The Michigan Daily
Sunday, March 6, 1983
By David Kopel
F YOU'VE ever wondered what your parents
listened to before television and drugs were inven-
ted, the 1940's RADIO HOUR will show you. The
1940's RADIO HOUR is in the middle of a very suc-
cessful U.S. tour, and closes its Ann Arbor run with
performances at 2:00 and 8:00 today at the Power
Center. Tickets are $13-18, and two-for-one student
tickets (with ID) are available.
As you might guess from the title, the show is an
authentic recreation of a music and comedy variety
radio show from 1942. The show is "broadcast" from
the Astor Hotel, and the-play's audience becomes the
studio audience, applauding when the applause light
All the stock characters from the radio world of the
1940's are there: the Sinatra look-alike, the eager of-
fice boy , the brassy Black singer. And all the classic
numbers are there too: "Chatanooga-Choo-Choo,"
"Boogie-Woogie Bugle Boy," and even Pepsi com-
In fact, some of the commercials are among the
best moments of the show. A sensuous Eskimo Pie
commercial had the audience in stitches, as did a
patriotic ad from American rubber.
The body of the 1940's RADIO HOUR is the musical
numbers. Backed by a strong orchestra, reminiscent
of the Tommy Dorsey and Glenn Miller bands, the
cast sings and dances energetically through some of
the era's big hits.
The cast is uniformly strong and professional.
While some characters may stick out in the audien-
ce's memory longer (such as Sinatra imitator Johnny
Cantone), their prominence stems less from dif-
ferences in acting ability than from the opportunities
offered by the particular roles.
The cast works together good-naturedly and
precisely. For most of the play, over 15 people are on
stage, all doing different things, yet not one gesture is
out of place, and every cue is hit precisely.
Precision is, ironically, the show's major
weakness. The production is completely professional,
down to the last detail. But in all the professionalism,
something has been lost. One has a sense of watching
excellent professionals at work, rather than of wat-
ching actors create a new reality.
Perhaps that is as it should be. After all, 1940's
radio never meant to do more than entertain. How
much one enjoys the show will depend on how much
one enjoyed, or would have enjoyed the real thing 40
years ago. The large majority of the mostly over-
forty audience loved every minute of the show.
Younger theater-goers will have to balance the high
ticket price against the value of an evening on incon-
sequential but pleasant entertainment.
. A ARBOR
Prine shines above sound 2IVATHTR
________________$2.00 SAT SUN SHOWS
R, AkIU (ThiAi BEFORE 6:00 PM
Boy George wails shallow lyrics Photo by Chr
a Culture shock
By Melissia Bryan
Why is it that people always stretch
out their arms for a handshake when a
performer comes close to the edge of
the stage? I kept getting my hair
messed up by just that sort of voyeur at
the Culture Club Friday night.
Clamoring, screaming girls wrestled
for each available inch of floor space,
and the most popular line of the evening
was, "I'm not pushing. He's pushing
Not that the Culture Club's perfor-
mance merited that kind of audience
devotion or martyrdom. Not by any
means. Boy George's weak chinned,
pucker-lipped pouting looked more
grotesque than sultry. Culture Club
opened its set with a hysterical ren-
dition of "Boy, Boy". The chirping,
back up vocals really slay me. If you
can imagine two men and a fat lady
echoing, "I'm the boy, yes, I'm the
Boy George attired himself in yards
of white material which was haphazar-
dly constructed into loose trousers, a
shirt and a rather interesting coat. The
,shirt had all kinds of symbolic drivel
'painted on it. Perhaps Boy George was
trying to make a political
statement-however confused. This
shirt had a red cross with little black
airplanes on it surrounded by a bed of
* roses. Supposedly this has something to
-do with the Arab/Israeli conflict-or
was it the war between the houses of
Lancaster and York? Who cares.
Culture Club's performance was
chock full of catchy but mindless dit-
ties. Most foreboding of all was "Do you
Deal in Black Money?" Sounds
ominous, but just what does that mean?
The song was never resolved because,
outside the title, it has few if any other
The general lack of lyrical strength is
Culture Club's biggest problem. Boy
George has been quoted as "liking
English in school." Well, I liked Home
Ec., but that doesn't mean I can sew.
Boy George is no lyricist. Chant "White
Boy dance like an enemy" 15 times and
you'll see what I mean.
Culture Club's music refutes
labeling. They combined so many dif-
ferent styles that they defied definition.
The band moved from Reggae to Salsa
to Calypso with ease. Boy George did
croon oh so sweetly. But those lyrics!
