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September 27, 1977 - Image 7

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1977-09-27

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The Michigan Daily-Tuesday, September 27, 1977-Page7

Sug ar'
By JEFFREY SELBST latest of

could be sweeter

words must set up emotional situations
of incredibly diversity, the "plot" of
this revue, is twisting and inane.
So the show is the music. And what
music! Comic songs, like Bert Wil-
liams' Nobody (sung by Brown), Eubie
Blake's In Honeysuckle Time (When
Emaline Said She'd Be Mine) (Brown
and Hill); love songs like Blake's Love
Will Find A Way (Parham and Moore),
Ain't Misbehavin' (Brown); sophisti-
cated songs like Sophisticated Lady,
Pray for the Lights to go Out (Hill), and
There'll be Some Changes Made (Lee).
BUBBLING BROWN SUGAR
Power Center
Book by Loften Mitchell
Music by Fats Waler, Andy Razaf, Eubie Blake,
Noble Sissle, Duke Ellington, Billie
Holliday, Earl "Fatha" Hines, etc. etc.
Marsha ........................... Rhetta Hughes
Carolyn................. ......... Teri Lindsey
Irene Paige.....................Mable Lee
John Sage......................... Richard Brown
Checkers .............................. Bobby Hill
Emcee........................ Jai Oscar St. John
Jim .......................... Glover Parham
Ella ................Francine Claudia Moore
And of course, the best: Stompin' at
the Savoy, Take the A Train, Sweet
Georgia Brown, and Ellington's It
Don't Mean A Thing, which closes the
show.
The performances were all okay - I
don't wax enthusiastic over anyone but
Mable Lee (Irene Paige). I saw this
show in Chicago some time ago with a
fresher and somewhat slicker com-
pany. She is the only performer that I
can recall being in both casts; she was
then, and is now, superb. She is a gran-
de dame of the theater, portraying, ap-
propriately, another.
Similarly Richard Brown, whose
John Sage was a bit stiff, and Bobby
Hill, whose Checkers couldn't' have
been improved upon, are alos old-
timers portraying characters much like
themselves.

Mable Lee

Zoo Story' players miss point

By SUSAN BARRY
The dramatically inclined mem-
bers of the Residential College are
traditionally an ambitious crew.
More often attempting classical dra-
ma with intricate plots and sophisti-
Gated dialogue than less challenging
alternatives,' the players are usually
quite serious about their art. So when
a production of Edward Albee's The
Zoo Story was the choice of two
p'eformers calling themselves "The
Starving Players," although not a.
major production of the College, it
promised to be intriguing.
Saturday night's production at the
tiny Halfway Inn at East Quad was
extremely well attended. Though The
Zoo Story is a short one-act play,"it is
an intense and powerful interpreta-
tion of existential philosophy. It
approaches its topic from the absurd
perspective, probing relentlessly into
the absurdity of reality.
Drew Allison played Jerry, a
permanent transient, the personifi-
cation of inadequate man. Address-
ing himself to Peter, played by Tony
Burdick, a seemingly innocuous ex-
ecutive spending a quiet Sunday
afternoon in the park, Jerry relates
stories and impressions that even-
tually begin to chip away the cool
reserve of his new acquaintance until

Peter's defensive effrontery is
stripped away, and he is forced to
confront the absurdity of his own
existence.,
This is at least the argument of the
play. That this -was not entirely
evident at last weekend's production
was to the detriment of the players
themselves. The final impression of
the production was somewhat inade-
quate-for those who had previously
been familiar with its theme, and
rather uninspiring for those who had
not.
The problem began when the two
players struck their poses and main-
tained them too consistently. Burdick
was all patronizing smiles and
amusedly arching eyebrows. Alli-
son's brusque monologues and slight-
ly maniacal expression were not
convincing enough to convey the
strength of his character. He further
weakened his position by constantly
bending over to speak to Burdick. He
compromised his sense of purpose by
continually rocking on the balls of his
feet and rarely directly addressing
his companion.
Thus, no character contact was
made. It was not evident why Peter
stayed to observe the spectacle of his
raving acquaintance. Jerry contin-
ually reminded him that "you don't

have to listen, nobody's holding you
here." And indeed the fascination
was mysterious. The production
slowly took on its own, metaphor of
"two picture frames, both empty."
The final result was lacking in ani-
mation. Lines such as Jerry's "I
tried to love, I tried to kill, both have
been unsuccessful,'' were robbed of
their pathos. The climactic stabbing
of Jerry took on the improper,
absurdity, the absurdity of improba-
bility, because the actors failed to
portray that which in their charac-
ters contained the essential paradox
of contented human existence.
The Arctic tern makes an annual
round trip of 20,000 miles, from its
nest in the Arctic to its home in the
Antarctic.
NEWS FROM THE
MAJOR EVENTS OFFICE
The intrigues of booking acts.. . we hod
been guaranteed the only Fleetwood Mac
date in Michigan for this tour. It seems the
bond wanted to play Ann Arbor instead of
Detroit, and the booking agents were in
favor, knowing our reputation for profes-
sional presentations. The deal was all set
until it was learned that the production'
backdrop would kill the view on 4,000
rear-stage seats in Crisler - leaving a
skimpy 9,000 seats. Cobo Hall has 12,000
seats in front of the stage, so a well-
known Detroit promoter (also a frequent
customer of the agency) blithely offered
to charge $10.50 for every seat in Cobo.
With a $50,000 difference between our
potential sales and that of Cobo, you can
see why Stevie Nicks and company won't
be stopping in Ann Arbor.
Crosby, Stills & Nash management called
us to hold some dates in Crisler Arena for
a proposed CSN Tour. But when their
management got right down to selecting
the few dates on the short tour, Crisler
was too small and Ann Arbor wasn't a
major market. Our basketball team already
had Crisler reserved for practice anyway ...
On sale at the Michigan Union Box
Office: Steve Miller's October 14 concert
in Crisler Arena.
Snupshots: Elvis aslbums hold eight of
the top fifty places on' the Country Music
charts . . . Boz Scaggs was, a luncheon
auest of Chio Carter, while sinaer Emmvlou

