May 17, 2017

Kinky Boots



Kinky Boots is the story of Charlie, a young man who inherits his father’s failing shoe factory in England. In a last ditch effort to keep the business going, he joins forces with a drag queen named Lola to create a line of high-heeled boots. The story, based on real events, is fun but it also carries a serious message about accepting those who are different. 

In the second act Charlie says something that sums up the entire production. He tells Lola that when she’s not there, there’s a big gaping gap. This is so true of the show. It's not that the scenes without Lola are bad; they just don't have the same magnetic energy. Timothy Ware’s electric performance as the sassy cabaret performer carries the show. He has an energy that steals every scene.

During the number “Not My Father’s Son” he also shows a tender vulnerability that gives an added heft to the shows message. His performance is just as powerful when all the sequins are stripped away. Charlie, played by Curt Hansen, is earnest but he pales in comparison to Lola. That’s not Hansen’s fault, it’s just a tough act to follow. 

Like many big musical shows, there are moments when the sheer number of voices and flashing lights overwhelm the lyrics. Yet the production finds its footing when Lola’s character is introduced in the first act. The end result is captivating musical featuring a gaggle of drag queens and a surprisingly tender heart.


Don't Miss the Show


The show runs until Sunday, May 21 at Clowes Memorial Hall so hurry to get tickets to the show. Tickets can be purchased at Clowes Memorial Hall, The Murat Theatre, by calling (800)-982-2787 or online at www.broadwayacrossamerica.com. Shows begin at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Sunday.

Photos by Matthew Murphy

Phoenix Announces Three 2017/18 Shows


Phoenix Theatre of Indianapolis is thrilled to announce the first three shows of its final season at 749 Park Avenue!

The 2017-2018 Season will be split into two stages, facilitating and reflecting the transition of the Phoenix itself as it moves to a new home.

ABOUT THE SHOWS

Fun Home
adapted by Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori
from Alison Bechdel's 2006 graphic memoir
September 14-October 22, 2017
Directed by Phoenix Founder Suzanne Fleenor
Winner of 5 2015 Tony Awards®, including Best Musical

In this startlingly candid production, we meet Alison at three different ages, revealing memories of growing up in a uniquely twisted household centered around the family funeral home (or “fun home,” as she and her brothers have named it). Fun Home is a brilliant portrayal of seeing your parents through grown-up eyes, marked by love, grief, and, ultimately… acceptance.

Halftime With Don
by Ken Weitzman
October 26-November 19, 2017
A National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere

Retired NFL great Don Devers has had more surgeries than he can remember, experiences violent outbursts, and relies on swarms of Post-It notes to offset a memory ravaged by a traumatic brain injury. Just when things seem their darkest, a devoted and desperate fan, Ed Ryan, appears on his doorstep…

A Very Phoenix Xmas 12
By Various Artists
November 24-December 23

A Very Phoenix Xmas is back and better than ever! In addition to a brand new batch of holiday music and mayhem, we’ve arranged a visit from the ghost of Phoenix Xmas past! Over the past eleven years, A Very Phoenix Xmas has brought both naughty and nice to the stage.

TICKETS AND SHOWTIMES

The rest of the 2017-2018 Season will be announced at the end of Summer 2017. Tickets for Phoenix Theatre’s 2017-2018 Season will be on sale in the Fall of 2017.  Tickets may be purchased by calling the box office at 317.635.7529 or visiting phoenixtheatre.org.  Curtain times for productions are: Thursdays at 7 pm, Fridays at 8 pm, Saturdays at 8 pm, and Sundays at 2 pm.  Curtain time for Wednesday performances of A Very Phoenix Xmas 12 is 7 pm.

Fun Home image from here

May 10, 2017

Dial "M" for Murder



It's thriller season at the Indiana Repertory Theatre this month. Dial "M" for Murder is currently on the mainstage and suspense is the name of the game. Some may be familiar with Alfred Hitchcock’s film version of the play or even the 1998 remake, “A Perfect Murder”, but for those in the dark, the plot will be even more interesting.

