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March 29, 1993 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 1993-03-29

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ARTS

T e M c i a D i l y M n d , M r c 2 , 1 9 3P a e

l
c

MUSK ET gets a
kick out of 'Anything'
by Melissa Rose Bernardo in Me." Another comic highlight was
In this age of overly melodramatic Stephanie Fybel as Erma, Moonface's;
heart-wrenching musicaltragedy,MUS- shapely sidekick. Fybel amused audi
KET (thankfully) decided to escape to a ences with her nasal drawl and her sexy
good-old fashioned toe-tapping, hand- attitude. Also to be commended is
clapping, bright-light-and-big-chorus- Jonathan Berry, who played the Purser
with a sing-song voice and feminine:
swagger.
Anything Goes While the leads were relentlessly
Power Center strong, the show belonged to Tammy
March 25, 1993 Jacobs as "the sensuous sermonizer, her
high stepping holiness" Reno Sweeny.

Comedic opera "La Serva Padrona" was an enthusiastic hit last weekend at Mendelssohn Theatre.

Double the opera, double the fun

number musical comedy - "Anything
Goes." Their production of this "de-
lovely" show was a sparkling display of
musical and dramatic talent.
All of the leads proved to be strong
actors and singers. As the fledgling
stockbroker Billy Crocker, Robert
Stanchina was irresistible. He poured
his heart out in his songs -most nota-
bly the ballads "Easy to Love" and "It's
De-Lovely" - manipulating musical
nuances like inflection and volume to
portray his feelings. Stanchina repre-
sentedBilly asaquick thinkerandafast
talker, and also a giving friend and
devoted lover, winning the hearts of
Hope and of the audience.
Jennifer Johns was lovely as Billy's
counterpart, the debutante Hope
Harcourt. Hope is hopelessly in love
with Billy (pardon the pun), but en-
gaged to Lord Evelyn, and she doesn't
have the guts to surrender to her true
feelings-ah, yes, haven'tI seen this in
afew hundred movies? Hope is arather
shallow and thankless role, and fortu-
nately Johns made the most out of it
without being clichd or annoying. She
had a clean, innocent singing voice, full
of anticipation and charm in "It's De-
Lovely." Another strike against Johns
was her costuming - Johns' girlish
beauty was wasted in drab and unflat-
tering attire.
Scott Gingold played an entertain-
ing MoonfaceMartin, apoorexcuse for
a gangster disguised as a preacher. He
crooned the awkwardly sentimental "Be
Like the Blue Bird," and jazzed up
"Friendship" with Reno - all with a
Brooklyn accent. Ryan Bailer played
Eli Whitney, the staunchly school-spir-
ited "Yale Man," with fervor and en-
ergy, belting out the rollicking "Crew
Song."
Comedy flourished in the show. Jim
Willhite was a comic genius as the
properEnglish Lord Evelyn- "You're
the rat's pajamas!" - especially when
he let it all hang out (figuratively, of
course) in the risqud tango "The Gypsy

She adapted to other characters in duets'
well - casually flirtatious with Billy in.
the swinging "I Get a Kick Out of You"@
and amusingly competitive with
Moonface in "Friendship." Her num-
bers with the chorus ("Anything Goes"
While the leads were
relentlessly strong, the
show belonged to
Tammy Jacobs as 'the
sensuous sermonizer,
her high stepping
holiness' Reno Sweeny.
and "Blow, Gabriel, Blow") were earth
shatteringly energetic and engaging. Her
low chest voice was clear, full and
smooth - never gritty or rough around
the edges. She also infused her lyrics
with musical nuances, exhibiting im-
peccable control over her beltig range
- something most young singers have,
not yet developed. Look out Patti;
LuPone!
The choreography - usually the
star of "Anything Goes" - was noth-
ing special with the exception of the
tremendous tap-dancing title song. Half
the company engaged in a fast and
furious tapnumber, well-choreographed
and consistent. I would have liked to see
the full company tap, buta smaller well-
done tap number is preferable to one
larger not-so-well-done. The chorus
blended together well, save the sloppy
"There's No Cure Like Travel."
The orchestra was reminiscent of
the Benny Goodman orchestra. With
his back to the audience, Damon Gupton
conducted; the 16-member, 32 piece
ensemble-arranged on top of the ship
- provided flawless accompanimeut0
and visual diversion.
Not just any cast could do justice to
this piece of musical theater history.
"Anything Goes" was the perfect outlet
for MUSKET's abundance of musical
and dramatic talent, and a glowing tribr
ute to the musical genius of Cole Porter.

