December 30, 2009

The Color Purple


"The Color Purple," presented by Broadway Across America, is on stage now at Clowes Memorial Hall. Based on the Pulitzer-Prize-winning book of the same name, the musical's central character is a subservient, sweet-natured girl named Celie.


Celie's story is one of heartache and pain. She is beaten, raped and mistreated by all of the men in her life from a young age. The few people in her life whom she loves, her sister Nettie, her two children and a woman named Shug, are all taken from her at some point. She's lived under the oppressive thumb of her husband since she was only 14. Yet somehow, despite the unimaginable sorrows the characters face, this story exudes hope and love.

"The Color Purple" is truly about Celie finding her footing in a harsh world. Celie is played by Kenita R. Miller, whose small stature disguises a vocal powerhouse. Miller is the perfect choice for the role and her solo numbers are breathtaking.

The production's supporting cast, specifically the women, allow the show to rise above the trappings of becoming an average draining drama. Characters like Felicia P. Fields' strong-willed Sofia and Angela Robinson's sassy Shug give the show touches of humor and a wonderful depth.



Though "The Color Purple" deals with dark material it is a tale of redemption. It's a story of the strength we can find inside ourselves when we are loved.

Don't Miss the Show


The show runs until Sunday, Jan. 3 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 Courtesy of Broadway Across America

December 21, 2009

Love Letters



The plot is deceptively simple, two people, a man and a woman, who have been corresponding for their entire lives. Through their letters the story unfolds and the audience is quickly reminded that there is nothing more complicated than just one man and one woman.

A.R. Gurney's "Love Letters" is on the Indiana Repertory Theatre's Upperstage right now. IRT favorite Priscilla Lindsay plays the woman, Melissa, and Patrick Clear is Andrew. They grew up together and from their first notes in second grade to postcards sent from family vacations to family Christmas letters as adults their lives have remained entwined.

Lindsay is wonderful as Melissa, but she definitely excels in the second half when Melissa moves past her melodramatic teenage angst into a bittersweet melancholy. Lindsay manages to find the perfect balance between sassy quips and an all-consuming unhappiness that she can't ever seem to shake off. Melissa's flip comments and cavalier tone hide a world of hurt that unfolds as we get to know her better. She comes from a world of privilege and money, but her parents' lack of interest in her and an unfortunate stepfather leave her to spin out of control.

Andrew on the other hand is the picture of perfection. He puts his parents' wishes and his schoolwork above any frivolous interests, but he can never quite shake his fascination with his first love. Clear nails Andrew's sincere, yet stuffy personality.

Melissa and Andy are an ill matched pair with polar opposite tendencies, but it's this unique blend created by the two that makes this play a gem. Just when you want to tell Andy to loosen up, Melissa does just that. And when Melissa seems to be on the edge of disaster, it's her friendship with Andy that grounds her.

The set for this show is unsurprisingly simple, with one exceptional dominant element, which continues the show's theme. A Renoir painting of a man and a woman has been enlarged and takes up the entire back wall of the stage. It was a bold and beautiful choice and works well in this setting. For more on the fascinating process behind the enlargement visit the IRT's blog.

The show is a study of how two people can have a profound effect on each other's lives just by being there. It's also a love letter to love letters and the intimate relationship they create between people.


Don't Miss the Show

Performances: The show runs until Saturday, Jan. 16 on IRT's Upperstage. 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 $34 with discounts available for students and seniors.

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 Indiana Repertory Theatre (including Renoir painting used in the set design)


December 8, 2009

Christmas


The Indiana Repertory Theatre's annual show, "A Christmas Carol," is back for its 14th year. The show is 90 minutes, with no intermission, perfect for both kids and adults to enjoy. The IRT once again captures the true macabre atmosphere of the Victorian era story, but it also manages to sprinkle humor and carols throughout the show.

The production is beautifully choreographed. The entire cast felt perfectly in synch as they moved from spot to spot on the stage picking up props as they went and adjusting each scene by opening and closing trap doors in the floor. The narration of the show is also done by the cast as a whole, they trade lines in a seamless flow. The costumes are exceptional in this show. Everyone from the shady laundress to the British officers are decked out in the perfect attire for their character.


Charles Goad is back as the cold-hearted Ebenezer Scrooge. As he relives his memories, both the joyful and the painful, he shows a sweet intimacy. Goad gives the audience a glimpse of the gentle spirit Scrooge once was and the gregarious man he will become.

Matthew Brumlow, who recently performed in the title role of "Hamlet" at IRT, was an excellent addition to the Christmas Carol cast this year. He plays both young Scrooge and Scrooge's nephew Fred with a touching sincerity. He wonderfully demonstrates Ebenezer's transformation into a miserly soul. Ben Tebbe, a frequent performer around Indianapolis, takes over the role of Bob Cratchit this year. His bursting enthusiasm is fitting in the role of the eternal, though much maligned, optimist.

The entire cast, from the spritely Ghost of Christmas Past to the coquettish niece's sisters, make the show a delight to watch. A wonderful Christmas tradition for Hoosiers to enjoy again or to start anew.

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. "A Christmas Carol" runs until Sunday, Dec. 27 on IRT's Main Stage. Times for performances can be found at www.irtlive.com or by calling the IRT box office at (317) 635-5252. To purchase tickets call (317) 635-5252 or order online at www.irtlive.com

"Yuletide Celebration"

Another option for families this Christmas is the "Yuletide Celebration." The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra once again presents this holiday classic, which includes traditional carols such as “The First Noel,” and “Joy to the World” blended with other favorites including “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and “Jingle Bells. The show also includes a e-enactment of “’Twas the Night before Christmas” and the ever-popular “Tap Dancing Santas.” This year’s production is hosted by legendary pop music icon and Grammy and Oscar Award winner Maureen McGovern.

