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April 18, 1991 - Image 13

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The Michigan Daily, 1991-04-18

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The Michigan Daily - Thursday, April 18, 1991 - Page 9
. ' 1 f 6edRlEno sr ' m Theater Review

If not for the courage

of the fearless...

4

by Beth Colquitt
It isn't often that a show is treated
to the talents of an understudy on
this campus - in fact, in the last
four years, I can only think of one
other time that a lead role has not
been played by the performer cast in
that role. It is also rare, I hope, for
the lead role (the romantic hero) in
a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta to
find out that he has a hemorrhage in
his throat right before the
performance. Poor Darryl Taylor.
But fortunately, however, not poor
audience. Understudy Jeff Smith,
presumably at a moment's notice,
did a beautiful job with the role of
Ralph in this weekend's UMGASS
production of Gilbert and
Sullivan's H.M.S. Pinafore.
Smith was admirably compli-

mented by the female romantic lead,
Karen Thompson, who played
Josephine. Her voice was light and
confident and remarkably suited for
the part, while her stage presence
was gracefully enhanced by a sim-
ple, pale-yellow and red sailor-style
dress. With her voice and her doe-
eyes, Thompson should be keeping
an eye out for a role like Joanna in
Sweeney Todd.
The performance was light and
visually attractive. Due to the fact
that sailors were climbing all over
the Pinafore (as sailors would on a
real ship), every part of it had to be
serviceable, giving the set an im-
pressive appearance. The convincing
reality didn't quite extend as far
into the house as was intended, but
the figurehead in the lobby was
quite pretty.

Bev Pooley, a veteran UMGASS
performer, outdid himself in
Pinafore. His animated face, af-
fected gestures and thoroughly
nasal British accent all combined to
re-create the role of Sir Joseph
Porter, K.C.B. exclusively for him-
self. Aside from the romantic leads,
Pooley's witty performance out-
shone the entire cast.
The orchestra and Captain
Corcoran (David Keosaian), how-
ever, should have resisted being out-
shone a little more. Both lacked the
courage that would have made a
good show into a splendid show.
The performance was technically
quite well performed, but even
Gilbert and Sullivan can stand a lit-
tle bit more depth and a little bit
more confidence.

On the Verge of some

If you like Skidz, you'll love Tony! Toni! Tone!'s wardrobe. These guys
look like a couple of cards!
Three Tonys play
emn big double 'A'
ti Andrew J. Cahn
"It's all an attitude," explains Tony! Toni! Tone! drummer Tim
Christian. "When someone's looking real good, we'll call him 'Tony.' The
better you look, you add another 'Tony.' You walk in and people call you
'Tony Tony!"'
Basically, the amount of Tonys used to describe your appearance is in di-
rect proportion to how good you look. These guys are so hip that they have
*three Tonys to analyze their own fashion sense and general outlook on life
- one look at their own self-styled wardrobes and there is no denying
these claims.
Contrary to public opinion, there is no one in the band named with any
derivation of the spelling of Tony. The three members of the band on the
cover each represent one spelling, but their real names are Christian, under
the y, bassist and vocalist Ray Wiggins, under the i, and singer/guitarist
Dwayne Wiggins, under the e. In addition to the three leads, there is a full
band made up of their relatives.
The fact that Tony! Toni! Tone! are a band is one of the reasons why they
feel that they are different from other soul artists such as Bobby Brown,
*Bell Biv DeVoe and Keith Sweat. On their album The Revival, there is a
good deal of programmed drums and sampling, but when they play live,
they definitely have a more live sound. According to Christian, he plays a
real drumset - unthinkable! Keyboardist Carl Wheeler sometimes sits
behind a Hammond B-3. What could have possibly been going through
their minds when they came up with that idea?
Not only do they all play instruments, but they also wrote and pro-
duced all but three of the album's tracks. Being a relatively new band, there
was some initial trouble convincing the record exccs to let them produce.
"When we first told them we wanted to do everything," Christian says,
*"we had to prove ourselves." They went in and did three cuts, including the
first two singles, "The Blues" and "Feels Good." After that, he says, the
people at Wing/PolyGram told them to go on ahead.
Further separating them from Keith Sweat, whose tunes are fairly in-
distinguishable from each other, "The Blues" and "Feels Good" are radi-
cally different styles. The first is a laid back, '70s style number with a
slow groove and loose harmonies, while the other has a house-music drum
beat and a much faster tempo. Neither of them, however, would be out of
place in any dance hall. This variety was not done with the intention of
having a well-rounded album. "It just came out that way," Christian says.
* This natural diversity comes from the wide variety of artists who in-
fluenced them, including all the sacred icons of funk: Tower of Power, Sly
Stone and James Brown, to name a few. The ultimate statement of their
niarriage of sound from both yesterday and today is their rap based around
tower of Power's "Oakland Stroke." Included in that song are references
to those who have helped them out, their explanation of why Oakland is so
hip, various samples (including the chorus of the original tune) and even "a
sound byte from a Duke Ellington piece." Although they have Vanessa
Williams singing the chorus just as it was done on Back to Oakland, there
is no explicit credit given to Tower of Power on the record, but, assures
* Christian, "They get paid." Otherwise, they couldn't get it with no good
credit.
TONY! TONI! TON ! hit Hill Auditorium tonight with Mickey B. and MC
DJ.E. Tickets are $17.50 in advance from TicketMaster (p.e.s.c.).

