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February 18, 1994 - Image 5

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1994-02-18

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RTS

Go 'Crazy'
By JASON CARROLL
Musicals sure have changed over the decades. In their
early years, musicals were simple romances with a lot of
singing and dancing. Today, they retain the singing and
dancing, but have evolved into epic tales of romance that
center around major world events ("Les Miserables,"
"Miss Saigon"). Then along comes "Crazy for You,"
which brings
musicals back to
Crazy for You their early days
of simplicity.
Fisher Theatre A d a p t e d
February 15, 1994 from George and
Ira Gershwin's
"Girl Crazy," "Crazy for You" is another mindless boy-
meets-girl love story. Set in the 1930s, "Crazy for You"
tells the story of a hopeless performer, Bobby Child
(James Brennan), who is sent to Nevada by his domineer-
ing mother (Ann B. Davis) to foreclose on the mortgage of
a run down-theater. When Bobby arrives in town he falls
for Polly Baker (Karen Ziemba), the only woman in a ex-
mining town full of men.
The two decide to put on a show to save the theater.
When Polly finds out that Bobby represents the bank, she
dumps him and Bobby is forced to impersonate Bela
Zangler, a famous Broadway producer, to win her affec-
tions. Bobby runs into even more trouble when the real
Zangler shows up and creates mass confusion. Ultimately,
as you can probably guess, the two are united and the
theater is saved.
Whatever "Crazy for You" lacks in plot it compensates
for in the dance numbers. It is very easy to see how this
show won the Tony Award for Best Choreography in
1992. Almost every scene has an exquisite dance routine.
The big tap number, "I Got Rhythm," seems like a
finale but it occurs at the end of the first act. In the middle
of the street the entire cast taps on everything and anything
they can get their hands on. The men rip corrugated pieces
of sheet metal from the scenery and slide on them to create
the sound you get when you run metal across an old
washboard. Meanwhile, the chorus women hold mining
pans above their heads and kick up their heals to tap on
them. I could swear that some of the cast lacked bones and
joints.
And I've never seen a musical that made so much fun
at it's own medium. It's almost as if Ken Ludwing knew
the story was so silly that he thought it would be better to
make it even sillier. For instance, in one scene Bobby (as
Zangler) and the real Zangler encounter each other after a
night of heavy drinking. The two sit, facing each other, for
over 10 minutes, mirroring each others movements. When

vith dancing
Zangler comes to his senses he mutters, "I'm besides
myself!"
In "Stiff Upper Lip" Bobby tries to convince the gang
to give the show another shot, after it failed the first time.
In an elaborate dance number, the performers stack a
bunch of chairs on a table, Bobby climbs up to the top, and
someone hands him a big, red flag which he waves (a la
"Les Misdrables"). Floating above his head is a giant,
crystal chandelier (a la "Phantom of the Opera"). As if the
scenery and props weren't enough, Zangler comes on
after the scene ends and shouts, "someone clean up this
place, it looks like you're going off to the French Revolu-
tion."
Whatever "Crazy for You" lacks in
plot it compensates for in the dance
numbers. It is very easy to see how
this show won the Tony Award for
Best Choreography in 1992.
Brennan is a master of pratfalls and comic bits. In
every scene, he can be seen falling, sliding and carousing
on stage. The man was sweating intensely after only the
second scene. His transitions from a clumsy oaf (in the
dialogue scenes) to a suave lover (in the dance numbers)
suit his character's flighty personality.
Ziemba's strong, rich voice fits Polly well. She is
especially enchanting in her ode to Bobby, "Someone to
Watch Over Me." Throughout the show, she holds great
control over her vocal ranges, belting out the dialogue and
gently singing the tunes.
Davis (Alice, from "The Brady Bunch") proved she
can do more than act on television with her cameo appear-
ance in the show. Unfortunately, her character was under-
developed and only appears in two scenes.
"Crazy for You" may not have special effects or the
best story-line, but it is worth seeing for the dancing and
costumes alone. It really is a show full of finales. I can't
say that I was crazy about "Crazy for You," but I think it
stands out on it's own among the classic musicals. It's
enjoyable to sit back, release your mind and just enjoy it
for what it is - pure, simple fun.
CRAZY FOR YOU plays at the Fisher Theatre (3711
West Grand Boulevard, Detroit) through March 6.
Performances are Tuesdays through Saturdays at 8
p.m., Sundays at 7:30 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays
at 2 p.m. Tickets range from $32.50 to $55, and are
available at any TicketMaster outlet. Call 872-1000 for
'information, or 645-6666 for tickets.

James Brennan dips Karen Ziemba in just one of the exquisite dance numbers in "Crazy for You."
.Bill Morrissey concentrates on lyrics

By DIRK SCHULZE
With a few carefully chosen words,
Bill Morrissey can insinuate entire
lifetimes of slow decay as his charac-
ters spend their time in desolation and
estrangement.
The lyrical pen of this New En-
gland singer-songwriter is sharp and
:oncise and one of the most gifted in
the business today.
"I'm a constant rewriter,"
Morrissey said. "I got into this field in
'order to learn how to write well."
His most recent release, "Night
Train," is another stunning collection
of tales of drifters and loners, dream-
ers and proud losers who, through
their deceptively simple lives, reveal
niversal hopes and fears. His lyrics
are accented by the gentle fiddle of
the extraordinary Johnny
Cunningham and given steady sup-
port by Morphine percussionist Billy
Conway.
"This record is stronger melodi-
cally," Morrissey said. "It's a little
more advanced rhythmically than my
others."
Through each of his six albums,
ncluding a record of traditional and
popular tunes he did with friend and
fishing partner Greg Brown, there is
Morrissey's voice. A rough and
weathered mix of Tom Waits, Bob

