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July 06, 1978 - Image 6

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1978-07-06

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Page 6-Thursday; July 6, 1978-Th
A TTIC THEA TRE
'Berlin
By STEPHEN PICKOVER
The Attic Theatre is nestled away in
Greektown, in downtown Detroit, an
provides an intimacy between actor
and audience found in few theatres i
the area. This group's new offering i
Berlin to Broadway with Kurt Weill,
musical revue of Weill's songs from th
collaboration with Brecht in Berlin t
his arrival in the United States with hi
actress-singer wife, Lotta Lenya. The
Berlin to Broadway
with Kurt weil
Marjorie Brown, soprano
Divina Cook,,oezo
Ric Knox, tenor
Brian Schultz, baritone
Monika Ziegler, The -utde
Robert Casemore and Jeff Nahan, directors
Laureen MacPherson, nmscat direetor;
Jeff Nahan, choreographer
more notable lyricists he wrote with in
New York are Maxwell Anderson, Ala
Jay Lerner, Ira Gershwin, Langsto
Hughes and Ogden Nash.
The show is two hours of fantastic
music, briefly interspersed with
biographical narration from a Guide
and sung by four cast members. Act
comprised the most difficult music
both vocally and rhythmically, from
Weill's early period with Brecht, ant
includes works from The Three Penny
Opera, Happy End and The Rise and
Fall of the City of Mahagonny.
THEIR THRUST stage consists o
two basic levels and resembles the deck
of the S.S. Majestic, on which Weil
sailed to America. On the sparse stag
is a black travelling trunk decorated
with stickers from all of Weill's shows
The set is fairly unimportant, as th
whole atmosphere is determined by th
lighting, music and, because of the ad
ded intimacy, especially by the actors.
Unfortunately, because of costs, the
orchestra only consisted of a piano
percussion and a clarinet/saxophone
player. Because they had to make do
with this meager ensemble, they lost
many of the secondary lines from the
music, especially the echo of the theme
during the "Mandalay Song."
WE ARE INTRODUCED to the en-
semble in the first song, "How to Sur-
vive," from The Three Penny Opera. In
his collaborations with Brecht, Weill
wrote chilling, haunting music. The
words "Before you start to do your
heavy preaching, First feed the face,
and then talk right and wrong. For even
honest folk, may act like sinners, unless
they've had their customary dinners"
ripped through the air with callous and
bitter sincerity, wrenching us im-
mediately from our plasticine existence
into a greed-infested dog-eat-dog world
festering with evil.
The cast did a fine job conveying this
atmosphere, angrily delivering
Brecht's message.
In a section devoted to solos and duet-
Divina Cook, mezzo, led off with the
"Barbara Song," an amusing number
about a woman who lets a man walk all
over her. Cook was without doubt the
best singer in Act I, with her renditions
of "Surabaya Johnny" and "Pirate
Jenny", particularly commendable.
The reason the other singers failed to
perform similarly can be traced to their
inability to capture the supreme
decadence of pre-World War II Ger-
many.
COOK'S WALK and casual but
knowing glances conveyed this
degenerate ambiance. "Pirate Jenny"
was sung with marvelous intensity, but

