March 29, 2010

Hello Dolly!

Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre is making matches on its stage this spring. Hello Dolly!, the story of a widow who excels at matching up singletons in Yonkers, is on stage now.

Mark Goetzinger plays Horace Vandergelder with a sweet, hassled air. For those who are familiar with his extensive work at the Indiana Repertory Theatre, you might be surprised to find out Goetzinger has a wonderful singing voice. Just one more reason to look forward to seeing him on stage in anything!

Cornelius Hackl, played by David Schmittou, shines in "It Only Takes a Moment." Iris Lieberman is the kooky, meddlesome Dolly Levi. She dances verbal circles around Horace, convincing him of things before he's even realized what she's doing. With the help of a few dancing waiters she makes the title number a doozy.

At Beef & Boards the talented dancers are often overlooked. They do such a continuously wonderful job in almost every show that it's easy to take them for granted. This production was no exception. There's dancing in the parade, the restaurant, the hat shop, etc. The waiters in the restaurant scenes were amazing and boy can those guys jump!

The costumes, created by Brian Horton and his staff, were also impressive. Every woman was decked out in multiple elaborate frocks, gloves and hats with lace galore. The turn-of-the-century garb was excellent. Hello Dolly! is an upbeat, family-friendly show with an energy that won't disappoint.

Don't Miss the Show

Performances: The show runs until May 2. 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 $35 to $58 and include the show, tax, coffee, tea and the buffet.

Photos Courtesy of Beef & Boards

March 16, 2010


The Indianapolis Civic Theatre's production of "Carousel" provides a big does of Rodgers and Hammerstein style music and lyrics. The famous duo, who created "Oklahoma" and "The Sound of Music" have always been hit or miss for me. Sometimes their perky numbers fit well with the plot, while other times they seem to trivialize a serious issue.

If you already know and love the story of "Carousel" than you won't be disappointed with this production. There is a large cast, which lends itself well to boisterous numbers about clambakes and the month of June. The revolving set is versatile, but not overly distracting. The period costumes are colorful and the lead characters are played by talented actors with good voices and chemistry. Jigger, played by Paul Nicely, is particularly fun as a classic scoundrel.

If you haven't seen the show before, you'll certainly enjoy it for all the reasons stated above, but the plot itself might not sit as easy. The story hinges on the tumultuous relationship between Billy Bigelow, an unemployed ruffian, and Julie Jordan, a sweet-natured girl. Alliteration aside, their union is a doomed one.

"Carousel" is a fun show, but it's certainly light in the way of a thought-provoking plot. The flow of the plot is strange as well. It seems like it should have been broken into three acts, instead of two. Despite these elements, it doesn't cease to entertain.

2010/2011 Season

The ICT just announced its upcoming season.

Annie: Sept. 10 - 25, 2010
The Belle of Amherst: Oct. 29 - Nov. 13
Beauty and the Beast: Dec. 10 - Jan. 1, 2011
The Last Night of Ballyhoo: Jan. 21 - Feb. 5
Cabaret: March 11 - 26
The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940: May 6 - 21

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 28. 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

For more information of to purchase tickets, visit

Photos courtesy of Aladin Images, Inc.

March 10, 2010

The 101 Dalmatians Musical

When I first heard Broadway Across America was bringing "The 101 Dalmatians Musical" to Clowes Memorial Hall I was so curious to see how they would portray a cast that mainly consists of animals. Other musicals, like "The Lion King," have done it successfully, but it's not easy.

101 Dalmatians takes on this tricky challenge by covering the canine cast in spotted costumes. The puppies are played by kids, the dogs are played by adults and the humans are all on concealed stilts, which allow them to tower above their pets. It was the perfect way to make the entire production from a dog's eye view.

The sets are all wonderfully whimsical, with slanted furniture and London townhomes. The plot remains basically the same as the Disney movie of the same name, but doesn't contain any of the songs from the film. One surprising bit in the show is a delightful number of tricks performed by actual dalmatians.

101 Dalmatians is the perfect musical for little kids. Even the two-year-olds sitting next to us seemed enthralled by the colorful sets and bouncy songs. It's a clean, fun show for the whole family (except for the family dog).

Don't Miss the Show

The show runs until Sunday, March 14 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
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

March 2, 2010

Going Solo Festival: The Year of Magical Thinking and After Paul McCartney

The Indiana Repertory Theatre always seems to be doing something new and this year's Going Solo festival is no exception. The IRT selected three unique one-man shows and is presenting them on its Upperstage. These intimate shows allow the audience to feel like they are having a one-on-one conversation with the actors.

"The Year of Magical Thinking" stars Fontaine Syer in her IRT debut. The show is an ode to grief and one woman's journey through it. Author Joan Didion wrote the book of the same name after her husband suddenly died as they were sitting down to dinner. So many of us have struggled with loss, but Didion gives a voice to our pain. The loss of control and the overwhelming feeling of helplessness are undeniable.

Syer is excellent in the role of Didion. Her voice is tinged with an icy bitterness, bred by the isolation her loss created. She rejects the death, bargains and reminisces through her anguish, while the audiences raptly watches. It is an unflinching look at dealing with death and its powerful impact left me reeling.

"After Paul McCartney" is the ying to Magical Thinking's yang. It's all energy and optimism. Two middle-aged best friends set out on a mission to meet their hero, Paul McCartney. The show is set in 1989 and is a celebration of friendship and the power of art.

Rob Johansen plays Philip, and a few other characters, in this whirlwind piece. He is an average man who becomes extraordinary because of his love of the Beatles and his devotion as a friend. Whether he is lighting a fictional cigarette or dancing in a club, Johansen is masterful. His charisma and magnetic energy pulls the audience in and doesn't let them go until the final bow.

The third show, "Pretty Fire," is an autobiographical tale about growing up black in America. The IRT has added shows because it has been so popular. It stars Milicent Wright and I've heard it's wonderful.

Because the shows are shown back-to-back, the set needs to accommodate all three very different plays. They chose simplicity, which lets the actors work shine. There are few props and allowing the acting to speak for itself. "After Paul McCartney" has some adult language and all three shows have adult themes.

Don't Miss the Show

Performances: "Pretty Fire" is one stage until March 21, "The Year of Magical Thinking" runs until March 7 and "After Paul McCartney" runs until March 14 on IRT's Upperstage. Times for performances can be found at or by calling the IRT box office at (317) 635-5252.

Tickets: To purchase tickets call (317) 635-5252 or order online at Prices begin at $44 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