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May 09, 1979 - Image 7

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Michigan Daily, 1979-05-09

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The Michigan Daily-Wednesday, May 9, 1979-Page 7
GILBERTO GIL AT MENDELSSOHN
Guitarist's concert short but sweet

By ANNE SHARP
A sedate, thirtyish crowd wedged
into tiny Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre
Monday night to see Brazilian guitarist
Gilberto Gil at work. Gil and his backup
band-two percussionists, electric bass
and lead, and synthesizer-play a
pleasing fusion of jazz, rock and those
old Brazilian standbys, calypso and
samba. The Brazilian sound produced
by Gil reminds one of his popular
forebears' such as Antonio Carlos
Jobim and Joao Gilberto (composers of
the film Black Orpheus score), who
caught the American jazz buffs' fancy

during the fifties. The sound is sultry,
tranquil, yet thrilling with its deep,
slow basses and rattling cowbells.
Unlike much rock and reggae, it favors
no political cause; its rhythms express
pleasure, not anger.
Gil played adequately, though with
none of the ostentatious pyrotechnics
some other musicians employ. He also
sang, and not badly, but his high notes
either have a naturally grating effect
on the human ear, or there were too
many horns in the Mendelssohn
speaker system. The lyrics Gil sings
are in a mixture of English and Por-
tugese.

"CHUCK BERRY Fields Forever" is
a neo-reggae tour of the evolution of
rock and roll. A rather naive ballad at-
tempted a statement on discrimination
against Brazilian mulattoes, which the
audience all but ignored. It was the
music, not the message, they were af-
ter.
Gil is on a concert tour to promote his
newest album ("and what else is new?"
you ask), which features in addition to
Gil's guitar and vocals, music of his
own composition.
Gil ended his astonishingly brief set
(the entire show barely lasted seventy-
five minutes) with a rowdy, fast num-
ber. Up until then, the rather
lackadaisical audience, perhaps
exhausted by the comparatively
blistering seventy-degree heat which
had hit Ann Arbor Monday, could har-
dly be coaxed into an audience partic-
pation sing-along bit with Gil. The star,
in a last-ditch effort to assure himself

that the crowd hadn't fallen asleep, had
its members clap their hands in time to
the music. For the last selection in the
show, however, people leaped from
their seats and danced about, arms en-
thusiastically waving in the air, to Gil's
wild strumming of his six-string. With a
terrible sene of timing, Gil ended the
show, just as the audience had finally
warmed to his music, leaving masses of
people awkwardly wandering about the
aisles and lobby, asking ushers, "Was
that it?" A frustrating ending to what
might have been a fairly satisfying
concert, but, who knows? Perhaps that
is the Brazilian way.

A high- kickin' musical

By JOSHUA PECK
The touring company now hoofing its
way through A Chorus Line at the
Fisher Theatre in Detroit has been
greeted with a singularly lukewarm set
of notices by the local critics. Lawrence
Devine of the Free Press came down
especially hard on the troupe, citing
half a dozen ways in which their treat-
ment of the show is inferior to that of
the bunch that brought the show in last
year (before Annie's five-month run).
There certainly are difficulties with
the current production, and they do in-
deed hurt the show's effectiveness and
impact (I'll get to them in a moment).
But I think that much of this harsh
critical treatment ignores the fact that,
problems or not, Chorus Line remains
A Chorus Line
Marvin Hamlsch, James Kirkwood,
NicholasDante, and
Edward Kleban
Fisher Theatre, etroi,
through ?lfni
Diana .........................Denise DiRenzo
Val ................................Niki Harris
Cassie ........................Deborah Henry
Paul .............................Sam viverito
Michael Bennett, chareagrapher.
director; Don Pippin, anir director.
reetarrangement; TharonMusser,
lighting designer
one of Broadway's best musical of-
ferings for years. Its sharply witty
music and lyrics, painstakingly rehear-
sed dancing, and occasional dips into
poignance and, yes, sentiment, are by
and large, unimpeded by the bits that
are second-rate.
Chorus Line's premise is a wee bit
contrived, but it really doesn't matter.
Some twenty would-be chorus line gyp-
sies are on a theatre stage for a new
show's audition. They must sing and
dance their ways through hours of try-
out, as only four performers of each sex
are needed. A particularly artificial
element is the director's request that
each actor step forward to talk about