Ha,! "I'm Afraid of Me" sounded like
"Oh Riunite!" That just cracked me
The overwhelming impression
Culture Club conveyed was of
mediocrity. Each song delivered
exuded the same degree of
professionalism and inevitability. "Do
You Really Want To Hurt Me" was the
highpoint of their repertoire but that
came as no surprise.
By the way, Boy George looks better
in pictures. Darn!
oy avlrt n n t
A LL THE POTENTIAL for an out-
standing John Prine concert was
gathered at the Michigan Theatre
Friday night. Fast and Missad had
warmed up the crowd into a virtual
frenzy (they even gave an encore). Their
folk-tinged satire complemented
Prine's down-to-earth tunes well. And
the audience knew that Prine was their
kind of musician.
The Prine force bounded onto the
stage and launched into a loud, rocking
rendition of "Be My Friend Tonight"
with obvious glee at being back in Ann
Arbor after seven years. But after the
song, the audience reaction was one of
horror. "The sound sucks." The system
somehow failed to transmit any sort of
Father forgive us for what we
must do/You forgive us, we'll
forgive you. /We'll forgive each
other 'til we both turn blue. /Then
we'll whistle and go fishing in
The verse from Prine's "Whistle and
Fish" set the mood for the concert that
had blown an ill wind. Because the area
debut of Unlimited Entertainment, Inc.
had culminated in 'massive distortion
whenever Prine and his guitarist
Phillip Donnelly played either loudly on
in unison, Prine was reduced to playing
his older acoustic stuff. Or was it raised
to playing it?
Until the sound people were able to
change the entire speaker set-up during
a 20-minute break, the show turned into
a very personal relationship between
beloved artist and adoring fans. As
Prine played, the words swelled up
from the theater, providing a harmony
that would have been impossible with a
blast 'em rock and roll speaker system.
The introduction of an acoustic solo
by John Prine - singing his best-known
songs, and some that will be - was
hardly an introduction, it is what a John
Prine concert is all about. The sound-
people were forgiven.
The zany stories behind his newer
stuff often made the songs themselves
somewhat of a letdown. But how else
would we have known that a National
Enquirer horror story was an in-
spiration behind "The Oldest Babies in
Prine, in another ditty, related the
story of a family who missed the car
ferry as it pulled away from the pier,
and ate chicken as they dropped down a
bottomless lake with the windows rolled
"Illegal Smile," all about becoming a
happy person outside the law, typified
the audience's relationship with the
singer. Without prompting, Prine was
not alone as he sang. The apex of the
evening was just that realization, live
entertainment is a two-way street of
By the time the sound crew forced
Prine into an unprecedented break, the
audience had forgiven the bad sound.
After the new speakers were in place, it
was time for everyone to go fishing in
heaven. Almost. It took another three
songs before everyone could listen
without covering their ears.
Daily Photo by DEBORAH LEWIS
Singer/songwriter John Prine shows that it takes more than a faulty sound
system to rain on his parade.
MON - 6:45, 8:30, 10:15
SUN - 1:20, 3:05, 4:50
6:45, 8:30, 10:15
STAR OF "TEN"
The rest of the night was good times,
sing-alongs, guitar licks, and a touch of
pathos. Prine's wrenching rendition of
"Hello in There" quieted the otherwise
rowdy crowd, provinding emphasis
for Prine's ode to the eldersly, which he
dedicated to everyone who still have
Most of his newer songs had been
cowritten, which Prine after the show
said was easier because "You finish
them. It's not as easy to forget the
song and go for a hot dog with someone
else in the room."
N - 6:45, 9:30
4- 1:00, 3:50,6:45,9:30
The Mud Family swings
rTONIGHT THE ARK hosts a hot
string band hailing from Spring,
Valley, Ohio. The band-The Hot Mud
Family. The family, led by Dave and
Suzanne Edmunds, is a quintet devoted
to a rousing revival of music ranging
-from Gospel to Country & Western.
* Hot- Mud has been together for 12
years and along with Dave (fiddle &
mandolin) and Suzanne (guitar &
piano) Edmunds, the quintet also hosts
Rick Good on pickin' banjo and guitar,
Gary Hopkins on acoustic bass and
Greg Dearth on fiddle.
Although their music is usually ter-
med American Country, the Hot Mud
Family draws its material from the
realms of old time, gospel, bluegrass,
and country & western.
For anyone who enjoys an old-time
country sound, the Hot Mud Family will
provide an exciting evening of enter-
tainment. And if you're not sure if this
band is worth the five dollars at the
door, trust that the Ark has booked
another excellent group of musicians in
Hot Mud. The band's performance
begins at 8 p.m. at the Ark (1421 Hill).
By Deborah Robinson
Greeting Card Department.
- freshest ideasca x r
MAJOR EVENTS PRESENTS:
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