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April 11, 1978 - Image 7

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1978-04-11

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The,
By SUSAN BARRY
F YOU THOUGHT Saturday Night
Fever was the ultimate in disco
choreography, wait until you see The
Wiz. If you thought all musicals must
have either an absurd plot or absurd
lyrics you ought to see The Wiz. If in
most of the musicals you've seen the

Viz'

bewitches &

The Michigan Daily-Tuesday, April 7, 1978-Page 7
enchants

A .1

The Wiz
Fisher Theater
April 4 -May 13,1978
Dorothy........... .... .... Renee Harris
Scarecrow.........Charles Valentino
Tin Man......................Ben Harney
Lion .........................Ken Prymus
Geoffrey Holder, director
George Faison, choreography
CharlieSmalls, music and lyrics
singers can't dance and the dancers
can't sing, you'd better see The Wiz.
Because the current production of
The Wiz, which opened last Tuesday at
the Fisher Theatre, is probably the
most nearly perfect execution of a

musical you're ever going to see. The
plot, based loosely on the older version
of The Wizard of Oz, never allows itself
to drag, and has been crafted with
enough malleability to permit ad libs
and updating of its jokes. Just as a
gimmick from one scene starts to
become tiresome, another fresh and
creative scene begins. And with each
new scene change comes an innovative
costume change.
The costumes, designed by Geoffrey
Holder, are dramatically colorful and
ingeniously inspired. Dorothy's plain
white smock contrasts noticeably to the
outlandish garb of the inhabitants of Oz.
Often the clothes are exaggeratedly
garishas they are in the Emerald City.
Evillene, the gluttonously corpulent
Wicked Witch of the West, wears a
dress with a winking eye perched on
each plump breast.
THE' COSTUMES also help tran-
sform the dancers into objects, or is it
the other way around? The yellow brick

Mahler
By KERRY THOMPSOD
O CCASIONALLY one is pr
to hear an orchestra that
ranks as one of the best. The B
Symphony is one of these. They
with their Saturday night perfo
at Hill Auditorium, that they d
place next to symphonies such;
of Berlin, Chicago and London.
The reading of Mahler's Sy
No. 9 was simply incredible. In

ivileged
clearly
avarian
proved,
rmance
eserve a
as those
mphony
tonation

Bavarian Symphony
lll " ."'di'i'r"n"
April 8, 1978
Symphony No.9.................Gustav Mahler
Rafael Kubelik, rondur-
was flawless, precision was superb,
balance was impeccable - and the per-
formance was vigorous and inspired.
The performance was one of the best
that I have heard on the stage of Hill
Auditorium - or in Severance Hall,
Symphony Hall, or Jones Hall.
Mahler's symphonies present a
myriad of difficulties that must be
overcome for a satisfactory perfor-
mance. Not the least of these is finding
instrumentalists who can.play such dif-
ficult music. All the soloists of the,
Bavarian Symphony were superb; the
concertmaster has a warm, rich sound,
the flutist plays brightly 'and sen-
sitively, the oboist is very expressive.
Perhaps most outstanding, however,
was the hornist; Mahler's solo horn
parts are among the hardest in the or-
chestral repertoire, but one would not
guess that from the flawless perfor-
mance we heard.
THE INDIVIDUAL players were
remarkable, but even more impressive
was the orchestra's depth, as well as its
ensemble work. Maestro Kubelik has
succeeded in welding a group of un-
doubtedly temperamental virtuosos in-
to a cohesive unit capable of a superb
performance. The performance of the
first movement was impressive for its
frenetic energy, the outbursts of the
tormented soul that was Mahler. The
second movement, a typical Mahlerian
heavy-handed scherzo of rather
grotesque proportions and humor, was
performed with an immense amount of
gusto and wit, and a readily apparent
relish. The third movement, a Landler,
,or peasant dance, could have been
more lively, but that might have set the
wrong mood for the brooding finals.

agn ificen t
And the finale did brood, in the gran-
dest Mahler tradition. From the
pianissimo of the solo flute to the thun-
dering brass climax, back to the
pianissimo strings at the end, the or-
chestra evoked the gloomy brooding
spirit of the master. I could feel the
peace attained through long struggle
with adversity and eventual, climactic
triumph, as the final violin chord
whispered into nothingness; this is
Mahler at his best.
I have seen Kubelik conduct before,
and was not impressed at the time.
That was probably because the perfor-
mance was on TV, and I was paying
close attention to his conducting
technique, and not really listening to
the orchestra. This time I was not able
to see much of what he was doing
(although what I did see still didn't in-
spire me particularly),and was able to
really hear what the orchestra was
saying. And the true test of a conductor
is not what he looks like, but ratherhow
he makes an orchestra sound. With this
as the criterion, Kubelik must be con-
sidered one of the giants of his
generation, at least on Mahler inter-
pretation. And the Bavarian Symphony
must be considered one of the best in
the world, based on any criteria.

