THE MICHIGAN DAILY
Wednesday, September 15, 1971
Page Two THE MICHIGAN DAILY Wednesday, September 1 5, 1971
Broadway this season: back to the Roaring 50's
By MARK ALAN FARBER
The country is in a recession.
Jobs are scarce and money is
even scarcer. With this aphor-
ism in mind, the Broadway pro-
ducers, this past season obvi-
ously fired all their best script
readers and hired maids in their
stead. This shakedown has pro-
duced a new breed of playread-
er. One who no longer is judged
successful by his clairvoyant
ability at recognizing a hit pro-
perty, but rather by his exper-
tise with the dust cloth and his
flair for polishing the antiques.
Among the bric-brac that these
purveyors of the past have re-
stored, reworker, and refinish-
ed are the three biggest hits of
the current New York Season:
No, No, Nannette, Follies, and
That's right, lovers of nostal-
gia and worshipers of high
camp; the old stars are back,
the old musicals are revived,
and a "cool comedian" is being
revisited. Let's hear it for Ruby
Keeler, Penny Singleton. Bobby
Van, Patsy Kelly, Yvonne De-
Carlo, Alexis Smith, Fifi Dorsay,
and Lenny Bruce! CLAP, CLAP,
The only problem is that I
can't quite determine the moti-
vation for all this applause. Is
it out of respect? Artistic merit?
Or the mere fact that anyone
over fifty who can still kick
their heels, tap their toes, and
has the guts to appear onstage
with a slight distension around
the midriff deserves a round of
applause, according to some un-
written rule of fair play?
But I pose the question: Why
all this concern with geriatric
America? Surely Nixon hasn't
provoked this consciousness in
the Social Security set (the
most neglected faction of our
great society, or whatever it is
being called this year). Indeed,
one might ask is this conscious-
ness at all? Are Americans sud-
denly awakening to the beauties
of old age or is middle America
taking some sort of sadistic
pleasure from this display of
vericose veins and sagging
flesh? Are Hillary from Hobo-
ken and Bessie from the Bronx
paying fifteen dollars per seat
to be entertained, or to relish
the fact that forty additional
years of life takes effect on ev-
en the grandest dames of the
stage and screen?
What about Lenny? Why am
I including a play about a circa
1950-60 comedian (who was'
considered the avant garde of
his time), in an article about
nostalgia? How many people
who .attend the Broadway the-
atre can be nostalgic about Len-
ny Bruce? Surely Lenny Bruce
is to Ruby Keeler as Dick Gre-
gory is to Jean Harlow. But
then in another sense, accord-
ing to Webster, nostalgia is, "a
wistful or excessively sentimen-
tal sometimes abnormal yearn-
ing for return to or of some
past period or irrecoverable con-
dition." And this whole Lenny
Bruce syndrome seems to smack
of the attitude: "If only we
could go back to the 1950's, we
would have liked him!" It's giv-
ing the over-35 audience a
chance to reminisce about the
Christ that they crucified.
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. . images
the storyline. No great loss,
however, for so did Otto Har-
back and Frank Mandel when
they wrote the script in 1925.
oYu see, No, No, Nannette, in
its original edition was more
operetta than musical; subse-
quently songs took precedence
over plot. Between such win-
ning lyrics as "Tea for Two",
"I Want To Be Happy," and
"Too Many Rings Around Ro-
sie Will Never Get Rosie a Ring,"
lies the story of a married
three-fourths of a millionaire
Bible manufacturer (Gilford),
who innocently supports three
young girls. The Bible salesman
begins to fear that his wife
(Singleton) will discover his
Christian generosity but mis-
construe the situation. He has
his lawyer (Van) arrange to
terminate these relationships.
In a typical mixup the lawyer,
his wife (Gallagher), the Bible
salesman, his wife, Nannette
(the niece to the b.s. (Bible
salesman), Nannette's b o y-
friend, and the family maid all
end up at the same cottage in
Atlantic City. In between songs
there are spats, and of course
a happy ending. Curtain call.
Applause. Curtain call. Etc.
But why is this show such a
success? Novelty? The dancing?
The innocence? Perhaps it's
just nice seeing a star ting a
D. W. GRIFFITH'S
with new live piano score
Angell Hal-7 & 9:30 p.m.
ann arbor film cooperative
1214 5. University
Jean Louis Trintignant
"A dazzling Movie"
-Canby, N.Y. Times
BORSAU NO' SCORES!
-Pt, ybol MepzM.
LAE i~iioas Pr* AMQ SEiIf au
simple song like "I Want To
Be Happy," and then for no
reason at all have a smiling
male chorus come out and start
dancing and singing a refrain.
