Southern Illinois University Carbondale SCRC Text (Southern Illinois University Carbondale)
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Dunham Revue is Altered but it Still Sizzles
Dunham Revue is Altered but it Still Sizzles
TitleDunham Revue is Altered but it Still Sizzles
CreatorCassidy, Claudia
DescriptionThe reviewer compares the new Tropical Revue to the earlier version of the show, and focuses primarily on the new L'Ag Ya portion which has replaced the fertility rites portion of the earlier tour. She calls it a "voodoo version of Agnes de Mille's ballet in 'Oklahoma!'". This critic is disappointed by what she feels is a benignly characterized zombie king as well as by the lack of a sense of real danger during the fighting scenes. She briefly but warmly praises the dancing, costumes and "gaiety" of the show towards the end of the review.
CollectionSCRC Text (Southern Illinois University Carbondale)
SubcollectionKatherine Dunham Papers
Original Publication SourceChicago Tribune
Place WrittenChicago, IL
Subjects -titlesTropical Revue
Subjects -peopleOhardieno, Roger ; Aikens, Vanoye ; Marchant, Claude ; Erwin, Ramona ; Gomez, Tommy ; Polito (singer) ; Gabowitz, Martin ; Pratt, John ; Dunham, Katherine
Other topicsStudebaker Theater
Collection ID/Box#FP20_7_F1DUNHAM_B102_F13_03
Rights StatementFor permission to reproduce, distribute, or otherwise use this image, please contact the Special Collections Research Center, Morris Library, Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Phone: + 1 (618) 453-2516. Email:
TranscriptDunham Revue Is Altered, but It Still Sizzles
BY CLAUDIA CASSIDY, Not much has changed about Katherine Dunham's "Tropical Re¬ vue" since it played the Blackstone last spring—in its Studebaker re¬ incarnation it is still a crackling show for brilliant dancers, padded in the second half to eke out the evening, and wilh one big new num¬ ber, L'Ag'ya, to replace the rites of fertility so blazoned by the pub¬ licists last season.
As distinguished dancing there is no comparison between the two. but *'L'Ag'ya" may prove popular with the average audience, it strikes me as a voodoo version of Agnes de MiUe's ballet in "Oklahoma!", tho I admit I can't work in the scene where Julot goes to the zombie king to get a love charm to lure Loulouse away from Alcide, The king of the zombies was a great dis¬ appointment. I expected Roger Ohardieno to be something fearful, and there he was a scarecrow with a corncob pipe, rocking away in a chair and gomg " hee hee" while his victims played walking dead even on stilts.
But back to *'Oklahoma!*' Miss Dunham, usually the siren of the piece, comes out looking most fetch- ing in a short white dress and dances with Vanoye Aikens in the most gentle of courting pieces, in¬ terrupted by the villain, who looks rather more like a cat than Pore Jud. Then when the villain gets back with that charm, the I'ag'ya, or wrestling dance, results in the death of the hero, bested when he thinks he has won.
But the chief trouble with "L'Ag'ya" is that it builds up to a terrific letdown. That dance is sup¬ posed to be deadly, with the kind of footwork that means murder. Mr. Aikens had murder in the whites of his eyes, Claude Marchant looked treacherous, and the dancing was expert, but the only people who seemed in danger were the orches¬ tra men who kept getting caught in the discards of Miss Dunham's zom¬ bie strip tease.
But the Dunham Dancers are top¬ flight in their field and Miss Dun- ham is one of the most engaging entertainers to be found back of footlights. Her teasing " Babiana " is even more seductive than usual, tho her scene with the cigar has been altered a little, end not im¬ proved. The " Rara Tonga" remains an effective Polynesian folk tale, with Ramona Erwin its beautiful chosen woman and Tommy Gomez a sinuous serpent as the husband struck down by the cruel god.
There is some jive mixed in with primitive dances and the best of the show has a gaiety that leaps right out to the audience. Poll to is its new singer, a crooner of sorts, but the Dowdy Quartet is back, and those superior drummers are on hand, tho Albert Arkuss no longer leads the expert orchestra. Martin Gabowiti, the new man, conducts with his index fingers, and almost achieves his predecessor's rhythm, which was as vivid as John Pratt's costumes.
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Original Formatreview
Original dimensions (cm.)31 x 5
Digital Object TypeImage
Digital File Format.tif
Digital File PublisherSpecial Collections Research Center, Morris Library, Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
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