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November 14, 2001 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-11-14

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All about Beetles...
David Kiley reads his book about
the history of Volkswagons at
Borders tonight at 7 p.m. Free.
WEDNESDAY
michigandaily.com/arts SNovEMBER 14, 2001

U-Prod to bring
'Secret Rapture'

Comedian Bernie
Mac adds flavor to
bland FOX TV

By Jenni Glenn
Daily Arts Writer
Forget the stress of exams, papers
and the daily grind of classes. Uni-
versity Productions brings a show

about greater

The
Secret
Rapture
Mendelssohn
theatre
November 15-18

pressures to the
Mendelssohn
Theatre stage
this weekend.
British play-
wright David
Hare's "The
Secret Rapture"
examines the
strain a patri-
arch's death
puts on a fami-
ly. Daughter
Isobel must fill-
the void left by
her father
Robert while

who plays Isobel's lover, Irwin. "It's
the classic story of good versus evil,
with the more realistic twist of good
not always prevailing," he said.
The script accurately mirrors the
real-life complexities of people,
Smith said. His character, for exam-
ple, is neither a hero nor a villain.
Irwin has normal human emotions
and his share of flaws, which makes
him more realistic, Smith said. All
of the characters have this level of
complexity, he added. "There are so

bsEt e "o*Univei"r"u"tious
Smith torn between a pair of lovelies (Audra Ewing, Julie Strassel)

By Rohith Thumati
Daily Arts Writer

Forget Affirmative Action in
higher education - the real issue
activists should concern themselves
with is segregation on television.
Outside of the UPN and the WB,

many layers to each of them that
you don't really know are there until
you begin digging," Smith said.
"The more you discover, the more
questions that come up about them."
Hare's writing maintains its com-
plexity in other areas besides char-
acter development, Ewing said.
"The script is full of so many
depths," she said. "It has been both
thrilling and challenging digging
into the script and discovering all it
has to offer."
Director John Neville-Andrews
chose to use a combination of
Hare's two scripts, one written for a
London cast and the other for a
New York performance. He said he
hopes. the audience will be able to
relate well to the plot and the situa-
tion facing Isobel.
"The challenges are making sure
all of Mr. Hare's intentions in the
play are recognized by an audience,
the burden of which the cast and I

are delightfully exploring and dis-
covering every day," he said.
A small cast brings this complex
story to the stage. Ewing said using
a small group works effectively for
an ensemble piece about a family.
The size of the cast also provides
the actors with the opportunity to
become close, she said. "It is much
easier to understand one another's
acting styles, and the process
becomes more intimate," Ewing
said.
She said she hopes the audience
members will identify with the
story and be impacted by its prox-
imity to reality.
"Though I do hope that the audi-
ence enjoys the play, I want them,
more importantly, to leave feeling
changed in some way," Ewing said.
"I hope that in some way the audi-
ence will leave with the need to re-
evaluate their relationships with
those they cherish."

the only programs
The
Bernie
Mac Show
FOX
Tonight at 9 p.m.
.

featuring a pre-
dominantly
black cast are
"My Wife And
Kids" on ABC
and now "The
Bernie Mac
Show" on FOX,
starring, sur-
p r i s i n g l y
enough, Bernie
Mac.
The second to
last of the
"Original Kings
of Comedy" to

running a graphic design firm and
dealing with her sister, lover and
young, alcoholic stepmother. "She
is fueled by her need to hold her
father on a pedestal," said Audra
Ewing, who portrays Isobel. "She
continually tries to push aside her
own jgappiness to take care of her
stepmother."
Isobel struggles to remain
untouched by her family's attempts
to manipulate her, said Jason Smith,

"Is it a bird? Is it a plane?"