In addition to the energetic show filled with all the familiar holiday songs, the Hilbert Circle Theatre will have live reindeer outside the front door of the theater (on Monument Circle) for families to pet. Inside, photographers will take family photos in front of the Christmas tree in the lobby and costumed characters will greet children.

Don't Miss the Show

Tickets for this year’s production range from $38 to $64 for adults and $23 to $48 for children ages 4-12. “Super Saver” prices for select performances range from $32 to $48 for adults and $17 to $33 for children. For more information, call the Hilbert Circle Theatre Box Office at (317) 639-4300 or (800) 366-8457 or visit the ISO’s website at www.IndianapolisSymphony.org

Photo Courtesy of the Indiana Repertory Theatre

November 30, 2009

Beef & Boards Christmas

The Beef & Boards Christmas show is back with a kid-friendly theme this year. Alvin and the Chipmunks, the Grinch, Santa and tap dancing reindeer all make appearances. The young Anna Lasbury, one of the mop-topped orphans from "Annie" earlier this year, brings a sassy spunk to the holiday numbers.

This year's cast includes many B&B regulars, such as hosts Deb Wims and Kenny Shepard, but also introduces some new faces. Doug Stark revises his role as a cheeky Santa Claus. Chris Dickerson performs as one of the featured singers. His deep baritone voice lends an operatic feel to a few of the classic Christmas numbers. Though Dickerson does a wonderful job with "O Holy Night," previous year's performer Gerald Atkins is sorely missed.

Up next at Beef & Boards is their 2010 season opener "The Foreigner." The comedy begins January 6th. VIP tickets are also available if you think you'll be able to see a few shows this season. For more information visit www.beefandboards.com.

Don't Miss the Show

Performances: The show runs until Dec. 31. 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 Weekday 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. For Sunday evenings doors open at 5 p.m. and the buffet is served at 5:30 and the show begins at 7 p.m.

Beef & Boards offers a special New Year's Eve performance. The tickets, which start at $72, include the dinner buffet, the Christmas show, live music until after midnight, party favors and a special breakfast buffet.

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.

Photos Courtesy of Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre

November 20, 2009

La Bohème

One of Giacomo Puccini's famous operas, "La Bohème," is on stage at Clowes Memorial Hall. The opera, set in Paris around 1830, follows a poor group of friends who are all true starving artists, musicians and poets.

The show is sung in Italian, but the English translation is projected on a screen above the stage. It's split up into four acts, with two 15 minute intermissions and a brief break between the first and second act.

The sets are masterpieces. Incredible scenes are laid out for each act, seducing the audience into the illusion of the Parisian world.

The performers' sumptuous voices resonate with each delicious sentence they sing. There's something beautiful about the rolling Italian syllables. They can turn the most mundane chatter into a work of art. Each character's voice has a unique lyrical cadence and they all melt together to create a glorious sound.

I wasn't expecting the show to be so hilarious. The friends have an easy camaraderie and their banter is cheeky. Fans of the Broadway musical "RENT" will recognize the characters and story, because it is a modern day retelling of "La Bohème."

Despite their poverty, the characters find happiness in their love for each other. In the words that the main character, Rodolfo, sings to his new love, Mimi, "In my dreams I build castles in the air; in my soul I'm a millionaire," you can feel his elation even though he is freezing.

The heart of the opera lies in the crippling fear of losing the one you love the most. Love is a risk, but you can never experience its joy without being willing to lose it.

The final two performances are at 8 p.m. tonight (Friday, Nov. 20) and 2 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 22, so hurry to get tickets. The Indianapolis Opera is presenting the limited engagement show as part of its three show season. Next up is "The Mikado" in March 2010.

Photo Courtesy of the Indianapolis Opera

November 16, 2009

Never the Sinner

The true story of Leopold and Loeb is one that has fascinated people for decades. Two wealthy young men decided to commit the perfect murder in 1924. The cocky college students take down a young boy and assume they've proved their genius with his demise. Quickly their plans begin to unravel as the evidence mounts against them and they find themselves on trial for their lives.

"Never the Sinner" is a play based on the murderous tale and it was recently on stage at The Theater Within, located in Fountain Square.

The stage is small and unassuming, mere feet from the audience. The set is simple, the cast is limited and yet the director, Rod Isaac, manages to pull off just the right ominous tone. His use of eerie imagery projected on a blank screen to transition between scenes was chilling.

Zach Stonerock is excellent as the fidgety and condescending Leopold. He is both incredibly intelligent and socially stunted. He finds the attention he longs for in his relationship with Loeb. Nate Walden is Loeb, as different from Leopold as fire from ice. He is a charming, self-assured playboy who acts out of boredom and a desire for fame. Only his piercing eyes give a glimpse of the fury that resides just below the confident surface.

The show provides a fascinating look at the psychology that drives a man to murder and the consequences those actions lead to. The opposing legal counsels in the case add another facet with the question of the morality of defending admitted killers. The simple question of why anyone would do this haunts audience members long after the show ends.

Though this show has closed its run, The Theater Within has released its season for next year (see below). Visit their website for more information, http://www.thechurchwithin.org/theaterwithin/theaterwithin.html.

Photo Courtesy of The Theater Within.

"The Twilight of the Golds"
by Jonathan Tolins

Performances: March 12-27, 2010
If your parents knew everything about you before you were born, would you be here? That is the question posed in this entertaining drama. All is well when Suzanne Gold and her close New York family discover that she is pregnant, until a prenatal test reveals that the baby will most likely be homosexual. The news forces the entire Gold family to confront issues of bigotry, evolution and the limits of love.

