May 17, 2010

A Flea in Her Ear


Almost any French farce will reliably include slamming doors, jealous spouses and sometimes angry Prussians and speech impediments. This jumble of elements creates a frenzy of misunderstandings that's only straightened out in the end.

The Indianapolis Civic Theatre's production of Georges Feydeau's most famous farce, "A Flea in Her Ear," has all of those elements and more. Add a few pistols, a seedy hotel, and a love letter and you've got a recipe for disaster. A randy German and an angry Hispanic man add extra doses of humor throughout the show.

The show gets off to a slow start, but begins to crackle in the second half. There are three acts and one intermission. This production lacks the pacing essential for a farce to work. It's a delicate balance between banter and action sequences, but the show relied too heavily on the banter in the first half and the action in the second.

Paul Hansen serves as both the wrongly accused husband Victor Emmnauel and a drunken hotel porter named Poche. The tricky roles require him to look exactly the same in most scenes, to ensure the maximum amount of confusion with the rest of the cast, and yet make sure the audience knows at a glance which character we're seeing. Hansen handles it effortlessly. He slips back and forth as the cheerful Poche and proper Victor while chaos erupts around him.

It's a fun show, but don't let it be your only taste of farces.



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 May 23. 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.

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


The Indianapolis Civic Theatre's 2010/11 Season

"Annie"
Sept. 10 – 25, 2010
Ever-optimistic yet yearning to find her own family, spunky, red-haired moppet Annie dreams of breaking away from her dreary existence at a Depression-era orphanage. Her adventures and antics both captivate and delight in this Broadway hit featuring favorite tunes “Maybe,” “Hard Knock Life” and the classic “Tomorrow.”

"The Belle of Amherst"
Oct. 29 – Nov. 13, 2010
In this critically-acclaimed work, William Luce draws on the poems, letters and first hand accounts of Emily Dickinson to sculpt a one-woman play that is an inspiring, poignant and truthful biography of one of America’s greatest literary women. Miss Emily’s poetic genius unfolds the mysteries of her eccentric life.

"Disney's Beauty and the Beast"
Dec. 10, 2010 – Jan. 1, 2011
Disney’s lavish stage version of the Academy Award-winning animated film brings to life the beloved ‘tale as old as time’ in a magical musical production featuring extraordinary costumes, magnificent scenery and an enchanting score with such gems as “Be Our Guest”, “If I Can’t Love Her” and the title song.

"The Last Night of Ballyhoo"
Jan. 21 – Feb. 5, 2011
It’s December 1939, in Atlanta, Georgia and the well-to-do Freitag family can concentrate on nothing but Ballyhoo, the social event of the season. This 1997 Tony Award-winning comedy by Alfred Uhry, author of Driving Miss Daisy, has an illuminating message filled with humor, romance and revelations.

"Cabaret"
March 11 – 26, 2011
On the eve of Hitler’s rise to power, a Cabaret singer, an American writer and the citizens of Berlin are caught in the swirling maelstrom of a changing society. This provocative Broadway show, Tony Award winner for best musical and score, features a macabre emcee and phenomenal cabaret dance numbers.

"The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940"
May 6 – 21, 2011
Mayhem ensues when a motley crew of characters gathers in a mysterious mansion to pitch a Broadway musical to potential backers. Replete with revolving bookcases, hidden passageways and secret identities, the show is a riotous homage to the corny thrillers of Hollywood’s heyday.

May 10, 2010

Always... Patsy Cline


Music has a way of seeping into your pores. There's no way to explain the affect that certain songs or artists can have on an individual. It's as if they speak to your soul. Those are the notes and lyrics you heart would have sung if it had a voice. Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre's latest show, "Always... Patsy Cline" is a musical created to celebrate this very fact and the unlikely friendship that formed between the singer and one of her biggest fans. After meeting during a concert Cline gave in Texas, Patsy and Louise Seger became real life pen pals.


Christine Mild stars as Patsy Cline, the world-renowned country singer. It's obvious Mild is comfortable in the role, one that she's performed all over the country. Not only does she sound shockingly similar to Cline, she also bears an eerie resemblance to the singer. Her rich voice washes over the crowd in every number. She brings a southern charm and cheek to the role, which is perfectly complimented by her friend's sass.

