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April 19, 1988 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 1988-04-19

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The Michigan Daily-Tuesday, April 19, 1988- Page 9
Poet Donald Justice
highlights Hopwoods

The cast of the University Musical Theatre Department's 'On The Town' used fascinating choreography in
what was one of the most elaborate and well-done productions to hit Ann Arbor in al long time.

By Marie Wesaw
When critics praise Donald Jus-
tice, 1980 Pulitzer Prize winner for
his Selected Poems , they mention
nothing about a flamboyant style.
Instead, Justice has been given the
title of the "gentle poet."
Justice's poetry, which began to
flourish with his first volume The
Summer Anniversaries in 1960, is
known for its conservative approach
to line use and language. He uses
minimalist lines to stress his
deliberately chosen words. This style

gives Justice control over his poem
and gives his readers freedom to
respond to their own feelings.

Although Justice is considered a Justice's commitment and dedica-
quiet poet, he is also known as one tion to poetry goes beyond his five
who mixes gentleness with power. collections. Justice is currently a
For example, a sense of loss strongly professor of English at the Univer-
runs as a theme through most of his sity of Florida and has edited and co-
works. It varies from emphasizing edited several volumes of poetry and
the loss of time in his Selected Po- criticism, including Platonic Scripts
ems to the stressing of the loss of as part of the Poets on Poetry Series,
others in his most recent collection of the University of Michigan Press.
The Sunset Maker.
DONALD JUSTICE speaks at
This sense of loss, according to the Hopwood Awards at 4 p.m. today
many critics, is carried successfully in Rackham Auditorium.

through Justice's works because his
sparse form emphasizes the gentle
music of the poetic language.

'U' Musical Theatre
with Bernstein's 'O

goes

all out

n The Town

By Linda M. Gardner
The University Musical Theatre
Department's production of On The
Town was one of the most elaborate
and well-done productions to hit Ann
Arbor in a long time - and it didn't
even come from out of town.
Do you want choreography? Take
23 assorted "people of New York"
and let them mill about onstage,
throw in three Midwestern sailors in
town for the first time being chased
by a policeman, a professor and an
angry old woman, and then set it all
to music. This is chaos just waiting
to happen, but any confusion was
implicitly planned. Somehow the
masses managed to walk, kick, and
sing in rhythm and right in time,
and nobody bumped into anybody
else.
The somewhat surreal set man-
aged to be intricate and simple at the
same time. The visually satisfying
backdrops, filled with exaggerated
New York store fronts and signs,
kept the audience's interest before
the show began. A subway car and a
taxi rolled on and off the stage as
needed, not to mention two apart-
ments and a museum (complete with
a collapsible dinosaur skeleton). A
walkway which circled around the
orchestra pit and expanded the play-
ing area allowed continuous action
"during scene changes.
The orchestra had its good and bad
moments with Leonard Bernstein's
score. It died a little the second time

around on "New York, New York!"
but the enthusiastic trumpets saved
the show in the second act when
they belted out some blues that
transcended their position beneath
the stage.
The "Most Ridiculous Scene"
prize would be a toss-up between the
dream scene, which was anything
but dreamy, and the caveman dance
in the first act, where Cro-Magnon
men in furry suits brandished styro-
foam clubs. The exaggerated move-
ments of the dream ballet parodied
the smoothness of the rest of the
musical, but the parody dissolved at
times into an awkwardness that
seemed unrehearsed and unintended.
The caveman scene, on the other
hand, exploded into exuberant fool-
ishness that playfully blended with
the upbeat mood.
Gabey (Doug LaBrecque) and
"Miss Turnstiles" Ivy Smith (Diane
Peterson) may have been the stars of
the show, but they certainly had
some competition from their coun-
terparts, especially bawdy taxi driver
Hildy (Kate Ostrow) and sophisti-
cated scientist Clair de Loone (Hilary
James), and their male sailor part-
ners. For vocal "belting" ability,

Kate Ostrow won the prize. Os-
trow's voice was as crisp and deter-
mined as the bawdy taxi driver she
played.
Editor's tiwe: Thursday night's
performance of ON TE TOWN was
reviewed

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