April 18, 2008

Black Gold

The Phoenix Theatre presents the Indianapolis premier of “Black Gold.” The show celebrated its world premiered in Philadelphia earlier this year.

This black comedy takes a look at a Detroit man, who is struggling to support his family. He decides to purchase an oil rig on eBay and strikes it rich in his backyard.

The events that follow throw both his neighborhood and the wider world into chaos.

The play deals with real issues; racism, political upheaval, America’s dependence on oil. No one is safe from the show’s mockery, including Osama Bin Laden.

The cast consists of six actors who play more than 80 roles. There is no intermission and the lightning quick dialogue keeps audience members on their toes. With so many costume and attitude changes the show hinges upon the actors’ ability to work well together and make the audience believe that the plot is plausible.

Though there are plenty of opportunities to laugh, the show packs an unexpected poignant punch. It raises the important and often unasked question … what if?

Don't Miss the Show

Performances: The show runs until May 4 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 $25 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.

April 8, 2008

Show Boat

One might assume that an 81-year-old musical couldn’t pack a punch for audiences in our current society, but visitors to Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre are sure to find out differently. “Show Boat,” which was first released in 1927 is onstage now at Beef &. It is a delightful show which is able to delve deeper into the lives of its characters than many musicals, because it spans 40 years in their lives. I begins in 1883 and ends in 1927.

I was expecting something lighter, fluffier, something along the lines of “Okalahoma.” What I got instead was a plot which didn’t shy away from issues of racism, gambling, alcoholism and the difficult task of raising a child.

Elisabeth Broadhurst’s role as Julie is particularly good. One of her numbers, “Bill,” is a silly love song, but with her rich voice she turns it into a heartbreaking ballad.

The show is not without humor though. There is a play within the play, which is campy and fun with overacting hilarious embraced. The comedy duo Frank and Ellie also provide laughs and Douglas E.Stark, owner of Beef & Boards, gives a wonderful turn as Cap’n Andy.

The production also featured the amazingly talented Gerald Atkins as Joe. Atkins has demonstrated his vocal abilities in the past at Beef & Boards annual Christmas show. His goose bump inducing version of “Of Holy Night” is now rivaled by his “Ol’ Man River.”

The show is often called the first modern American musical. Whether you are a fan of all musicals or just hoping to get your feet wet, it’s a great show to see.

Don't Miss the Show

Performances: The show runs until May 11. Doors open for evening performances at 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The buffet is served at 6:30 and the show begins at 8 p.m. One Sundays the buffet is served at 5:30 and the show begins at 7 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 $33 to $55 and include the show, tax, coffee, tea and the buffet.

*Photo Courtesy of Beef & Board Dinner Theatre