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November 18, 1979 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1979-11-18

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The Michigan Daily-Sunday, November 18, 1979-Page 5

Musket's prince of 'Dark'


The authors of In The Dark, students
Scott Eyerly, William Holab, and An-
drew Kurtzman, worked for two years
on the show. Much of that time was
spent making myriad adjustments and
rearrangements, though. One idea they
were true to throughout the process of
revision was the necessity of seeing
that every lyric was as integral to the
characters' development as their
speaking lines. The playwrights
achieved this goal, but that is the least
of their accomplishments. In The Dark
is a well conceived, well executed
vehicle for the considerable talents of
its authors, directors, -performers, and
- to a lesser extent - designers, and it
emerges as the most entertaining, most
highly polished Musket product in
Those looking for profundity or
monumental depth are advised to look
elsewhere. They will find no gut-
wrenching tragedic moments here, or
even pathos on a scale with another
musical, West Side Story. But in
another fashion, the script does ex-
ceded the usual expectations audiences
have of the genre. Richness of charac-
ter is often subjugated in musical
comedy, to the need to keep things
moving smoothly along, to make room
for the songs, and to loft things
gracefully toward a tidy, happy ending.
Yet two of Dark's characters, at least,
exhibit individuality and nuance to the
extent that one thinks one is watching a

light but thoughtful comedy a la Ah,
Wilderness! rather than an entertain-
ment bound and defined by its music.
JAYNE SIEMENS might well have
overpowered her co-star, if not for the
restraint wisely imposed on her by
director Kay Long. As it has turned out,
the featured romance, whose running
joke is ineptness, embarrassment, and
klutziness, is handled just about as
sheepishly by Siemens as it is by the
sublimely awkward Peter Slutsker on
the other.
Of the living characters (explanation
in a moment),'Slutsker is most im-
pressive and consistently on top of his
part. His Martin Sinclair is an insecure
ne'er-do-well whose tastes, to say the
least, are catholic. He sings a song to
that effect, belting out his dreams of
seeming dozens of careers, with his
musical modes and styles changing as
impetuously as Michigan weather. At
one point, he stalks down the set's
creaky stairs, intellectual fire in his
eyes, singing, "Perhaps I'll find the
cure for cancer, but something in me
still says . . ." (orchestra breaks into a
jazz beat) ". . . dancer." And away he
Ghostly presences are nothing new
to the stage-Hugh Leonard's Da and
Stephen Sondheim's Follies both sport
them-but cleverly handled, as they
are for the most part here, they provide
a felicitously avant-garde element. In
the Dark's ghosts are an extended.
family that "used" to reside in the

mansion where the play takes place.
They are, of course, invisible and
inaudible to the living characters, but
fortunately not to us, for the phantoms
are awarded the lion's share of the most
intricate melodies and elaborately con-
structed harmonies. The five actors not
only meet the sometimes operatic
demands of the score, but manage quite
nicely with the farcical bits of plot han-
ded them by the authors. Standouts are
Jon Zimmerman and Louise Nowicki,
who bring prim decadence to their roles
over-affectionate siblings, and John
Murelle, as a drolly endearing
schlemiel of a family patriarch.
ONE ASPECT of In The Dark that
has markedly changed since its "out-of-

town" tryout in July is its pace. While
then it had a frenetic timing that ap-
proached that of a vaudeville show, the
current incarnation has settled into a
pleasant, leisurely amble that
facilitates appreciation of character
nuance as well as Holab's and Eyerly's
more densely dissonant musical
moments. On occasion, the pace slips
into a tiresome lapse, but these are
generally soon rescued by yet another
clever line or scintillating melody.
"Take My Advice," a little ditty
thrown into the script at the last
moment to cover a lapse in plot, is an
exception to the rule of well-integrated
songs, and is not helped at all by
Douglas Foreman's and Geradette
Mazura's heavily slapsticky ap-
proaches to their parts. The scenic
design, as well, is too heavily steeped in
hideousness for its own good. But these'
are small concerns in a production in
wich all the artists appears to have ex-
ceeded the very best of their previous
work. Perhaps they were afraid that if
they didn't, the authors would take it


Judy Powers, John Murelle, and Roxythe Harding are three of the ghosts
in Musket's original musical, "In The Dark," making its final appearance
today at 2 p.m. at the Power Center.'

Puccini's masterpiece masterfully handled

Schlanderer on South University
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Giacomo Puccini's youthful
masterpiece, La Boheme, was first
performed in 1896. It has come down
to us as one of the most enduring and
popular pieces ever put on the opera
stage. Along with Aida and Carmen,
it comprises the ABC's of the
operatic literature. The most casual
opera-goer has probably seen it
twice or more and the avid fan is apt
to be growing tired of it. So any
company producir yet another
Boheme had better put on a good
show. UM's School of Music put
together a good one, a very good one
The opera was performed in
English (in the serviceable tran-
slation by Ruth and Thomas Martin)
this weekend at the Mendelssohn
Theater. Patrick Bakman, recruited
from the Houston Grand Opera,-
seemed determined in his task as ar-
tistic director to strip the opera of
the romantic crustiness that has at-
tached itself to the piece over the
years. This approach made some of
the dated plot devices appear more
hackneyed than they are, but most
of Giuseppe Giacosa's and Luigi
Illica's libretto can stand up to it.
Bakman's efforts were oc-
casionally defeated by Alice

