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February 14, 2003 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-02-14

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February 14, 2003








By Douglas Wernert
Daily Arts Writer

0 1

N In today's television
business full of ludi-
crous ideas,
where viewers
will soon be
able to watch
"When Animals
Attack 5" and "Are You
Hot?" within the same
hour, one truth brings
hope: From time to
time, people still
enjoy a good old-
fashioned musical.
Banking on the
success of "South
Pacific" last year,
ABC has brought
another musical to
the small screen.
"The Music
Man" com-
bines fine act-
ing, dancing
and comedy
into'a pleasant
change from the
can you top this?"
format that is network
One way to attract
attention is to get the
star from another wildly
successful Broadway show.
Matthew Broderick ("The Pro-

ducers") is Harold Hill, the charming, smooth-
talking scam artist who invades River City, Iowa
to form a band with all the kids of the town.
Singing the catchy tune "We've Got Trouble," he
offers this alternative so the children of River City
won't get caught up in the gambling of the newly
opened billiards room.
Though the citizens of the town take a liking to
the energetic fellow, there are a few looming
problems. First, the mayor of the town, Shinn
(Victor Garber), owns the pool table and is
against the idea of starting a children's band.
Second, Hill isn't a music teacher and isn't inter-
ested in forming a band at all, but rather taking
their money and hightailing it out of town. Hill
also takes a liking to Marian (Kristin Chenoweth),
the town librarian - yes, that.does rhyme -
whose conservative nature and vibrant face make
her a strong character.
Marian's mother, Mrs. Paroo (Debra Monk),
and the mayor's old-fashioned wife (Molly Shan-
non, surprisingly proving there is still life after
"Saturday Night Live") quickly acquire a fondness

So then the pope says, "That's not my donkey... "
'Targets' hits bulls-ey

By Lynn Hassolbarth
Daily Arts Writer

for Hill. In the middle of practicing
for the Flag Day festivities, Harold
explains his dreams for the chil-
dren's band with the well-known
song "Seventy-Six Trombones." The
town jumps at the idea, but Mayor
Shinn demands to see Hill's teaching
credentials, sending a group of four
easily-distracted men (the famous


Courtesy of AB
Abe Frulman, the Sausage King of Chicago.
and the barbershop quartet is just ridiculous
enough to be funny. However, the mayor's
butchering of the English language and its
expressions almost make one for-
get he's the "bad guy." Also, hear-
ing Winthrop, the little
freckled-faced brother of Marian,
MAN sing with his squeaky voice will
USIC N have you shaking your head, either
at 7 p.m. in laughter or disgust. Marion her-
kBC self becomes lovelier as the show
goes on, and compliments the
swindler Harold Hill very well.
"The Music Man" is a pleasant way to spend a
Sunday evening, and it reminds you the oldies can
still provide quality entertainment. When it comes
to delivering a solid night of fun and enjoyment,
ABC won't be singing "We've Got Trouble."

Eve Ensler, activist and author of
"The Vagina Monologues," brings her
brave, new play, "Necessary Targets," to
Ann Arbor's Performance Network this
month. Audiences will experience the
haunting echoes of war-torn Bosnia
through the voices of five refugee
women. Written from hundreds of inter-
views with female Bosnian refugees in
Croatia and Pakistan, Ensler's script is
simple and heartbreakingly sincere.
The play unfolds in a Bosnian
refugee camp in 1995, as seven-very
different women struggle to rebuild
their lives. J.S. and Melissa, played by
Jan Radcliff and Carla Milarch, are
Americans who have traveled to the

memory of violence.
Weighted down in denial over the
loss of her baby, Seada is a woman
detached from existence. In a riveting
performance by Robyn Heller, Seada
breaks down and faces the horror of
her past. Zlata (Terry Heck) is a doctor
and woman of intense pride who resis-
tants the efforts of J.S. and Melissa.
She can't bear to see Americans strut in
with their tape recorders and expertise,
reminding her of a life she once had.
However, the pride, denial and fear that
separate these women ultimately joins
them in deep friendship.
"When we think of war, we do not
think of women. Because the work of
survival, or restoration, is not glam-
orous work" explains Eve Ensler in the

Barbershop Quartet) to scout him out. Marian the
librarian helps Hill, and all scenarios lead to a
conclusion that all will enjoy and appreciate.
While the songs and storyline are clever and
creative, "The Music Man" thrives because of the
cast. Broderick always turns in a good showing,


