December 19, 2010

Wicked


There was trouble in Oz long before Dorothy and Toto showed up. “Wicked,” on stage now at the Murat Theatre, tells the story of how Glinda and Elphaba, aka the wicked witch of the west, first meet. Though complete opposites, the two characters form an unlikely bond. The musical, based on the novel of the same name, weaves elements of the famous children’s book into a new, darker tale, which reveals that things are not always as simple as they seem.

You’d be hard-pressed to find more beautiful and elaborate sets anywhere in Indianapolis. From simple cornfields to the sparkling Emerald City, no detail is neglected and it’s easy to forget that this is a mobile production. The fantastical costumes provide an eyeful in every scene as well.



During the performance I attended Vicki Noon starred as Elphaba and Glinda was played by the understudy, Rachel Potter. Potter hit her stride in the number “Popular,” using both physical comedy and hilarious energy to embody the perky character. Noon nailed all of her big numbers, like “Defying Gravity” and “No Good Deed,” hitting both the notes and the emotional intensity necessary. Both Glinda and Elphaba are forced to grow up quickly in the show and the pair did a wonderful job demonstrating that painful transition into maturity.


This is the third time I’ve seen the show and I’ve loved it more with each viewing. I can’t think of anyone who I wouldn’t recommend it to and I’ve yet to find someone who’s been disappointed by it. It’s a powerful story of friendship and prejudice, but it balances those heavy themes with a large dose of humor. It’s a musical with a message and it reminds us that evil isn’t always the obvious target. Sometimes it’s the quiet voice suggesting the easy way out and it takes a true hero to resist that temptation.




Don't Miss the Show

The show will be in town for two more weeks. Don’t miss your chance to experience “Wicked” for yourself. Tickets are going fast for the popular show, so don't miss your chance to see it. The show runs until Saturday, Jan. 1 at the Murat Theatre. Tickets can be purchased at Clowes Memorial Hall, the Murat Theatre, by calling (800)-982-2787 or online at www.broadwayacrossamerica.com. Ticket prices start at $50.

Broadway Across America is holding a lottery for every single "Wicked" performance. Individuals are welcome to put their names in a lottery drum two and a half hours before each show. Exactly two hours before the show begins officials will draw a maximum of 20 names. Those individuals are permitted to buy up to two tickets for $25 each(cash only). The lottery will be held in the Murat Theatre lobby before each show and you must be present to win.

Photos Courtesy of Broadway Across America

December 13, 2010

A Christmas Carol


Despite the heavy snowfall and treacherous roads, the Indiana Repertory Theatre welcomed a full house with sweet caroling this past weekend. Nothing could keep the crowds away from the IRT’s A Christmas Carol.

Even though the story is the same, the production is full of new elements. There is a new director, Richard J. Roberts, a new Scrooge, IRT favorite Ryan Artzberger, a new Marley, Robert Neal and a new Bob Cratchit, Jerry Richardson. Other roles featured seasoned performers who audiences have grown to love over the years.


Artzberger, who replaced the established Charles Goad as Scrooge, had some big shoes to fill. He’s a bit young to play the aged miser, but his joyful enthusiasm at the end of the show is wonderfully believable. I look forward to watching him settle into the role in future years.



As always the set, props, costumes and music are excellent. A Christmas Carol long ago found its groove and yet it manages to remain fresh each year. The supporting cast fleshes out the story beautifully. Each actor takes on a slew of characters and their performances are perfectly in synch. There is no weak link or tired part, the flow is crisp and the message strong, making each performance a delight.

The show is 90 minutes, with no intermission, perfect for both kids and adults to enjoy. The theatre’s Oh What Fun series adds a few additional delights to the performances, like live reindeer or the chance to roast marshmallows before the show. Visit the IRT’s website for a complete list of available events.



On a side note, the IRT always has a long spiel of sponsors to thank at the beginning of each performance and as you anticipate the play it’s easy to forget how amazing that really is. It’s so encouraging to be reminded of how businesses like OneAmerica, St. Vincent and others have supported the IRT for years, despite recessions and economic hardships. I’m proud to live in a city that values the arts so highly.

Don't Miss the Show

The Indiana Repertory Theatre is located at 140 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, one-half block west of the Circle Center Mall between northbound Illinois St. and southbound Capitol Ave. "A Christmas Carol" runs until Sunday, Dec. 26 on IRT's Main Stage. Times for performances can be found at www.irtlive.com or by calling the IRT box office at (317) 635-5252. To purchase tickets call (317) 635-5252 or order online at www.irtlive.com


Photos Courtesy of the Indiana Repertory Theatre

December 9, 2010

The Santaland Diaries


I first read David Sedaris’ The Santaland Diaries a few years back. I remember laughing until my stomach hurt, but seeing a live version of his hilarious tale is somehow even funnier. The production, currently on stage at the IndyFringe Theatre, explores Sedaris’ personal experiences working as an elf at Macy’s. This Christmas show is definitely for adults only, which of course means you know it’s going to be funny.

Scot Greenwell plays Crumpet the elf with equal parts impish glee and cynical sass. He makes acidic jokes about controlling parents, delusional Santas and his fellow elves all while learning something about the true meaning of Christmas.



Decked out in candy cane tights and a jingle bell hat, Crumpet attempts to hang on to his sanity (and dignity) in the middle of Macy’s hectic Santaland. The intentionally atrocious costume is just one small aspect of the department store’s over-the-top Christmas extravaganza. Oversized candy and fake snow crowd together to help create this wonderfully cheesy version of the North Pole.

This was my first experience seeing a show in the Indy Fringe Theatre. The small building provides a perfect setting for intimate productions. The high ceilings and open rafters keep it from feeling claustrophobic and the small stage is just right for this one-man show.

If you love Sedaris’ irreverent essays or have ever wished for a bit more rum in your eggnog or for fewer showings of weepy Lifetime Christmas movies, this is definitely the Christmas show for you. Take your mom to a traditional holiday show and then treat yourself to this sarcastic gem.

Don't Miss the Show

Indy Fringe Theatre through Sunday, December 12, 2010, with evening performances tonight, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and afternoon matinees on Saturday and Sunday. For more information call (317) 721-9458 or visit the IndyFringe website here. The theatre is located just off Mass Ave at 719 E St Clair Street, Indianapolis, IN 46202.

Photos Courtesy of Melinda Seader