June 21, 2010


The Theater Within has once again chosen a play that tackles a complicated subject. "Proof," the 2001 winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, deals with the thin line between genius and madness and the strain it can place on a family.

The story begins with Catherine on the eve of her 25th birthday. After years of caring for her mentally unstable father, a famed mathematician, she now has to cope with his death. She put her life on hold to care for him and the years have made her caustic and distrustful.

The cast finds its footing in the second half, moving past stereotypes into the meat of the roles. Glenn Dobbs plays the struggling mathematician and he shines in his scenes with Catherine (Danna Sheridan). His convincing paternal nature makes the audience understand her devotion to him. Jeremy Kinnett is fittingly awkward but sincere as Hal, Robert's social-stunted former student.

Kristin Katsu excellent as Claire, Catherine's older sister. With her A-type personality she swoops in, all crispness and calm, to try to rescue Catherine from herself. Claire is the oil to Catherine's water, so different that they can find no middle ground.

Director Rod Isaac presents an ideal setting in which we can explore family dynamics. The play looks closely at the relationship between a father and daughter and the one between diametrically opposite sisters. Like every family, love is blended with frustration and resentment to create a toxic mix.

Don't Miss the Show
For more information about The Theater Within, visit their website. The theater is located at 1125 Spruce St., Indianapolis, IN 46203, just four blocks east of Fountain Square along Prospect Street immediately south of the KFC.

Performances: The show runs until June 26 and offers two performances a week, Fridays and Saturdays beginning at 8 p.m.

Tickets: To purchase tickets, call (317) 850-4665. Prices range from $13 to $15.

Photo courtesy of The Theater Within

June 17, 2010

High School Musical

For this year's annual Family show, Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre chose Disney High School Musical. The plot deals with high school cliques, pressure to succeed and balancing of diverse interests. But this is certainly not a serious drama. Perky songs and choreographed dance numbers keep things moving quickly and over-the-top drama queens provide comic relief.

The show features only two adult roles, which means decades of experience is not in the cards for most of the cast. Productions that depend so heavily on young actors can be tricky, but B&B manages it with ease. The cast brings a freshness and energy to the show that's infectious.

Gabriella, played by Jessica Ann Murphy, has both a beautiful voice and a natural ease, which makes her performance believable. She and her co-star, Tim Barsten (Troy), work well together. They have great stage chemistry.

Scenic designer Michael Layton turns a movie, that moves throughout an entire high school, into a single set production. The simple design allowed the stage to become a gym, auditorium stage, science lab and more during the show.

(Tim Hills and Michael Layton)

My own brother, Tim Hills, whose passion for theater rivals my own, assisted Layton in the design. Tim, 18, is a student at Brownsburg High School. He has Cerebral Palsy, which makes performing difficult and so he has chosen to fuel his creativity into set design. This show was the first time he had the opportunity to work with a professional theater.

This popular show provides good, clean entertainment and is a great opportunity to take teens to the theater. So whether you're new to the High School Musical phenomenon or a long-time fan, the show is a fun night for the whole family.

Don't Miss the Show

: The show runs until July 18. 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.

: 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. This production offers $10 discounts on tickets for kids ages 3-15.

Photos Courtesy of Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre

June 11, 2010

Jersey Boys

Long before we met the delinquents of Jersey Shore, there was "Jersey Boys," the musical that took Broadway by storm in 2005. It tells the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, the group that wrote and sang dozens of hits that sold a million records, like "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You" and "Walk Like a Man."

The Broadway Across America show, currently on stage at the Murat Theatre, has it all. It's the story of an American Dream that came true for a few blue-collar boys. Four guys from Jersey created a brand new sound that allowed them to rocket up the charts in the 1960s. The boys' unexpected success was, as it always is, both a blessing and a curse.

(Joseph Leo Bwarie as Frankie Valli)

Joseph Leo Bwarie plays Frankie Valli, the talented lead singer. Bwarie's unbelievable range mimics Valli own unique pitches. We meet Valli when he's an innocent 16-year-old and watch his journey to stardom.

The three other leads, Nick, Tommy and Bob, each narrate a portion of the story and lend their voices to a dozen songs. Tommy, the troubled tough one, Nick, the funny man, and Bob, the talented songwriter all work well together. They are a convincing group, with salty language, teasing interactions and conflicts. They're brothers in all but blood. Their sense of loyalty to each other was born in the Jersey streets and stayed with them throughout their lives.

"Jersey Boys" creates the perfect blend of music and story. It highlights the struggle of the artists, while celebrating the songs they created. It's one of the best new musicals from Broadway in the past decade. Catch it while it's here!

Don't Miss the Show

The show runs until Saturday, July 3 at the Murat Theatre 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 here. 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