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November 21, 1997 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-11-21

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'Wiz' eases on down to A2

By Stephanie Jo Klein
Daily TV/New Media Editor
When Steve Best was a senior at
Lumen Christie High School in Jackson,
Mich., the administration of his mostly
*te school cancelled plans to put on
"The Wiz" for fear
of racial problems P
"People were
questioning how the
community would T
judge it, with a white Power Cent
cast in a black show,"
Best said.
But what a difference a year makes.
qA idst a decidedly heated debate over
a irmative action, Best and 25 other
actors, both black and white, will take
the stage in MUSKET's colorblind pro-
duction of the show that made Stephanie
Mills famous.
"When I heard that MUSKET was
doing it, I was so excited" Best, an LSA
first-year student, said. "It says some-
thing-about the diversity of the campus.
It doesn't have to be just a black play ...
h 'diversity, any play can be per-


"The Wiz;" based on L. Frank Baum's
story "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,"
tells the same story of Dorothy and Toto
wandering through Oz as one remem-
bers from the rainbow days of Judy
Garland, but it adds a twist. Instead of
the countrified
setting of Kansas,
the yellow brick
The Wiz road leads straight
ight and Tomorrow at 8, out of the urban
Sunday at 2 p.m. ghetto.
$7 for students with CD In the tradition-
al version, the yel-
low brick road leads to Oz. In
MUSKET's staging, you won't see any
bricks -moving colored lights provide
a high-tech effect of the road, which may
not even be yellow. The flying monkeys
of the Wicked Witch ofthe West become
the Funky Monkeys of Evillene, the
sassy witch who won't wake up until
afternoon. And the munchkins aren't
fourth graders - they'll just be played
by students who know how to be silly.
Director Lauren Miller said "The
Wiz" provides an excellent showcase for
student ideals.
"It's a very young-feeling show," she

said. "A lot of what MUSKET is is what
U-Prod isn't ... which is very formal.
good and solid. MUSKET is much more
rebellious. It's like we're gonna d,-
because we love theater!' And 'The \
is really conducive to that. It's fun and
there's lots of opportunity for dance."
The original Broadway cast eased on
down the road in 1975, and took seven
Tony Awards along with them to the
Emerald City. It featured music by
Charlie Smalls, including songs like
"Ease On Down The Road;" the Tin
Mans ode to STP, "Slide Some Oil To
Me;" and Emerald City citizens gospel
and funk-tinged tune, "Everybody
Rejoice;" which was made even more
popular when a movie version was
made. In the movie, Michael Jackson,
Diana Ross and Richard Pryor starred as
the Scarecrow, Dorothy and the Wiz,
The cast in MUSKET's version has no
major rock stars, like the movie did, but
Miller said the cast will keep the audi-
ence jumping.
"Acoustically, it works in the Power
Center," she said. "It's more jazzed up.
It's a big rock musical."

Dancers use soul and talent to create 'Here'

By fLucija Franetovic
For the Daily
A combination of soul and talent will occur tonight
through Sunday at the Betty Pease Studio Theater
hen five graduate dance students showcase their
W ester's work.
Jodie Colone, Stephanie Klaver, Amy Martin, Tim
Smofa and Joseph Wojczynski have coupled what they
have learned during their university education with the
feelings and experiences of their own jives. Their pre-
sentations will most surely seduce you with emotion-
al power and the fresh, interpretive style of the young,
aspiring artists.
The dances are generally about struggles and over-
coming difficulties together. They are accompanied by
mixes of all kinds of music: classical, modern, jazz,
oken text and blues, as well as a live musical perfor-