by Kirk Wetters
The School ofMusic'scomic operadouble bill of
Giovanni Pergolesi's "La Serva Padrona" and
Dominick Argento's "The Boor" was performed so
enthusiastically and joyously that only the most
La Serva Padrona / The Boor
Mendelssohn Theatre
March 25, 1993
hard-hearted, mean-spirited audience-members
could have left disappointed.
Not only was the performance of Pergolesi's
"Serva" exemplary, but the quality of the work itself
was evident.It sounded a little like the comic operas
of Mozart or Rossini because of the influence it had
on those composers, but, if anything, Pergolesi's
understanding of thedramaticnecessities of comedy
is even greater than that of his successors. For
example, thebrevity and simplicity of "Serva"makes
the comedy very easy to appreciate. "Serva" is under
an hour, unlike the comedies of Mozart and Rossini,
which are often more than two - and Wagner's
Animal Bag had narrom
Animal Bag instead thi
Stardog/Mercury wretcheda
You'll probably never hear Animal to lean to
Bag, which is too bad, in a bizarre way. Chains roa
Animal Bag so desperately wants to be Peppers
huge that they've decided to clone Queensryc
today's biggest heavy metal/hard rock grandiose1
acts. This would have been fine if they filled with

great comedy, "Der Meistersinger," is more than
four hours.
Thursday night's cast was very aware of the
musical and dramatic subtleties of both works, and
the voices were all well-suited to the characters. For
example, Monica Swartout-Bebow's sparkling so-
prano and vibrant characterization were perfectly
suited to the role of Serpina, the servant turned
mistress. Even if Edward Perini's tenor was a little
less breathtaking, his characterization of the op-
pressed bachelor was outstanding. His range of
facial expressions included many varieties of dazed,
baffled, frustrated, bewildered and confused.
The cast of "The Boor" was equally excellent.
Kyle Marrero made an especially strong impression
as the obstinate, head-strong boor. His lean baritone
had just the right amount of roughness for the part,
and his character's many antics never seemed con-
trived. Jennifer Fitch was also superb as the "tragic"
widow.
Despite the similarities with the character of
Butterfly inPuccini' s"MadamaButterfly," the widow
merely thinks of herself as a tragic heroine, rather
than actually being one. Fitch's portrayal was mar-
velous in its ability to make her character's emotions

seem genuine and comic at the same time. Because
'The Boor" isacomedy which satirizes melodrama,
real-seeming emotions add to the absurdity by keep-
ing the story plausible.
'The Boor" was somewhat less successful than
"La Serva Padrona," but little of the fault can be
placed on the performers. The only small perfor-
mance difficulty in "The Boor" was that the large
orchestra sometimes made it difficult to understand
the singers' words.
Other than this, the only problems were apart of
the work itself. "The Boor" is based on a play by
Chekhov, and much of Chekhov's dry, wry humor is
not really at home in opera. Much credit goes to the
performers and the composer Argento for their often
successful efforts to resolve this difficulty.Argento's
score captures many of the subtleties and quickly
shifting moods of the libretto.
Especially in comedy, it is essential that the
playing of the orchestra be very alert and sensitive to
the dramatic necessities of the opera. Conductor
Martin Katz and the University Philharmonia Or-
chestra were outstanding; they were like an extra
character who offers smiling musical comments
about the events on stage.

