6B -1 Michigan Daily Weekei Magazine - Thursday, uary 16, 1997
" ""The M ichig n ivW eek en
Box office breaks record .~
Stage begins to enjoy mass
popularity of Hollywood
By Tyler Patterson
For the Daily
If one could classify the year of 1996
in theater (although it is doubtful), one
might say that it was the "Comeback
Year of Broadway." Or maybe the "Year
of the New Broadway." Or the "Year of
the Next Generation of Broadway.'
One could point to the fact that, for the
first time in more than 10 years, a major
motion picture was adapted from a popu-
lar musical (Andrew Lloyd Webber's
"Evita"), and that another theater classic,
"The Crucible," by University graduate
Arthur Miller, has become a big hit for
film audiences. So maybe one could say
it was the "Year of the Movie.:"
Whatever one wants to call it, it is
clear that theater is affecting the main-
stream more now than it has in years
past. One telling sign is in the case of
Nathan Lane. After starring opposite
Robin Williams in the hit film, "The
Birdcage," Lane went back to
Broadway to star in "A Funny Thing
Happened on the Way to the Forum,"
for which he won a Tony Award.
Other Hollywood stars who are mak-
ing it back to New York are Sarah
Jessica Parker ("Once Upon a
Los Angeles Times
Another year, another record, with the 1996
domestic box office totaling $5:8 billion, almost 9
percent over 1995. Two special-effects-driven
vehicles -"Independence Day" and "Twister" -
dominated the year, heading a Top 10 list that, in
contrast to 1995's family-oriented mix, contained
five big-budget action films.
The last 12 months have been a bit blockbuster-
heavy, with 12 pictures passing the $100-million
mark domestically, observed Tom Borys, senior
vice president of development at the box-office
tracking company Entertainment Data Inc. "The
Hunchback of Notre Dame" and "Jerry Maguire"
look certain to go over in '97, he said, and
r. "Michael" is a contender as well.
a "We've already tied the record of 12 $100-mil-
ti lion pictures established in 1994," Borys said.
S. "Last year at this time we had only seven, though
there were more doubles and triples, pictures
grossing in the $50 (million) to $99 million
The international market was also flush.
Three films - "Independence Day," "Twister"
and "Mission: Impossible" - grossed more
than $200 million abroad compared with only
one ("Die Hard With a Vengeance") last year.
Bolstered by a host of new theaters, business
was up 15 percent to 20 percent in Germany and
the United Kingdom.
"The foreign market seems to be accepting a
more varied menu of our films," said Jeff Blake,
president of Sony Pictures Releasing. "Not only
action movies are doing well. From a creative
point of view, we can turn out a broader slate of
pictures if we're convinced they'll travel ... that hits
over here will be hits over there."
Foreign revenues will be particularly significant
Madonna made the musical, "Evita," come to life on the big screen this year.
Mattress"), Al Pacino ("Hughie"), Ed
Harris ("Taking Sides"), Lou Diamond
Phillips ("The King and I"), Liza
Minelli (replacing Julie Andrews in
"Victor / Victoria"), Whoopi Goldberg
(who will soon replace Lane in "A
Funny Thing Happened on the Way to
the Forum") and Julia Sweeny ("Julia
Sweeny's God Said 'HA!'"),
RtVe4" D. kMz:,. 14a , K«.y J,. DAy
Program on Inter8roup Relations Conflict and Community
Actors have been run-
ning back to theater for
years, though, as they
are forever looking to
connect with an audi-
ence. Even without such
with Hollywood, it still
gether on Broadway this year, either
Terrence McNally's. "Master Class,"a
tribute to Maria Callas, featured Patti
LuPone and won them both Tony's
Another standout original on Broadway
was August Wilson's "Seven Guitars,
providing yet another impressive piece
to his already successful career
Despite these fresh faces.
though, the Broadway sea-
son was filled mostly wit
revivals. Two "original
works were actuallV
Sam Shepard plays
"Buried Child" and "The
Tooth of Crime."
Perhaps the standou
for films such as Sylvester Stallone's "Daylight,;
the star-laden "Mars Attacks!" and for Arnold
Schwarzenegger's "Jingle All the Way," which had
COME TO THE DAILY'S MASS MEETINGS
TONIGHT, JAN. 21 AND JAN. 27, 420
MAYNARD ST., AT 7 P.M.
fonday, January 20, 1997
Registration begins at 3:30
3 hour intergroup/intragroup dialogues are an opportunity for people
o Come together to talk about commonalities and differences, address
Issues of conflict and explore common ground.
You can choose one of the following dialogues':
would have been a banner THE
year for theater, especially for
Who could have foretold the two
biggest stories of 1996?
In the midst of relatively little hype
during the production process of an
original musical, its creator died on the
very night he gave his first interview to
The New York Times. What has hap-
pened since is little short of musical
theater history. Jonathan Larson's musi-
cal, "Rent," about East Villagers deal-
ing with AIDS, poverty and their art,
has won a Pulitzer Prize, four Tony
Awards and a New York Drama Critics'
award. Last fall, the cast released a
soundtrack that finished in Rolling
Stone's Ten Best of the Year.
The other top story of Broadway is the
unexpected return of tap. Considered all
but dead, tap has returned with a
vengeance in "Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring
in 'Da Funk." George C. Wolfe co-creat-
ed this masterpiece of tap, rhythm and
jazz with Savion Glover, the show's (and
Broadway's) premiere tap star, and Reg
E. Gaines. Winners of numerous Tonys,
this production also sports its own sound-
track, which is electrifying.
Straight theater was not missing alto-
TER Broadway revival this year,
most likely up for a Tony next
year, is "Chicago." Featuring Bebe
Neuwirth, who played Lilith on "Cheers,"
this dark comedy has been wowing audi-
ences since it opened on Nov. 14.
As far as what's in theater's future,
expect to see even more movie adaptation
hits. "Rent" and "Master Class" are
rumored to make it to the big screen, and
as "theater movies" continue to make
money, you can bet more movies will fol-
low. Also expect to see greater success
among musical soundtracks. Since musi-
cals are drawing more upon rock themes,
they will continue to grow more "main-
stream friendly,' attracting more lucrative
At the very least, 1996 has inspired a
lot of investment interest in a business
that is notorious for losing money. In
many senses, it has been a banner year.
Many might call it a changing of the
guard, as a new generation of theater-
goers and actors alike begin vying for
control of an old and storied industry.
No matter what the case, there is defi-
nitely a new energy flowing through
New York as more and more people are
trying to revitalize one of humanity's old-
Participants must be a member of one of the social identitU groups
attencing the dialogue. The meeting wil be co-facilitated by two
IGRCC peer facilitators from the participating 8roups.
Free and Open to the public
Refreshments will be served
For more information call the Program on Intergroup Relations Conflict
and Community at
The success of the musical; "Rent " carried over to Its soundtrack.