"Proof"
by David Auburn

Performances: June 11-26, 2010
Catherine has spent years caring for her brilliant but unstable father, a famous mathematician. Now, following his death, she must deal with her own volatile emotions; the arrival of her estranged sister, Claire; and the attentions of Hal, a former student of her father’s who hopes to find valuable work in the notebooks that her father left behind. Over the weekend that follows Catherine faces the most difficult problem of all: How much of her father’s madness—or genius—will she inherit?

"Death and the Maiden"
by Ariel Dorfman

Performances: Nov. 5-20, 2010
Set in an unnamed country that is emerging from a totalitarian dictatorship, the play explores the after effects of repression on hearts and souls. Paulina Escobar’s husband Gerardo is to head an investigation into past human rights abuses. Dr. Miranda stops at Escobars’ to congratulate Gerardo. Paulina overhears them and is convinced that Miranda supervised her prison torture sessions. She ties him to a chair and conducts her own interrogation, gun in hand. Escobar doesn’t know whether to believe his distraught wife or his persuasive new friend.

November 3, 2009

The Giver

"The Giver" is one of the first dystopian books I ever read. I was in junior high at the time and I remember being completely awed by this strange society, where everything seemed perfect at first, but the dark secrets of the community were quickly revealed. The book fascinated me and challenged my thinking, which is why I was filled with both excitement and apprehension when I found out "The Giver" was part of the Indiana Repertory Theatre's season this year. Anytime a book resonates with you it can be difficult to see that story brought to life on stage or film. There's always the fear that it won't be recreated quite like you imagined it and it will somehow mar the integrity of the story.

The IRT's version of "The Giver" did nothing but enhance my original feelings. It's an amazing production, condensed to an 80 minute show with no intermission. The set, costumes and acting all played their unique parts in capturing the menace of the sterile society that values "sameness" above all else. The story is told from the point of view of Jonas, a 12-year-old who has been selected to receive all of the memories of generations past from the "Giver."

The set and costumes are all created in shades of gray, because color has been eliminated from the community. In an effort to get rid of the bad elements that exists in any society, much of the good has been removed as well. If there are no lows, there will be no highs; no hate, but also no love. This is the conundrum the futuristic world faces. The clever use of color was expertly done; subtle touches of it slowly increase as Jonas' awareness increases.

The book has many logistical issues that the IRT surmounted with ease. They had to find a way to show memories of sledding, snow, sunshine, sailing, hunger, etc. They're creative solutions and the talented seven-person cast did an fantastic job, especially considering half the cast was 13-years-old or younger.

One of the highlights of any IRT show is the post-show discussion the cast occasionally holds. If one is offered at any show you attend I would highly recommend sticking around for it. Robert K. Johansen, who played Jonas' father, hosted one during my visit and hearing the thoughts and questions of both the cast and fellow audience members was a wonderful addition to experience.

Don't Miss the Show

Performances: The show runs until Saturday, Nov. 21 on IRT's Upperstage. 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 $29 with discounts available for students.

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 Indiana Repertory Theatre

October 12, 2009

The Heavens Are Hung In Black

I wasn't sure what to expect with the Indiana Repertory Theatre's season opening show, "The Heavens are Hung in Black." The play focuses on Abraham Lincoln's presidential term and in less gifted hands it could have become a dry historical drama. Instead it's a portrait of a tortured man. A man wracked with grief, who is forced to make some of the toughest political decisions of all time, all while desperately trying to hang on to his sanity.

The play was originally commissioned by the Ford's Theatre, where Lincoln was assassinated, in Washington D.C. This being the bicentennial year of Lincoln's birth, there's no better time to bring it to an Indiana stage. It's relevance is obvious on that front, but its deeper significance becomes evident as the show progresses. America has a black president for the first time and Lincoln was the the man behind the Emancipation Proclamation which gave slave their freedom so many years ago.

The show is written by IRT's playwright-in-residence James Still. His deft skill at dialogue manages to infuse a sweet humor into the most dire of settings. Though it's clear Lincoln never forgets the nation's troubles, or his own, he still embraces every opportunity to share a laugh.

The extraordinary supporting cast elevates the entire show. Mary Todd Lincoln: the neglected wife, spiraling into madness; John Hay: the devoted aide; Stephen Douglas: the firecracker who opposes Lincoln's every decision; Edwin Booth: an actor full of pomp and Walt Whitman: the poet commenting on it all from a distance. Each of these characters and many others were played by wonderful actors who brought a rich depth to each scene.

The set has an open, airy feeling. It's designed to operate primarily as Lincoln's office, but a battle field with soldiers tents fill the background, giving the audience a constant reminder of the war being fought. The costumes were also impressive, giving the show an authentic feel and making it easier to get caught up in the building tension Lincoln faces.

The scene that opens the second act made the whole show for me. Lincoln has wandered into a theater to escape the rain and stumbles upon a practicing theater troupe. They invite him on stage and as they trade lines of Shakespeare, Lincoln adds a few of his own. Even though he is outside of the White House and away from his insufferable stream of staff members, you can immediately tell how heavy the war weighs on him. It's clear that the crushing pressure is something he never truly escapes, even in his sleep.

It's a tale of a turbulent time in our nation's history when one man struggled to lead, while everything around him, including his personal life, crumbled. Lincoln was one of the most fascinating people to lead this country and this play gives audiences an entrancing glimpse into his world.

Don't Miss the Show

Performances: The show runs until Saturday, Oct. 25 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 $29 with discounts available for students.

