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March 18, 1993 - Image 11

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1993-03-18

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The Mihia dal - Itdet.Tusa, Mac 18193 ag.

Hi Mom
Now this is whatI call fun.Fellow
pack rats out there can relate to the
adrenaline rush that surges through
the mind as oneperuses that personal
stash ofacquiredloot.Years ofhoard-
ing have awarded me apriceless col-
lection of stuff - books, letters,
magazines, 45s (Prince's "When
Doves Cry" on purple vinyl!), you
know, stuff.
But nothing brings me more un-
paralleled joy than my wooden box
filled with concert ticket stubs, from
Kiss (the original line-up with make-
up) at the tender age of nine, to once-
in-a-lifetime shows like The English
Beat, with a then unknown opening
act from Athens called R.E.M. (who
have made quite a name for them-
selves these days).
Sorting through these fading little

by Melissa Rose Bernardo

pieces of life, I was overcome with a
misty senseof melancholy. Themore
stubs I found, the sadder I felt.
"Mom." I said it aloud, just to
hear, half hoping she'd answer back.
It was her.
If it wasn't for my mother, I prob-
ably wouldn't have been able to see
any of those fab shows. Being many
moons shy of my sixteenth birthday,
it was mom that would drop me off
and pick me up afterwards. There I'd
be, standing in front of some club,
arms loaded with T-shirts and posters
I'd been saving my lunch money for
weeks to afford, waiting for mom to
whisk me home.
Then she discovered that I was
skipping school to wait in line for
said tickets. Nota popularrevelation.
Hence the beginning of a whole new
era of Scott 'n' mom's relationship.
"I know Prince tickets go on sale
tomorrow. Don't you go skipping
class, I'll wait in line for you." So
while I was schlepping my way
though another day of high school,
mom was in line with all sorts of
teenyboppers to get me tickets.
Foraging through these memo-
ries of her, I was flooded with more
andmorerecollectionsofall the things
she did forme. Like how understand-
ing she was with my various girl-
friends, from Madonna wanna-be's
in tornfishnets andmini-leatherskirts
(hey, it was the '80s) to pseudo-
depressed waifs dressed in black, tot-
ing Camus and chain-smoking clove
cigarettes. She never said a word ...
That crummy Thanksgiving Day
when my entire family was convinced
(and quite horrified) that I was gay
(wrong again, y'all - maybe it was
the skirts and purple mascara, heh
heh), mom let'em have it. "So what
if he is?!," she screamed at the rest of
the Sterling brood, "Why should that
change anything?"
Those were some heavy times,
when I took solace in Annie Lennox
and Boy George as a reaction to the
testosterone-driven tyranny around
me (principals, teachers, dad - the
usual suspects). Only mom stood by
and supported me. The compassion
only a mother can provide.
Then the cruel hand of fate reached
for the absolute wrong person. Slowly,
mom started to change. Something
was definitely wrong. They call it
Alzheimer's disease. I call it hell.
To make a long, painful story
short, my mom made her exit from
this world in my eighteenth year, the
first time I ever felt truly alone.
Now on the verge of taking off for
New York to make my name as the
Black bohemian renaissance man of
the'90s (tall order, but I'm up for it),
it's difficult not to reflect on such
memories. Life's kinda crazy some-

My original intention was to write
an article about the musical highlights
of the'92-'93 Broadway season. But I
couldn't very well put out a blank page,
now could I? Broadway used to repre-
sent a dream; no matter how bad things
got. Broadway- aglow with love,
laughter and plenty of white lights -
always welcomed you with open arms,
and its music melted your troubles away.
But before you hop the next Greyhound
to the Great White Way, buckle up and
brace yourself for
the rude awaken- "
ing you're about
to get: Broadway
is gone. Who
knows where, '
and who knows
for how long - I
don't know if
we're talking
about coffee
break or sabbati-e
calhere-but the
Broadway musi-
cal has skipped-
town.
After the'91-
'92 Tony awards,
A m e r ica n
theatergoers and
critics alike rhap-
sodizedover"the Faith Prince and Nal
return of the
American musical," "the end of the
reign of the British on Broadway" and
"Broadway's best season in years."
People pointed to "Crazy for You,"
"Guys and Dolls," "Jelly's Last Jam"
and "Falsettos" as the shows that resus-
citated Broadway. New York Post the-
ater critic Clive Barnes agrees that a
number of good shows came out all at
once, but attributes it more to chance
than anything else.
"Because of the recession there was
a buildup of capital ... it just so hap-
pened that the financing all came out at
the same time, and the productions all
emerged at the same time," Barnes ex-
plained. Theatergoers were basking in
"a kind of spirious air of a creative
revival," according to Barnes. "But it

wasn't a creative revival at all," he
insisted, "It was an economic accident."
On top of the economic explosion,
the shows were either revivals or re-
treads. "Crazy for You" is a George
Gershwin rehash; "Guys and Dolls" is a
revival (albeit an inventive one) of Frank
Loesser's hit; "Falsettos" had appeared
off-Broadway in two-act form 10 years
earlier. So there was really nothing new
about them.
If last season had really spurned a

