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