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November 06, 1992 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 1992-11-06

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0

-ARTS S
The Michigan Daily Friday, November 6, 1992 Page 8

A show too good for Broadway*

by Laura Alantas
What critically acclaimed musical that
has never made it to The Great White Way
is making its regional debut in Ann Arbor
this weekend? MUSKET's production of
Stephan Schwartz's "The Baker's Wife."
Now, before you say to yourself, "Hey!
Wasn't there a movie with Demi Moore
" the answer is no! That was "The
Butcher's Wife." This is Stephan
("Godspell" and "Pippin") Schwartz's self-
proclaimed greatest work, "The Baker's
Wife."
Explaining the decision to put up a
show that is not well known, co-producer
Theresa McDermit said, "Doing the five
thousandth performance of 'South Pacific'
is negligible. We decided that it's benefi-
cial to the actors and the audience to do a
show that they won't normally see.
MUSKET put the same philosophy into ac-
tion last year with 'Chess' and it was met
with a great response."
The producers also liked the storyline of
"The Baker's Wife," which is lighter than
those of "Chess" or "Evita," MUSKET's
most recent shows. The show tells story of
the Baker Aimable's (Jeff Shubart) mar-
AN/Daily riage to his young wife Genevieve (Katy
Wagner) and what happens when

Genevieve is seduced by the sexy young
man, Dominique (Miles Underwood). The
London and New York critics complained
that this storyline was frivolous. MUS-
KET's version, therefore, will try to get
away from such assertions by placing more
emphasis on some of the themes that lie
deep within the story of love and com-
mitment.
Primarily, the production will stress the
idea of societal pressures that weigh on in-
dividuals. "In society, people are told by
images in the media that if you are the per-
fect wife or the perfect husband, you can
have the perfect life. But that's just not
true," director Jason Hackner said. "People
are not perfect. And, the perfect partner
never comes along. So, people make
choices and then have to work at them."
Another prominent theme in "The
Baker's Wife" is the battle of the sexes.
Hackner, however, has minimized and hu-
manized the superficiality of this clash.
"We're trying to show that underneath the
men's macho exterior and the women's lib
motif, these people are still in relationships
and are trying to make things work,"
Hackner said.
In order to highlight all of these themes,
the production staff of "The Baker's Wife"

has developed some creative additions for
the show. The order of the score has been
slightly rearranged to clarify and add
strength to the story. Also, there is not:
much dancing in the show, but choreogra-
pher Carrie Barnhardt has designed some
interpretive dance that will be done in sil-
houette behind a black scrim, portraying,
the scene's action visually.
With all of these modifications, Hackner ,
said, "I feel we've done the piece some
justice ... None of the productions that,
have been done of this show have been able r
to get it right. This is our shot of doing it'
here, in Ann Arbor."
The rocky history of "The Baker's'
Wife" supports Hackner's assertion. On the
inspiration of Marcel Pagnol's revolutionj
ary film "La Femme du Boulanger,"
Stephan Schwartz (composer/lyricist oft
"Pippin" and "Godspell") proceeded to)
adapt the movie into a Broadway musical.
With Topol ("Fiddler on the Roof") cast as
the Baker, the show began a pre-New York"
tour in Los Angeles in 1976. Once Topol
dropped out of the show, however, the
show closed and "The Baker's Wife" never
made it to Broadway.
Trevor Nunn (director of "Les'
See WIFE, Page 9

Members of the cast of the MUSKET production of "The Baker's Wife."

Belly
Belly EP
Reprise/Sire
The UK buzz on Belly was that
ex-Throwing Muse Tanya Donelly's
latest project could quite possibly be
the last word in pop girl riot magic
- the perfect combination of grit,
glamour, and glory that so many
have promised, but rarely deliver.
Despite the Brit music press'
penchant for overreaction, they
might have it right this time. This
E.P. is a sweet, sugary kiss of
blissful pop tart harmonies and
acidic lyrics that hits the mark on all
four songs.
"Belly" opens with "Feed The
Tree," a glorious whisper of Autumn
images that picks up where "The
Real Ramona" left off. Donelly likes
to rock, but she never forgets that
hook, which former partner in crime
Kristen Hersh is sorely missing on
the Muses' "Red Heaven."
The kicker here is "Slow Dog,"
where a cantankerous old dog signi-
FIes an unspecified addiction over an
'All Over The Place" era Bangles if
they were on 4AD and not so hung
op on the Beatles riff.
Yes, yes, yes ...
-Scott Sterling

