October 27, 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 as Cassius. He seethes with bitter discontent, spreading his contagious attitude among the senators of Rome. He is both persuasive and devious in the crucial role.


In business suits and jeans, the cast reflects the modern feel of the set, but the language is thankful untouched. The intermission-free 90 minute performance is more than manageable for both students and adults.

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. "Julius Caesar" runs until Saturday, Nov. 5 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 Julie Curry

October 21, 2011

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.



The play differs from the movie in a few ways, adding musical numbers and cutting a couple scenes. I particularly missed seeing George’s reaction when he sees his home for the first time, but many audience favorites remain and are sure to bring a few tears to your eyes. To catch the Christmas spirit a little early this year, don't miss It's a Wonderful Life at Beef & Boards.

Don't Miss the Show

Performances: The show runs until Nov. 20. Doors open for evening performances at 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The buffet is served at 6:30 and the show begins at 8 p.m. One Sundays the buffet is served at 5:30 and the show begins at 7 p.m.

For Weekday 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. For Sunday evenings doors open at 5 p.m. and the buffet is served at 5:30 and the show begins at 7 p.m.

Tickets: To purchase tickets call (317) 872-9664 between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Prices range from $33 to $55 and include the show, tax, coffee, tea and the buffet.

Photos Courtesy of Beef & Boards

October 5, 2011

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."

The Phoenix’ round, open set gives the cast members plenty of room for their many entrances and exits. Bryan Fonseca’s direction is leads the talented cast and live music performed on the stage accentuate powerful songs like, “The Dark I Know Well” and “The Song of Purple Summer."


The Phoenix theatre never shies away from anything taboo and it’s that fearless attitude which often shines a light of subjects that are shrouded in shame. The play was written at a time when teenagers were told nothing about sex, but that ignorance doesn’t equal abstinence. As their bodies change and they grow up their hormones go wild and their innocent minds are left feeling confused and sometimes scared.

Don't Miss the Show 


For more information about the Phoenix Theatre, visit www.phoenixtheatre.org. The theater is located at 749 N. Park Ave., Indianapolis, just off Massachusetts Ave. 


Performances: The show runs until Oct. 23 and offers four performances a week. Thursdays begin at 7 p.m., Friday and Saturdays begin at 8 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. 


Tickets: To purchase tickets, call (317) 635-PLAY (7529). Prices range from $15 to $20.


Photos Courtesy of Zach Rosing


October 1, 2011

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 for fresh ingredients and foreign cities. This is the most jubilant performance I've ever seen Neal give and he nails the larger-than-life man.

James Still manages to not only entertain the audience with his quick dialogue, but to capture their hearts as well. After spending only 90 minutes with Beard's effusive personality you can't help but want to learn more about the man behind the food. One-man shows are difficult beasts because they must pair a wonderful play with a talented performer who is well-cast. This show is a great example of what happens when those factors perfectly align.


"Lost: A Memoir" has a darker atmosphere. Cathy, a mother, wife and life-long traveler, searches for her younger brother who is lost at sea. Her journey is one of frustration and grief. She's struggling to find balance in her own life and this latest disaster has set things spiraling out of control. A loss with no closure makes it difficult to move on and let go of the past.

Constance Macy juggles a dozen accents as she portrays not only Cathy, but everyone else she meets on her journeys. With no other actors to bounce dialogue off of, Macy carries the show on her elegant shoulders.

Macy's performance is a beautiful one, but the show itself is harder to connect to. It starts slowly and never quite hits an even stride. It's a touching story, but one that leaves you feeling like Cathy is the one who is truly lost.

The third show, "Nobody Don't Like Yogi," stars Mark Goetzinger. I was unable to make it to a performance, but knowing Goetzinger's work at the IRT, I'm sure audiences won't be disappointed.

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 Going Solo festival runs until Sunday, Oct. 23 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. Lost images by Zach Rosing and I Love to Eat images by Julie Curry.