Then for the same reason that
the male chorus appeared, the
female joins them. Wide open
mouths and tapping toes. A full
stage in motion. The girls on the
long winding staircase, the men
in a line across the stage, and
the star stage center leading
everybody in the amphetemine
allegro of tap, taP, tAP, TAP: I
want to be happy.
Following this production
number, another one. But this
time in tuxedos and long form-
als. And another. This time in
beach regalia with the girls bal-
ancing themselves on large
beach balls. The stage is miss-
ing the cinematic sweep of the
Busby Berkley camera, but the
girls are all there. And selected
by Buz himself. More dancing.
One just sits back, mindless,
and takes a deserved rest from
Samuel Beckett, Igmar Berg-
mann, Hadley Metzger, Jacqui-
line Sussann, and Richard Nix-
TONIGHT ONLY at AUD. A, ANGELL
shown at 5-7-9-1 1 p.m.
orson welles film society
FALL 1971 CINEMA SERIES
I' ;. $.50 a
Enough idle patter about the
nostalgia boom. Everyone who
reads "Life" and "Time" is
thoroughly versed in the pre-
Fololwing is a discussion of
No, No, Nannette to be followed
by future articles in which I
will discuss the merits and de-
merits Follies and Lenny.
If you associate the word
"camp" with fire, boot, and set-
up, rather than Marlene Diet-
rich, Howdy Doody, and Rose-
mary De, then your money is
better invested in a pair of 50-
yard line seats than tickets to
see No, No, Nannette. However,
if you like 1930 MGM musicals,
tap dancing, and theatricalism,
then by all means catch this
tuner before it goes back to the
vaults. This show does every-
thing wrong according to 1971
dramatic-musical style, and
succeeds for that very reason:
There are too many dancer
numbers, too many songs, ap-
plause is milked, and the stars
are never subjugated for the
sake of characterization. Bobby
Van dances to show that he can
still kick up a storm, (and he
can) ; Jack Gilford mugs and
burlesques his way through the
part of Nannette's uncle; Pen-
ny Singleton (replacing the va-
cationing Ruby Keeler), dances,
smiles, and charmingly upstages
the role of Nannette's aunt;
(Miss Singleton, for those of
you who recognize the name,
but can't put it in context,
holds an equally camp position
of being the original Blondie of
radio and MGM fame). Patsy
Kelly, as the household maid,
piggishly yet' hilariously steals
every scene in which she even
D. W. GRIFFITH'S
with new live piano score
Angell Hall--7 & 9:30 p.m.
ann arbor film cooperative
briefly appears; and finally,
Helen Gallagher is the only cast
member who has any compre-
hension of the difference, be-
tween mere starring and true
acting. She poses when she has
to, models her flapper clothing
whenever she has occasion to
change costumes, totally com-
mands the stage during her
musical numbers and yet has
the professionalism to let, up
when a scene demands it. This
is a quality which Van, Single-
ton, Gilford, and especially Pat-
sy Kelly totally lack!
Oh! I almost forgot to reveal
and his LOST PLANET AIRMEN
STEPHEN and JOHN
FRIDAY-1 show: 8:30...........
SATURDAY-2 shows: 7:30, 10:00.
SUNDAY-2 shows: 7:30, 10:00 ................
ADVANCE TICKETS FOR ALL SHOWS NOW ON SALE AT SALVATION RECORDS-330 MAYNARD,
1103 S. UNIV.
Join The Dail
COMING SEPTEMBER 24, 25, 26
MISSISSIPPI FRED MCDOWELL
plus TERRY TATE
O Directed by Roberto Rossellini, 1945
One of the two post World War II Italian Neo-
Realistic masterpieces. Nazis terrorize and torture
the Italian resistance fighters.
With Anna Magnani and Aldo Fabrizi
SHOWN AT 7:00 and 9:05
A new location-603 E. William, 665-0606
Sundays (at the old site, 330 Maynard) Contemporary Worship,
Holy Communion, 11 a.m.
Tuesday mornings, 9-12 a.m., 603 E. William, liturgical work-
shop. Tuesday evenings (same place, 8:00 p.m.), media work-
shop. The focus for this workshop will be the production of a
weekly radio show.
Wednesdays (at the Newman Room, Richard Center, 331 Thomp-
son St., 7:30-9:00 p.m.) Beginning Sept. 22 for 10 weeks;
"Occasions for Festival and Joy" with Rev. Mark Harris.
Thursdays (603 E. Wiliam, 8:00 p.m.) Where do values come
from? (Or perhaps, where should values come from?) Digging
into our basic assumptions about values is very heavy, but neces-
sary these days. With Rev. Dan Burke.
GOOD SEATS STILL
LEFT-NOW ON SALE
MICHIGAN UNION, SALVATION RECORDS
U-M PROFESSIONAL THEATRE PROGRAM
ee e Yu uhd
..UM ID No.............
I wish to usher for (indicate choice 1st,
lid i I
_,_. . . .