Dylan and John Prine, it is the perfect
medium for the dying New England
towns that populate his songs. "I try
to give people perspective on a com-
mon situation," he said.
His people, his characters, are ex-
actly such - common. They are folks
who would like to escape the over-
I try to give people
perspective on a
common situation ... I
base (all my songs) on
somebody's
experience. Usually
that experience is
mine.'
- Bill Morrissey
whelming dullness of their lives but
to whom fate dealt terrible hands.
On "Night Train," Morrissey
gives us Sandy, who finds she cannot
make it on her own and returns to the
church she has not visited since child-
hood and the fireman who daily sings
"the same song about his life!/ And his
well-planned getaway." In this world,

they could be friends with the narra-
tor of "Everybody Warned Me," who
is "coughing up blood in a motel 6 /
Thinking this time it's for real," and
the couple falling out of love in the
title track of "Inside" who find com-
fort in the knowledge that "You won't
leave soon because I know / You're
just like me no place to go."
"I base it all on somebody's expe-
rience. Usually that experience is
mine," he said. This becomes clear in
more playful numbers, such as
"Ellen's Tune," in which Morrissey
gives thanks that his wife "goes for
lyrics, not guitar licks."
Born in Hartford, Connecticut,
Morrissey dropped out of college in
1969 to devote all of his time and
energy to writing original material.
"At that time, nothing was less hip
than the folk scene. I just had to scrape
by any way I could," he said.
During this time he worked odd
jobs to support himself while on the
road, performing as often as possible
and frequently to unreceptive audi-
ences. At one bar in Haverhill, his life
was threatened by an inebriated man
with a strong desire to play
Morrissey's guitar.
With that foundation laid, life is a
bit easier for him now. Rather than
seedy, beer-soaked taverns, Morrissey
can play genuine clubs. "Acoustic
music is probably bigger now than
during the so-called 'Golden Years'
of the 1960s," he said.
He released his first record in 1984
and his songwriting has improved by
leaps and bounds in the nine years
that followed.
His vision and subject material
may have remained the same, but the
lyrics on his eponymous debut now\
sound relatively lightweight next to
the powerful imagery of "Man From
Out of Town" and "Broken Waltz
Time." Even the magnificently deso-
late "These Cold Fingers," from
1990's breakthrough "Standing
Eight" only hinted at what was to
come in "Casey, Illinois" and "Time
to go Home."
Though he gains a little more no-
toriety with each release, including
two four-star reviews in "Rolling
Stnne" Morriksev i still nne nf fnlk

The Germs
MIA: The Complete
Anthology
Slash Records
Foremost in the L.A. punk scene
of the mid to late '70s were the Germs
- a violent, articulate mess of nihil-
ism and alienation. The band's leader,
Darby Crash, was the Germs: surpris-
ingly precocious and eloquent when
you listened to his words and yet
beyond hope or help in his personal
and professional life. When he ended
his life in 1980 with a heroin over-
dose, it seemed as though only a se-
lect few would be lucky enough to
experience the sonic anarchy that was
the Germs.
Fortunately, "MIA- The Complete
Anthology" compiles for old, new
and yet-to-be fans everything this
seminal band recorded, from its early
singles like "Forming" and "Lexicon
Devil" to its album "GI" (produced
by Joan Jett) plus outtakes, B-sides
and never-released material. It is a

testament to Darby's fleeting bril-
liance as a lyricist: "Rip them down /
Hold them up / Tell them that I'm
your gun ... / Saturation / We want it
in taxes / Flagellation / we've got
gashes" from "Forming" is as politi-
cally astute a statement as anything
recorded by the Clash or the Sex Pis-
tols. Sonically, the tracks range from
sharp and lashing, like "Lexicon
Devil," to thick and sludgy, like "Sex
Boy," which was recorded live at a
gig where Crash was smearing peanut
butter on himself and the audience;
within the dense layers of feedback,
one can hear the unlucky audience
screaming, "Oh, shit! He's got peanut
butter!" and "Get away from me!"
At 30 songs strong, "MIA" is not
meant to be listened to all in one
sitting, but it is an important chronicle
of a chaotic yet eloquent band that
was more than equal to its peers and
helped point towards the hardcore
punk that would survive well into the
next decade; bands such as Bad Reli-
gion, Fugazi and Hole owe their ca-

reers in part to the Germs' pioneering
punk. The Germs' influence is felt in
another way in the punk world of
today: guitarist Pat Smear has been
touring with none other than Nirvana
and even appeared with them on their
recent "MTV Unplugged" show. The
'Germs' punk virus is definitely not
MIA.
-Heather Phares
Bryan Adams
So Far So Good
A&M
By now you know whether or not
you like Bryan Adams. You know the
songs: "Summer of '69," "Heaven"
and "(Everything I Do) I Do it for
You." But this is the first time they're
all collected on one CD without all
the weaker stuff in between. That, in
itself, strengthens each song.
Given Adams' talent for produc-
ing polished, gritty hard rock and
See RECORDS, Page 8

MICHIGAN STUDENT ASSEMBLY
WINTER '94 ELECTIONS
March 22 & 23.
POSITIONS AVAILABLE:
MSA President & Vice President
(Elected together as a slate)
MSA Representatives in:

Architecture 1
Business 2
Law 1

Art 1
Engineering 2
LSA 9
Nursing 1
Rackham 4

Medicine
Pharmacy
SNRE

1
1
1

...

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