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January 31, 1995 - Image 5

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-01-31

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-. pAME

The juice - freshly squeezed
Now that the Simpson trial has finally begun, all of the lurid, scandalous,
jury-disqualifying TV movies are crawling out of the woodwork. The Fox
network, always the leader in this this kind of broadcasting, tonight at 8
p.m. proudly presents "The OJ. Simpson Story," which dramatizes the
former football star's life and the events leading up to last summer's
arrest. Surely the movie will prove to be as entertaining as it is exploitive.

Page 5
Tuesday,
January 31, 1995

'U' grad
By Melissa Rose Bernardo
49aily Theater Editor
"So there's a Rabbi, a Hindu and a
(theater) critic," begins Danny Gurwin,
"They're out in the country, and they
get caught in a rainstorm. They go to a

makes 'X

WT - _

the barn.'
. "So the Hindu says, 'That's fine; I
will sleep in the barn.' Well, he comes
back and says 'There's a cow in the
barn, and cows are sacred in my reli-
gion, so I can't sleep in the barn.'
"Finally the critic says, 'Oh, OK,
I'll go sleep in the barn.' A minute later
there's a knock on the door.
"It's the cow and the pig."
He finishes with a triumphant guf-
faw, and I laugh in spite of my critic
status. Fortunately for us critics, Danny
Gurwin has no aspirations for a career
in stand-up comedy. The talented young
performer - a 1993 graduate of the
University's Musical Theatre Program
- is currently starring in "The World
Goes 'Round," the saucy Kander-and-
Ebb revue currently playing the Bir-
mingham Theater (through Feb.5).
Gurwin's old-joke repertoire is not
what has put him on the fast track to
success. He's what directors and
teachers call a "triple threat"; he can
sing, he can act, he can dance - and
he can do them all at once, with an
unalloyed amount of success. It's the
... k _

farmhouse and knock on the door, ask-
ing for shelter. The farmer says, 'OK,
but I only have room for two of you;
someone will have to sleep in the barn.'
"So the Rabbi says, 'It's all right-
my people are used to suffering - I'll
Deep in the barn.' He goes out and
comes back a minute later, knocks on
the door and says, 'I'm sorry, there's a
pig in the barn. I can't eat pork, and pigs
are unclean in my religion, and it makes
me uncomfortable -soI can't sleen in

vorrn' go
killer combination of talent, effusive
charm and honesty in performance
which makes him, in this critic's opin-
ion, the most talented male performer
to emerge from the University this
decade, and which will slowly but
surely propel him to stardom.
Since graduation last May, Gurwin's
schedule, not surprisingly, has been
packed. He spent three weeks at
Pennsylvania's Milbrook Playhouse
(playing Tony in "West Side Story"),
six weeks at Music Theater of Wichita
(an Equity house in Kansas), and three
months in Washington, D.C. (in the
D.C. premiere of Paul Rudnick's "Jef-
frey"). He then moved to New York
City, where he almost immediately got
involved in a workshop of "Snapshots,"
a new Stephen Schwartz revue. When
that finished, he about spent a month
waiting tables before he headed home
for the holidays.
"The World Goes 'Round,"
Gurwin's short but oh-so-sweet re-
turn to the metro Detroit area, came as
sort of a holiday gift. On Christmas
Eve Gurwin received a phone call
from director Tom Mullen, saying
that they had lost one of the men.
Would he be available or interested in
doing the show for a month? After
consulting with his agent in New York,
Gurwin accepted the offer.
"Normally when you get calls like
thatyou say 'nothanks,' or 'I appreciate
it but I'm just here for the week,"'
Gurwin related. "But the contract
sounded good, it sounded like a great
show ... (plus) January is a slow month
in New York, and I could live at home,
I could save a little money, which I
needed to do anyway - so I said yes."
He added, "And I've always wanted to
do something at the Birmingham."
Gurwin's history with the Bir-
mingham goes back around 15 years,
when he auditioned - unsuccess-
fully, it turned out- for a production

round
of "Oliver!" "They were having little
orphan boy auditions, but I was too
big," he recalled. Gurwin, a Southfield
native, returned to the theater as a
viewer, but never as a performer, un-
til this year. "It seemed like the right
thing to do, knowing that they were
supposed to close the theater down,"
he explained, "So this was an oppor-
tunity I didn't want to miss."
The fast-paced, flexible and all-
around fun nature of "The World Goes
'Round" has presented Gurwin with a
number of challenges, not the least of
which are playing the banjo and roller-
skating. "Staying up on my skates" is
one of Gurwin's biggest triumphs,
since it's been a while since he feath-
ered his hair, put his comb in his
pocket and went to birthday parties at
the roller rink.
"And playing the banjo is no pic-
nic!" he laughed, referring to "Me
and My Baby," in which the five cast
members are required to sing and
strum the banjo at an almost lightning
tempo. "There was a cast in Chicago
that just did the show, and the used
harmonicas. (When) we heard that,
we were all furious. But it's fun; when
it goes well, it feels great," he said.
The entire show has that feel-good
quality, as the cast cranks out one
audience-pleasing number after an-
other. And they never perform the
same show twice. "It's always a little
different, so there's nothing stale about
it," Gurwin said.
You could say the same about
Gurwin's career; you should always
expect something a little different
from him. His plans are to "be as
versatile as possible," to try film and
TV as well as plays and musicals.
"There are very few actors who
actually can do all of them, have the
versatility and the talent to do all of
them, and are respected enough to be
considered for everything," he said,

canny uurwmn loves nan joes, good
explaining his desire to be one of
those actors.
Gurwin also spoke of the impor-
tance of intelligent acting, which he
claims he learned at the University. "I
think the best actors are intelligent ac-
tors, and intelligent actors are intelli-
gent people. And to be that kind ofactor
you need a good liberal arts education,
which Michigan gave me," he said.
Over the years he has also learned to
"have a strong spirit," another skill he
feels is needed of actors. "Your self-
worth is always at stake and you need to
be strong enough to get through that,"
he says. "Having good friends and be-
lieving in yourself' is his prescription
for survival.

