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... .. Marc" -LL P,
'Baby' an ins
By Melissa Rose Bernardo
Daily Theater Editor
American Tribal rock musical "Hair,"
MUSKET has chosen as a follow-up a
"Baby," to be performed Friday through
Sunday at the Power Center.
"Baby" opened on Broadway Dec.
4, 1983, and ran for a respectable seven
months. It was promptly forgotten not
for its content but for its timing.
In a season filled with the extravagant
"La Cage Aux Folles" and Stephen
Sondheim's "Sunday in the Park with
George," "Baby" just got overlooked.
was another worthy musical which faded
away after its appearance in the '83-'84
Thatisnot"Baby"'sfault. David Shire
and Richard Maltby, Jr. wrote a tuneful,
moving score, if perhaps a little '70s-ish.
Maltby and Shire were extremely prolific
composers-as evidenced intheirslightly
better known collections of song, "Start-
ing Here, StartingNow" and "Closer than
Ever"- but they never had much suc-
cess on Broadway together. (Maltby, of
course, is familiar to Broadway audi-
ences for his English lyrics for "Miss
sightful look at
In truth, "Baby" was probably too
small for Broadway; after all, Broadway
was about to begin its gravitation toward
wouldn't do much better today, where the
biggest stars on Broadway are machine-
operated, and where audiences applaud
the sets and not the stars. "Baby"is far too
simple ashow to compete with the British
MUSKET, however, chose "Baby"
and its story. An abbreviated (41/2-week)
rehearsal period determined the need fora
small show. And the plot, said co-director
Michael Babel, "is something students
can really relate to."
The story centers around"three differ-
ent couples in three very different parts of
their lives," said co-director Peter Yonka.
~>_ ., c
The couples are college students Danny
and Lizzie (Nick Sattinger and Jordan
Rohler, respectively), thirtysomethings
Nick and Pam (Jason Styka and Mandy
Politiziner), and older folks Alan and
Arlene (Matt Witten and Leigh Jonaitis).
All three of the women think they get
pregnant, and subsequently each couple
begins to reevaluate their lives.
But except for a birth at the end - an
offstage one, Yonka assured - there are
no actual babies in the show. "The title is
misleading," Babel conceded. "It's called
'Baby,' but it's about relationships.... It's
through the pregnancies that the relation-
ships are discovered."
And it is in the discovery of those
relationships where you will find the emo-
tional pull of "Baby." "It's a dramedy,"
Babel said. "You'll laugh, and you'll cry."
Yonka emphasized his and Babel's in-
terestin keeping "Baby" uncomplicated.
"Richard Maltby talks alot about that in
his director's notes, that 'Baby' is a
simple show, and it's meant to be done
simply," he said.
Because "Baby" utilizes only 13 ac-
tors, YonkaandBabelthad theopportunity
of "allowing the actors to be creative and
to find things (on theirown)," Yonka said.
"The first time we did scenes we tried
Cry baby cry, make your mother sigh, she's old enough to know better, so cry baby cry...
to allow the actors to do theirjob," Yonka
continued, "And our job is to help them
make it look right."
Babel agreed. "The way that we've
directed has made the actors very uninhib-
ited- (we've said to them) feel free to do
what you want, try things. Take it as big as
you want, take it as small as you want, and
we'll say 'yes' or 'no,"' Babel said. The
appeal of "Baby," Yonka and Babel em-
phasized, lies in its simplicity and univer-
sality ofstory."It'scharming,"Babel said.
Yonka added,"It's an incredible show
in that all the couples have something
everyone can associate with."And while
"Baby" may not have spoken to a mid-
'80s Broadway, its cry will almost defi-
nitely be heard by a college audience.
The impatients are four really cool guys witn a really cool u, UKckball.' All of you must go ana uy it.
The Impatients can't wait to play for you
By Tom Erlewine
Daily Arts Editor
Although melody has made a smash-
ing comeback in recent years, the 90s
haven't been the kindest era for tradi-
tional pop bands. Fortunately; there are
a group of bands that haven't forgotten
thepleasures ofpurepop for now people.
Even better, one of the best pop bands
performing today resides in Ann Arbor
- the Impatients.
Formed in 1992, the quartet (fea-
turing songwriter Doug Way on gui-
tar and lead vocals, lead guitarist Vijay
Kumra, drummer Dan Carroll and
bassist Joe Schmidt) has been playing
around the Ann Arbor area for the
past two years, releasing an EP,
"First," in 1993. Now, the band looks
like it's about to break out of the local
scene, thanks to their impressive de-
but album, "Kickball," which was
produced by power-pop legend Scott
Miller (Game Theory, Loud Family)
and released by Skillet Records.
"Kickball" is filled with ringing
guitar hooks and catchy melodies that
slowly work their way into the subcon-
humming a song in their head," said
Vijay Kumra. "I don't want them say,
'That guitar player was great.' I want
them to come out, going 'Jeez, that
song! Ijustcan'tgetitoutof my head!"'
Most of the Impatients' songs are
memorable, little pop gems, written by
Doug Way. Way and Kumra's guitars
weave together like a rough, unpol-
ished fusion of Peter Buck and Johnny
Marr, while the rhythm section holds
down a solid groove. "Kickball" was
recorded with original bassist, Sean
and PETE DROGE
When: Tonight at 9:30 p.m.
