jtout bout of trivia...
Fancy a bit of trivia with your alcohol.' Check
out Conor O'Neill's Pub Qui:, every Monday
from 9-11:30. Pri:es. Conor O'Neill's, 318S.
Main. $5'team fee. 665-2968.
NOVEMBER 6, 2000
'Breakdown' and journey to
Detroit: Second City's newest effort
By Jaimie Winkler
Daily Arts Wrter
DETROIT - More volume, new plush red
seats, new cast members, changed format, new
jokes ... and yay! They're funny!
Second City Detroit's new show "19th Nervous
Breakdown" is their funniest in a long time -it's
hysterical. Not only did audi-
ence members laugh, the
unexpected jokes echoed
throughout the house in the
audience's gasps and whis-
Named to mark their 19th
show, "Breakdown" deviates
from the audience-participa-
tion formats common in the
past. Instead of spontaneous
skits, the show (which is pre-
viewed in full during the
opening number) uses a full
script segmented into uncon-
nected scenes and incorpo-
brought in from the Second City Touring
"Breakdown's" skits are quirky and exaggerat-
ed. Of course, they utilize the most current news
events and never miss an opportunity to throw in a
poke at Firestone and Ford Motor Co. But they
also include some old standards such as a nod to
the "trigger-happy" Detroit Police Department.
The script also ties things together with cameos
from former characters, the preview and repeating
phrases and jokes throughout the two-hour show.
The incredibly imaginative cast members, who
double as writers, bring some bizarre ideas to the
stage. They must have sat around and said "Would
people laugh if we crossed this and this?" The
answer: Yes, they will and they did.
Here's a taste, jlust a small taste, of what they
Combined sports casting and great nioments
Key. Hanley and Warzecha take a journey
through the Roman Coliseum games, Christopher
Columbus' voyage to the New World and old
Southern slavery providing LSPN-style commen-
tary and interview along the way.
Home-schooling at its worst.
McKay shines as the home-school teacher. Mr.
Miller. Miller catches his habitual school-skipping
son, played by Warzecha, doing - what else -
skipping school and condemns him to home
McKay's acting skills come in handy as he takes
on the interacting roles of anthropology teacher,
coach, principal and Dad in the home school. The
school has its own song and a student population
of one. Warzecha, out of breath from running 10
miles, says, "Maybe I'm a little exhausted from
being on every team in this school!"
Humans become inanimate objects.
The Second City cast members again find inter-
esting ways to contort themselves. Not only do
they create hip-hop dance routines using mimed
movements, but they build set pieces using their
bodies. This time they play vending machines.
Which body part does the candy come from?
Other skits include loneliness of the grip reaper,
Notorious OB/GYN, "friendly" neighbor rivalry,
growing up in the suburbs on the outskirts of the
hood -- and they even find ways to make fun of
themselves as actors.
They even give a shout out to the grotesquely pop-
ular song "Who let the dogs out?" Leaving us to
wonder: Who let them out?
-'19th Nev'ous Breakdown " is now plaring at
Second (Cite in Detroit locatcl near Comerica Park.
Tickets ffd.-Thiwis are SI7.50 and Fri-Sat. 519.50.
ieir Nov 22, 'hdnesdai' tickets are S0. Call/248-645-
0666fnr more tickets aid directions.
es more dance and song than previously.
The cast veterans Keegan-Michael Key, Antione
McKay, Maribeth Monroe and Marc Warzecha
seem brightened by the presence of two funny new
faces: Kirk Hanley and Cheri Johnson, both
Courtesy of Second City Detroit
Keegan-Michael Key, Maribeth Monroe and Kirk Hanley know their Detroit comedy.
'EVITA' RISES TO POWER AT 'U'
MUSKET production at Power Center
y Rachel achrch
or the Daily
"Evita'" an opera from Andrew Lloyd
gebber, the man responsible for such
antastic musicals as "The Phantom of
he Opera" and "Cats," arrived just in
ite for the political drama of the presi-
Although these two
may have nothing
in common, they
both remind us of
Set in the
1940's, Evita is a
woman who strug-
gles as a child
because of poverty
and family loss. As
she grows older,
Evita realizes she
has to get out of
her shabby home
and move to where it's at: Buenos Aires.
As she transforms from dancer to actress,
she uses people -- especially men -to
move up in the world and in the mean-
time create a name for herself. Finally
Evita meets Juan Peron, who becomes
the first elected president of Argentina.
As First Lady, she plays a pivotal role in
her husband's political life. Evita helps
the poor and travels through Europe try-
ing to gain support for her people of
Argentina. Near the end, as she decides to
run for Vice-President, Evita is struck
with cancer and dies at the age of 34.
