Page 8-The Michigan Daily-Friday, October 9, 1987
of talent is
short on awareness
By Jennifer Kohn
Last night, University Produc-
tions commenced its season of
theatrics with a terrific production of
A Funny Thing Happened on the
Way to the Forum. Though a less
than current play by Stephan
Sondheim, Burt Shevelove, and
Larry Gelbart, it retains its dramatic
flavor and is complemented by
extremely creative performances.
However, while this is certainly a
superior production by cast, crew,
and orchestra, one is left debating the
selection of this untimely piece.
Tim Millett, the play's director
and choreographer, said earlier this
week that the play had no stars, but
rather is an ensemble. The mark of a
well cast play is when no actor
seems obsolete. Indeed, each actor
adds to the quality of the production
as a whole. No role is minute, nor is
any actor insignificant enough to go
unnoticed. Further, the choreography
enhances the acting by working with
the best talents of each player. The
director seems not only to have cast
well, but he appears to have been
familiar enough with his cast to
reinforce their strengths in the
particular presentation of each role.
Not to be overlooked are the set
and costume designs. Much thought
and creativity was put into the set
and the individual representation of
each character. Even if the play had
not been a success theatrically, it
remains one, aesthetically. In ad-
dition the musical director, Eileen
Condon Cornett, conducts an or-
chestra of ten which is on par with
the excellence of the production.
Several performances require
specific notation. Bill Downey
(Pseudolus) embraces the audience
with his humor, wit, and musical
talent. He is endearing as the
seemingly omniscient house servant.
His presence commands the stage.
John Barron (Lykus), who plays a
transvestite pimp is less central than
Downey, but is unquestionably
charming. The Proteans (Brad
Godette, Ian Knauer, and Perry
Ojeda) are the production's true
comic relief. Their "Three Stooges"
slapstick routines lighten the mus-
ical numbers and reinforce the
freshness of the choreography.
Although the quality of this
season's premier production is be-
yond doubt, the humor itself seems
rather dated in terms of social
awareness. The jokes themselves are
bawdy in a burlesque, but un-
doubtedly sexist vein. From a
modern 1987 viewpoint, the premise
See FORUM Page 9
Toots sings reggae soul
Hysterium (Ty Hreben) and Pseudolus (Bill Downly) are two of the talented highlights of the University
production 'A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.'
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_ 0 , orc
By Alan Paul
Close your eyes and empty your
mind. We're going to play a little
name association here. I'll say a
song title, and you see what comes
to your mind. Okay, ready?
If you're not rolling on the floor
laughing you're probably thinking
of a nice but soulless, wimpy little
ditty about West Virginia being
warbled by the all-too-clean John
Denver, maybe even on his Variety
Show. You probably do not think of
a pounding sensual reggae bass line,
or a rough soulful tenor throwing
If not, you must never have heard
Toots and the Maytals, who covered
"Country Roads" and turned it into a
damn good time, changing the
chorus to "West Jamaica."
Tomorrow night at the Power
Center, Toots and the Maytals
appear at the Power Center, bringing
their funky reggae to Ann Arbor for
the first time in years.
Those of you familiar with the
politicized roots-rock-reggae of Bob
Marley and Peter Tosh should be
forewarned, however. Toots' soulful
tenor has more in common with
American southern soul singers of
Toots and the Maytals will be in town this weekend for an evening of
exciting, soul filled reggae.
New to-Ann Arbor
the '60s such as Wilson Pickett and
Otis Redding than the mournful,
beautiful wailings of Marley or
In fact, Toots Hibbert has been
called the James Brown of reggae.
. BIG JOHN
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No, he's not over 50, and no he-
does not have a valet, nor six dozen
titles. He does however have an
evangelical zeal in his stage presence
and a voice that hits you in the gut.
Of course, the Maytals also,
possess the reggae ability to lock
you in a groove and make you want
to move. Some of their better
known songs, all huge hits in
Jamaica, include "54-46," "Monkey
Man," "Funky Kingston," and "Do
the Reggay," the song usually
credited with inventing the word
"reggae." The Maytals' albums are
all very, very good, showcasing
Toots' singing. He posseses one of
the most soulful, moving voices in
any musical genre. Really.
Toots and the Maytals appear
Saturday night at the Power Center.
Tickets are $15.00 and the show
starts at 8 p.m. Be there or smoke a
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