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 Indiana Repertory Theatre

September 23, 2009

Evita

The Indianapolis Civic Theatre kicked off its 2009/2010 season with a big Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, but not with a Midwest regular like "Phantom of the Opera" or "Cats." Instead the ICT chose "Evita," the story of a real woman from Argentina who became an icon to her country during her short life.

Evita, whose real name was Eva Perón, lived a rags-to-riches, fairy tale life. Though her country was racked with rebellion and discontent, she managed to climb the society ladder from her start in a poor family to becoming the country's first lady. She married Argentina's president, Juan Perón, and won over the people's hearts with her political activism.

The choreography and costumes were two stand out elements in this show. Each scene was filled with constant movement, making the most mundane scene fascinating with delicate dances between the characters. The costumes captured the 1930s glamour and poverty. There were glorious hats, gloves and gowns next to labor workers' kerchiefs and peasant skirts.

Philip Christiansen's played President Juan Perón, a role that seemed simple at first, but his quiet portrayal brought a calming balance to Evita's overwhelming presence. Christiansen made Perón love for his wife evident in his attentive concern for her health and happiness and continual defense of her within the ranks of his military.

Mikayla Anne Reed stars as the legendary Evita. The talented actress embraces each stage of Evita's transformation with a grace and intensity that leaves audience members both enthralled with the performance and curious to learn more about the enigmatic woman. During her time of infamy she was called both a saint and a whore. She was lauded as a savior and condemned as a manipulator. Reed doesn't shy away from any of these labels. Instead she shows what Evita truly was, a multi-faceted woman driven by a fierce ambition and love for her country.

The result is a refreshing show that gives a glimpse into Evita's short life and her lasting impact on the world.

Don't Miss the Show

Performances: Performances begin at 7 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. The show continues until March 29. The Indianapolis Civic Theatre is located at 3200 Cold Spring Road on the Marian College campus.

Tickets: Ticket prices start at $25 and can be purchased by calling (317) 923-4597 or visiting www.civictheatre.com.

The Indianapolis Civic Theatre has also just announced its 2010 season, which includes five new shows. The season includes the following shows,
"The Elephant Man" "The Wizard of Oz" "Bus Stop" "Carousel" "A Flea in Her Ear"

Two additional shows, "Camelot" and My Fair Lady," are sponsored by Duke Energy and will be performed for only a single weekend each.

For more information of to purchase tickets, visit www.civictheatre.org.

Photos courtesy of Aladin Images, Inc.

September 1, 2009

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

"Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" is one of the rare musicals that was made into a movie long before it ever reached the stage. It was released in theaters in 1954 and become a stage musical in 1985. It is on stage now at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre for the first time in almost a decade.

Seven brothers live alone up in the mountains. Their house is full of men and in desperate need of a female hand. The eldest brother, Adam, goes into town and returns with a wife, Milly. Soon all of the brothers want their own wives. Inspired by an old Roman tale, the brothers decide to steal their wives from the local town.

The show's lead couple, Tony Lawson, who plays Adam, and his wife Milly, played by Krista Severeid, are a couple in real life and will marry two weeks after the show closes. Their chemistry is clear on stage and whether fighting or courting, they are delightful to watch together.

The camaraderie between the seven brothers works well. Fun dance sequences and a constant stream of laugh-inducing interactions keep the show moving along, making it a fun night out for the whole family.

Don't Miss the Show

Performances: The show runs until Oct. 4. 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 $34 to $57 and include the show, tax, coffee, tea and the buffet.

Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre has also just announced its 2010 season, which includes five new shows. The season includes the following shows,
"The Foreigner"
"Footloose"
"Hello, Dolly!"
"Always…Patsy Cline"
"High School Musical"
"Church Basement Ladies"
"Camelot"
"White Christmas"
"A Beef & Boards Christmas 2010"

For more information visit www.beefandboards.com.

Photos Courtesy of Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre
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August 4, 2009

Much Ado About Nothing

There are few things as magical as watching Shakespeare's work being performed outdoors. Even the Globe Theatre in London was designed to recreate the original roofless Globe, combining the Bard's beautiful words and starry nights.

The Heartland Actors' Repertory Theatre presented a weekend of Shakespeare on July 31st and August 1st. The show, "Much Ado About Nothing" was performed on a simple, yet beautiful set in White River State Park. With the river created the perfect backdrop and the performers shared barbs and banter as the sun set.

When performed without a sense of humor Shakespeare can feel stale and archaic, especially a comedy like "Much Ado About Nothing." HART's performers took the classic material and brought it alive, embracing the author's wicked wit. The cast included seasoned actors like Charles Goad and Mark Goetzinger, talented HART regulars Ben Tebbe, Michael Shelton and Diane Timmerman, a few newcomers and many others. They quickly captured the audiences' attention.

Despite slight bouts of rain the majority of the crowd stayed put, braving the storms under parkas and umbrellas. The lighting, set and costumes all added wonderfully to the experience. The sounds system was the only element that needed improvement.

HART first offered this FREE, yes completely free, event last year for a single night. This year they expanded the event to two nights. Individuals were encouraged to bring lawn chairs, blankets, food and drink to the show and enjoy preshow entertainment and beautiful intermission music in addition to the play. There were also food and drink vendors, restrooms and fold out chairs available for those who didn't come quite as prepared.

Make sure you keep an eye out for next year's performance. It is truly a sublime summer treat. Sometimes supporting live theater requires only your attendance. In return you get a chance to experience Shakespeare as it was originally intended, live and under the stars.


