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September 09, 1994 - Image 19

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The Michigan Daily, 1994-09-09

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The Michigan Daily - Friday, September 9, 1994 - 3

'Fiddler' plays on the heart strings
Despite a few sour notes, 30th anniversary tour is moving as ever

By MELISSA ROSE BERNARDO
It would be virtually impossible to
do a bad production of "Fiddler on the
Roof." The beloved show, based on
stories of Sholom Alechem, never

Direction and Choreography. Sammy
Dallas Bayes, who directed a Topol
revival and helped choreograph the
film version of "Fiddler," has suc-
cessfully reproduced Robbins' origi-
nal direction and choreography.
The story depicts a group of gentle

rals. It appears as if three different
designers put the set together (though
the program credits no one). Lighting
was fine, though in places (e.g., the
dream) could be more prominent.
The performers are mediocre, for
the most part. Marcia Rodd's voice is

Fiddler on
the Roof
Fisher Theatre
September 7, 1994

Orthodox Jews
and their happy
peasant life; at the
center is Tevye the
milkman, his wife
Golde and his
three eldest
daughters:
Tzeitel, Hodel and
Chava. There is
chaos within the
village as Tevye's
daughters pick
their own hus-

Sheldon Harnick and
Jerry Bock's melodious
score literally surges
through the theater,
keeping Its place as
one of the finest
scores ever written for
the theater.

too small for
Golde, and
though she car-
ries herself well,
her Golde does
not seem weath-
ered enough.
Joanna Glushak
is a little old for
Tzeitel and
Stacey Lynn
Brass plays
Chava about 10
years old.

fails to pluck the strings of its view-
ers. Hence, the question is not whether
or not the show works; it is how well
it works.
Celebrating its 30th anniversary,
a national tour kicks off at Detroit's
Fisher Theatre, the site of its world
premiere in 1964. And barring a few
sour notes, this "Fiddler" plays pretty
steadily.
Originally produced on the New
York stage by Harold Prince and di-
rected/choreographed by Jerome
Robbins, "Fiddler" won nine Tony
Awards including Musical, Score,

to be endearing - both to the other
characters and to the audience, which
Bikel is. He is not yet as comfortable
in the role as Topol (the proverbial
Tevye), but he has the hearty voice
and jovial slyness to pull it off easily.
Though the principal's voices are
passable, kudos to the chorus. Sheldon
Harnick and Jerry Bock's melodious
score literally surges through the the-
ater, keeping its place as one of the
finest scores ever written for the the-
ater. The chorus bits in "Sunrise, Sun-
set' - one of the most beautiful the-
ater choruses in existence - are posi-
tively luminous.
All in all this is a lovely produc-
tion. Despite its faults, you will be
moved. "Fiddler" has played the world
over and back again, and that is be-
cause no set piece or bad performance
can detract from the magic of this
luminous work of musical theater.
FIDDLER ON THE ROOF plays
through October 2 at the Fisher
Theatre in Detroit. Performances
are Tuesday through Sunday, and
tickets range from $27.50 to $47.50,
with student discounts for select
performances. Call (313) 872-1000.

bands and chaos outside, as "Fiddler"
is set on the brink of the Russian
Revolution.
The set of this production screams
low-budget. Backgrounds - houses,
trees, fences - are painted on scrims.
This is both a creative and fitting
motif, however some of the scrims
are watercolors, some suggest mu-

However, Daniel C. Cooney as
the fiery liberal Perchik and Michele
Ragusa as Hodel are in fine form, and
possess the best voices in the show.
Which brings us to Theodore Bikel
as Tevye. Bikel certainly has all it
takes to do the role (i.e. the age and
the ethnic quality), so why not? An
actor's biggest challenge in Tevye is

Theodore Bikel stars in "Fiddler on the Roof," at Detroit's Fisher Theater.

'Corrina, Cornna'is dull, dull

By ALEXANDRA TWIN
Once a nanny, always a nanny, as the old parable goes.
*r maybe it had to do with bridesmaids. Well, whatever the
case may be, in her third nanny role in almost as many years
("Clara's Way," "The Long Walk Home"), the Oscar-

Corrina Corrina
Directed by Jessie
Nelson; with
B 00Whoopi Goldberg
and Ray Liotta
women, is limited. Most films deposit

winning Whoopi
Goldberg is sure
risking typecast-
ing, if nothing
else.
To be fair, the
amount of juicy
roles open to
women, let alone
non-Caucasian
them in either the

Molly into as many cheesy Hallmark sentiments as possible,
he's repressed and instead chooses to focus on Mr. Potato
Head. He's also helpless, as is evidenced by his inability to
cook the symbolic TV dinner. Clearly, they need a nanny.
Besides, if Manny and Molly were to experience their
father-daughter bonding moment now, the movie would be
over, sans Whoopi and they'd they have to call it "Manny
Manny," a far less marketable title.
Enter Whoopi. After a supposedly comical search for a
nanny/mother figure for little Molly, Corrina Washington
arrives at the door. She's smart, sassy and able to cut through
embarrassingly banal dialogue faster than you can say
"shameless sap-fest." She also knows kids, being that she
has a number of nieces and nephews. The youngest of
whom, Percy (Curtis Williams), provides the film with its
only comic relief before it slips into the realm of blatant, tear-
yanking humdrum, complete with denial, betrayal and a
half-hatched, wholly unbelievable, inter-racial love story.
Goldberg gives it her best, but why she'd want to spend
her life jingling with Manny or four months filming this
movie is inexplicable. Liotta fares far worse. He is as
unsympathetic as Mr. Potato Head and far less charming.
Majarino does the best. Very few actors that young can
convey such genuine, heartfelt emotion. Five years and a
better script says she's the next Lukas Haas.
Ultimately "Corrina, Corrina" is just what the title im-
plies; sweet, sentimental and utterly redundant.
CORRiNA CORRINA is playing at Showcase and
Briarwood.

hooker, wife, girlfriend, mother or wacky old aunt with a
funny voice category.
Keeping that in mind, "nanny" is relatively revolution-
ary. But that's not really the case, as Goldberg's Corrina
quickly assumes all the previously designated female roles,
perhaps with the exception of wife.
Manny (Ray Liotta), ajingle-writing, advertising execu-
v'e and his seven year old daughter Molly (Tina Majarino,
the cheeky rugrat from "Andre"), have recently lost their
wife and mother, respectively. While Manny is a little
bummed (he can't bring himself to erase her last grocery
list), Molly has gone mute.
Although Manny would like to stay and try to lure little

Whoopi Goldberg stars as a nanny in "Corrina, Corrina." Hey, at least she's broken her habit.

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