One of the University of Michigan’s most beloved a cappella groups, the Friars will present their 57th annual Best Concert Ever, Friday April 19th, 8pm in Rackham Auditorium. Wowing us with their vocals, humor, and terrible dance moves, I’m sure they will not disappoint. Tickets are $5 for students, $10 for adults. Hope to see you there!!
Archive for the 'Theatre' Category
Friday night, I had the privilege of seeing UMGASS’s presentation of Pirates of Penzance, or The Slave of Duty. It was such a great show – whimsical, cheery, and largely optimistic, I am officially an avid fan of UMGASS and the work that they do.
The play itself was actually pretty similar to what I was expecting for my first Gilbert and Sullivan show. The humor worked on so many levels. There was, of course, the absurdity of pirates in this bizarre setting in Cornwall, the main character Frederic having an identity crisis and wondering what a “true beautiful woman is” when all he has known is his charming yet elderly guardian Ruth, and of course who could forget the Major-General, an attested genius who asserts the depth of his knowledge while insulting his own at the same time. The whole concept is absolutely crazy.
The other operating level of humor was of course that of intellectually-based, political satire. Beginning with a rendition of “God Save the Queen,” audience participation insisted, we are immediately placed in a time period where everyone respects, yet mocks the queen to which they serve. Not to mention the lyrics of the songs are all at once brilliant and thought-provoking. It is almost too much to see it once and understand all that is going on in the show.
Job well done to the fine folks at UMGASS – can’t wait for what’s next!
On Friday night, the student group Groove put on an energetic, fast paced performance in the Michigan Theater. The bi-annual event has a different theme each year and this season the subtitle was “Innocent Until Groovin’ Guilty.” The evening opened with a spoof film of a criminal case in which Groove members were prosecuted for making too much noise. The convicts were detained in a cell and when they were finally freed, they sprang forth from the silver screen onto the stage and began drumming with spirit. Using non-traditional instruments, such as garbage cans, bicycles, ladders, umbrellas, newspaper, and more, the show turned regular objects on their heads and made them entertaining in a whole new way. The performers also demonstrated their talent with traditional instruments, like guitar, drum set, electric violin, and keyboard. Each scene told a story using a variety of wild costumes and lots of bold singing and acting. One of the funniest sketches was a rap battle between two sections of a middle school band in which the lyrics spoofed off of popular rap songs but using lyrics associated with pre-pubescence and the terrible awkwardness of middle school. Another memorable sketch was a play on the James Bond theme, where some Groove members were taken hostage while others came to the rescue, all the while hammering away a beat.
The audience was totally packed and seemed to love every second of the show. It takes a lot for a student group to pack a full house at the Michigan Theater! Some fans were also there to support to opening acts, EnCore and Rhythm student dance groups, as well as interluding musicians James Cornelison and Julian Allen. The exciting evening concluded with a sentimental- albeit comedic- farewell to the senior Groovers as well as an audience shout out from a large sum of Groove alumni who had returned to Ann Arbor for the special event. It was a totally energetic evening, full of comedy, musical talent, and pure entertainment.
Who is Luther Burbank?
WHO IS LUTHER BURBANK?– a new piece in eighteen parts. Three students from a variety of arts related disciplines have teamed up to create an original work of experimental theater. Willie Filkowski, an Interarts Performance major, Corey Smith, a composition major, and Nola Smith, a dancer major, have designed an extracurricular, innovative performance involving a variety of curious media: “dancing, text, video, original music, potatoes, prizes, costume changes, a LOT of dirt.” Inspired by a 1914 found text, Our Wonder World Vol. X: The Quiz Book, the collaborative event will entertain and puzzle, but ultimately answer the questions “Who is Luther Burbank?”
Presented with support from Basement Arts and Arts at Michigan, “WILB?” will run Thursday April 18-Saturday April 20. Performances are FREE and begin at 7 pm each night, with an additional late show at 11 pm on Friday the 19th. The show will be held in the Walgreen Drama Center on North Campus. See you there!
April 11-14 the University of Michigan’s Gilbert & Sullivan Society will present Pirates of Penzance; or The Slave of Duty at the Lydia Mendelssohn Theater in the Michigan League. Now, I have never seen a Gilbert & Sullivan Society production, so I am very much looking forward to seeing this one. Pirates of Penzance is always one of those shows that high schoolers put on…or attempt to put on…so I feel like it’s an important one to see done for real, you know? According to the UMGASS website, Pirates of Penzance is the only G&S show to premier in the United States, due to a desire to upstage a show of theirs that was “pirated” by a bunch of other companies throughout the United States shortly before the arrival of Pirates on Broadway. They succeeded, and Pirates of Penzance is one of the duos most well-known and restaged productions! A story of both adventure and love, this play is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat – perhaps laughing, perhaps cringing, but, nonetheless, entertained.
For more information, tickets, etc., check out UMGASS at their website here!
Last Friday at The Power Center, Dance Mix took the stage and blew the audience away. The show was high energy, exciting, and full of variety. The program included dances from about ten student dance groups. The Dance Mix Core- comprised of Impact, FunKtion, Element 1, Encore, and Rhythm- organized the event. Earlier in the year, other dance groups auditioned to be featured. Among the groups selected, Cadance, Groove, Photonix, Outrage, Michigan Raas, Bhangra, and Manzil performed. From jazz, to tap, tap, from lyrical to hip-hop, from traditional Indian dance to dance theater, from glow sticks to STOMP style drumming, the evening exhibited a vast array of techniques. Some groups were all female, others were all male. Some were athletic while others were dainty. No matter who showed what, everyone brought great energy but with their own style. The audience was packed and, throughout the nearly three hour event, remained equally as hyped as the performers. It was a fantastic event and a wonderful culmination to a year of hard work for these dancers.