This phenomenon occurred in Follies
as well - a show about the Good Old
Days of theater, whose leading roles
were played by actors and actresses ac-
tually around then. The lead roles in
Brown Sugar were played (and have al-
ways been played by) performers
brought up in the Harlem theater cir-
cuit.
I think this lends a versimilitude to
the show that adds a certain touch, a
balance to the vocal inanity that is
going on alongside the musical brilli-
ance. After all, I found myself in one of
two positions throughout - either grin-
ning at the music and the way it was
staged (wonderful!) or grimacing at
the ineptitude of the scripting and the
pigeon-brained mouthing of the nonsen-
sical lines.
What makes these shows popular, is
the realization that the emotional tur-
moil depicted in these characters, their
feelings of being ha :,beens, their own
romanticization of the past, these occu-
pational hazards are likely to befall the
actual actors and actresses who play
the roles. It is a kind of ultimate
merging of theater and life, only
possible when survivors of an era live to
recreate facsimiles of themselves
much later.
Bubbling Brown Sugar is a show for
open and unashamed lovers of won-
derful songs from the Old Days, and for
anyone who will not scrutinize substan-
ce too closely, for anyone with a sense
of style. While not perfect, this produc-
tion conveyed the message. And it was
fun.
* THE UNI
e PROFEc
GUEST A
IN THE POWER C
PETER SHAFFERs compellingE
ence and thrilling psychological de
story of electrifying power The play
explores the psyche power. pass
worship -- universal themes that aft
lives profoundly
Directed by NAFE KA
Guest Arii;t-n-Rei
Featurtg WILLAM C. L
-° Guest Artist-irvesi
. JWed Sat Oct. 12-15.
Sun Oct 16. 2 pmn
0
EQUL
0
* e.
0
f
0
0 w

i THE GRE,
r WHITE HC
by HOWARD
* Wed. - Sat. March 1
* Sun. March 5.
* Directed by RICHARD F
* Featuring JAMES H. HAV
Guest Artist-in-F
An epic drama. based on the
0 career of Jack Johnson. who i
came the first Black heavyweigh
of the world it transcends both
myth to reveal - with exc item
and eloquence the wages of B
and individualism
0
S

$

No.1 in Rock-n-Roil & Disco *
* SUDS FACTORY*
737 N. Huron *
(at Lowell, just east of the E.M. U. Campus)
TONIGHTI
Tuesday-welcome BOB SPRINGFIELD PARTY-no cover,
pitchers special, singalong, contests, jokes 8 fun! If you think you're good
at Chug-a-lugging COME & PROVE IT!
Wednesday-live band, THE WHIZ KIDS, an Yip-Ann Arbor
favorite, 4 pc. group
Thursday-DRINK & DROWN
Friday-HAPPY HOUR 8-9 pm
Saturday-HAPPY HOUR-8-9 pm
Sunday-Electrifying MOJO, WGPR FM D.J.
Monday-PITCHER NIGHT .'
*No cover for ist 50 people Mon.-Fri.-Sat.

...e..................
IVE RSITY OF MICHIGAN
SSIONAL THEATRE PROGRAM
RTIST SERIES 1977-78
;ENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS

experi-
tective
boldly
in and
ect our
OTTER,
dence
S8pm:
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Wed: Closed
Thurs: 9:30 am.-6:30 p.m.
Fri: 9:30 a.m.-9:00 p.m.
Sat: 8:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

The Bards timeless drama and perhaps his
most widely discussed and debated. Ham-.
let's character, his madness, the dilemma
into which circumstances have thrust him.
have each come in for microscopic prob-'
ng
Directed by RICHARD BURGWIN.
Featuring ROBERT .SEVRA. Guest
Artist-in-Reside n .iClaudius"
by WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

i
4

JS,
1:

Wed. - Sat. Nov. 30 - Dec. 3
Sun. Dec 4. 2 pm only

8 pm:

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'AT
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SACKLER
-4, 8 p.m..
2 pm only
BURGWIN
WTHORNE
Residence
triulItuous
n 1908 be-
ht champion
history and
ent sweep
rck SUCC (OSS

-UNDER
MLK'
WOOD,,
by DYLAN THOMAS
Wed. -,Sat, April 19-22, 8 pm,
Sun. April 23. 2 pm only
Directed by CLARIBEL BAIRD,
Guest Artist-in-Residence
Featuring MAUREEN ANDERMAN &
GEORGE PENTECOST,
Guest Artists-in-Residence
In sometimes lyrical sometimes soaring.
and sometimes very earthy prose and verse
and song. this most controversial and ex-
traordinary poet of the mid-century takes us
on a 'midnight-to-midnight prowl' of a
smug and ingrown Welsh fishing village.
and into the intimate lives of its inhabitants

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