A young couple in 1950s London is not quite as happy as they may first appear. Soon the audience discovers that the husband is plotting his wife's murder. Matt Mueller plays the malevolent husband Tony. He’s cold and calculating, but still the eternal British gentleman. He’s decided he wants his wife’s money and has no qualms about killing her to get it. Robert Neal provides a great foe as Chief Inspector Hubbard.
The set, designed by Kate Sutton-Johnson, is gorgeous period piece. The 1950s apartment has a classic feel, with vintage furniture and luscious wallpaper. One odd element was the decision to project images on the back wall during phone calls. Each time a character made a phone call, close ups of the person on the other end of the line were shown, which was distracting and immediately takes you out of the action. It disrupted the flow of the play, providing a jarring reminder that the scene in front of you is staged.

The show is well-plotted, but those expecting gasps at every turn will be disappointed. Dial “M” has a slow burn approach to the thriller genre. It’s murder presented as a chess game rather than a high-speed chase.

Don't Miss the Show 
The Indiana Repertory Theatre is located at 140 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, one-half block west of the Circle Center Mall between northbound Illinois St. and southbound Capitol Ave. Dial "M" for Murder runs until May 21 on IRT's One America Mainstage. To purchase tickets or find performance times, call (317) 635-5252 or order online at www.irtlive.com.

April 3, 2017

Miranda and My Fair Lady

Miranda is a CIA operative working in Yemen in the current upperstage production at the Indiana Repertory Theatre. Written by IRT's playwright-in-residence James Still, the show is the third play in a trilogy he created. The first play, The House that Jack Built premiered at the IRT in 2012. The second play, Appoggiatura, is part of the theatre's 2017/18 season. Each play works as a stand alone, but they deal with a single family and a tragedy that has shaped their lives. 

At its heart Miranda is about identity. The titular character is strong-willed and stubborn. The only thing fluid about her is the constant shift in her public persona. She goes by four different names in the short time we have with her. Her identity is shaped by her work and family.When her faith in the identity she's created is shaken, she begins to question everything. 
Jennifer Coombs embodies the broken but brash Miranda. Her layered performance captures the troubled spy's inner turmoil. She shows warmth as she meets with a possible informant, she's antagonistic with her caustic boss, and she's tender on a one-sided phone call with her mother. Mary Beth Fisher was a scene-stealer as both Rose, a charismatic woman from Baton Rouge, and Lauren. 

I am consistently moved by the language in Still's plays. His dialogue flows so smoothly, flipping back and forth with a natural rhythm and pulling you into the story. This show was no exception and there are many lines, like "Remembering the past is easy. Imagining the future takes guts." that stood out. The set was incredibly detailed, including a hand-painted mosaic on the floor and a warm glow from hanging lanterns. Scenic designer Ann Sheffield captured the feel of a Middle Eastern area while keeping things simple. 

Though the show is being promoted as a thriller, it never feels that way to me. Thrillers tend to be plot driven, while "Miranda" feels distinctly character driven. I think it's more accurate to say it's a study of grief and how for some it becomes the driving force of their life. 

Don't Miss the Show  
The Indiana Repertory Theatre is located at 140 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, one-half block west of the Circle Center Mall between northbound Illinois St. and southbound Capitol Ave. "Miranda" runs until April 23 on IRT's Upperstage. To purchase tickets or find performance times, call (317) 635-5252 or order online at www.irtlive.com.

Content advisory:
Miranda is a psychological drama that contains strong language, references to sexuality and offstage references to war-like situations.

It has been 20 years since Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre last produced My Fair Lady. The classic musical is back and on stage now until May 14th. It's the story of Eliza Doolittle, a young woman with little money and less class. She becomes the student of a phonetician who is convinced he can turn her into a lady. 

David Schmittou is perfectly cast as Professor Henry Higgins. He's callous and dismissive and completely oblivious to his moments of cruelty. He nails the role of a man full of knowledge, but lacking any empathy. Kimberly Doreen Burns plays Eliza and her voice is captivating in numbers like, "Wouldn't It Be Loverly" and "I Could Have Danced All Night". Eliza's transformation from street urchin to society darling is entertaining to watch. 
One of the absolute highlights of the show is the costume design work by Jimm Halliday. Everything from the tailored men's suits to Eliza's layers of rags is just right, but the day at the Ascot races is on a whole different level. The entire ensemble is decked out in black and white with towering hats and elaborate details. The effect is breathtaking. 

The ending of the show is a problematic. By the time the audience makes it to the final scene it's hard to root for the conclusion we receive. That's an issue with the musical itself, not this production, but it's one that gives you pause.