ie Michigan Daily
SHOWCASES WEILL REVUE:
to Broadway" enjoyable
should have dimmed much sooner register, like tenor Ric Knox's, needed swastika uncovered on Ziegler's sleeve
during her "Surabaya Johnny," but more training. However, most Weill - beautifully horrifying.
d even this did not mar the passionate does not need a voice like Paboratti and The "Bilbao Song" and the "Jealousy
r love song, as Cook sounded as though Sills, but heaps of expression and innu- Duet" were the two memorable duos in
n she were holding back the tears. The endo. Because of his overcompensation the act, both highly humorous and well-
s hate-love conflict was portrayed for the role, Schulz played phoney. He played. If Ziegler's feminity would ever
a beautifully. also should review the words from the cause a problem (the Guide was written
e for a man) it would be during the
o $"Mandalay Song" where "the girls are
as cute as they could be, even if they
won't put out for free." It went un-
noticed.
Act II, perhaps because the music
was more familiar "Musical" territory,
was performed superbly, especially the
show-stoppers "How Can You Tell an
v
Sichigan DAILY
n ;
n _
h American," "Progress," and the "Saga
of Jenny." Schulz no longer seemed
I stiff and gave a lovely interpretation of
Posing provocatively from the cast of "Berlin to Broadway" are Ric Knox, "Lost in the Stars." Cook and Brown's
Brian Schultz, Monika Ziegler and Divina Cook. "Lullaby" and Knox's "Lonely House"
d were also fine. "Progress" was sung
A problem which was noticeable im- "Sailor Tango," though he covered his with just the right amount of sarcasm,
d mediately was the discrepancy in Ger- mistakes well. and the choreography in this and the
man accents between the Guide Knox displayed some of the ex- above-mentioned grand numbers was
f (Monika Ziegler) and the rest of the pression that Schulz lacked, but his well calculated, though even more
cast. The cause lay in Ziegler being a voice had a constant edge, a coarseness schtick could have been employed.
l native speaker, one whose diction and that never left, independent of Aslo, Cook, in "Saga of Jenny," seemed
e pronunciation were a delight to the dynamics. This helped make "Deep in to lose her vocal projection and thus
d ears. However, its perfection only ac- Alaska," a beautiful gold rush melody, was trounced upon when Schulz and
. centuated the cast's mid-western and the "Useless Song" sound prac- Knox began singing.
e twang, especially on flat "a's" and the tically the same. Marjorie Brown, the MY BIGGEST complaint concerns
e inability to say the german "ch." While soprano, had a similar problem in that the cutting of all the songs from One
- the cast's enunciation was fairly her voice was so overpowering that in Touch of Venus, especially "Speak
flawless, this disparity nevertheless the intimate stage space her gestures Low." However, despite the flaws, I
e grated on the ears. It would be well ad- and expressions were practically lost, still managed to leave singing. Here the
vised for Ziegler to give some lessons, although "I Wait for a Ship" was per- entire company deserves an outstan-
e BRIAN SCHULZ, baritone, had a formed admirably. ding plaudit for their professionalism.
very difficult time with the first act. His THE MOST chilling number was "As The house was less than one-quarter
t boyish good looks and stilted acting you make your bed," from Mahagonny. full (it was fireworks night in Detroit)
were increased because he was trying y
so hard to capture the tone of the The group began at a moderate pace, and yet they were overflowing with
pieces, and everything came out over- then became more rapid as the lights energy and vitality, which kept the
played. While his lower notes were turned a steely blue. As they got louder, show moving smoothly, despite its
heutifulil ronnant his hioher they began marching like Nazis, and a faults.

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Ashkenazy, Det. Symphony put
the syrup back into Tchaikovsky
By STEPHEN PICKOVER and disciplined. Throughout, the orchestra sounded ex-
Tchaikovsky is marvelous for those of us who keep getting tremely well balanced.
listed in the incurable romantics section -of the social Attacking the Piano Concerto was Marc Zeltser, who, like
register. In recent years many conductors have treated the Ashkenazy, is also from Russia. He emigrated to the United
Russian master's gushing repertoire too cautiously, over- States two years ago with his family. Like his recent
Detroitsymphony Orchestra Prokofiev recording, Zeltser demonstrated his kinship with
MeadowBrook MusicFestival the Russian masters by his unabashed determination and
Romeo and Juliet ................. Tchaikovsky drive. His opening chords, set against the famous melody in
PianoConcerto No., in the strings, who sounded richer than Napoleans. were power-
s iai mino. Tchaikovsky fully executed despite occasional wrong notes. The second
Symphony No. 4 inF minor..-...Tchaikoosky
vtadimir Ashkenazy, conducor movement, Andantino semplice was played sweetly, and the
Mark zeitser, piano Allegro con fuoco blazed brilliantly.
emphasizing the "classical" quality of the music whilg shun- a TCHAIKOVSKY WROTE of his Fourth Symphony,
... The introduction is the germ of the entire Symphony, its
ning its powerful emotional force, central idea. This is Fate, the force that prevents our hopes of
Vladimir Ashkenazy, who conducted the Detroit Symphony happiness from being realized, that jealousy watches to see
Orchestra at Meadow Brook in three of Tchaikovsky's well- thapessefrdmhbeinessn th e louncho d e
known works, Romeo and Juliet, Piano Concerto No. 1 in B t peace and happiness not be complete ornclouded...4
-flat minor, and the Symphony No. 4 in F minor, is fortunately sweet vision appears but bitter Fate awakens us Life is a
of smetiea - continuous shifting, grim reality."
not embarrassed by the powerplay of sometimes moving, Ashkenazy conducted this work, like Romeo and Juliet,
WHILE IT SEEMED unusual for Ashkenazy to be on the from memory. The second movement, especially, gracefully
podium rather than seated at the piano, he proved himself by enveloped the audience with its velvety texture, the strings
conducting with a vibrancy and robust energy which com- accenting just enough to excite while never becoming brash.
municated itself to the orchestra. The pizzicato movement was brisk, but the last movement
The concert opened with Romeo and Juliet offering a closed the work on a note of furious excitement. Ashkenszy

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