Seger, played by Erin Parker, is the mouthy fan that becomes Cline's fast friend. Parker is quirky and blunt and easy to love and the two hit it off with an enviable ease. The two actors have an easy camaraderie and the friendship feels natural.


Fans of the Smoke on the Mountains shows Beef & Boards has done in the past will be wooed by the talented band's live music. Smoke cast members, Sarah Hund and Jayson Elliott, are two of the performing musicians. The show boasts 27 songs, not including any rollicking encores. It includes everything from Cline's moving renditions of hymns to honky-tonk hits. The show is a treat for Cline fans, but that's certainly not a prerequisite. I'm embarrassed to admit I couldn't name more than one song of hers before the show, but recognized many during the production and am certainly a fan now.

Don't Miss the Show

Performances: The show runs until June 6. 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 Dinner Theatre

May 5, 2010

Legally Blonde: The Musical


Broadway Across America is thinking pink this week with the Tony Award-winning "Legally Blonde," on stage now at Clowes Memorial Hall. The show is frivolous fun at its finest. It embraces sorority stereotypes and pokes fun at itself with every "OMG" squealed. Anyone who's seen the movie will have a good idea what to expect, just add singing and dancing to the mix. Expect lots of neon lights, velour tracksuits and shades of Pepto Bismol.


Becky Gulsvig is a perfect blend of ditzy blonde and sincere determination as Elle Woods. Her sassy entourage, which doubles as a Greek choir, embodies the textbook sorority girl mentality.


Michael Rupert embraces his inner slime ball in the role of the cutthroat lawyer Callahan. His big number, "Blood in the Water" drips with delicious sleaze. The UPS guy, played by Ven Daniel, steals each scene he's in and he elicited hoots and whistles every time he walked on stage.


One courtroom number, "There, Right There!" had the audience rolling as it asked the questions that deals with the self-declared "eternal paradox" is he gay or European? This song, like many of the others, is very tongue-in-cheek. Though the overarching theme is to see value in yourself and not underestimate your abilities, it's much more "bend and snap" than "hear me roar."

I wouldn't suggest dragging husbands and boyfriends to the show, but it's perfect to see with sisters, friends or mom for a girls' night out.

Don't Miss the Show

The show runs until Sunday, May 9 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.

May 3, 2010

Around the World in 80 Days

(The five man cast of Around the World in 80 Days)

The Jules Verne classic "Around the World in 80 Days" is the Indiana Repertory Theatre's final show of the 2009/10 season.

Phileas Fogg (Jeff Cummings) decides to travel around the globe in only 80 days on a spur-of-the-moment bet. Cummings' capture's the a-typical Englishman's attitude to a T. He's all business with a stoic sensibility. Fogg's trusty French servant, Passepartout, played by La Shawn Banks, travels with him and provides a steady stream of slapstick hilarity.


(La Shawn Banks and John Lister)

With only five actors to play dozens of characters, the talented cast was constantly switching wigs and costumes to cleverly disguise themselves with a new identity. Zack Buell has a particularly trying time playing (according to the playbill) "everybody else." He literally played a different person in almost every scene, becoming the show's chameleon.

(An "elephant" in the jungle in Around the World in 80 Days)

The set is unbelievably versatile. It has to represent half a dozen countries, train cars, an apartment, ship decks and more. Using the simplest of elements, set designer Kevin Depinet managed to make each new location come alive. He relied on the audience to provide the imagination and with a covered and raised table we saw an elephant thundering through the jungle. It was truly a wondrous accomplishment.

(Minita Gandhi and Jeff Cummings in the beautiful costumes
from Around the World in 80 Days)


The music, all original compositions by Andy Hansen, is everything a good score should be. It lingers just beneath the surface, never quite calling attention to itself, but always moving the audience from one emotion to the next. The costumes, designed by Rachel Anne Healy, are yet one more excellent element in this tour-de-force show.

The show is a delightful, fun adventure and a wonderful way to close another great season at the IRT.

Don't Miss the Show

Performances: The show runs until Sunday, May 16 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