Stage legend Bikel returnsfor another
heartwarming performance in 'Fiddler'

get his own
show (Steve Harvey is on the
eponymous show on the WB, D.L.
Hughley is on the UPN's equally
creatively named show "The Hugh-
leys" and Cedric the Entertainer's
WB sitcom entitled "Cedric The
Coach" is a mid-season replace-
ment), "Bernie Mac" features the
entertainer playing himself - a
famous comedian. I don't know
about you, but when a show features
actors playing themselves I have
serious doubts about acting ability.
Thankfully Bernie Mac sticks to
what he knows best.
The pilot starts with the comedi-
an taking in his sister's three kids
after she is sent to jail. The jokes
are; obviously, based around how
Bernie is suddenly thrust into the
role of father - something he has
zero experience in.
The cast is generally good and
helps compensate for Mac's inexpe-
rience. Kellita Smith plays Bernie's
wife Wanda, who is committed to
her job as Vice President of AT&T,
which the audience is made aware
of when we see her BMW 330ci
convertible and its vanity plate
"ATT VP." Nice car, nice touch.
Probably the most telling line in the
whole show is when Wanda says to

Courtesy o FOx
Bernie Mac back in the day of low life
standup.
the youngest girl Byana (Dee Dee
Davis) on whether she can play with
her, "Your aunt Wanda works for
AT&T and she can't go up and
miss. They don't play that."
Because of her dedication to her
work, it falls to Mac to interact with
the children, who are played rather
well by the young performers.
Camille Winbush plays the old-
est, Vanessa, whose character isn't
too much different, at least so far,
than Jennifer Nicole Freeman's
Claire Kyle on "My Wife And
Kids." Jeremy Suarez's Jordan is a
bed-wetting, pre-asthmatic, annoy-
ing and whiny middle brother, and
Bryana is just adorable as the baby
of the family.
The show does have some flaws.
For one, the characters talk directly
to the camera too much in the pilot.
It is almost like they are trying to
make the show look like a reality
program with all the mini-interview
bits.
They also use the telestrator,
common to televised sports, to get
their point across a lot, from point-
ing out who's on the phone to where
the crumbs are that Bernie's drop-
ping all over his car. These two
devices can get annoying real quick.
The writing in "Bernie Mac" is
strong, and the characters are
promising. It is nice that there is
finally another predominantly black
sitcom, aside from those on the WB.
Hopefully viewers will catch on to
the quality of the sitcom and it will

By Lisa Rat
Daily Books Editor
It's been 37 years since the classic musical
"Fiddler on the Roof" made its national debut
on the elegant stage of the Fisher Theater in
Detroit.
Numerous awards later,
the Fiddler is back, with
stage legend Theodore B ikel
Fididler on once again playing the feisty
the Roof father and milkman named
"Tevye," a role he has per-
Fisher Theater formed almost 1700 times.
November 16-25 Bikel, notorious for his
work in "Fiddler," has had a
truly outstanding career in
the performing arts. An
actor of the stage, film (for
which he earned a Best Sup-
porting Actor nomination)
and television (for which he
won a 1998 Emmy award),
he has served in the Actor's Equity Association,
the board of Amnesty International and the
American Jewish Congress. He also speaks five
languages and was appointed in 1977 by former
President Jimmy Carter to serve on the National
Council for the Arts.
Kicking off a leg of the two-year national tour
in Detroit on November 16, "Fiddler on the
Roof" is back and better than ever, with a sea-
soned cast and enthusiasm to spare.
"Fiddler on the Roof," set in the small Russ-
ian village of Anatevka in the early 20th centu-
ry, is the story of Tevye, his wife and their five

