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November 14, 1978 - Image 7

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1978-11-14

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The Michigan Daily-Tuesday, November 14. 1978-F

Chicago rocks Crisler

The single from Chicago's new LP
at Streets . sums up the jazz-rock
aid's rejuvenated feeling perfectly:
Nuly, this band is "Alive Again."
"It's like being born again," said
assist and vocalist Peter Cetera about
laying with new guitarist Donny
acus. Although the death of lead

guitarist Terry Kath is still fresh in the
minds of the eight-man band, the group
does more than survive; with Dacus,
they thrive.
Nattily attired in dress shirts, fancy
vests and suitcoats, the unit opened
their show with a satisfying "Feeling
Stronger Every Day." But after that
impressive start, things bogged down a

The sun'11 come out
tonight at the Fisher

,.Some critics have called Annie
entimental goop, a description not
ithout truth. New York Magazine fin-
:s'thle show a vertible "Oliver Twist in
Irag' Again, there is merit in the
rguinent, but mention of an important
eature in the show is conspicuously ab-
ent. This is the fact that Annie is fun-
y, highly professional, and over-
helmingly great fun.
Book by Thomas Meehan
Music by Charles Strouse
Lyrics by Martin Charnin
Fisher Theare
Annie- .......................... Kathy-Jo Kelly
Miss .Hannigan.... ..............Ruth Kobart
Grace Farrell ................. Jan Pessano
Oliver Warbucks ...........Norwood Smith
Rooster Hannigan ............. Gery Beach
FDR .......................Sam Stoneburner
San y............................... .him self
Martin Charnin, director: Peter Gennaro,
ouiaerrder: Theoni V. Aldridge, couaunes;
Judy Rasmuson, ligliing; David Mitchell,
setin,,s: Glen Clugston, musical direction:
Peter Howard, danc arruneenent
That Annie is a show of uncommonly
higlt quality is first revealed when we
discover that the line of little-girl or-
phans. which constitutes the "cute con-
tiigent," is composed of children
blessed with greater gifts than
cu1eness. These young ones are ac-
tually talented. Their singing is both
meodious and harmonious, their
precision dance routines precise in-
deed and even their lines, if lacking
adutlt luster, come off quite nicely.
WHAT'S NICE about Annie's book is
thatit doesn't ask its audience to take it
seriously. When Annie sings on a radio
program, the matron at the orphanage
shakes her head and clucks, "next
things she'll be on the funny pages."
Lightly mocking the preposterousness
of 'the show's concept, rather than
ignoring it, was a clever choice.
Annie takes its Little Orphan from
rags (the New York City Municipal Or-
phanage) to riches (Daddy Warbucks'
grand ballroom) with stops at the White
House and midtown Manhattan
along the way. Kathy-Jo Kelly in the
title role leads her audience and
manipulates its collective heart with a
facility far beyond her twelve years.
Her voice is robust and womanly, and
at times it almost seems incongruous.
But soon, speaking a girlish sentiment,
or casting a woeful, youthful glance,
she shows us that she is a little girl after
MEEHAN, STROUSE, and Charnin

have collaborated their way to an entity
that is a curious mix of material: some
as old hat as it could be, short of being
entombed, while some that sparkles
with innovation and freshness. An
example of the former is an abominable
number called "N.Y.C." Despite the
spectacle of dozens of cast members
zipping by on the stage's moving walk-
ways, the hollow familiarity of this ode
to the Big Apple fails to excite, or, for
that matter, interest even a viewer with
warm and pleasant memories of the
bustling isle. And, dismayingly, the
quality of the lyrics and music for this
number are strats below the rest of the
Nortwood Smith has played a great
many leading men, but here, as the
tycoon Warbucks, he thankfully never
forgets that his love is paternal, and not
romantic. And, Freud notwithstanding,
there is a difference. Smith is best in his
transitions from brisk, hard-hearted
businessman to daughter-loving daddy.
"Something was Missing" and "I Don't
Need Anything but You," sung con-
secutively toward the show's end, are a
bit redundant, even down to their titles.
But Smith and Kelly make such a lovely
striking couple that one can really
overlook that one little problem.
WITH REGARD to artistic and
technical design, Annie is astonishing.
Warbucks' lavish mansion, complete
with the Mona Lisa and
Gainesborough's Blue Boy, must have
spurred more than few audience mem-
bers to upward mobility.
The walkways (topped by the New
York City tableaux) are frivolously
handsome touches, and costume'
designer Theoni Aldredge has done an
impeccable job. The only noticeable
problem with design was Kelly's
makeup. Even for a "natural redhead,"
as the program proudly calls her, her
complexion was too pale and washed
out. Or was it the lighting?
On to the bad guys: Ruth Kobart as
Miss Hannigan, the matron of the or-
phanage, and her brother Rooster.
Kobart's handling of the frustrated,
grizzled old lady provided some of the
audience's favorite moments, but her
gruffness of character and voice began
to grate after a while.
Gary (Rooster) Beach burlesques his
way through his song and dance with
such conviction that one finds himself
cheering through even his most
dastardly deeds. "Easy Street" is per-
formed so slimily that it approaches
kinkiness. Quite a treat. But then, so. is
the whole marvelous evening.


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