Heartland Actors' Repertory Theatre, a fully professional company. Past productions include readings of “Happy Birthday, Wanda June” and “An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe” and "Midwestern Hemisphere. For more information about HART and its upcoming events visit www.heartlandactors.org.

Photo Courtesy of HART

July 15, 2009

Sanders Family Christmas

For the third year in a row Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre has filled its July show slot with the music of the Sander's family. This third installment of "Smoke on the Mountains" has the Sanders family performing their hymns and bluegrass songs on Christmas eve.

Set in 1941, the Sanders family returns to Mount Pleasant Baptist Church for a Christmas performance. The country has just gone to war and one of the Sanders' own, Dennis (played by the incredibly talented musician Andrew Ross), is set to ship out in a few days.

Fans of the past two shows will not be disappointed this year. Those who are new to the Sanders family's antics are sure to love the "Sanders Family Christmas." The same cast returns with the addition of Laura Goins and Lynne Perkins, portraying Dennis' twin sister Denise and Vera, the group's matriarch respectively.

Sarah Hund returns as June, the member of the Sanders clan who is "skilled" in sign language. June could have easily become a stale one-joke character, but in Hund's hands she is fresh and sweetly sincere.

There is a hint of melancholy in this installment as the family copes with Dennis' impending departure. But just as it is in real life, reasons for celebration are often woven in with the toughest times. The family may be sending one child off to war, but another may be leaving for more joyous reasons.

One of the show's most hilarious scenes includes musical medley tour of foreign countries and their holiday traditions led by Reverend Mervin Oglethorpe.

The show is a perennial favorite and sells out quickly each year. So whether you're hoping for a laugh or some impressive musical stylings, make sure you get your tickets before they are gone.

Don't Miss the Show

Performances: The show runs until Aug. 22. 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 $34 to $57 and include the show, tax, coffee, tea and the buffet.

Photo Courtesy of Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre

June 5, 2009

Wicked

Broadway Across America has once again brought the Great White Way to our fair city. "Wicked is on stage at the Murat Theatre.

"Wicked" is not a children's story about trying to find your way home, like "The Wicked of Oz" was for a different generation. It is a saga of social injustice, romance, twisted perceptions and discovering who you are and what matters to you.


The deliciously dark musical is both hilarious and heartbreaking. The show immediately sucks you into to its fantastical world with the complex set. The plot tells the "real" story of the Wicked Witch of the West, Elphaba, and explains how she became the despised creature that Dorothy melted into oblivion with a bucket of water.

The music is wonderful. The songs are beautiful as stand alones, but also work in tandem with the story to propel it, rather than acting as forced interludes between scenes.

The performances given by Marcie Dodd as the misunderstood Elphaba and Helene York as the perpetually perky Glinda are excellent. Their strange friendship becomes believable in the actresses' capable hands.

"Wicked" is a reminder that great musicals are not a thing of the past. They are relevant, entertaining, complicated, thrilling, everything the theater-going public could wish for, all bundled into one show. Don't miss your chance to see "Wicked" this month.

Don't Miss the Show

Unlike most Broadway Across America shows, which run for only six days, "Wicked" will be in town for almost three weeks. But tickets are going fast for the popular show, so don't miss your chance to see it. The show runs until Sunday, June 21 at the Murat Theatre. Tickets can be purchased at Clowes Memorial Hall, the Murat Theatre, by calling (800)-982-2787 or online at www.broadwayacrossamerica.com. Ticket prices start at $50.

Broadway Across America is holding a lottery for every single "Wicked" performance. Individuals are welcome to put their names in a lottery drum two and a half hours before each show. Exactly two hours before the show begins officials will draw a maximum of 20 names. Those individuals are permitted to buy up to two tickets for $25 each(cash only). The lottery will be held in the Murat Theatre lobby before each show and you must be present to win.

Photos Courtesy of Broadway Across America

May 28, 2009

Interpreting William

For its final show of the season the Indiana Repertory Theatre presents the world premier of "Interpreting William." The fascinating play is the work of the theater's playwright-in-residence, James Still. It splits its time between the life of frontiersman William Conner, of Conner Prairie fame, and the present day character Bill Montgomery, who is a professor attempting to finish his book about Conner.

Anna is a caffeine-addled, former professor who inspired Bill during his days as an undergrad. Her life has since disintegrated in many ways, but her razor sharp wit has not dulled. She is wonderfully written and brought to life with perfect execution by Carmen Roman. Her quick quips are captivating to watch and clearly cover a deeper pain. The show is at its best when Anna and Bill are conversing. They have a perpetual student/teacher dynamic that fuels discussions.

Still's greatest strength in this show, as well as in his past IRT productions, is his ability to capture human emotions that every audience member can identify with. No matter what the play's circumstances are, we can all relate to feelings of loss, inadequacy or pain. He creates complex characters whose base emotions are simple.

The plot is thought provoking and challenges the way we view both historical events and our own personal history. Everyone looks at things through their own lens of personal experience and it can be difficult to understand the decisions another person makes.

The show has some adult language and isn't appropriate for young kids. For more information about IRT's upcoming season visit irtlive.com.

Don't Miss the Show

Performances: The show runs until Saturday, May 31 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 $39.

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 Indiana Repertory Theatre

May 26, 2009

Annie

"Annie" is the latest family-friendly show to grace the stage at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre. The familiar musical includes songs like "Tomorrow" and "It's the Hard-Knock Life." A few lesser known songs, like "N.Y.C.," provided highlights as well.

A young girl, abandoned by her parents, refuses to give up on finding them. She endures much before falling into a two week visit at a millionaires home for the holidays. Despite their drastic differences, Oliver Warbucks, the millionaire, and Annie develop a unique kindred relationship. Annie's sweet optimism has a softening effect on the business titan and he finds himself wanting to adopt the unfortunate adolescent.

