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August 12, 1982 - Image 10

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1982-08-12

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'Fantasticks' still


playing on
(Continued from Page 7)
It was as a student at the Curtis In-
stitute in Philadelphia, however, that
she had her first taste of Broadway.
Cast as a chorus member in
Jamaica-a one'year production
starring Lena Horna and Ricardo Mon-
talban- Stanford says she learned al-
most everything about musicals that
she knows today.
That experience led her into summer
stock for several seasons. It also led her
to formulate some definite opinions
about musical theater.
"The musical is an American version
of opera which is a European art,'' she
says. "Or, you might say American
musicals are tantamount to Viennese
Both art forms require the same
theatrical elements: staging, scenery,
movement, casts. Both demand exactly
the same requirements of a singer,
Stanford claims, except that in
musicals "you don't have to sing as
Sondheim, or Rogers and Hammer-
stein, she continues, are as hard to sing
as any operatic aria. In the case of
"The Fantasticks," with its difficult
vocal passages, she doubts if it could be
performed successfully without trained
singers like those at the University.
And Stanford has only good things to
say about the students in her cast.
"They sing altogether beautifully," she
says. "They work hard and they are
very professional."
The only major challenge she has
faced in her five weeks in Ann Arbor
has to do with the performers' diction.
They speak with a regional accent, as
Stanford puts is, pronouncing the word
"marry," for example, as "mear-y."
So they won't encounter problems
working in other parts of the country,

Stanford has tried to teach them to
speak in a more standardized version of
There are actually two casts playing
in The Fantasticks. Since the produc-
tion counts as a class in the School of
Music, all those who passed the
audition have been given parts in order
to earn their credits.
That circumstances makes for two
different shows, as Stanford sees it.
Each group of performers varies from
the other in expression and inter-
The Fantasticks itself is a versatile
piece. The longest running musical in
Broadway history (currently going on
23 years), the show focuses on eight
major characters: a kind of one-man
Greek chorus, a married couple with
two offspring, a mute who handles the
props, and two older people.
With songs and dialogue, the actors
recreate universal human events, Stin-
ford says, both the dark and the light
sides of life. It is done in such a way that
the audience identifies with the produc-
tion, feeling they themselves could be
the characters on stage, she adds.
Although she will not divulge what
they are, Stanford hints her production
includes some innovations which help
trigger imagination. Her role, she
states, is simply to set the stage, than
let the audience do the rest.
"I want the audience to take away a
wonderful feeling of fantasy," she says,
"and to think of things they haven't
thought of in years . .. Besides their
tickets, all they have to bring with them
is imagination."
The Fantasticks will be performed in
the Mendelssohn Theater August 12
through 14 at 8 p.m., There will also be
a matinee performance Sunday, August




(clockwise from left) Dan Brogan, Lisa Ray Turner, Steve Mattar, Ginny'
Birchler, and Tom Dreeze appear in the School of Music's 'The Fantasticks.'

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