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Showing posts from October, 2011

Julius Caesar

Et tu, Brute? The question that has echoed through the centuries since it was first uttered on a stage in Elizabethan England is as timely now as it ever was. The Indiana Repertory Theatre has continued its wonderful tradition of presenting shortened versions of some of Shakespeare’s finest works with its latest production of Julius Caesar. It’s a show that fits easily into the unease of the current
political climate.

The cast is rich with talent. The IRT has an arsenal of excellent actors and I’m sure that choosing a Caesar was a difficult task. Though the title character’s stage time is short, he must make the audience understand the jealousy that is brewing within the hearts of the men who were once his allies. For me, David Alan Anderson was the perfect choice. He has a relaxed jovial attitude, but with a single look he can command a room. This balance demonstrates how the public could love him and the politicians could fear him at the same time.

Another casting coup is Rob Johansen …

It's a Wonderful Life

It’s a Wonderful Life may not have been a box office smash when it was first released, but in the decades that followed, the film became an American classic. Families watch it together at Christmas, people can quote lines from it, there are even flower shops named Zuzu’s Petals in almost every state.

The reason the movie has become such a holiday staple is because the story is one that’s easy to connect with. Everyone has felt discouraged at some point and it’s easy to believe your life doesn’t matter. That struggle resonates with people and keeps them coming back, year after year. It’s hard to capture the onscreen magic created by the earnest Jimmy Stewart and his town of misfits, but the cast of Beef & Boards' current production brings the story to life.

Sean Patrick Hopkins plays George Bailey with all the sincerity and selflessness needed to make the audience root for him. Stockberger makes a great Uncle Billy and Eddie Curry is in his element as the simple angel Clarence.

Spring Awakening

The cast of Spring Awakening performed to an incredibly packed house a few days ago. The crowd sat in eager anticipation for the Tony-award winning show’s Indiana premier. Spring Awakening is based on a play written in 1892, which was turned into a Broadway musical in 2006 and gave a few of the Glee stars their big breaks.

Set in 1890s Germany, the plot deals with some delicate subject matter; adolescent sexual awakening, suicide, abortion, rape, incest and more. It’s no frothy Oklahoma. That being said, though it’s clearly not appropriate for kids, its melancholy ballads tell a powerful story that gives adults something to think about after the curtain call.

The production’s two leads, David Terry, who plays Melchior and Wendla, played by Carly Kincannon, are excellent. Young and earnest, their sweet romance is the beating heart of the story. Both actors have the pipes to carry the songs as well. They are particularly good in "Mama Who Bore Me" and "Left Behind."


Going Solo: I Love to Eat and Lost

The Indiana Repertory Theatre's Going Solo Festival is back for the third year. The festival features three separate one-man shows and gives audiences a chance to compare an contrast some fascinating plays. Each one is 90 minutes with no intermission and highlights one of the IRT's regular performers.

The festival includes a world premier by playwright-in-residence James Still. The show, "I Love to Eat: Cooking with James Beard," introduces us to the host of America's first cooking show. The exuberant chef is played by Robert Neal. His passion for life is contagious and in only a few moments the audience is swept away as he bounces from one side of the stage to the other, guffawing as he goes. Each moment is filled with emotion; the brief flashes of anger or sadness are just as intense as the joy.

Beard is shown as a man who embraced every aspect of life, food music, friendship, language, etc. The portly cook is incredibly alive, bubbling over with his enthusiasm…