April 28, 2010

IRT Announces 2010/2011 Season

The IRT Announces its 2010-11 Season

With two world premieres, an award-winning book and hit movie, a Tony Award-winning play, a traditional holiday favorite and the return of the critically acclaimed Going Solo Festival, the Indiana Repertory Theatre (IRT) unveils its 39th Season – a season filled with drama, comedy, mystery and history.

Holes, by Louis Sachar
Sept. 25 – Nov. 6
A lost treasure. A multi-generational curse. Racial injustice. And a bizarre correctional facility where kids serve time digging holes in the desert. Found guilty of a crime he didn’t commit, Stanley discovers more than dirt as he digs – in this quirky comedy, he also finds new friends, the power of perseverance and the truth about his family’s past. What will he find at the bottom of the next hole?

Mary’s Wedding, by Stephen Massicotte
Nov. 3 – Dec. 4
The night before her wedding, Mary wakes from a recurring dream about a childhood love – and takes the audience through a dreamscape of love, heartache, passion and heroism. Set against the backdrop of World War I, Mary’s Wedding presents lives and hearts caught in a time of stunning change. Dreams and life collide in an intimate and powerful work that asks, do we see the truth in our sleep, or after we awake?

The Diary of Anne Frank, by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, newly adapted by Wendy Kesserlman
Jan. 18 – Feb. 24
The Diary of Anne Frank is such a literary landmark that it’s easy to forget how it started out: as the personal journal of a young girl striving to become a woman. Written while she and her family hid from Nazis in Amsterdam, Anne Frank’s diary stands as a tribute to the human spirit.

A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens, adapted by Tom Haas

Nov. 26 – Dec. 26
The classic story of greed and redemption comes to life when Scrooge is taught the true meaning of Christmas by a trio of ghosts who show him his past, present and future.

Going Solo
: A festival of intimate stories brought to life by three actors, three scripts, three shows in repertory.

Neat, by Charlayne Woodard: the story of Charlayne’s brain damaged aunt, Neat, and the profound change she brought to Charlayne with her enormous love, energy, simplicity and magnificent clarity. (a sequel to last year’s Pretty Fire)
o Feb. 10 – Mar. 6
Fire in the Garden, by Ken Weitzman: a father ponders the changes he undergoes during his wife’s pregnancy while gaining understanding about what it means to be a father for the first time.
o Feb. 12 – 27
In Acting Shakespeare, by James DeVita: a Shakespearean actor takes a humorous look at his life with the Bard.
o Feb. 19 – Mar. 13

The Gospel According to James, by Charles Smith

Mar. 22 – Apr. 10
In 1930, James Cameron and Mary Ball emerged as the sole survivors of racial crimes in Marion, Indiana. Teenagers when the crimes occurred, they look back on those events and their lives in this World Premiere work commissioned by the IRT with support from the Joyce Foundation. As their past and present lives intermingle, Cameron and Ball discover that their remembrances of that day differ even if their experiences were the same.

The 39 Steps, Alfred Hitchcock

Apr. 20 – May 14
This Tony Award-winning play has been called “a Hitchcock masterpiece … with a dash of Monty Python.” Four actors play multiple characters, contend with outrageous special effects and, along the way, pay homage to some of Alfred Hitchcock’s most iconic movie moments … all while delivering a somewhat faithful, totally tongue-in-cheek rendering of a classic Hitchcock movie. The 39 Steps in IRT’s 39th season!

Performance and ticket information is available at www.irtlive.com or by calling the IRT Ticket Office at 317.635.5252.

About the IRT

Since the Indiana Repertory Theatre was founded in 1972, it has grown into one of the leading regional theatres in the country, as well as one of the top-flight cultural institutions in the city and state. The IRT has made the historic Indiana Theatre, 140 W. Washington Street, its home for nearly 30 years. Led by Artistic Director, Janet Allen and Managing Director, Steven Stolen, the theatre serves a diverse audience in public performances and student matinee presentations of the plays, serving students, teachers and schools in 2/3 of Indiana’s counties. The IRT celebrates its 39th season.

Images Courtesy of the Indiana Repertory Theatre

April 21, 2010

A Chorus Line

"A Chorus Line," presented by Broadway Across America, is on stage now at Clowes Memorial Hall. The show goes behind the scenes of a Broadway chorus line audition in 1975. Over the course of two hours, with no intermission, the audience gets to know what brought each dancer to this point.

With a huge cast and a simple set, the show defies many musical norms. There's no major plot, instead it's a compilation of individual stories. The blank stage has a wall of mirrors and little else to distract from the dancers. You quickly realize that the dancers themselves have become the set. Their flawless bodies pose and stand frozen as the spotlight singles out one individual to perform. The other 16 actors stand, all graceful angles, creating the perfect backdrop.

The cast is equal parts hilarious, heart breaking and incredibly talented. They sing, they dance and they sass, all while trying to manage their nervousness and anticipation. From the deliciously cold diva Shelia to the effusive but (intentionally) vocally-challenge Kristine, the cast creates a wonderfully entertaining group. Every single one of them brings something distinct to the mix. Zach, the director searching for his chorus line, is no exception. With a gruff voice a sprightly steps, he somehow intimidates and encourages them to open up all at the same time.

