The Michigan Daily
Thursday, October 18, 1990
A Little Music put in context
by Beth Colquitt
While a good writer is careful not
totake a quote out of context, this
sense of discretion does not apply to
music distributors. It is a tedious
habit of the music industry to extract
from popular musicals one romantic
song, give it to some syrupy-voiced
singer (yes, Barbara Streisand in-
cluded) and release it to the public
watered down and completely out of
Poor "Send In The Clowns." Ex-
tracted from its natural habitat and
set adrift in a sea of easy-listening
tunes, even placed on an equal level
with "Memory," "Don't Cry For
Me, Argentina" and "All I Ask Of
You," it is the only well-known
fragment of one of Stephen Sond-
heim's most delightful shows, A Lit-
tle Night Music, which the Musical
Theater Program has ambitiously de-
cided to perform this weekend.
"Send In The Clowns" is one of
several poignant moments in a
sweet, sophisticated romance, based
on Ingmar Bergman's Smiles of a
Summer Night, involving three
mismatched couples weekending at a,
country house in Sweden. It is a fan-
tasy with enough reality to make it
relevant and at times profound about
relationships, as in the opening mu-
sical number - "Love is a lecture
on how to correct your mistakes..."
The attitudes toward love range from
Anne Egerman's childish "Think of
how I adore you/Think of how much
you love me..." to the maid Petra's
worldly "There are mouths to be
kissed/Before mouths to be fed/And
there's many a tryst/And there's
many a bed/To be sampled and seen
in the meanwhile..."
There are two metaphors that
Sondheim uses to enhance the pas-
toral quality of A Little Night Mu-
sic. The first is his inclusion of a
Greek-style chorus to narrate the
story, a technique he has used several
times in the past. Every musical
number in A Little Night Music is a
"variation on a waltz theme," says
stage director Brent Wagner. "...it is
the waltz - which features changing
partners - that mirrors the lives of
the people in this play as they
change romantic partners throughout
the course of the musical. There is
something ethereal and dance-like
about this magical weekend as these
characters begin to understand them-
selves and their relationships with
the people they love."
A Little Night Music was origi-
nally released on Broadway in 1973,
won 5 Tony Awards and the New
York Drama Critic's Circle Award
for Best Musical. The lyrics, Sond-
heim's forte, are excellent, and the
music is delicately beautiful; an op-
portunity to see "Send In The
Clowns" in its proper context as a
bittersweet meditation on a mistimed
love affair is priceless in itself.
A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC is being
performed at the Lydia
Mendelssohn Theater tonight
through Sunday with evening per-
formances at 8.00 p.m. and a Sun-
day matinee at 2:00 p.m. Tickets at
the League Ticket Office (764-
0450)from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00p. m.
Monday through Friday for $12 and
$9, with student seating available at
$5 with I.D.
by Mike Kolody
set against a backdrop that oozes of
volatility- the Vietnam War Era-
New Times by Judlyne Lilly has
created a situation of racial unrest
that can best be described as ex-
plosive. New times are ahead as
soon as the curtain opens, and
progress isn't easy, as the facade of
'50s segregation slowly gives way.
Today, as the issue of racism still
looms large, Lilly's work is timely.
The play is sure to stir dissension
and controversy. Racism is an issue
that many would like to forget, and
has had an incredible social impact.
"We're like dominoes," the character
Sage comments, "When one black
falls, they'll want the other one to
The play is set in upstate New
York in 1967 at a newly integrated
women's college. Diane, a young
black woman, takes the seemingly
insignificant position of house-
mother to a predominantly white
dorm. Not without comment, she is
the first Black to attain any kind of
authority position at the school. She
struggles with the students, the ad-
ministration, and interestingly
enough with a resentful black maid
who, after being at the school 20
years, has never gotten a bit of atten-
tion. To complicate things further,
Diane's husband is away at war in
Vietnam, having been drafted at a
time where a disproportionate
amount of Blacks were fighting a
war for a predominantly white popu-
While New Times is certainly a
realistic work very much rooted in
historical fact of the '60's, Lilly adds
additional dimensions to her theme
See TIMES, page 7
Coffee, tea or theater?
by Julie Komorn
All the world's a stage, including
coffee shops. Ann Arbor's newest
theater troupe, The Mosaic Theatre
Project, will perform this evening at
the Espresso Royale Caffe on Main
Street. Their first show Mosaic is
an eclectic mix of music, comedy
and drama written by the members
themselves. "Each member is a
writer and a performer on their own,"
explains locally-acclaimed director
Rick Sperling. But instead of
performing alone, the members
decided to get together and create
material as a group.
Mosaic Theatre looks at a wide
variety of themes, from hard-hitting
to hilarious, through a combination
of scenes, monologues and songs.
The San Francisco poet/playwright/
performer Tanya Shaffer will
perform part of her one woman show
"Miss America's Daughter" which
'deals with women in popular
society. The tnonologue shows an
ex-Miss America's mother coaching
her daughter on how to look and be
perfect. It deals with issues of body
image, violence and pop culture
New York recording artist
Dwight Peterson will perform songs
such as "Math Rap" and "Ego Trip"
along with a sketch on the struggles
of the pressurized nine to five job.
Another exciting component of
Mosaic Theatre is the music/theater
duo, Erin Kamler and Tanya Krohn.
The pair's incredible talent and
experience in writing, producing and
directing eight professional shows
makes it hard to believe they are
high school students. Tonight they
will perform a blues song they wrote
titled "Sleepwalking Man," along
with a sketch that delves into the
mind of an indecisive soldier
preparing to attack a village in
Vietnam. In addition, Kamler and
Krohn will perform a satirical musi-
cal scene of a new age TV show that
deals with crystals and healing.
The show's blend of social
commentary and personal stories
provides a fresh look at the complex-
ities of contemporary life. "It is an
introduction of our material and what
we have written" says Sperling.
"And were interested in the re-
sponse." Although there will be cof-
fee galore at the cafd, patrons
probably won't need the caffeine to
keep them awake.
Henrik (Hunter Foster) reacts to the seducing charms of the maid Petra
(Kristen Behrendt) in A Little Night Music, playing tonight through
Sunday at the Lydia Mendelssohn Theater.
The Michigan Daily - this is what college was meant to bell
MOSAIC will be performed at 8
p.m. tonight, and Thursday, Nov. 1I
at The Espresso Royale Caffe, 214
S. Main St. Tickets are $3 students,
$4 general admission.
i25 5 25 =t SU
C m4I cdl a C I e$ $s I IlIl Ip
Save the LP!
. Daily Arts
The First Two Years"
Fr. Michael Ellias, Pastor
of St. Elias Orthodox Church,
Michigan Union - Room 2209
Thursday, October 18
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
S. State o 761-4358
LEST DAY- OCTOBER 20
HE DOESN'T WRITE FOR
You can. Call 763-0379.
-PIP -1 * I
r ( ' ii-mri 1i
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