daughters. As the old-fashioned Tevye looses
each of his daughters to romance and changing
times as they grow older, he is faced with ques-
tions about his own identity and relationship
with his wife, illustrated in the tear-inducing
duet "Do you love me?" Make no mistake, how-
ever: This show definitely has plenty of light-
hearted moments, corfnbining the 'best of both
drama and comedy, along with famous show-
tunes such as "Tradition" and "Sunrise, Sunset."
Known for its classic soundtrack and, of
course, the traditional Russian bottle-dancing
scene, "Fiddler on the Roof" was initially
adapted from a Yiddish story by Sholom Ale-
ichem titled "Tevye and His Daughters."
Current director Sammy Dallas Bayes has
recreated the original choreography by promi-
nent dancer and director Jerome Robbins in this
production.
Dallas Bayes, a former protege of Robbins,
has hada storied career in American musical
theater, as well as abroad. le has worked on and
won acclaim for some of the most famous musi-
cals of all time, .including "West Side Story"
and "Godspell."
Many came to see "Fiddler" as it jubilantly
sang and danced its way through Detroit at this
time last year. Much is unchanged - including
the cast, many of whom have been playing in
"Fiddler" for over 30 years. Some cast members
are transplants from the Broadway production as
well: "A lot of them have done Broadway and
have actually been in productions in various
incarnations," says Marya Keefe, a national
publicity representative for the tour. Keefe, a
Spring 2001 graduate of the University of

Michigan with a BFA in Performance as a
Directing concentrator, is excited about the U-M
community experiencing the Detroit production
of "Fiddler on the Roof." "I really want to get
the word out to the U of M community about
these shows ... Ann Arbor has such a great the-
ater school and musical theater school," she

courtesy of Theodore Sikel
Bikel will play Tevye in the Fisher's "Fiddler."

Alexander's Trio to perform at Bird

Courtesy of FOX

By Adam Kaplan
For the Daily

According to an interview with
Monty Alexander conducted by

Hyy
Monty
Alexander
Trio
Bird of Paradise
Friday at 7:30 p.m.

J u d i t h
Schlesinger of
the Jazz Insti-
tute of Chicago
in 1999; "All
musicians 'play
music' but not
always in the
fullest sense of
that word. Few
approach the
challenge of
making orga-
nized sound
with the spon-
taneous delight

ed his own band -"Monty and the
Cyclones." His Jamaican-infused
music did not gain the recognition
and notoriety until a New York
Club owner and friend of Frank
Sinatra, Jilly Rizzo, discovered him
playing in Miami.
At Jilly's New York club, Monty
met vibeist Milt Jackson who even-
tually hired him. Soon thereafter,
Monty Alexander began his associ-
ation with bassist Ray Brown. His
trio work (such as with drummer
Jeff Hamilton and bassist John
Clayton) is "unmatched in its mas-
tery and exuberance," according to
Schlesinger.
In aRecent 1997 album, Echoes
at Jilly (Concord), his straight-
ahead jazz music celebrates the
Sinatra Repertoire as well as the
magical four-year period (1963-
1967) when many of his jazz
heroes came through the door.
Pianist Monty Alexander has

reinvented his elegant piano jazz,
infusing it with more Jamaican and
acoustic jazz flavor. In 1999,
Monty released an album on the
Telarc label, Stir it Up, which
pushed this Jamaican reggae feel
with acoustic jazz. His most recent
music venture in 2000 - Monty
Meets Sly and Robbie (Telare) -
pushed for similar material.
One of the particularities of
Monty's piano work has been and
still is his versatility. He is per-
forming in a variety of contexts: As

a soloist, in a trio format, with
orchestras, big bands and a return
to the roots with the unique jazz
reggae sounds of Goin' Yard
(Telarc).
"(Jazz) It is entertainient. Your
obligation is to uplift people and
make them feel better when they
came in." said Alexander.
Monty Alexander's Trio will be
perform this weekend on Friday
and Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. and
9:30 p.m. at the Bird Of Paradise in
Ann Arbor.

A wholesome family sitcom is just what the television industry needs.
Office of the Registrar
Attention:
Student
Reservists and
National-Guard

of pianist and composer Monty
Alexander."
It is worthy to illustrate Monty
Aiexander's illustrious career not
solely by who he worked with and
how many albums he created, but
also by how his music has evolved.

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