Tickets: $5 in advance
Rhyee who recently left to go to med
school; he was replaced byJoe Schmidt.
"Kickball" offers the band a very
good opportunity to expand its audi-
ence to a national level. Not only is it
a solid record, but Scott Miller's name
guarantees attention from a small but
devoted group of fans, which includes
many members of the rock press.
Originally, the Impatients were
interested in releasing a single through
Skillet, but the label offered to fi-
nance a full album. "After Skillet
Records came through, we recorded
the demos," said Kumra. "Without
Dan and me knowing, Doug mailed.
the recording out to Scott Miller, who
Doug was a big fan of. Scott was
working some computer job and e-
mailed him back."
Even with Miller's enthusiasm for
the band, it was difficult scheduling
time to record the album. "He had just
finished their record, 'The Tape of
Only Linda,"'explained Kumra. "We
had to find a time to fly him out here
and do the record. Also, we had to
make sure he would do it for our
price. So we found four days in Sep-
tember and flew him out. He came in
on the redeye and that day we put in a
10-hour day in the studio. It was re-
ally hard on him, but he was great; he
was fantastic through it all."
Miller produced five new tracks
and remixed five existing tracks, giv-
ing them a fresher sound. What ties
the newer and older tracks together is
the band's knack for crafting irresist-
ible hooks and melodies, which is one
of the most difficult tasks in pop and
rock. On "Kickball," the hooks flow
with a natural grace and the band
deliver them as rough gems; it's not
just good for a local band - it's a
good record by any standard. With
any luck, it'l bring the band the na-
tional audience they deserve.
if you don't
By Tom Erlewine
Daily Arts Editor
By now, it's highly likely that you've
heard Pete Droge. With the adult-alter-
native hit "If You Don't Love Me (I'll
Kill Myself)" receiving constant rota-
tion on VH-l and capturing a promi-
nentplace in theJimCarreyepic "Dumb
and Dumber," the singer / songwriter
has a surprisingly successful single on
Where: Blind Pig
Tickets: $5 in advance
Doors open at 9:30 p.m.
his hands. Unfortunately, it's also the
kind of song that unforgiving listeners
would call a novelty, obscuring the fact
that Droge is a very talented folk-rock
songwriter. One listen to his acclaimed
debut, "Necktie Second," proves that
the Seattle native has the depth to carry
on a long career.
Produced by alternative-rock god
Brendan O'Brien(Pearl Jam, Stone
Temple Pilots, Matthew Sweet),
"Necktie Second" captures the feel-
ing ofclassic '70s singer! songwriters
like Neil Young, Jackson Browne and
Bob Dylan, as well as the rootsy rock
of 80s superstars like Tom Petty and
John Mellencamp. In that sense, "If
You Don't Love Me" is a good indi-
cation of Droge's style. Loose and
rocking, with a melody that sticks in
your head, the hit is both clever and
engagingly silly; some lines are de-
liberately goofy ("I need you more
than an Eskimo Freeze"), yet that
only adds fire to the laid-back kick of
the song. Other tunes-like the mov-
ing "Fourth of July," "Hampton Inn
Room 306" and "Straylin Street" -
reveal that Droge's heartfelt senti-
mentality is as affecting as his humor.
Critics and thepublichave embraced
Droge, and so have fellow musicians;
over the past year, he has opened for
Johnny Cash, Neil Young, Melissa
Etheridge, Grant Lee Buffalo and cur-
rently he's on tour with Tom Petty. Last
night, Droge opened for Petty at the
Palace in Auburn Hills; tonight, he plays
the Blind Pig in one of a series of
occasional headliners that he's playing
during the tour.
On the Petty tour, Droge is play-
ing for the largest audiences of his
career. "I've done big outdoor (shows)
see him, he'll
before, but never inside," he explained.
At a recent date in Chicago, Droge
began to feel the enormity of the pro-
duction. "We had the TV monitors go-
ing, so it was a bit strange," he said.
"You either play to the camera or you
play to the people, so it gets a little
distracting. I try to play to the people."
Although it's not unusual for opening
acts on tours the size of Petty's to be
ignored by the audience, Droge said
that the audience has been supportive:
"It feels that way from the stage; we've
been getting really good responses."
While the Petty tour has been a
positive experience for Droge and his
band, the songwriter is enjoying play-
ing the occasional club date. "What's
cool is being able to play for a long
time," he said. "That's the best part of
getting back to the clubs and doing our
own show. It's exciting to be with Petty,
just the grandness of it all. That's really
cool, but it's also cool to offset that and
balance it out with an intimate club.
Originally, Droge built his national
following with a tour that music insid-
ers have called a "residency tour." "It
was derived from something that Chris
Isaak did a few years back when he was
trying to break," explained Droge.
"What he did was, he played once a
week in LA What happened was it grew
and grew and grew and more people
came out each week. It turned into this
big buzz thing. What my record com-
pany decided would be cool, would be
to do that same sort of thing. But rather
than just do one city, do a handful of
cities and go around and around."
The approach proved successful and
several artists are following Droge's
example, including blues-rocker Chris'
Whitley who will play several nights in
Detroit at the end of March. Not only
See DROGE, page 10
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