"Annie" has a talented and enthusiastic ensemble cast from the ragamuffin orphans all the way up to the President of the United States. A few particular stand outs were John Vessels as the smarmy radio host Bert Healy, Cynthia Collins in the role of the perpetually unhappy and occasionally intoxicated Miss Hannigan and Bobbi Bates as Warbucks understated aide, Grace Farrell. All three added their own charm to the roles, making them fun to watch.

The show is a sweet treat full of songs that will make you want to sing along.

Don't Miss the Show

Performances: The show runs until July 3. 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 $34 to $57 and include the show, tax, coffee, tea and the buffet.

Photo Courtesy of Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre
TOP: Annie and Daddy Warbucks: Kara Oates, right, plays Annie at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre, and Ty Stove plays Oliver Warbucks.

May 8, 2009

Rabbit Hole


From the first moments of the show there is an overwhelming feeling that you've stumble into someone's house and you're overhearing their conversations. That atmosphere, aided by the homey set, lends an air of authenticity to the actors' emotions.

"Rabbit Hole" is the story of the intense pain of four very different individuals; a married couple, the wife's mother and her younger sister. Even though their heartbreak comes from the same loss, no one deals with it in the same way. The play has something everyone can identify with; family relationships, spousal tension, life's shattering disappointments and the struggle to overcome them, the ache of not knowing how you will possibly make it through another day.

When people experience pain to this extent it's almost impossible to believe that anyone else's pain hurts as much as yours. They inevitably compare and critique each other's grief in an effort to understand their own.

In one particularly powerful scene the mother, played by Priscilla Lindsay, compares an earlier tragedy with the one they are all currently struggling with. This comparison causes her daughter to balk, but it also demonstrates that grief can consume us all in the same way regardless of its source. It also reminds us that no one else can understand another person's grief, it's too personal, too private.

The IRT's production of the Pulitzer Prize winning drama is restrained in some ways and raw in others, just like grief. James Still's direction blankets the show with an elegance that gives it even more impact. The show includes four incredibly talented actors, all returning players at the theater.

It's rare to see a show that captures all of the necessary elements of a production so perfectly. The casting, direction, drama, humor, set design, all of these elements align in "Rabbit Hole" and the result is a breathtaking look at people when they are the most vulnerable.

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. "Rabbit Hole" runs until Sunday, May 10 on IRT's Upperstage, so hurry to get tickets. Times for performances can be found at www.irtlive.com or by calling the IRT box office at (317) 635-5252. To purchase tickets call (317) 635-5252 or order online at www.irtlive.com

April 29, 2009

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

The endearing musical "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" is on stage now at Clowes Memorial Hall, presented by Broadway Across America.

Based on the classic 1968 film starring Dick Van Dyke, the musical includes all of the whimsical elements audience members will remember from the movie. It has elaborate sets, kooky characters and a clean story that makes it a perfect treat for families. It’s “Mary Poppoins” meets “The Love Bug;” an odd blend, but it works.

The plot follows an eccentric widower, Caractacus Potts, who cares for his two children in England. His simple life is turned upside down when he meets an opinionated woman,Truly Scrumptious, and buys an old jalopy. As he fixes up the old car he discovers it has a mind of its own and a few hidden abilities as well.

Along for the ride are two clueless villains attempting to steal the car for the juvenile Baron of Vulgaria. Their cheeky humor will have the adults laughing right along with the kids. The entertaining production has cheerful songs and flying cars. What more could you want from a family show?

Don't Miss the Show

The show runs until Sunday, May 3 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.

Photo Courtesy of Broadway Across America

April 27, 2009

Penelopiad

The Indiana Repertory Theatre and Dance Kaleidoscope recently presented a fascinating collaboration they had work-shopped for only one week. The performance was not to raise money or to garner attention for the groups. It was produced for the sole reason of trying something new.

The production was based on Margaret Atwood's novella, "Penelopiad," which tells the story of the Greek adventurer Odysseus' wife. It was a brief 25 minutes that left audience members wanting more.

The two organizations were experimenting with a combination of dancers and actors working in tandem for the single piece. As a result, the dancers were given a voice and the actors became much more aware of their movements in each scene.

The show was exhilarating. It was something new and original in a time when many theaters are embracing old stand by shows, which are sure to sell tickets.

It was a reminder that not only is theater entertaining; it is something that fuels conversation and creativity. It is joy to all who are able to experience it. Each show is completely unique and cannot be exactly replicated and the small group of audience members that were able to experience this event were treated to a wonderful night.

Hopefully the two organizations will be able to find the financial support and time to collaborate in the future, but regardless, they deserve kudos for always trying to find new ways to grow and create together.

April 14, 2009

Treasure Island


Cries of "Shiver Me Timbers" will be emanating from Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre for the next month as the theater hosts the Midwest premier of "Treasure Island."

The production is a musical take on the adventure tale. The story's central character is young Jim, a boy on the cusp of manhood. The show opens with the death of his father, after which his life quickly takes a turn from the ordinary. Soon he finds himself sailing the seas in search of treasure with a ship full of mutinous crew members.

The show, based on the classic novel, was written by Curt Dale Clark, who also stars in the production, and Marc Robin, who directs.
The musical seems to be struggling to be both a whimsical story of pirates and a serious tale or morality and friendship. Though at times the show's emotional songs feel forced, it hits a solid note with other cheerful ballads.

The infamous Long John Silver is played by Jamie Jackson. He gives the nefarious captain a sweet side not normally associated with Silver.