Don't Miss the Show 
Performances: The show runs until May 14. Doors open for evening performances at 6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. The buffet is served from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. and the show begins at 8 p.m. For Wednesday matinees doors open at 11:30 a.m. and the buffet is served from 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The show begins at 1 p.m. For Sunday matinees doors open at 12 p.m. and the buffet is served from 12:15 to 1 p.m. The show begins at 1:30 p.m.

Tickets: To purchase tickets call (317) 872-9664 between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Prices range from $42.50 to $67.50 and include the show, tax, coffee, tea and the buffet.

Photos courtesy of Beef & Boards and the IRT

March 29, 2017

Broadway Across America Announces 2017/18 Season

Broadway Across America is thrilled to announce the 2017/18 Indianapolis season. Season tickets are now on sale.


Finding Neverland       
October 17-22, 2017 - Clowes Memorial Hall

The winner of Broadway.com’s Audience Choice Award for Best Musical, this breathtaking smash “captures the kid-at-heart,” says TIME Magazine. Vogue cheers, “It’s a must-see you’ll remember for years to come!” Directed by visionary Tony®-winner Diane Paulus and based on the critically-acclaimed Academy Award® winning film, Finding Neverland tells the incredible story behind one of the world’s most beloved characters: Peter Pan.

A Christmas Story, The Musical                                                      
November 28-December 3, 2017 - Old National Centre

A Christmas Story, The Musical chronicles young and bespectacled Ralphie Parker as he schemes his way toward the holiday gift of his dreams, an official Red Ryder® Carbine-Action 200-Shot Range Model Air Rifle (“You’ll shoot your eye out kid!”). An infamous leg lamp, outrageous pink bunny pajamas, a maniacal department store Santa, and a triple-dog-dare to lick a freezing flagpole are just a few of the distractions that stand between Ralphie and his Christmas wish. Chock-full of delightful songs and splashy production numbers, A Christmas Story, The Musical, has proudly taken its place as a perennial holiday classic for the whole family.

Beautiful – The Carole King Musical       
 January 30-February 4, 2018 - Clowes Memorial Hall

Long before she was Carole King, chart-topping music legend, she was Carol Klein, Brooklyn girl with passion and chutzpah. She fought her way into the record business as a teenager and, by the time she reached her twenties, had the husband of her dreams and a flourishing career writing hits for the biggest acts in rock ‘n’ roll.  But it wasn’t until her personal life began to crack that she finally managed to find her true voice.   Beautiful – The Carole King Musical tells the inspiring true story of King’s remarkable rise to stardom, from being part of a hit songwriting team with her husband Gerry Goffin, to her relationship with fellow writers and best friends Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, to becoming one of the most successful solo acts in popular music history. Along the way, she made more than beautiful music, she wrote the soundtrack to a generation.

Les Misérables                 
 March 28-April 2, 2017 - Old National Centre

Cameron Mackintosh presents the new production of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg’s Tony Award-winning musical phenomenon, Les Misérables, direct from an acclaimed two-and-a-half-year return to Broadway. With its glorious new staging and dazzlingly reimagined scenery inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo, this breathtaking new production has left both audiences and critics awestruck, cheering “Les Miz is born again!”

RENT 20th Anniversary Tour     
June 12-17, 2018 - Clowes Memorial Hall

In 1996, an original rock musical by a little-known composer opened on Broadway… and forever changed the landscape of American theatre. Two decades later, Jonathan Larson’s Rent continues to speak loudly and defiantly to audiences across generations and all over the world. And now, this Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award®-winning masterpiece returns to the stage in a vibrant 20th anniversary touring production. A re-imagining of Puccini's La Bohème, RENT follows an unforgettable year in the lives of seven artists struggling to follow their dreams without selling out. With its inspiring message of joy and hope in the face of fear, this timeless celebration of friendship and creativity reminds us to measure our lives with the only thing that truly matters—love. 

Season Option Description:
Wicked        
April 25-May 13, 2018 - Old National Centre

Wicked, the Broadway sensation, looks at what happened in the Land of Oz…but from a different angle.  Long before Dorothy arrives, there is another young woman, born with emerald-green skin—smart, fiery, misunderstood, and possessing an extraordinary talent. When she meets a bubbly blonde who is exceptionally popular, their initial rivalry turns into the unlikeliest of friendships…until the world decides to call one “good,” and the other one “wicked.”