April 24, 2011

The 39 Steps

The 39 Steps is about a man accused of a crime he didn’t commit. The Hitchcock movie of the same name has a dark tone, but anyone expecting a moody mystery is in for a shock. The Indiana Repertory Theatre’s production of The 39 Steps is more Monty Python than suspenseful drama and delightfully so.

The whirlwind play features only four actors, but between them they take on the roles of a man on the run, police officers, a newsboy, underwear salesmen, a Scottish farmer and his wife, spies, a milkman, a performer, a dead body or two, and more! The show makes liberal use of simple props, which adds to the constant stream of laughter.

Getting the audience to enjoy slapstick comedy and cheeky jokes for two hours can be a difficult task, but the IRT maintains the hilarious high throughout the show.

Tom Aulino and the always excellent Rob Johansen deserve massive kudos for their nonstop performances. Both men pull on costume after costume, donning wigs and various hats, to portray the majority of the shows revolving door of characters. They manage to do it with the necessary seriousness to keep a straight face, all the while winking at the absurdity of their task.

The show’s other two actors, Matthew Brumlow and Sarah Nealis, do as great job as well. Brumlow has a particularly interesting task of playing the straight man while everyone else is running around swapping skirts for slacks. Despite the danger, or perhaps because of it, his character is clearly thrilled to be caught up in the madness.

The 39 Steps is the perfect way to close a strong season; with a theatre ringing with audience laughter and eagerly anticipating the 2011/2012 season.

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. "The 39 Steps" runs until Sunday, May 4 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 IRT will open its next season with Dracula in September.

Photos Courtesy of the Indiana Repertory Theatre

April 14, 2011

Rock of Ages

The 1980s never claimed to be subtle and Rock of Ages is no exception. The show embraces every ‘80s cliché with relish, which is part of the fun. There’s lots of leather and lace, big hair and bad mullets, but there’s a lot of laughter too. Broadway Across America’s production of the show is currently on stage at Clowes Memorial Hall. The story focuses on a young woman who moves to L.A. to become and actress during that infamous decade. The story really isn’t the point though; it’s simply a vehicle for providing a concert of hits from the ‘80s.

This is NOT a family show. I stress this mainly because I saw multiple families leave before the intermission. This is clear from the opening seconds when you see a neon Live Nudes sign on stage and an announcer tells everyone not to text during the show because it makes them look like a d*bag. The production is also loud, like any good rock show should be. It’s a lot of fun for adults, but it’s not appropriate for kids.

The ‘80s really did put the rash in trashy and constant references to STDs and a steady stream of strippers doesn’t do much to deviate from that image. That being said, the show pokes fun at itself, which is its saving grace. It never takes itself too seriously and because of this the audience feels free to laugh along.

Constantine Maroulis, the American Idol contestant, reprises his Tony-nominated role for this tour. He plays Drew, an aspiring rocker who works in a night club in L.A. and falls for the aspiring actress. The cast is great and Dennis, the club’s owner, (played by Nick Cordero) is particularly fun. His towering height and gravely voice make him stand out. Travis Walker as the wanna-be German confectionery Franz is also hilarious. It’s the over-the-top characters who shine in this musical, because everything in the ‘80s was over-the-top.

If you loved the ’80s or just loved the music of that era, don’t miss your chance to rock out during this show.

Don't Miss the Show

The show runs until Sunday, April 17 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 5, 2011

Annie Get Your Gun

If you hear gunshots coming from Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre, don’t be alarmed. The theatre is currently hosting a production of the classic musical Annie Get Your Gun.

Tiana Checchia plays the scruffy, backwoods tomboy Annie Oakley. She brings sweetness and spunk in equal measures to the role. She shoots game and looks out for her kid siblings while at the same time swooning over Frank Butler, a sharp shooter in a Wild West show.

There are some well-known, fun songs from Annie Get Your Gun that are still a delight, like “Anything You Can Do” and “There’s No Business Like Show Business.” Both songs showcase this particular cast’s talents sublimely. The competitive chemistry between Checchia and Curt Dale Clark, who plays Butler, sparks beautifully and Jeff Stockberger and J.R. Stuart make a great comedic duo.

Ellie Oates, an adorable 5-year-old, steals every scene she’s in as Annie’s younger brother Little Jake. Her older sister Molly, along with Brielle Boynton, both do a great job as the other two siblings.

Other numbers haven’t held up as well with the passing of time. “I’m An Indian Too” has wince-worthy lines, like “Just like Rising Moon, Falling Pants, Running Nose, I’m An Indian Too.” This is simply a sign of the culture when the show was created and doesn’t take anything away from the excellence of the show.

The set consists of an elaborate stage and light giving the whole theatre a Big Top feel. From the moment you see it you know you're in for quite a show.

Don't Miss the Show

Performances: The show runs until May 8. 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 $36 to $59 and include the show, tax, coffee, tea and the buffet. This production offers discounts; call the box office for more details.

Photos Courtesy of Beef & Boards Dinner Theater