Eddie Curry takes on three roles throughout the show, the strongest of which is old Ben Gunn. The former pirate was marooned on Skeleton Island and now, seven years later, he's staved for company and has an penchant for cheese.

The family-friendly pirate show is perfect for kids with winter-induced cabin fever who are longing for a bit of adventure. With summer just around the corner they can whet their appetites with a couple hours of songs and scallywags.

Don't Miss the Show

Performances: The show runs until May 17. 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 $34 to $57 and include the show, tax, coffee, tea and the buffet.

TOP: Jim Hawkins, played by Rick Desloge, left, talks with castaway Ben Gunn (Eddie Curry as Ben Gunn in Treasure Island: A Musical Adventure.
BOTTOM: Jamie Jackson as Long John Silver

March 24, 2009

West Side Story

When a community theater decides to produce a big, well-known musical, there is always a risk that its production will unwittingly beg comparisons with other versions of the same show audience members have seen in the past. It's next to impossible not to picture the other dance sequences or compare the actors' voices in your mind.

The Indianapolis Civic Theatre's current production of "West Side Story" does just that. It's a fun show in its own right, but it's definitely not a big budget production. Half of the men in the Sharks gang were caucasian. The Sharks' tense relationship with the rival gang, the Jets, is based on the fact that it is made up of Puerto Ricans who recently immigrated to America. Inconsistencies like that can be distracting.

The best part of attending shows at a theater made up of avocational actors is seeing a break out star. The musical's Maria, played by Angela Nichols Manlove, is the perfect example. Her obvious talent rises above the grab bag of '80s style costumes. The show comes alive during her "Tonight" duet with Tony, played by Patrick Clements. The couple's chemistry and Manlove's gorgeous voice make the song the highlight of the show.

Though "West Side Story" was never quite in sync; the dancing just a beat off, the singing just a bit flat, it's still a fun musical to see and Manlove's performance is worth the ticket price.

Don't Miss the Show

Performances: Performances begin at 7 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. The show continues until March 29. The Indianapolis Civic Theatre is located at 3200 Cold Spring Road. on the Marian College campus.

Tickets: Ticket prices start at $25 and can be purchased by calling (317) 923-4597 or visiting www.civictheatre.com.

Image courtesy of Aladin Images, Inc.

March 12, 2009

The Ladies Man


Audiences often go to the theater expecting dour, deep plots that challenge their thinking. Though thought provoking, the shows can sometimes be exhausting. Sometimes it's great to see a show like "The Ladies Man." It's refreshing to laugh at frivolous misunderstandings.

With its current mainstage production, the Indiana Repertory Theatre has reminded audiences that it is not only OK to laugh while at the theater, it's encouraged!

With slamming doors and swirling skirts the characters fly through each scene compounding the confusion with each jumbled explanation.

Dr. Molineaux is exasperated as his young wife and her mother try to pin him down on the details of his night of indiscretions. His friend and former patient Bassinet, a happy-go-lucky fellow, appears at the doctor's home and unknowingly forces the situation to come to a boil.

The Prussian soldier, played by Mark Mineart, is enormous, both in size and sense of humor. Using his own unique phrasing, he is the "scene stealing" with his thick accent.

Throughout the French farce Spinning beds appear from nowhere; lisps and accents muddle the scenes even more, intentionally, of course. The real questions is, with all of these Moulin Rouge conundrums CAN CAN they straighten it all out before the curtain falls?

Don't Miss the Show

Performances: The show runs until Sunday, March 22 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 $29 and discount tickets are available for students and children.

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 Julie Curry Photography

March 5, 2009

STOMP


Performers often tread the boards at Clowes Memorial Hall, but they rarely stomp them. The eight-member percussionist troupe, known throughout the world as "Stomp," is on stage now, presented by Broadway Across America.

The talented musicians bring a whole new meaning to the word rhythm. Using everything imaginable, including the kitchen sink, they make music. They turn the simplest actions, like flicking open a lighter, into music. By simply banging on trash cans and sweeping with brooms they create beats that shake the hall and incite crowds to cheer.
The show, which at first seems hectic, quickly makes it clear that every movement is perfectly coordinated to create a seamless stream of sound.

The multi-level set looks like an abandoned junk yard. It's strewn with metal parts and plastic barrels that become the instruments of choice throughout the show.

The energetic performers climb ladders and swing from harnesses, enthralling audiences with their antics. In addition to the unconventional music, the entire show is infused with humor. Without saying a word the cast keeps the laughs coming with some "Three Stooges" style physical comedy.

After a decade of anticipation, I finally saw the show live and it did not disappointed. Don't wait as long as I did for a chance to see it!

Don't Miss the Show

The show runs until Sunday, March 8 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 (317) 239-1000 or online at www.broadwayacrossamerica.com.

Shows begin at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday, 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday and 7 p.m. Sunday.

February 20, 2009

Crime and Punishment


"Crime and Punishment" is currently on the Indiana Repertory Theatre's Upperstage. Three actors and a sparse set greet audience members attending this condensed adaptation of the classic book. For 90 minutes sinners and saints tangle together in the mess that is human life.

Andrew Ahrens plays Raskolnikov, a man tortured by his inability to reconcile his intellect and faith. Ahrens' turn as Macbeth earlier this season now feels like a taste of what was to come in this role. Like Macbeth, Raskolnikov's guilty conscience seeps out in all of his actions. Even his health begins to suffer under the wait of his guilt.

He is dressed in threadbare rags, the edges caked in mud. The former student finds it easy to postulate about the necessity for great men to break the law for the greater good, but his life falls apart when he attempts to introduce his theory into the real world. The abstract idea of morality is easy for him to discuss, but as soon as he puts himself into the equation, his life is thrust into chaos.