Crawford's sets; the chorus of
mothers had no place to go in Act II
and Mimi had no place to hide in Act
bI. Crawford did provide open and
believable spaces for the singers,
however, except for Cafe Momus
which was something of an obstacle
course. Or was that the point?
baton, the orchestra played with
clarity and conviction. There were
problems-out of tune cellos for
Mimi's Act I aria and a lost harp at
the end of the fourth act, but for
most of the evening, this was a
thoroughly professional outfit.
Meier's tempos were brisk but not
rushed-an appropriate choice for
the youthful cast. The ensemble on
stage was tight and well prepared.
Keum Ja Kim was an exquisite
Mimi. The possessor of natural
stage charm, she weds this to a fine
technique of graceful hand
movements and generally good dic-
tion. Her voice relaxed as the per-
formance went on and by the final
act, her declaration of love won
tears of approval from the audience.
As Rodolfo, Jeff Allyn had a
slightly dopey, young lover quality
which he used to good effect in the
first two acts, but this charac-
terization served the tragic elemen-

ts of acts three and four less well.
Mushy diction only addbd to the
problem. Fortunately, by the third
act, Allyn's voice was fullywarmed
up and its clarion sound rang
through the theater, effectively
countering many of his dramatic
liabilities. His is a talent worth
listening to.
MICHAEL DOLL'S Marcello was
believably defined, but his voice
lacked focus. All the vowels and con-
sonants were there, but the words
were nosclearer than Allyn's.
Nonetheless, Doll looks good on
stage and the middle range of his
voice serves him admirably.
Doll was partnered with Marybeth
Smith's show-stopping Musetta. Her
voice has a breathy quality that she
should watch carefully, but it caused
her no problems Friday night. Her
superb diction brought out all the
comic highlights of Act II, which she
all but stole; she managed to play
with the other principals rather than
off them'as well.,
The otherwtwo bohemians, Colline
and Schaunard were played by Jim
Patterson and Ted Rulfs, respec-
tively. Patterson sang well, but
seems to have moved in with his
compatriots only recently. Perhaps

stage director Bakman should have
curtailed his posturings. On the
other hand, Ted Rulfs' voice did not
always project through the or-
chestration, but he has an extraor-
dinarily open stage face and a win-
ning personality which certainly
come across. In the last act, Colline
escorts him out of their room so that
Rodolfo and Mimi can be alone.
Rulfs merely lowers his back and
sits sadly on the stairs outside of the
garret. This simple action was per-
formed so tenderly that the whole
audience was carried into the
La, Boheme may be over 80 years
old, but a good production makes it
seem eternally young. UM's School
of Music made it seem 20.

Concierto de Musica Latinoamericana
con el grupo
Canciones de Chile, Mexico, Cuba, Argentina y Venezuela
Benefit for Nicaraguan Aid
at the ARK, 1421 Hill St.
Sunday, November 18, 8:30 pm

We can't
afford to
waste it.

(Continued from Page 1)
free to everyone else," Klutznick said
from his Chicago home.
AS PRESIDENT of the World Jewish
Congress and with varied experience in
government and business, Klutznick
said he has long held ideas on how to
control inflation. "Now that I've been
offered an opportunity to do something
(about inflation) I'll have to keep my
mouth shut," he said.
Klutznick said he won't discuss
specific plans for the department until
he takes office.
"One does not walk into a complex
operation of this character as a bull
walks into a china closet," said Klut-
ASKED IF the Treasury Department
has more influence on the nation's
economic policy than the Commerce
Department, Klutznick said he avoids
making comparisons.
"I think in government one quits
competing at certain points and tries to
recognize each department's strengths.
This is not a football game or a baseball
game to see who wins points," said
Klutznick, who is a former diplomat
and served as a presidential adviser
more than 30 years ago.
Klutznick also rejects the idea of
combining the Commerce and Labor
Departments as a government efficien-
cy measure - an idea which has been
considered through the years.
"I WOULD think that merging the
two might look as a substitution of the
government's interest in the very im-
portant role of labor in our economy
and society," he said. Cd
Klutznick said if Carter nominated


U.S. must use muscle

hirp to gain an Illinois political ally,
now that Chicago Mayor Jayne Byrne
has announced support of Sen. Edward
Kennedy (D-Mass.) for the Democratic
presidential nomination, "he may be
very much disappointed.
"Im not a political power base," said
Klutznick, who has been an active fund-
raiser for the Democratic Party in
Chicago. "My primary obligation is to
be an effective secretary, but I shall do
whatever I can within my means and
ability to help him (Carter) continue in
KLUTZNICK SAID while Sen. Ken-
nedy is a longtime friend forwhom he
has "profound personal affection," he
will not support him for the nomination.
Although Klutznick would be the
oldest Cabinet member, he said daily
exercise keeps him in good physical

shape and stressed that he has the men-
tal strength to handle the job.
"I question the judgment of those who
thought they should have a man of 72 in
the Cabinet," Klutznick joked. "But
they feel comfortable about it."
KLUTZNICK, who said he will take a
leave of absence from his post at the
World Jewish Congress, serves on the
board of directors of First Mark Corp.
and Mortgage Guarantee Insurance
Corp. In addition, he is a member of the
President's Advisory Committee on In-
dochinese Refugees.
He is also chairman of the Executive
Committee of Urban Investment and
Development Co., a subsidiary of Aetna
Life and Casualty Co.
Klutznick is married and has five
children and several grandchildren.

You would be
surprised to
know how many
people play
at the




on this year's

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The Wolverine Season Preview
The NCAA Teams to Watch
The Players

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