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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (July 24, 1984)
M is slick
By Glenn Stuva
The Nebraska Repertory Theatre's production cf
"George M!" b a slick, excellent show. Anyone who
even remotely likes musicals should enjoy this one,
and ought to take the time to go see it.
The quality of the production is really quite easy
to explain. This is one of the rare cases where all of
the elements of a show acting, singing and danc
ing are brought together by a talented director to
make for a very enjoyable performance.
"George M!" is a musical about the life of Geroge M.
Cohan. The music and lyrics are Cohan's own, taken
from his many musicals. These songs are interwoven
with a script written by Michael Stewart and John
and Fran Pascal. Director Rex McGraw made an
interesting decision to keep the cast size down by
casting most actors in several roles. This also kept
the musical numbers from bloating into big, gaudy
shew tunes. The effect was to make the show seem
more like a vaudeville show and thus more true to
the spirit of Cohan.
McGraw should also be congratulated for his
choice of cast and his skill in directing their perfor-1
mances. There was not a weak link in the cast. Head
ing it was Charles Bell, who portrayed George Cohan
from birth to old age, and did a remarkable job of it.
Whether it was straight dialogue, singing, or a com
plicated tap dance routine, Beil made the role bigger
than life. At times he reminded me a little bit of
James Cagney, who played Cohan in the movie
"Yankee Doodle Dandee," except that Bell is proba
bly a better singer.
If there were only enough space in this review, the
entire cast would be mentioned and all the actors
applauded. Unfortunately there'3 not, so only a few
can be mentioned.
Jim Jorgensen, who played no less than seven
characters, was especially notable. Much of the time
he didn't even have to speak to draw a laugh from
the crowd. A gesture or a movement of his eyebrow
Kevenv Paul Hofeditz, Nancy Marcy and Treva
Lenore Tegtmeier, who played the rest of the Cohanj,
Jerry, Nellie, and Jessie, respectively, were all very
good, as was Shelly Boehmer as Fay Templeton.
The orchestra and musical director David Shrader
deserve mention. So does choreographer Nan Burn
ing. Both showed a great deal of painstaking effort,
and that effort paid off, making this one of the plays
people really should go see" this summer.
Throw in a very versatile lighting system, designed
by Robert Welk, costumes designed by Vcndtia K.
Jones, which fit the musical perfectly, and it all
added up to an excellent show. And don't forget the
songs. They're Cohan's. Cohan possessed a certain
Ail-American charm and brayura that is truly
inspiring at times. It was a simpler time then, and
" that's part of the attraction of the show. Cohan
could be called the ultimate commercial artist. He
gave the people what they wanted and did it like few
"George M!" will be playing July 24 through 23, at
the Howell Theatre. By all means, take a night off
from television and go see it.
WITH A DIAMOND!
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Monday thru Friday 10-9
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Michael Jackson: Beset by ghouls on end IT the stage?
Photo courtesy MTV
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2435 U. 33rd
Opinion by Ucndy TTynoxe 1
Nobody should blame Michael Jack
son if he never appears in public again.
For somebody who has the dubious
honor of being the most celebrated
figure since Elvis or the Beatles, the
poor guy can't seem to do anything
right in the eyes of a fast-growing
Take the opening date of the long
awaited and mega-hyped Victory Tour
in Kansas City. Although the show only
lasted about an hour and 45 minutes
- a full 45 minutes less than what had
been previously promised by the pro
moters it was still the best show that
anyone will ever see this year and very
probably in their lifetime.
Technically, the show was near flaw
less. The lighting was spectacular and
the sound was terrific outside of a few
seconds of feedback on Saturday night.
But still there was something lack
First and foremost, even though it
was supposed to be the tour to coin
cide with the release of the Jacksons
Victory album, not one song from the
album was performed during the show.
The official reason for this is because
the Jacksons supposedly feel that the
audience would be bored with listen
ing to songs that they weren't familiar
Could the real reason be that out
side of the Michael-and-Mick duet that
the album basically has yet to receive
any real support, either through sales
or through critical acclaim?
This was supposed to be a new show,
something different. But if you go and
buy the last Jacksons' album Trie Jack
sons Lim which was recorded on the
1979-80 Destiny Tour, you will hear
much the same dialogue and the same
music as you would have heard in
Kansas City this weekend.
Lastly, this is "officially" billed as the
Jacksons' tour. Not just Michael's show,
but the other brothers' show as well
excluding of course Jackie, who sits at
home recovering from knee surgery.
Yet there was no doubt that this was
Michael's show. Although they did per
form some of their old stuff, Michael
was the attraction with his.nose job,
moon walk and androgynous mystery.
Although these seem to be the major
downfalls of the actual show itself
forget the ticket fiasco the show was
still very good. I didnt see the crowd
leaving the stadium in a daze or in a
frenzy, but for the most part the mostly
white, upper-middle class audience of
close to 46,000 was satisfied. And maybe
that satisfaction came from the very
basic opportunity to see that Michael
does indeed exist, and that for a cou
ple of hours we were all actually within
a space occupied by this human being.
That alone was worth the $30 ticket
My question remains: Why couldn't
they be honest with us and tell us out
right that the show would only last less
than two hours? Whycouidnt they tell
us that it wasn't a new show outside of
some wonderful technological tricks
and the performance of five songs
from Michael's ThriUerLP? Why couldnt
they be honest and just bm it as Michael's
Why? Because the promoters, the
Jacksons' parents and the Jacksons
themselves knew that none of that
woCId ultimately make one little teensy
weensy bit of difference.
So, it is under way. The last word in
the selling of Michael Jackson has
begun. The very saddest part of the
whole thing is that I, among a multi
' tude of others, believe that he sincerely
wants absolutely no part of the show,
this tour or anything else to do with
this thing. But yet because of his beliefs
and Lis honesty, the people around
him, the people he trusts the most in
this entire universe, he is being used
for their gains.
The only good thing to come of the
tour is that in the end, when the smoke
clears and the next phenomenon takes
his or her place in the public's eye, the
high points cf the tour will be accre
dited to Michael the person who
deserves the credit.
Unfortunately, the claim for anything
bad that happens will also go to Michsr 1
Tuesday, July 24, 1984
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