The concert opens with a piece by Stephanie Klaver
called "Are We There Yet?" It explores the act of arrival
and the process of getting places, whether they are
physical or emotional. "It uses an
improvisational structure and
deals with space but it is more P R
about how you get to emotional
places'" said Klaver.
Her later solo deals with the Tongl
culture shock from West to East Betty
and the temple of life. It centers
mainly around the idea of per-
sonal space and the differences concerning it in the
Western and Eastern U.S. mindframes.
Live music finds its way into Jodie Colone's "Songs
for Sophia" it is an original composition for piano and
flute by Stephanie Kosarin. Other components include
vocals, drums, photography, special lighting effects
and beautifully textured costumes which support the
sensual feel of the piece. "I knew I wanted a piece with
a lot of textures, like the feel of wind and water,"
explained Colone.
The second half of the concert opens with Amy
Martin's "See (No) Evil;" a piece about rape and vio-
lence against women and the denial that goes along
with it. It starts with an excerpt from a Sylvia Plath
poem: "Now I break up in pieces that fly about like
clubs. A wind of such violence will tolerate no
bystanding. I must shriek."
Five women dance in a whirlwind of energy, chaos
and confusion until one is left alone. A theatrical solo
by Missy Bischoff follows, her gasps for breath and
twitching movements imitating a fearful struggle. "The
dance continues to alternate solos and group parts, the
dancers 'maintaining deliberate focus as they come

Five dancers find a direction in "You Are Here."

Cramps take pains to preserve rockabilly sound

By Ted Watts
Daily Arts Writer
Once a band has been around for long
enough, you start wondering about the
normal ravages of time. Does Bo
Diddley wear adult diapers? Do the
Rolling Stones _ _ _
greet the day with a
ff glass of prune
' ice? The Cramps A
have been jonesing .Y
around for more
than two decades;
what does front-
man Lux Interior plan on doing when he
loses his teeth and gets paunchy?
"We can buy new teeth. That's why
I'm saving up,' said Interior in a recent
YThat time is not yet upon the Cramps,
ovever. Seemingly younger than their
years, their conservation of an older
music has preserved their own attic por-
"When we started out it seemed like
no one outside of some middle-aged old
men; who were collecting rockabilly
albums like they were stamp collectors
had "any clue what rockabilly was"
explained Interior. "It was being forgot-
q like a bunch of crap .... I feel we
ere responsible for a lot of these (rock-
abilly) reissues happening. What some
people might call trash culture, we're
getting that happening, we're getting
people to pay attention to the great
things that happened in the beginnings
of rock'n'roll ... .I feel we had apart in
saving a culture that was being forgot-
The Cramps do not merely keep dusty
*cords in their attics. The real thrust of


the group is, of course, performance.
"When I met Ivy we were finding
these great records at a time when rock
was getting really boring. It was the
whole country rock, which was dull,
completely swelled. The way you judged
® _it was by how well
the guitar player
EVIEWV played or some-
rhe Cramps thing like that. We
Tonight at 8 realized that '60s
Clutch Cargo's bands had got into
$15 rhythm and blues,
but no one was
playing rockabilly, so we got into it."
The band's newest modern artifact,
"Big Beats from Badsville," has been
fairly well received, once again further-
ing their curatorial instincts.
"We recorded it in the same place we
recorded the last album. We got braver
and threw out the guy, the engineer and
turned the guitars up incredibly loud.
That's the big difference on this album,
the guitars are louder. We didn't answer
any phone calls when we were recording
Interior expanded upon this secretive
"When we record an album, no one
from the record company is within a
hundred miles. It's funny because peo-
ple will say to us, 'Oh, we were afraid of
this, or Warner Bros. is afraid of that.'
It's too confusing. Somebody says the
wrong thing to us, sometimes we can't
forget it for two weeks so we're just like
'Stay away.' We're too impressionable:'
The Cramps have always had a
unique image, based on sex but coming
across in a trashy, evil way. "It's a com-
pletely natural thing. We don't do much

besides be ourselves, we don't even talk
about what we're gonna wear or any-
thing ... . We get described a lot as
being theatrical, but that's just our per-
One element of this is the names of
band members. You didn't actually think
"Lux Interior" was a given name, did
you? "We started out before punk rock
started and we felt you should have a
new name for a new life.... If you're
gonna be in a bigger than life rock'n'roll
band you need to become something
new you have to change your name to
Godzilla or something."
Under that idea, does being the
Cramps make Interior bend over, then?
"Yes, occasionally. It did in New
Orleans recently... In each city there
was just a million beautiful people in
love with you. What could be better?"

Everyone interested in the SI
master's program is invited to
learn about the curriculum,
2 - 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 3
in 409 West Hall. Please RSVP to
(kpalm@umich.edu) or 647-7650.

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