This love letter to Broadway's hardest working group is the ideal platform to allow dancers to demonstrate their tireless love for what they do. The show is brilliantly choreographed, an absolute joy to watch. Every single high-kick counts when their potential job is on the line. The high energy needed to execute the constant stream of dance is daunting. The lighting is particularly important to this show as well. A single spotlight often distinguished between the sea of leotards to show the audience who's speaking.

Tall, short, male, female, each one is unique, but when they dance in the line they create a single being that moves in perfect unison. They are all passionately in love ... with dancing.

Don't Miss the Show

The show runs until Sunday, April 25 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

April 14, 2010

Yankee Tavern

In conjunction with the Indiana Repertory Theatre, the Phoenix Theatre currently has a show by playwright Steven Dietz on stage. The Phoenix's show, "Yankee Tavern," is a conspiracy-fueled drama set in a New York City bar.

It was fascinating to compare the two shows. The plots were diametrically opposite, but the rapid flow of dialogue was the same. Dietz's writing style was hard to miss. Both plays dealt with serious issues, while maintaining a sense of humor.

"Yankee Tavern" centers on a grad student, Adam, who runs his deceased father's bar. Shane Chuvalas walks the line between cynic and believer as Adam. He's struggling not only to finish his thesis, but also to find closure from his father's death. His fiancée, Janet, (Carrie Schlatter), has grown impatient with his indecision and is beginning to question his true goals in life.

Adam's dad's best friend, Ray, is a regular at the tavern and spews out an endless stream of conspiracy theories on everything from Starbucks (a cult in a cup) to weddings (retail retaliation). Stephen Hunt is perfectly cast as the slightly mad, but lovable, Ray. During the first half of the show he jumps from one topic to another, throwing out far-fetched ideas, finally settling upon the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The aura of mystery grows as a silent patron at the bar pipes up with his own thoughts on that doomed day.

The set, designed by Linda Janosko, felt so authentic that it was hard to remember it wasn't a real bar. Vintage album covers hung on the walls and the beer bottles were plentiful. The whole show takes places within the tavern, so the stage was completely converted.

In the second half of the show the humor is put on hold as the conspiracy takes center stage. Tipping the scales in this way made the show lose some of its entertaining momentum. Though it's interesting to hear bits and pieces of 9/11 theories during the show, the more important goal to questioning the value or harm of all conspiracies. The question the show raises is, what effect do these theories have on the public's faith in authority? Ray wonders aloud which has more damage, the 9/11 attacks or the theories that followed, encouraging the nation to question everything the government tells us. There's something wonderful about a play that leaves the audience with questions. It's certainly a show that will fuel discussion long after the final bow.

Don't Miss the Show

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

: The show runs until May 1 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.

: To purchase tickets, call (317) 635-PLAY (7529). Prices range from $15 to $20.

Photos Courtesy of the Phoenix Theatre.

April 2, 2010

Becky's New Car

(Macy and Hormann in Becky's new car)

"When someone says they want a new car, what they really want is a new life," the title character in The Indiana Repertory Theatre's "Becky' New Car" says at the beginning of the show.

Becky is a married, middle-aged woman with an adult son who lives at home and a job that has her working late hours doing paperwork at a car dealership. A chance encounter forces her outside of her comfort zone and she tries out a different life, but soon her two worlds collide.

The IRT coordinated the premier of this play with Indianapolis' Phoenix Theatre's premier of "Yankee Tavern." Both plays are written by Steven Dietz, providing Indianapolis residents with the unique opportunity to compare two live shows of a playwright's work in the same month.

(Lisa Ermel and Adriano Gatto in "Becky's New Car")

The set is a versatile, yet intimate living room. You feel as though you've stumbled into someone's home. The show's dialogue is crisp and quick-witted, never lagging for a moment. The second act becomes almost farce-like in its speed and dozens of overlapping situations.

Constance Macy plays the title character with a relaxed conversational air. She interacts with the audience and chats about her life. She feels more like a friend than an actress in this show, which is perfect.

The cast works together with an electric chemistry. They make the show bubble with energy and a believable camaraderie. Michael Shelton as a grieving co-worker with hilarious habits, Robert Neal as the trusting husband, Adriano Gatto as Becky's pontificating son, Nicholas Hormann as a bumbling widower, and the rest of the cast. It's all of them, together, that make this show so outstanding.

(Macy driving in "Becky's New Car")

From the first scene the cast keeps the audience in stitches. Even though the plot deals with serious issues, the confusion and dissatisfaction that a sedate adult life can bring, it's so funny. The humor that is infused into the entire production is what sets it apart from other morose plays that deal with similar subject matter. "Becky's New Car" is absolutely delightful and I can't wait for my next dose of Dietz work at the Phoenix Theatre next week.

Don't Miss the Show

Performances: The show runs until Sunday, April 11 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.

Photos courtesy of Julie Currie Photography