musical iteater and critics.
But Gurwin's next job will be about
more than just survival. When he goes
back to New York on Feb. 6,he plans on
going on a lot of auditions - but he's
going to be selective.
"Now it's more about building a
career, not just getting a job," he ex-
plained. "It's about which show, what
next step will be best for my career in
the long run." Gurwin is very fortunate
to have that option; only a handful of
young actors are talented enough and
established enough to be afforded that
selectivity.
"So I'm not really out for stardom,"
he claims. By the looks of it, he's well
on his way to stardom - as long as he
stays away from critic jokes.

Gurwin, far right, Is an Integral part of "The World Goes 'Round."
Songs and stories at Fo
'unk poetry and bluegrass pack H

lk Festival
ill Auditorium

By Jennifer Buckley
Daily Arts Writer
"Stories? You say you want to hear
some stories?" local storyteller LaRon
Williams asked during the tale that
opened the 18th annual Ann Arbor Folk
Festival benefiting the Ark.
A sold-out Hill Auditorium re-
ponded most affirmatively, and the 10
musical groups on Saturday night's bill
gave the audience a full six hours of
stories.
Long stories, short stories, my-baby-
done-left-me stories. Love stories, an-
gry stories, bedtime and bedroom sto-
ries. Some were sung, others merely
whistled, fiddled, or picked out on gui-
tars. Many were sincere. Most were
.chanting.
After an introduction by the brassy,
incredibly annoying vocal trio of em-
cees known as Betty, local singer/
songwriter Catie Curtis took the stage
with four soft, sweet, heartfelt acoustic
ballads. The clear-voiced Curtis was
the only performer of the evening al-
lowed an encore.
The Dixie Power Trio, composed of
ur musicians (yep, a trio of four,
"!lkies) playing everything from banjo
to washboard to tuba, offered a hilari-
ous set that featured the standard "When
the Saints Go Marching In" and Led
Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven." Dur-
ing the latter tune, the trumpet player
even loosened his yuppie-ish ponytail
to thrash like a true Led Zep fan.
Ani DiFranco, supreme punk po-
ess of acoustic guitar, contrasted
e Trio sharply with her gorgeous,
rough-hewn, confrontational songs.
Unfortunately short on time, DiFranco
still tore through a remarkable set in

only 20 minutes. Tearing chords from
her six-string, her distinctive voice
ranging from a howl to a shriek to a
whisper, she provided the bill with a
welcome, if brief, shot in the arm.
The program shifted again, this
time toward bluegrass as Grand Old
Ann Arbor
Folk Festival
Hill Auditorium
January 28, 1995
Opry member Alison Krauss and her
band Union Station took the stage for
a much longer set. Blessed with a
lovely soprano and considerable fid-
dling skill, Krauss wound her way
through a few bluegrass covers and
songs off her forthcoming album.
Strangely enough, Krauss garnered
40 minutes of stage time when most
audience members under 30 took a
bathroom break during her set.
Most unfortunately, the length of
that set and 10 minutes of random bab-
bling by Phish's bassist "in his solo
debut," as the three women of Betty
described it, left only 20 minutes for
singer / songwriter Victoria Williams
to charm the pants off everyone in at-
tendance.
No problem. An artist of strength
and uncommon beauty, Williams pre-
sented three stories of her own, sung
in a quirky little voice that alternately
resembled that of an old woman on
her Louisiana plantation porch and
that of a five-year-old. The spooky
"Crazy Mary" (faithfully rendered by

Pearl Jam on the 1993 "Sweet Relief'
tribute record to benefit Williams,
who has multiple sclerosis) and the
beautifully melodic "Frying Pan"
served as the high points of the entire
evening.
Mark O'Connor tiptoed the line
between bluegrass and classical vio-
lin with his own "Concerto for Fiddle
and Violin," displaying dizzying
speed and precision in his playing
while retaining passion and emotion
in his pieces - qualities that totally
eluded guitarist Leo Kottke.
Another recipient of far too much
stage time, Kottke appeared onstage
in jeans, a blazer, white socks and
loafers (need I say more?) and showed
the audiencej ust how technically per-
fect a guitarist he is ... and just how
boring that can be.
Kottke lightened up a soulless set
with an amusing monologue about a
book examining manic depressive
symptoms among artists. "We write
when we're manic and edit when
we're depressive," he deadpanned.
Bluegrass reigned again as the fi-
nal performer of the night, Doc
Watson, took the stage. Right about
when Doc said, "This here song is just
about as country as you can get. Hit it,
son," the college kids flew for the
doors. Bluegrass fans and baby
boomers stuck around for Watson's
set of fine acoustic guitar flatpicking.
Overall, the Folk Fest proved an
excellent little get-together-try to love-
one-another-style benefit celebration.
And though reviewers might gripe about
uneven set times and ridiculous bath-
room lines ... hey, at least they left with
a story of their own to tell.

MAR'I" MAN/Dly
Doc Watson (right) and his special guest perform at the Ann Arbor Folk Festival Saturday at Hill Auditorium,

" *1

Northwestern College of Chiropractic
is now accepting applications for its next three entering classes.
(April 1995, September 1995, January 1996)
General requirements at time of entry include:
" At least 2-3 years of undergraduate college in a health science or
basic science degree program. (Inquire for a complete list of specfic

isruian. mertas xmiznt an imzntments to th

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