WHOj WHA [WHERE WHENI ~;iIYI

awed it down to one band, but
hey have fashioned a truly
amalgam ofsounds. They tend
Dwards a brooding Alice in
ar, but there is a Red Hot Chili
funk-rocker, a mystical
che number, and a couple of
power ballads. The songs are
h obvious riffs, overwrought

vocals, and misplaced guitar solos.
The album's cover is pseudo-psy-
chedelic, the band pictures embarrass-
ingly serious, their lyrics beyond stupid
("In one hundred years we'll all be dead
but we won't be sad/Because all our
friends will all be dead," "Johnny-Cake
queerboy outside the Club Rage/Plays
penis roulette, takin' chances with
AIDS," "You hold me in contempt/
Cause I'm a little unkempt/But I take a
bath/Almost everyday"), and they have
a drummer named Boo. Which all
means, of course, they are funnier than
Spinal Tap is today. You'd better snatch
this up now, because Animal Bag will

never get another chance to make an-
other album. And they couldn't top this
if they tried.
-Tom Erlewine
Ute Lemper
Illusions
London
Ute Lemper is charisma. Even in
recordings, the 29-year-old German
chanteuse comes off as a unique, irre-
pressible personality: a true star. It's a
good, thing, too, for on her latest album
she takes on the songs of two greater
presences: Edith Piaf and Marlene
Dietrich.
See RECORDS, Page 9

U I

Wharton
Center
presen ts
Wednesday,
March 31
"*8pm*
THE PAUL WINTER
CONSORT

Psychic killer
A woman of certain, shall we say,
qualities looking for love in the '90s
- that about says it all for the plot of
"Psychic Seeks Mate," an original
play written and directed by Miriam
Kirscht, a veteran of local theater and
a member of the Serpent Tooth
Theater's Playwright Support Group.
There will be a staged reading tonight
and tomorrow at 8p.m. at the Perfor-
mance Network. Admission is free,
but a donation of $4 is requested. A
full-scale production will be per-
formed this summer, so see itnow and
then compare.
Britain's Britten
The Arts Chorale again? Yep, their
umpteenth concert takes place tomor-
row night, and it's about time you
checked them out. It's also your last
chance to see the always flamboyant
Paul Rardin conduct some of his fa-
vorite works (i.e. those of Benjamin
Britten). Arts Chorale is one of the
few groups on campus to consistently
showcase the works of Britten,
England's greatest 20th century com-
poser. This time they'll do his "Missa
Brevis" and "Jubilate Deo." Best of
all, admission is free. The concert
begins at 8 p.m. at Hill Auditorium.
Call 761-9581.
Jasmine she's not
This Saturday night the Office of
Major Events presents an evening of
exotic classical Indian dance.
"Nayaki" is an original dance-ballet
choreographed and directedby Malini

Fine Time
Nationally-honored historian, au-
thor and University professor Sidney
Fine, this year's recipientof the Golden
Apple award for superior teaching
will be giving his "Last Lecture." But
don't worry if you haven't taken his
course yet, the title is purely meta-
phoric. The great Professor Fine will
be giving his ideal last lecture, so rest
assured, you'll still be able to take his
U.S. history class in the fall. But check
him out tonight, andexpectsome truly
remarkable insights into our national
history and the current administration.
Professor Fine will be speaking and
the Friars will be performing at 7:30
tonight at Rackham. Go early, large
crowds ofFine worshippers will surely
attend.
Oh Oscar!
Yes, it's thattime of year again. Get
ready to gawk and gripe as
Hollywood's mutual admiration soci-
ety takes center stage for the Academy
Awards. Word is Clint's taking it all
for his existentialist anti-Western,
"Unforgiven." No matter who wins,
however, there will be lots to com-
plain about. But please, if you haven't
seen "The Crying Game" yet, give it
up. We're sick of hearing you whine
about revealing the plot twist. Here,
without any warning, is the big secret:
Miranda Richardson's character is re-
ally aman ... sorry.

S
0
0

IN CONCERT
Transcending categories, the CONSORT'S music reflects jazz,
symphonic and new age musical traditions. Dedicated to peace and
environmental preservation, they offer a rich and beautifully moving

'3' 5 Y < .:: I
k'1

I -I

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