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Showing posts from January, 2011

The Diary of Anne Frank

Despite a massive leak back stage at the Indiana Repertory Theatre on Friday night, the show went on. The Diary of Anne Frank is the infamous true story of a teenage Jewish girl who is forced to go into hiding with her family in Amsterdam during World War II.

The stress builds as the eight people share a tiny living space and limited food supply for more than a year. In hiding they were oddly protected from the horrors that where unfolding in the city around them, but they had their own struggles. To live every moment of your life, especially during your adolescence, under the scrutiny of others, is its own special kind of hell. Under those circumstances, I think anyone would be pushed to the breaking point.

The cast includes many newcomers who, along with IRT regulars like Constance Macy, create a powerful picture of life in the secret annex. The play depends heavily on the chemistry of the cast, so any weak link would have hindered the production. Instead, each actor brings their best…

9 to 5: The Musical

Doralee, Violet, and Judy are three very different women. Their lives intersect while working in an office in the 1970s in the musical 9 to 5 on stage now at Broadway Across America. Many will remember the 1980 movie, on which the show is based. The trio has been exploited in various ways by their chauvinist boss, Mr. Hart, for too long. They decide to kidnap him and run the office themselves.

The show is undeniably dated, women no longer put up with what was considered "normal" in 1970s offices. At the same time, the more important theme, friendship, is still relevant. Diana DeGarmo is Doralee Rhodes (originally played by Dolly Parton), a busty, country blonde too often judged by her looks. DeGarmo is the spitting image and sound of Parton herself. Dee Hoty plays Violet with a flustered, but competent sincerity. She shines in fast-paced numbers like "Around Here."

Judy (Mamie Parrisas) is newly single and trying to find her footing and self-worth after …

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre opened its 2011 season with the Tony-award-winning musical “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” The title is a mouthful and so are many of the words the actors must spell, but the mood is playful.

The story follows a handful of middle school students who have made it to the county spelling bee. All of the “students” are played by adults which adds an extra layer of absurd humor. The premise is reminiscent of the movie Best in Show, but instead of poking gentle fun at dog shows, spelling bees are the target. Like the film, Spelling Bee is incredibly funny, but contains some adult humor.

(Leaf Coneybear)

The six main spellers include the politically correct Logainne Schwarzandgrubenierre, timid Olive Ostrovsky, perfectionist Marcy Park, obnoxious William Barfee, boyscout Chip Tolentino and free-spirited Leaf Coneybear. Four volunteer audience members are also chosen at each show to become part of the competition.

Seth A. Tucker provided my favo…