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April 12, 1979 - Image 6

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1979-04-12

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Page6-Thursday, April 12, 1979-The Michigan Daily

Variety, energy keep

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Eloquen t

Niger'

star talks

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local band
By ELEONORA DI LISCIA
Hearing the music of The
Changes is an enlivening ex-
perience. Last Sunday, the band
radiated so much energy that
members of the audience were
moved to dance all the way to the
back of the Del Rio. When the
group was supposed to be
finished, the audience persuaded
e Changes to do another set.
"These are the kinds of sets you
hate to hear end," commented
one member of the audience.
The Changes themselves con-
silt of four steady members.
.They are Rick Burgess on
keyboards, Max Wood on bass,
Armando Shobey on drums, and
his brother Norman Shobey on
congas. Burgess' and Wood's
,style contrasts with Armando's
and Norman's, which is more

Changing
dynamic. Wood and the Shobey
brothers take care of the group's
vocals with occasional help from
a female guest singer. Wood has
a high, beautiful voice which is
most fully appreciated in ballads
such as "Summertime." Arman-
do's voice can be sad and roman-
tic as in "Cry me a River" or
rough and upbeat. Norman sings
with the gutsiness and richness of
true soul.
The Changes began in 1967,
whenbthe bandhplayed in Ann Ar-
bor clubs as The Unpredictables.
The group split up when Shobey
left town in 1969.
The Changes play in the Del
Rio about one Sunday a month
from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. By the
end of May they will have ap-
peared at the Earle.

By DIANE HAITHMAN
Mel Winkler, star of PTP's current
production of Joseph Walker's The
River Niger, plays a man robbed of the
opportunity to make his contribution as
an artist by the financial and spiritual
drain placed on him by his life's cir-
cumstances.
. Johnny Williams is a character for
whom Winkler expresses great ad-
miration. "This is a very intelligent
man," says Winkler, "who was born,
axiomatically, too soon. He's a man
whose talent brings him to New York -
not all blacks came north from the deep
South after World Wars I and II to find
work."
WINKLER, who starred as Williams
in Ann Arbor in the National Touring
Company's 1974 production of the show,
enacts the role for the second time at
Power Center through April 15. "There
are many people who make a career of
one role," says Winkler. "I don't con-
sider myself in that category. This is a
nice respite from New York
life .. . and it's an exciting play. It's an
honor to be asked to be a Guest Artist at
the University."
Winkler's two sons, Maury, 15, and
Mark, 13, join Winkler in Ann Arbor for
his five-week stay. "It's good experien-
ce for the children, being on a college
campus. And," Winkler adds ruefully,

looking out the PTP office window at a
deluge of unfriendly sleet, "I hear the
weather is nice in Ann Arbor in the
spring."
A conversation with Winkler un-
covers many of the same qualities
within him as he attributes to his
character Johnny Williams; intelligen-
ce, dignity, and a dedication to the arts.
But Williams is a diamond-in-the-
rough, whereas Winkler's artistic
abilities are highly, even formidably
polished. Discussing theater with
Winkler is like attending a personal
seminar with a soft-spoken professor of
dramatic philosophy. Even his dress, a
natty three-piece pin-striped suit,
smacks of erudition.
AN EXPLANATION for Winkler's
gift with language may be his
background as a journalist. After
receiving his B.A. in Journalism from
Jefferson University, Winkler began a
reporting career he calls "more
variegated than extensive." He was
lucky enough to land a job with the St.
Louis Globe-Democrat, which, he says,
"is to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch as the
New York News is to the Times."
"It was a good experience at a good,
old-fashioned daily newspaper, with
deadlines, people racing around.. .."
Winkler sees that experience as
having contributed to his wide range of
knowledge: "I liked finding out about

1
f

Mediatrics presents
LITTLE FOXES
BETTE DAVIS as Regina is a ruthless and greedy woman who sacrifices every-
thing for wealth and status. A film adaptation of the Lillian Hellman play.
Thurs, April 12 Assembly Hall, Mich Union 7 & 9
THE AFRICAN QUEEN
(John Huston, 1952) HUMPHREY BOGART won his only Academy Award for
his portrayal of the hard drinking skipper of "The African Queen" who
must face the hardships of the African jungle with KATHERINE HEPBURN,
the prim sister of a missionary.
Fri, April 13 Not Sci Aud 7:00, 8:45, 10:30
-and- THE PAPER CHASE
A story about a first year low student (TIMOTHY BOTTOMS) trying to do well
academically and date his professor's daughter at the same time. By the
end of the film, he learns a pretty important lesson about the grading system
Sat, April 14 Not Sci Aud 7:00 & 9:00
-ADMISSION $1.50-
Ticket Ce7bwi
provides a box office service for UAC events as
well r', for other University and local organizations.
Located in the lobby of the Michigan Union, TICKET
CENTRAL also provides daily information concern-
ing upcoming events.
For further information call 763-1453, or better yet,
COME SEE US!1
SOOZIE LUBECK-Box Office Manager