He seeks absolution from the prostitute Sonia, who he sees as a fallen sinner, like himself. Even in the depths of despair Sonia manages to find hope and maintain her faith. She is the antithesis of the cynic Raskolnikov.

The show delves deep into the psyche of a criminal. The scenes between Raskolnikov and the detective, Porfiry, are filled with tense interplay. The two go round and round discussing motives and theories, while at the same time dancing around the subject of the murder that's under investigation.

Crime and Punishment is sure to leave audience members mulling over the topics of right and wrong and religion long after the show ends.


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. "Crime and Punishment" runs until Sunday, March 8 on IRT's Upperstage.

Discounted tickets are available to students. Times for performances can be found at www.irtlive.com or by calling the IRT box office at (317) 635-5252. To purchase tickets call (317) 635-5252 or order online at www.irtlive.com

February 16, 2009

Movin' Out


Over Valentine's Day weekend the Murat Theatre rocked with the familiar songs of Billy Joel. Broadway Across America presented the Tony awarding-winning "Movin' Out" for one weekend only.
The loose narrative follows a handful of youths whose idyllic lives are shattered when the men are shipped off to fight in Vietnam. The guilt, anger and mourning that follow cripple the characters as they try to find their way back to a normal life.

"Movin' Out" is created in the same vein as other rock shows like "We Will Rock You," which showcases Queen's music, and "All Shook Up," an Elvis musical. It is unabashed celebration of Billy Joel's music. It forgoes a complicated plot to become a choreographed concert.

The show is an original collaboration between Joel and choreographer Twyla Tharp. Tharp's unique dance routines embrace every style of motion - swing, ballet, modern and more.

Tharp uses sweet melodies like "Just the Way You Are" and "Shameless" to create intimate ballet sequences. The talented dancers move together in perfect synch, demonstrating their characters' pain and love for each other using only their bodies. In other scenes, anger pours forth in almost violent thrusts to songs like "Big Shot."

"The Stranger" was both beautiful and haunting as the character Judy mourns the death of her love. It begins with that eerie whistle that sends shivers through the audience before bursting into the main beat.

With the exception of a few barked military commands, there is no dialogue in the show. Instead, the characters' stories are told through Joel's lyrics.

The cast is made up of rotating dancers and a piano man who perform the leads on different nights. The piano man sits on an elevated bridge above the stage and sings every song while pounding out the notes. He carries the show with his voice and ability to pull in the crowd.

"Movin' Out" is a concert in every sense of the word, but its blend of music and dance makes it a delightful for the eyes as well as the ears.

Don't Miss the Next Show

Up next for Broadway Across America is "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang." It will be at Clowes Memorial Hall from April 28 through May 3. Tickets can be purchased at Clowes Memorial Hall, the Murat Theatre, by calling (317) 239-1000 or online at www.broadwayacrossamerica.com.

February 10, 2009

To Kill a Mockingbird


As classic books go, "To Kill a Mockingbird" has long been an American favorite. The story, which deals with tolerance, racism and poverty, is all the more poignant because it unfolds through the innocent eyes of a child.
The Indiana Repertory Theatre is currently producing the play on its main stage. The set, designed by Robert M. Koharchik, transports the audience to the quiet street where the Finch family lives. The depth of the set, complete with peeling paint on the walls and a red dirt road, transforms the theatre so completely that it's easy to forget you aren't actually down south.

Lynne Perkins plays Miss Maudie and acts as the narrator for the show. Her constant asides to the audience keep scenes flowing with minimal explanation. Mark Goetzinger's Atticus Finch is patient, but stern. His portrayal of the iconic figure is wonderful in its simplicity. Atticus Finch is one of the most revered literary figures, but Goetzinger captures his humble nature and sterling morality.


Though much of the book must be abridged to fit the play's format, the courtroom scene is produced almost verbatim. It's even more enthralling to watch the action unfold, than to read it. The courtroom's cast, including Bob and Mayella Ewell and Tom Robinson, all give heart-wrenching performances. Each actor highlights their characters' loneliness, ignorance, spite or frustration as though they have truly slipped into the skin of that individual.


If "Mockingbird" is any example of the shows in store for audiences this year, IRT is definitely a theater to watch.


For more information about IRT's upcoming season visit irtlive.com.

Don't Miss the Show

Performances: The show runs until Saturday, Feb. 21 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 $39.

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.

January 13, 2009

Happy Days


At the midst of the turbulent 1970s a TV show came out that offered viewers a nostalgic embrace of the '50s; a sweeter time filled with "Happy Days." It was a time when people's biggest problems were trying to talk to girls and keeping the local diner afloat, at least on TV. That show is now a musical and is on stage at Clowes Memorial Hall courtesy of Broadway Across America.

Set in Milwaukee in 1959 we are reintroduced to The Cunningham family, the Fonz, Joanie and Chachi and the rest of the gang. They still hang out at Arnold's and idolize the town rebel. Joey Sorge plays the Fonz and his "Whoa" and "Hey" sound remarkably like Henry Winkler's version of the same.


One of the show's strongest moments is a complete break from the normal 1950s housewife mentality. Pinky Tuscadero, Marion and Joanie Cunningham sing "What I Dreamed Last Night" and demonstrate that despite outward appearances each of the women may be dreaming of a life that is very different from their current one.


"Happy Days" is fun, but turning the TV show into a musical feels bit like Broadway tried to jump the shark, if you know what I mean.


Don't Miss the Show

The show runs until Sunday, Jan. 18 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.