Done with Webber's music and Tim
Rice's lyrics, the musical tries to convey
the emotions of the citizens and of their
beloved leader, Evita. Playing Evita was
Monique French. She grows throughout
the play, along with her character. From
an ambitious 15-year old to an estab-
lished First Lady, French portrayed the
transition well. At times, French's voice
seemed to have been hidden by the
orchestra, which hindered her perfor-
mance a little. 11er renditions of "Buenos
Aires" and "Don't Cry for Me
Argentina" were well sung and really
showed her ability to act.
Carrying the musical was Eric Blair.
Blair played Che, the narrator of the
story, who was a young, communist citi-
zen that criticized the Perons - especial-
ly Evita. Blair knew his character and
was the only one to bring out the rock,
which is how Webber and Rice wrote it at
first. IHis voice soared above the rest and
his charisma on stage is truly a gift.
"High Flying Adored" and "Oh What a
Circus" could not have been any better,
all because of Blair's extraordinary range
and talent. Blair helped this sometimes
dull musical stay alive.
An especially surprising performance
was by Kristy Hanson, who played
Peron's mistress. Her only song was
"Another Suitcase" and it was beautifully
sung by her soft but powerful voice.
Hanson's timid character matched with
her remarkable sound had many in the
audience breathless. Juan Peron, played
by Bob Conley, had a great voice that
matched well with French's. In almost
every production of "Evita" Juan Peron
is played stiff and almost emotionless.
Conley portrayed Peron in this manner,
and it was only until the end that the audi-
ence finally saw some feeling from
Peron. I was waiting to see Peron's con-
niving side, but this was not quite ful-
filled. Conley had the voice to do it, but
was too stiff to be conniving.
The only disappointment was the end-
ing. Webber's "Montage" was not the cul-
mination of Evita's life or in' remem-
brance of her legacy. Webber is known
for those one or two amazing songs, but
then a lot of reprises. The ending could
have been stronger, yet the cast as a
whole was a great ensemble. The chore-
ography, done by Blair, was fun and gave
liveliness to the play. When the cast sang
Courtesy ot MUSKET
The dance-happy ensemble cast of "Evita" benefitted from the efficient, engaging choreography of Eric Blair.
the big numbers like "A New Argentina,
their voices harmonized wonderfully and
their stage presence could not have been
Director Justin Miller wanted to create
more of a modern feel by portraying a
rock-concert environment. With the help
of the steel set, colorful lighting and
Blair's choreography, the musical cap-
tures what Webber and Rice hoped to
achieve when writing a rock opera.
Nov. 4, 200
Another valuable lesson 14 74
learned from Hollywood: I4
a nw i i i i i i
I - I
Dylan of old rocked like new at Hill
At 59, Bob Dylan seems more comfortable than ever with his
atus as a cultural icon, more comfortable in the public eye and
appier than ever to expose his music to the masses.
And he still knows how to put on a good show, too. With the
elp of his rock-solid backing band, Dylan sounded fresh and
vely (for an old guy, that is) never missing a beat while tearing
irough 19 songs in a set that lasted a full two hours.
Dressed in all black, his curly hair parted down the middle,
*n looked like a new-age cowboy who's seen it all, and his
ice matched his ultra-haggard appearance, raspily grinding
ut each half-intelligible syllable.
Of course, Dylan's performances (and especially his singing)
ve never been about beauty but about delivery, and Dylan's
ilivery last night was solid if not spectacular. After all (and this
n't be said for every Dylan concert), the man looked like he
rnted to be there and sang like it too, as he seemed to deliver
little something extra - like the way he half-growled as he
ng "Highway 61" or the three (count 'em, three) guitar solos
"Desolation Row"'-throughout the night.
nsidering that Dylan is used to playing arenas and amp-
itheaters with two or three times the capacity of Hill Auditorium,
the show had an especially warm, intimate feel about it. Dylan
and his band acknowledged that vibe by beginning with an
"unplugged" set of six acoustic songs highlighted by "Mama
You Been on My Mind," a live rarity, and a jammed-out
"Tangled Up in Blue," on which Dylan shuffled around the
stage, nodding to his band mates as he pounded out solos.
Dylan went electric for "Country Pie," a fine, bluesy rock-
et, and stayed electric for the rest of the show. Though the
folkies (if any) in the audience were no doubt disappointed
with the largely up-tempo set, Dylan did toss in some mel-
lower numbers, including a heartfelt version of "Standing in
the Doorway" and "Simple Twist of Fate," the latter of which
Dylan remade into a Gram Parsons-y country ballad, with
multi-instrumentalist Larry Campbell chipping in a fine
pedal steel solo.
Things were especially rockin' when Dylan welcomed ex-
Saturday Night Live guitarist G.E. Smith to the stage for
"Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat." On that tune, Smith did a
respectable Duane Allman imitation as Dylan snarled the
wittily acerbic lyrics, while on the jam standard "All Along
the Watchtower," Smith tossed off his best Jimi Hendrix
w a",.- 11
K . I