March 6, 2008

My Fair Lady


In the 1950s the world was introduced to "My Fair Lady," an Alan Lerner and Frederick Lowe musical filled with what are now, well-known ballads. The original Broadway production later became an Oscar-award winning feature film starring Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison.

Broadway Across America's production is now onstage at Clowes Memorial Hall. The show, straight from its U.K tour, features beautiful costumes, lush sets and stellar performances.

The classic tale begins in the gutter with a simple flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, who butcher's the English language every time she opens her mouth. Audiences watch as the girl becomes a lady, both in speech and actions.

The talented Lisa O'Hare is Eliza. Her performance is stunning and her voice is unstoppable. Every dropped H is heaven as she bemoans the evil 'enry 'iggins.

Christopher Cazenove plays Higgins, Eliza's instructor, a confirmed bachelor and callous curmudgeon. He captures the spirit of Harrison's performance with his every inflection, while at the same time bringing his own charm to the role.

The two main characters antogonize each other with every breath they take, but in between their banter a few side characters manage to get in some outstanding performances; namely Freddy, Alfred P. Doolittle, Mrs. Higgins and Colonel Pickering.

The timeless tale is an undeniable treat. Fifty years after its debut it remains sublime.

The show runs until Sunday, March 9 at Clowes Memorial Hall so hurry to get tickets to the show. Tickets are range in price from $22 to $67 and can be purchased at Clowes Memorial Hall, The Murat Theatre, by calling (317) 239-1000 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.


*Photo Courtesy of Broadway Across America

March 4, 2008

The Piano Lesson


The Indiana Repertory Theatre's current main stage production is a great choice for February, Black History Month.

"The Piano Lesson" is one of a ten-part series written by August Wilson that chronicles black American culture and experience. Each of the plays represent one decade in the 20th century. The IRT included one of the plays, "Gem of the Ocean" in last year's season. The entire work captures the life styles and struggles black Americans faced during the tumultuous century.

This show, a Pulitzer-prize winner, is set in the 1930s and follows the Charles family. Brother and sister Boy Willie and Berniece find themselves on opposite sides of an argument when Willie decides he wants to sell a family heirloom of which they share ownership. The object in question, a priceless piano, is covered with ornate carvings detailing the family's rise from slavery.

Boy Willie is a bubbling cauldron of trouble and bad attitude. He sees only his own future and what he might do with the money from the piano. Berniece is a young widowed mother, who has become jaded and cold since her husband's death.

Roslyn Ruff who plays Berniece and Carl Cofield as Boy Willie do an excellent job. The very different characters are both intense and stubborn in their own ways and the actors capture that.

Kudos also goes to the Michael Lincoln, the production's lighting designer, who makes the set come alive with spirits from the past with his lighting.

There are a couple scenes in the play where the characters perform songs. These moments are the strongest in the show. Music is so deeply ingrained in black American culture and that element is highlighted during those scenes. They are the times when the show truly comes alive.

Don't Miss the Show

Performances: The show runs until Saturday March 15 on IRT's Mainstage. Times for performances can be found at www.irtlive.com or by calling the IRT box office at (317) 635-5252.

Tickets: To purchase tickets call (317) 635-5252 or order online at www.irtlive.com Prices begin at $32.

The Indiana Repertory Theatre is located at 140 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, one-half block west of the Circle Center Mall between northbound Illinois Street and southbound Capitol Avenue.

*Photo Courtesy of the IRT

March 1, 2008

The Lieutenant of Inishmore



The Phoenix Theatre presents "The Lieutenant of Inishmore" on its main stage. The black comedy follows a crazy Irish man, Padraic, whose pet cat meets an untimely end. The death of the animal opens a big can of worms in the tiny hamlet, Inishmore

Shane Chuvalas as Padraic is excellent in his obscene madness. He's off his rocker, but his own strange way he means well and his loyalty to his feline is oddly touching.

Padraic is a member of a rebel group in Ireland. His haphazard way of punishing those who cross the moral line have put his fellow Irish National Liberation Army, (INLA) members on edge. When he decides to torture a drug pusher who has been paying them off they decide it's the last straw and the group turns on him. When Padraic returns home to tend to his ailing pet a trap awaits him.

Joanne Dubach plays Mairead, a spitfire of a girl whose ambitions to join the INLA are stunted by her gender. She's the only person who could dare to match Padraic's insanity, which makes them the perfect couple. Everyone in the play is a wee bit mad, but these two take the cake.

The show is reminiscent of the 1999 film "Boondock Saints," both in humor and violence. There's no shortage of blood flow or gunshots during the performance.

If plays were drinks, most would be a cup of tea or coffee; reliably good, some better than others, but nothing out of the ordinary. This play was a shot of whiskey, and Irish whiskey at that. It was fast, intense, a little harsh, but still enjoyable. But like whiskey, it's not necessarily everyone's taste.

Don't Miss the Show

Performances: The show runs until March 9 and offers four performances a week. Thursdays begin at 7 p.m., Friday and Saturdays begin at 8 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.

Tickets: To purchase tickets, call (317) 635-PLAY (7529). Tickets cost $15 for those 24 and under and $29 for those 25 and older.

For more information about the Phoenix Theatre, visit www.phoenixtheatre.org. The theater is located at 749 N. Park Avenue., Indianapolis, just off Massachusetts Avenue.

*Photo Courtesy of the Phoenix Theatre