Watch Over Me" is by no means a new
play. It started in a small theater club in
Hamstead, London, and when it was
successful it moved to the West End,
and then to America, all the while keep-
ing much of the same cast.
As for this season's musicals, they
have been incredible disappointments,
to put it nicely. The first two musicals of
the season - "Anna Karenina" (yes,
based on the mammoth Tolstoy novel)
and "My Favorite Year" (the quaint
Peter O'Toole com-
edy) - were major
flops. The passionless
Ann Crumb (Michael
Ball's bedfellow in
"Aspects of Lust" -
oops, I mean "Love")
could not make a "Les
Miserables" out of
"Anna Karenina"; and
even with the talents
of Evan Pappas and
Lainie Kazan, "My
Favorite Year" made a
muchbetterfilm. "Nei-
ther was going to do
much," Barnes
claimed.
Perhaps the most
eagerly-awaitedmusi-
cal of the season, "The
s and D o I Is.' Goodbye Gir-1"opened
March 4, and proved
to be the biggest disappointment of the
season. Bernadette Peters and Martin
Short are the stars of Neil Simon's en-
deavor (his first musical since "They're
Playing Our Song" in 1978); Marvin
Hamlisch is the composer; Graciela
Daniele (of "Once on This Island"fame)
is the choreographer. The show did a
trial run in Chicago and went through a
few major changes, the biggest being
the replacement of director Gene Saks
with Michael Kidd. How did this show
fail? Peters and Short (especially Short)
received much adulation, but even their
immense talent could not salvage this
show. Barnes predicted that it will be
around for just another month or so.
For those of you keeping score, we're
0 for 3 in the musical category so far. 0

than Lane smooch in celebration of "Guy
creative revival, there would be at least
some inkling of an exciting '92 - '93
season - which there is not. What is
exciting on Broadway is uncharacteris-
tically Broadway - straight plays,
which came from the strangest places.
Under the directorial guidance of
David Leveaux, Liam Neeson and
Natasha Richardson graced "Anna
Christie," Eugene O'Neill's 1922
Pulitzer Prize-winning drama about the
reunion of a father and daughter. (If you
ask me, they all deserve Tonys just for
attempting Eugene O'Neill.) Barnes
pointed to these performances as Tony-
contenders.
Stephen Rea (BestActor Oscarnomi-
nation for "The Crying Game") and
Alec McCowen's "Someone Who'll

Bernadette Peters and Martin Short wishing they were in a better show.

for 4 if you count "Annie Warbucks,"
the return of the red-headed orphan
which managed to survive countless
trials and rewrites only to die some-
where on the road. (That. could be a
mixed blessing.) But wait! Looking in
my crystal ball (that is, my issue of
TheaterWeek) I see some 13 shows
arriving on Broadway within the next
two months- a few of them musicals,
too!
"Tommy,"the famous rock operaby
The Who, has been rewritten as a musi-

cal. "Tommy" is some 20 yearsold, and
has been a film, a ballet and even a
concert, which the Who performed
themselves at the MET. (Let's hope it
does better than "Chess," the rock op-
era by Tim Rice and ABBA compos-
ers.) It was successful at the La Jolla
playhouse in California, andhits Broad-
way April 22.
AnotherEnglish musical comes our
way - "Blood Brothers," which has
been running for years in London, where
it won the Olivier award for Best Mu-
sical in 1983. "Whether it will go here
no one knows. It's been rumored for
here for years and never quite materi-
alized - now it seems as though it is,"
Barnes speculated. "Blood Brothers"
will materialize on April25.
Thebiggestglimmerofhope forthe
Broadway musicals is probably "Kiss
of the Spider Woman," based on (what
else) themovie. John Kander and Fred
Ebb ("Chicago," "Cabaret," "New York
New York") provide the music, and
playwrightTerrenceMcNally ("Frankie
and Johnny," "Lips Together, Teeth
Apart") the book. The show did a trial
run in Purchase, New York a few years
ago and was panned. A revised version
was later done with the present cast
(ChitaRivera, BrentCarver) in Toronto,
and is now playing in London, This
winner of the Best Musical Olivier
award will open May 3,justin time for
the Tony Award cutoff date (May 5).
All of these musicals are revivals,
rewrites or rehashes, about which any
critic (including myself) has reserva-
tions.Barnes concurred: "Whether you
can really make these things better I
sometimes doubt. You know you can
do your best with them but really what
you've got is fundamentally what
you've got."
It's tough to pinpoint the exact time
or date of the Broadway musical's de-

-I

'

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