himself for a few minutes, ostensibly
because there will be speaking roles for
one or two of the eight (Broadway
shows scarcely ever work that way).
MOST OUTSTANDING of the large
cast is unquestionably Niki Harris, who
dynamically makes the role of Val her
own. The show's book is riddled with
sexual allusions, but most lasciviously
piquant is Val's "Dance: Ten; Looks:
Three," wherein she extolls the virtues
of store-bought beauty. She belts out:
"Tits and ass; bought myself a fancy
pair," and then, at song's end, impishly
asks the other auditioners, "you're
looking at in, tits, aren't you?" They
are.
The significant weaknesses are two in
number, and each is brought about by
inadequacies in individual performers,
out of range of the director's ability to
amend. Sam Viverito takes the part of
Paul, conceived as Chorus Line's
Tragic Figure, and makes him an un-
sympathetic annoyance. A long speech
in which he details the length and
breadth of his misery could conceivably
make for a worthwhile character ex-
position (I hear that it did on Broad-
way), but Viverito retreats into a
repetitive series of intonations
somewhat akin to the dullest Gregorian
chant.
The only big name that's ever
emerged from Chorus Line is Donna
MacKechnie's, whose portrayal on
Broadway of the aging, former starlet
Cassie, won her bravos from critics and
audiences alike. Cassie's big moment,
of course, is a protracted dance number
in front of the mirrored set, her
acrobatic grace multiply reflected into
the eager audience's collective eyes.
Deborah Henry of the current company
is an inadequate dancer, visibly
faltering a couple of times on opening
night, and actually making the
choreography look bad.
Still and all, these two pitfalls look
considerably less grievous when they
comprise a tenth of a show whose other
90 per cent consists of material as
magnetically vital as Chorus Line's
umpteen perfect dances, dozen forceful
tunes, and myriad charms.

DAILY EARLY BIRD MATINEES-Adults $1.50
,>DISCOUNT IS FOR SHOWS STARTING BEFORE 1:30
MON. thru SAT. 10 A.M. tl 1:30 P.M. SUN. A HOLS. Noon 1l 1:30 P.M.
EVENING ADMISSIONS AFTER 5:00, $3.50 ADULTS
Monday-Saturday 1:30-5:00, Admission $2.50 Adult and Students
Sundays and Holidays 1:30 to Close, $3.50 Adults, $2.50 Students
Sunday-Thursday Evenings Student & Senior Citizen Discounts
Children 12 And Under, Admissions $1.25
WOODY ALLEN
DIANE KEATON 10:5
12:30
MERYL STREEPM;;
ANNEDBYRNE Mflu 10:00
- Fri & Sat
MICHAEL MURPHY midnght
MARIEL HEMINGWAY
100 3:30
2:45 6:45
9:30
Fri & Sat
* sM"~dm otoh.x12:00
xa ,:w midnight
10:15
1:00
3:45
A 6:45
FRANCO ZEFFIRELL930
THEM
115
fr. 9:45
r$$$

The Ann Arbor Film Cooperative presents at Aud A ss
WEDNESDAY, MAY 9
JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS
(Don Chaffey, 1963) 7 & 10:20-AUD A
Unbelievable special effects in this brilliant retelling of the Jason myth. See the harpies, hydra, the
bronze giant, and the skeleton army! Animation by Roy Harryhousen, "the world's foremost purveyor
of fantasy on the screen. . ."-CINEFANTASTIQUE. With NIGEL GREEN, NANCY KOVAKS, Music by
Bernard Herrmann.
THE SEVENTH VOYAGE OF SINBAD
(Nothan Juran, 1958) 8:40 only-AUD A
Sinbod's seventh vogge was, according to sheherezde. his most fabulous. Ry Harryhousen, master
of dynamation magic, goes all out to live up to the legend by bringing to life a tasty assortment of
dragon, two-headed bird, cyclops, and Incredible shrinking princess. Yet another clastic scne by
Bernard (PYSCHO) Herrmann.
Tomorrow; IDI AMIN DADA & CALIFORNIA REICH

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