areas I'd have known nothing about
otherwise." But, he adds, "I always
had in mind a career in the theater."
WINKLER'S first dramatic jobs
were in the heart-rending world of the
daytime serial. "On soap operas," says
Winkler, "most actors view their
careers in terms of two or three ,spot
appearances, because most shows have
standard characters that have been on
the show for ten, fifteen, maybe twenty
years . . . It was a long time, com-
paratively, that I was on two soaps,
each for one year."
His first role was in The Doctors.
Winkler portrayed Dr. Simon Harris.
"He was the love interest of Zeta Coles,
the black nurse, and, at that time, the
black person on the show. This was
before they started using blacks in soap
operas on a regular basis."
.The next job was as attorney Frank
Chadwick on Another World." He was
again involved in a romantic tryst, this
time with the legal secretary of the
firm. The secretary was played by
Mickey Powell, who later wrote the
book Your Arm's Too Short To Box
With God (part of this season's "Best of
Broadway" series) and Don't Bother
Me, I Can't Cope.
"I CAN ENJOY musical comedy, and
very occasionally experimental
theater. It's too easy to put a bunch of
junk on the stage and say it was ex-
perimental. My favorite theater is real
theater - structured, literate theater.
It is in a category all by itself." Winkler
has shown his prowess in this type of
endeavor as well as in the newsroom
and before the television camera. His
credits include the Broadway produc-
tion of The Great White Hope, The Trial
of A. Lincoln and The Prince of Hope
Street off Broadway, and a variety of
resident theatre productions. River
Niger seems to fall into the category of
"real theater" as well. "If I were to
dissect it from a literary point of view, I
co6ld find things I am at variance
with . . . but it's an exciting, worth-
while piece."
MANN THEATRES
VILLGE WN
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STARTS TODAY!
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SHOWS MON.-FRI. 6:45, 9:15
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yINER 01
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A LOVE OF quality theater has led
Winkler to create his own theater
organization: New Genesis Produc-
tions, a non-profit producing facility in
New York City. Productions have gone
on tour and have been televised locally
in New York. "We select theater of a
high literary quality.. . that will con-
tribute to the uplift of .the human con-
dition, and promote brotherhood. (The
organization) was set up to include all
ethnic groups - even Anglo-Saxons. We
believe that each group has produced
great artists."
The company features a one-man
show that pays tribute to the black ex-
perience. Winkler performs material
from more than 20 black writers, in-
cluding Counte Cullen, Langston
Hughes, and LeRoi Jones. "It's not a
reading. I add my own character to
each piece," says Winkler. "The an-
cient African kingdom has never been
universally acknowledged. . . With the
notable exception of Catholicism, which
does take into account the heritage of
black people."
"I REALIZED early that I had the
ability to entertain people without an
element of buffoonery.. I knew this by
the age of eight," says Winkler. "I
could make people laugh by exhibiting
different facets of my personality."
Winkler offers advice to the young or
beginning actor: "I think that they
should attempt very early to get the
honest judgement of accomplished
people in the field - the odds are
greatly against you. It can be a very
debilitating thing to be struggling at it if
you're not good at it." Winkler also
suggests developing one's talent in
another field that is more lucrative,
alongside the theater: "Avail yourself
of as many different levels, and as
many different opportunities as you
can."
Winkler's success of late "has not
changed my basic feelings about
myself and the theater. More doors are
opened for me, but there's a little less
privacy."
.Winkler highly recommends The
River Niger to the Ann Arbor audience
as a look into Harlem life, and as a type
of theater it might otherwise never ex-
perience. "Ann Arbor's a long way
from Harlem."

is preserved on
36mm.NDWHOULM,
The Michigan Daily
420 Maynard Street
AND
Graduate Library

LAURA LEARY
CAROL ANN OLDERSHAW
MICHAEL CLARREN
FRANK SPIVAK-Outside Accts. Manager
JOHN CADERETTE-Business Manager
LAURA MUNN-Publicity Manager
JIM KLASERNER-Chairperson

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