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February 04, 1993 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 1993-02-04

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The Michigan Daily - Weekend etc. - February 4, 1993 - Page 3

Listen your February blues away

It's February, alright, but I don't
need to tell you that. You'vej ust maxed-
out your Visa card with that last course
pack, that two week break is a distant
memory, and baby, it's cold outside.
And even though poets, philosophers,
and provocateurs of all persuasions like
to claim April as the cruelest month,
anyone who's tangled with affairs of the

If you're planning to see "Phantom," watch out for that chandelier.
roadway Melody

by Melissa Rose Bernardo
Well, theater buffs, this spring break
you'll find a darn good season awaiting
you both on and off Broadway. Here is
just a smattering of what's playing on
the Great White Way:
"Crazy for You" 1992's Best Musi-
cal incorporates 15 standards plus
newly-discovered Gershwin gems. Just
sit back and relax, this one will immedi-
ately charm you ; with Jodi Benson (the
Little Mermaid); Shubert Theater.
"Falsettos" A dual bill of William
*Finn and James Lapine's musicals
"March of the Falsettos" and
"Falsettoland," a humorous and touch-
ing look at a Jewish family coming to
terms with homosexuality, values and
growing up; starring the legendary
Mandy Patinkin; John Golden Theater.
"Guys and Dolls" Frank Loesser's
musical fable is sure to please anyone:
chirping Hot-Box girls, brassy gam-
*blers and (of course) couples in love;
with Nathan Lane and the Tony-win-
ning Faith Prince; Martin Beck Theater.
NOTE: "The Goodbye Girl," by Cy
Coleman / Marvin Hamlisch, begins
previewsFebruary 13, starring the amaz-
ingly-talented duo Bernadette Peters and
Martin Short. Call the Marquis Theater
-you might be able to geta sneak peak
at this long-awaited new musical.
Here are the old standards-i.e. the
pretentious, pyrotechnic-laden shows
that comprise stuffy cocktail party con-
versation. If you want to fit into elite
social circles, brandish these ticket stubs.
"Cats" Andrew Lloyd-Webber's hit
is celebrating its 10th Anniversary. No
plot, no dialogue - just a pack of
cuddly felines prowling around and
purring T.S. Eliot poetry set to music;
Winter Garden Theater.
"Les Miserables" The gifted Alain
Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg
have revived Victor Hugo's tragic revo-
lutionary tale, starring arevolving stage
andmammothmoving sets. Even though
everyone dies, it's well-worth sitting on

your fanny for three hours - the score
is truly exceptional; Imperial Theater.
"Miss Saigon" Again, Boublil and
Schonberg. You know the story - it's
Puccini's "Madame Butterfly," except
set in 1975 Saigon. Here the stars are a
real helicopter and a 20-foot statue of
Ho Chi Minh. And again, a glorious
musical score. B'ring a hankie; Broad-
way Theater.
"The Phantom of the Opera" Well,
it's still there, and making millions, so
Sir Webber must be happy. You might
as well see it in Detroit - nothing
different. The real star is the 1200-
pound chandelier; Majestic Theater.
Now a look at off-Broadway. Hey
-just because it's "off' doesn't mean
it isn't good.
"Forbidden Broadway: 10th Anni-
versary Edition" The witty Gerard
Alessandrini roasts the shows and stars
of Broadway with spoofs on everything
and everyone - from Madonna imper-
sonations to Lloyd-Webber and
Sondheim bashing. Roaringly funny -
I promise; Theater East; 307-4100.
"Oleanna" Controversial playwright
David Mamet continues to stir up audi-
ences with his blunt,violentandcontro-
versial sexual harassment saga;
Orpheum Theater; 307-4100.
For those of you whose taste is a
little on the wild side, here area few off-
off Broadway shows that might appeal
to you.
"Born to Rumba!" Michael Alasa's
See THEATER, Page 5

heart knows that February far surpasses
April as the cruelest. In April, if your
heart crumbles like an Orco in Cookie
Monster's grip, at least the air is sweet
and alive with the promise of spring;
Mother Nature, kind matriarch that she
is, consoles you. But Jack Frost - a
man, of course - rules February with
an icy fist. When your soul shatters into
a thousand crystalline shards (and it
will) over even the most expendable
member of the male gender, the bitter
wind blows relentlessly, bringing stark
significance to the tern "frigid."
So you spend a lot of time trying to
get (or stay) warm. But there's a kind of
heat no furnace, electric blanket or sci-
entifically-engineered underwear can
give you; and when you can't get it,
what you've got is the blues. And when
you've got the blues, you need to listen
to the Blues. Somehow, when you're
scraping bottom emotionally, there's
something about listening to a woman
pour out the sorrows of love that gives
you something to hang on to.

Now, let's get something straight:
when I talk about "blues singers" I don't
mean 22 year-old R&B songbirds wear-
ing Gaulthier and trying hard to look
deep as they croon along to synthesized
tracks. No - I'm talking about women
with soul, with voices that let you know
that they've been around and experi-
enced just enough happiness to know
what true dejection is about: Billie
Holliday, Bessie Smith, EttaJames, Janis
Joplin, and Bonnie Raitt, to name but a
few. Sade and Whitney can carry a tune,
I guess, but their often over-produced
and under-sung numbers just don't cut
it. Come on, do you really believe
Whitney I-used-to-be-a-model-now-
It's been said that only
women really know
how to sing the blues.
... it just seems like
women's pain runs a
little deeper, and it
makes their singing
more powerful.
I'm-married-to-Bobby-and-making-
millions-from-one-song Houston has
the same kind of aches you do? I didn't
think so. But when you hear Billie cry-
ing "Good Morning Heartache," you
know where she's been.
It's been said that only women really
know how to sing the blues. I don't
mention this to sleight masters like John
Lee Ilooker and B.B. King, but (and I
know I'm biased) it just seems like
women's pain runs deeper, and itmakes
their singing more powerful. Okay, so

you don't hear women singing classic
lyrics like, "Squeeze my lemon 'til the
juice runs down my leg," but it takes a
Bonnie Raitt to write and sing, "They
say women, we're the stronger / Some-
how we always make it through / Hell,
that ain't how I feel right now / I don't
even think it's true/Looks to me there's
lots more broken /Than anyone can
really see / Why the angels turn their
backs on some/Is justamystery tome."
Moreover, what makes Raitt remark-
able is the way she takes a traditionally
male point of view and makes itherown
in songs like "Love Letter." And no man
living or dead tops Bessie Smith when
it comes to attitude, especially on num-
bers like "Young Woman's Blues" -
"I'm a good woman, I can get plenty a
men ..."
But whatever you do, don't listen to
this music when you're in agood mood.
You'd probably just turn it off in a fit of

II

disgust, wondering why these women
can't get their lives together. Wait until
you've failed an exam, had a nasty fight
with your best friend, broken up with
your lover, or are spending another
lonely night comparing dishwashing
soaps and thinking your cat seems sud-
denly distant and uncommunicative.
Believe me, when that time comes,
you're going to need to hear Megon
McDonough wail out "Painless Love."
Then, get righteous with Etta as she
declares, "Ninety-nine and a half won't
do..."

iO
404
Voted Best Haircut
in Ann Arbor by the
Michigan Daily.

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