by Jenie Dahlmann
Imagine three fearless female ad-
venturers embarking on a surrealis-
tic journey through time, picking
their way across ice glaciers, en-
countering the Abominable Snow-
man, conversing with an all-
knowing super-power named Mr.
Coffee and delighting in the discov-
ery of Cool-whip and rock 'n' roll
when they reach the 1950s.
This plot sounds like an idea for
an epic screenplay to be produced by
George Lucas on the big screen in
Dolby stereo. Unbelievably, how-
ever, the three heroines venture
across the Basement Arts stage in
Eric Overmyer's play On the Verge.
There is no budget for exotic loca-
tions or million dollar special ef-

fects to carry-out Overmyer's script
in Basement Arts. Nonetheless, this
show's director Richard Perloff and
his dedicated four-member cast will
attempt to recreate the awesome
world that Overmyer envisioned.
A limitless script and the sense
of wonderment that On the Verge
inspires attracted Perloff enough to
direct a production of his own.
According to Perloff, each charac-
ter's fearless enthusiasm for life
and ceaseless curiosity about what
lies ahead keeps the unusual script
afloat. The intricate language of the
play has served as an emphasis for
his direction. Perloff believes that
On the Verge is a play about lan-
guage and how people express them-
selves through diction and word
choice. It addresses the growth and

thing very
change of language through the
decades these women pass through.
By the time they reach the '50s, for
example, language has been com-
pletely altered by the invention of
television.
Perloff claims the show is a big
production for the Basement Arts
to undertake. The diversity of the
script demands creativity and the
acute imagination of all involved.
Varying uses of sound and light
will shape scenes of cliff scalings,
glacier crossings and jungle hikes.
The work involved in forming these
disparate worlds will keep the
techies on their toes.
Despite the extravagant nature
of the show in its language, setting
and characters, On the Verge is
poignant at times. Scenes of intro-

Pinafore was a revolutionary
show for the American publid.
Broadway producers more than don-
bled their output of musicals after
Pinafore's enthusiastic reception.
William Gilbert had a lyric flair
that appears to have been inherited
only by Stephen Sondheim.
UMGASS showed the light satire,
which adds spice to the beautiful
musical numbers and the frivolous
romance, that made this operetta one
of the most popular shows to grace
a musical stage.
H.M.S. PINAFORE is running an-
other weekend, tonight through
Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2
p.m. Tickets range from $7.50 to
$10, $5 for students with I.D., at the
Mendelsshon Theatre box office.
awesome
spection through journal writing
remind the audience that no matter
how wild the circumstances may be,
these women are real people with
passionate feelings.
Perloff reiterates his hope that
audiences will experience the same
fascination that the play inspires in
him. "On the Verge is like a favorite
children's book that takes on a
whole new meaning when you read
it as an adult," he says, "(leaving)
you awed by it's simultaneous com-
plexity and simplicity."
ON THE VERGE will be performed
in the Arena Theater, located in the
basement of the Frieze Building
tonight, tomorrow and Saturday at S
p.m. There is no admission fee.

Ed Sarath strikes again. Does
this guy ever sleep? Tonight at 8
p.m. in the North Campus
Commons Dining Hall, of all
places, four small jazz ensembles
will perform. The groups range in
background and musical style, but
all have mentor Sarath in common,
as head of the Music School's Jazz
Program.
Yo! What a bill - check this
out! The Feelies (filmmaker
Jonathon Demme's favorite band)
and Georgia's Chickasaw Mudd
Puppies, the latest export of a cer-
tain kind of folk music, simple gui-
tars and warshboards together at the
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Blind Pig, May 6. Better than gradu-
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Schoolkid's has been around 15
years and Laurie Anderson is com-
ing to help them celebrate. She per-
forms at the Michigan Theater May
11. This mistress of weird perfor-
mance art / music / whatever is big
science, yeah.
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