Mudhoney cakewalks into the majors

luna2
lunapark
Elektra

luna2's debut LP "lunapark" has a
rather whimsical first sung line in
the countryesque song "Slide:" "You
can never give the finger to the
blind." The ex-Galaxie 500 mem-
ber/luna2 lead singer/guitarist Dean
Warham's new three-piece (which
includes the Chills' Justin Harwood
on bass and the Feelies' Stanley
Demeski on drums) has created a
record that is simultaneously deli-
cate, moody and upbeat.
The lyrical themes may not be in-
nocuous - the aforementioned
"Slide" explores unspoken feelings
of intolerance over slide guitar made
fey - but the sound enthralls in its
small heartfelt gestures.
It's a quiet little album, on the
whole, unpretentious and under-
stated. Even if you turn "lunapark"
up to 11, it doesn't sound loud. luna2
carefully crafted the 12 songs of
"lunapark" as havens of guitar-in-
flected emotion, hidden from the
trendy world.
- Annette Petrusso

by Nima Hodaei
Mudhoney has always been that
other Seattle band. Never pop
enough to be grouped in with Pearl
Jam, or dirty enough to hang with
Nirvana, the boys in Mudhoney have
been noisily yet efficiently pumping
out their own set of tunes by their
own rules since their inception back
in 1988. In that stretch of time, the
group (Mark Arm - vocals and gui-
tar, Steve Turner - guitar, Matt
Lukin - bass, and Dan Peters -
drums), released three full length al-
buits and an accompaniment of sin-
gles as well, all on Seattle's mecca
for music, Sub-Pop.
However, all good things come to
an end. Even Mudhoney has now
broken ranks from the independent
music scene, releasing their latest al-
bum "Piece of Cake" on the Reprise
record label. Joining the path that
many of the other Seattle bands
(Soundgarden, Nirvana, etc.) have
taken, Mudhoney is ready for the
"big show," and the "big bucks."
"We didn't really feel any need
to (sign with a major label) until
about a year ago," said Peters from a
telephone in New York the night be-
fore Mudhoney's U.S. tour. "I mean,
the reason why we did leave Sub-
Pop, which a lot of people may
know by now, is because they went
through some severe financial diffi-
culties, and were about to go tits-up.
About the time that 'Every Good

Boy Deserves Fudge' (their last al-
bum on Sub-Pop) was supposed to
come out we were getting pretty
bummed out because we had this
record done and they pretty much
almost couldn't afford to put that
record out."
What ensued was a wide search
by the band for a label that was in-
terested. Ideas included signing with
Caroline who distribute Sub-Pop al-
bums, in effect, cutting out the need
for a middle man. But eventually,
the deal with Reprise looked most
promising.
"One of the main advantages is
knowing what the hell is going on
every day," Peters stated in weighing
the pros and cons of a major con-
tract. "There hasn't been any disad-
vantages yet. Our record just came
out and it's been such a short period
of time that if any kind of bummer
things happen, they haven't hap-
pened yet. A year from now they
could."
Mudhoney's loud, and ear-split-
ting sound caused frontman Arm to
say once that no major label would
even be the slightest bit interested in
the group. Providing earth shaking
grooves, with often times hilarious
(sometimes vulgar) lyric plots,
Mudhoney went way beyond (or is
that behind?) the typical "Alive" fare
of Pearl Jam, scaring away the main-
stream.
That major record companies ac-

Matt Lukin, Dan Peters, Steve Turner and Mark Arm of Mudhoney.

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tually did want to sign the group,
was difficult to digest for the grung-
sters.
"That was actually a surprise to
us anyway," Peters explained. "At
the time we said that, they wouldn't
have touched us. The times are
changing. We started meeting with
record companies two months before
the Nirvana record came out."
"Piece of Cake," unlike major la-
bel debuts from other previously in-
dependent bands, is actually harder,
and in ways, more raw than some of
Mudhoney's earlier work. In coming
up with this album, Mudhoney has at
least established the fact that things
won't change once the money starts
flowing.
"We want the songs to sound dif-
ferent from the last record and
stuff," Peters said: "But we always
take the attitude that we aren't going
to jump into a 24-track studio with a
big producer because that wouldn't
work for Mudhoney, and we know
that. 'EGBDF' was done on an 8-
track, and this was done on a 16-

track, so you could say we were
moving up ... or sideways (laughs).
Mudhoney's future plans range
about as far as what to have for din-
ner tonight, never mind their upcom-
ing tour or long-range goals.
Ultimately, the band remains simple
and true to itself, and according .tp
Peters, that's the best way for
Mudhoney to function.
"The main reason why we got
another contract anyway, was justlo
keep putting out records, until wve
stop having fun," he said. "We don't
really have high expectations asm a
band at all. After the first single, ev-
erything after that is a complee
bonus. We have plans up until'.
January, and after January when We
get back from Australia, there's ,#o
plans. We're generally a pretty lazy
band. After January, no one might
hear from us for a couple of years."
MUDHONEY will be appearing
tonight along with EUGENIUS and
CLAWHAMMER at St. Andrews.
Doors open at 9 p.m. Call 961-
MELT for more info. _

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