ABC brings 'Dragnet' out of retirement

camp to record the
women's painful stories.
However, J.S., a Man-
hattan psychiatrist, and
Melissa, a war-trauma
counselor and journalist,
find themselves amid
their own personal
Early in the play,
Melissa asks each
woman what she wishes

At the Performance
Through March 9
Performance Network

to the published play. By
viewing war through the
perspective of its female
victims, one is awakened
to the unpublicized and
misunderstood conse-
quences of war.
Tragically, women of
war are necessary tar-
gets. Rape and violence
against women reminds
the opposing side that
they are incapable of

By Christian Smith
Daily Arts Writer
The badge is back. Or so goes the
ABC slogan touting its new series
version of the touchstone 1950s cop
staple "Dragnet." And
who to do such a thing
other than the very per-
son who has taken NBC
hostage with the "Law DRA
& Order" franchise, S
Dick Wolf. It makes Sundays
sense, considering how A
much "L&O" draws
from the original "Dragnet" with the
deadpan voiceover, the catchy transi-
tion sound effect and the just-the-facts
narrative approach.
Like "Law & Order," "Dragnet"
advertises that it draws storylines
from today's headlines as well as Los
Angeles' rich crime history. However,
it seems to be inspired by more than
just that. Last week's episode was
almost an exact reproduction of a
recent episode of NBC's "Boomtown"
- same disturbing homeless crime,
same MacArthur Park location, same
film-school perpetrator.
Though the show is anything but
original content wise, there really
isn't anything quite like it on televi-

sion stylistically. Nowadays, net-
works have abandoned straightfor-
ward storytelling in order to push
more edgy, attention-grabbing fare
in competition with the likes of
cable programming.
The new "Dragnet"
is possibly the most
undemanding show on
TV The program essen-
~NET tially leads viewers
along the path to its
10 p.m. logical conclusion,
C leaving behind the
twists and* turns. While
there are many other crime-based
shows that are similarly conventional,
like "NYPD Blue" for example,
"Dragnet" solves the crimes in such a

droning and obvious way that all the
suspense is eliminated in the process,
whereas watching Sipowicz working
over NYC's scum never gets old.
The "Dragnet" revival does jack it
up a little, but the most enthralling
part about it is the opening credits, a
montage of the Los Angeles land-
scape set to a fast-paced techno beat,
complete with the signature dum-da-
dum-dum theme song.
Another of the show's problems is
the uneven rapport between the two
main characters, Detectives Joe Fri-
day, played by Ed O'Neill - who is,
of course, best known for playing the
dim-witted Al Bundy on "Married
With Children" - and Frank Smith
(Ethan Embry, "Sweet Home Alaba-

ma"). While O'Neill does a fine job
as Friday in a subtle, low-key and
witty performance, Embry makes
boisterous, unintelligent observations
and seems better suited for a revival
of "90210" than he does for a classic
detective series. In fact, the question
everyone seems to be asking is how
on earth did Embry's 26-year-old
Smith make detective already?
The answer: Network executives
conveniently situated him there to
attract a younger demographic that
isn't familiar with the original series.
So as Embry meanders around in his
hideous brown suits, posing for 13-
year-old girls, O'Neill is left with all
the work, and the show is left with
nothing but mediocre.

for. Azra (Shirley Benyas), an elderly
woman yearning for her beloved cow
Blossom, replies with ease, "I'm wait-
ing to die." With honest acceptance of
the finality of her life, Azra simply
wants to be reunited with her loved
ones. Jelena (Wendy Hiller), in her
mid-thirties, is fearful of her abusive
husband and wishes to escape with
joyful drunkenness. Nuna, a young
admirer of American movie stars,
seems to be the bridge between the
American women and her devastated
friends. Played by Rebecca Del-
comyn, Nuna is the daughter of an ill-
fated mixed marriage. She wishes to
one day be respected for who she is.
Others, such as Seada, are lost in the

protecting their own mothers, wives and
daughters. Women are reduced to being
spoils of war, a reality thatis often
ignored and removed from our minds.
Then, after the war is over, the closing
chapter lingers indefinitely as women
rebuild their broken homes and dis-
placed communities. Ensler seeks to
remind us of their essential role.
Whether one is wholly changed by
this experience, or is simply inspired
by the genuine artistry of the play,
"Necessary Targets" aides in our
understanding of war. Through the sen-
sitive stage direction of David Wolber
and the honest performances of the
play's seven actresses, "Necessary Tar-
gets" is a vital masterpiece.



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