road is composed of four men in bright
yellow jumpsuits with frizzy orange
wigs. The poppies are women in
clinging green bodystockings that glide
seductively around the enthusiastically
cooperative Lion. But most imaginative
of all is the tornado, danced by Evelyn
Thomas in a black bodystocking with a
black streamer attached to the hood. As
she dances the streamer grows and
wraps around the twirling house, a
creative and well-executed concept.
The individual performances are
each in themselves unique and outstan-
ding. The Good Witch (Vivian Bonnell),
introducing herself as "Addaperle, the
feel good girl", appears on the stage
engulfed in clouds of smoke, ex-
claiming "What in the hell is going on
here?" She has a hoarse,,earthy, warm-
hearted voice as she advises Dorothy in
"He's the Wizard" to seek the help of
the Wiz.
Dorothy meets the Scarecrow
(Charles Valentino) and together they
decide to "Ease on Down the Road".
This is an extraordinary dance number
with Dorothy, the Scarecrow, and the
Road. They continue on their way, in-
dicated by a deft manipulation of the
props, until they come across theTin-
man (Ben Harney). "Man, I've seen me
some spaced out garbage cans before",
the Scarecrow exclaims, as the Tinman.
sings "Slide Some Oil To Me," with a
beat quite similar to reggae. As each
joint is oiled he swings it in rhythm with

a rather robot-like effect. Later, Har-
ney performs the solo "What Would I
Do If I Could Feel" revealing a
beautifully clear and remarkably
resonant voice.
THE LION (Ken Prymus) next ap-
pears singing "Mean Ole Lion". With a
rather effeminate air, a prolific mane,
and a tendency to strut self-consciously
across the stage he became 'the im-
mediate favorite of the audience.
Then, of course, there is the Wiz him-
self (Kamal). In tight white jumpsuit
and cape: towering on white platform
shoes, he has constructed the Emerald
'City, visible only through plastic green
goggles, as part of his personal quest
for ultimate success in the acquisition
of "power, prestige and money".
Kamal performs with an awesome, un-
believable range in the song "Yall Got
It! "
The songs themselves cannot escape
mention. With music and lyrics by
Charlie Smalls, the music is diverse
and melodic and the lyrics are clever
and sometimes even profound, a rarity

The University of Michigan
Gilbert and Sullivan Society
THE GONDOLIERS
April 12-15, 1978
Mendelssohn Theatre, Michigan League
University of Michigan

PERFORMANCES:
Wednesday, April 12 at 8p.m. @ $3.50
Thursday, April 13 at 8 p.m. @ $3.50
Friday, April 14 at 8 p.m. @ $4.00
Saturday, April 15 at 2 p.m.@$3.50
Saturday, April15S at 8 p. m. @ $4.00)

in contemporary musicals with in-
telligible plots.
THERE WAS one rather irritating
problem with the technical production
of the show. The songs and dialogue
were amplified and the sound system,
at least on opening night, was dread-
fully flawed. There were problems with
feedback and unfortunately parts of the
dialogue were lost when the am-
plification failed.
Dorothy's voice also suffered from
the amplification. Renee Harris, in her
performing debut as Dorothy, has a
singing voice that is high-pitched and
full-bodied, but her speaking voice,
presumably placed high to sound
childish, comes out as one long,
irritating whine.
In all, however, it is an excellent
production. From beginning to end it is
an energetic, creative, highly enter-
taining show, with performances of a
uniformly superb caliber. Even if
you've seen nothing, else this season,
you really should treat yourself to The
Wiz.

Extremely limited
tickets available

FOR TICKET INFORMATION BEFORE APR. 9,
994-0221: AFTER APR. 9. 763-1085

JACKSON BROWNESE A GETTf
SPECIAL GUEST STAR
KARLA BNFF

STUDENT ONE-STOP
TRAVEL SERVICE
Ei-l

Reserved seats $7
Tickets Available at Mich. Union Box Office, M-F 11:30-5:30
(763-2071). Sorry, no personal checks.
NIGHT OF SHOW TICKETS AVAILABLE AT CRISLER ARENA BEGINNING AT
6 PM.

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Featuring....
publisher's list

on ALL PAPERBACK REFERENCE
-Schaum's Outlines
- Cliff Notes
- Monarch Notes
" Dictionaries

APRIL 11-15
S.....including
" Writing Guides
- Exam Preparations
- Job Hunter's Aids
" Springer lecture Notes....

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Architecture Books (At N. Campus Branch -ONLY)
...as well as the following HARDCOVER SELECTIONS........Technical Reference Books Published by:

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