
show can take first places in the Booth Design
Show, General Appearance The booth was charcoal gray
(Booth) and Ticket Sales cate- on the outside, and solid white
gories? on the inside. The roof was an

The show was an original musi-I
cal revue, written, produced, and
directed by Larry Kass. Kass be-
gan to formulate his first ideas
for the show soon after he had
finished producing the 1958 Michi-
gras show.
The songs were actually written
in October and November of 1959,
and the cast was selected before
Christmas vacation.
Some of the songs were written
especially for certain performers'
whom Kass had in mind,
Chooses Revue
Kass decided on a musical revue
and, in keeping with the theme of
"To Our Youth," decided that the
shoulw would follow the youth of
show business from the early Mis-
sissippi River Steamboat days to
the present.
He wrote ten songs typical of
the great eras of show business,
and a narrative linking them to-
gether in one great panorama of
Show Biz, U.S.A. (RCA Victor cut
a 12" LP record of the show which
is available to members of the
The first rehearsals were held in
January and the first part of Feb-
ruary. When the nervously-
awaited announcement came, in-
forming them that the show's peti-
tion had officially been accepted,
they swung into full gear.
Rehearsals from then on were
held every Tuesday, Wednesday
and Thursday nights, and Satur-
day and Sunday afternoon in Rm
G-103 of South Quadrangle.
Orchestra Begins
A fourteen-piece orchestra com-
posed of musicians from Newberry
and Gomberg under the direction
of Jerry Haba rehearse from th
second week of March. The or.
chestra had to master the score,
of two completely different shows
for Kass had divided his songs int
two revues. The live orchestra
added the final touch of Broadway
authenticity to the show.
Choreography for the show wa
planned and directed by Judy Fin
ton of Newberry, who also led th
girls' mambo chorus line.
Plans for the actual productior
of the show, meanwhile, were go
ing on under the direction of Pa
Stowe and John Marshall, the gen
etral co-chairmen. Their task wa
to coordinate the work and overse
the efforts of all the committee
in operation.
The booth itself, which won tb
award for Best General Appear
ance, was designed by Paul Lin
Ray Cato, and Ron Lee. A sma
model of it occupied the Gomber

intricate lattice of white two-bY-


four trusses. Colored lights played
among the trusses and on the in-
side walls to create the effect of a
kaleidoscope, in keeping with the
' TOY theme and the kaleidoscope
of show business.
The actual construction. under
the leadership of Jack DiGiuseppe
and Jack Duckworth, was pre-
fabricated as much as possible in
South Quadrangle. The ceiling
trusses were bolted together and
much of the painting finished be-
fore Yost Fieldhouse was open for
By Wednesday night the basic
frame of the 26'x36' booth was up
and half the ceiling completed, and
Thursday was spent in painting
and wiring. The electrical system
had three Public Address micro-
phones and three speakers, a small
projector, twenty individual light-
ing controls, and three rheostats.
Posters, Displays
In the meantime, the publicity
committee had printed up posters,
arranged displays in several store
windows, and acquired the flash-
ing sign used for Noel Moderne to
publicize Show Biz, U.S.A., so it
would read, COME SEE . . . SHOW
The program committee had
pritned and folded 5,000 programs,
The costume committee at New-
berry had been busy sewing, buy-
ing, and borrowing all the ma-
terials necessaryfor the costumes
of the entire cast.
The bouncers, ushers, ticket
takers, and barkers all learned
their duties and performed them
faithfully. Altogether, about 200
Speople from both houses had some
part to play in the production of
- Show Biz, U.S.A.
s The show and all the arrange-
, ments seemed to be ready on time
. on Friday, so that there was not
a too great a last-minute rush.
y Opening
Then came those strange first
s shows, when the cast was getting
- warmed up to strange audiences
e and the barkers and ticket takers
attempted to draw the crowd in
n to see the show. But after the
- third show, the sound of the or-
t, chestra and the talk of people who
- had seen it drew such crowds
s that the house was full all night.
e The judges didn't come around
,s until Saturday evening, and as
the time for prize announcements
e drew near, the show stopped and
. the cast congregated outside in
, several tense groups. When at last
11 the announcements were made,
g pandemonium broke loose.

[VAL-Right up until the opening night of the festival, the only dark, quiet place at Yost Field House was the area outside,
huge, grotesque shapes poised high in the air. Then finally the day came, and people flooded the yard, bought their tickets, and
achines began whirling, spinning, and performing other fascinating gyrations, to the delight of the revellers. Inside the field house
parable, if different, celebration began, and Michigras was here for sure.

ng Michigras tickets on
the y ycompanion, Spiffy, he is cheerful
about his Job. He knows the people he talks into going will come
away feeling they have gotten their money's worth.
Read andy Ussfd
Michiga-n Daily Claosiide


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