December 12, 2012

Buck Creek Players Announces 2013/14 Season

Buck Creek Players is proud to announce their 40th Anniversary Season in 2013-2014!

Rumors: September 27-October 6, 2013
Celebrating forty years of quality community theater, the award-winning all-volunteer group will open their season with Rumors by Neil Simon. In this hilarious comedy, several affluent couples gather in the posh suburban residence of a couple for a dinner party celebrating their tenth anniversary. When they arrive, they discover there are no servants, the hostess is missing, and the host - the deputy mayor of New York City - has shot himself through the earlobe. Comic complications arise when, given everyone's upper class status, they decide they need to do everything possible to conceal the evening's events from the local police and the media.  

The Little Town of Christmas: December 6-22, 2013
Visit The Little Town of Christmas in December as Buck Creek Players presents Pat Cook's comedy package of twelve yuletide sketches just perfect for the holiday season! Everybody in the little town of Christmas is friendly and funny, including Skeezix and Sylvester, an elf comedy team that is short in stature and long in laughter; Dancer, the reindeer with a wacky sense of humor; Mrs. Claus, the REAL boss of the outfit; and a hilarious street corner Santa, tested and almost bested by one tough little kid with a sticky sucker. Also included are old favorite stories such as "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" and "A Christmas Carol," updated and aimed right for the funny bone, of course. 

 The Women: March 21-30, 2014
Gold-diggers, schemers, gossips, and social climbers -- these are the women who populate The Women, the classic 1936 comedy by Clare Boothe Luce. Known heavily due to the 1939 MGM film of the same name starring Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, Rosalind Russell, Paulette Goddard, and Acton, Indiana's own Marjorie Main, this hilarious catfight made "jungle red" nail polish synonymous with sharp-clawed backstabbing. 

Carrie: May 30 – June 15, 2014
Based on the bestselling novel by Stephen King, the musical of Carrie hasn't been seen since its legendary Broadway production in 1988. Now, the show's original authors have fully reworked and re-imagined this gripping tale. Set in the small town of Chamberlain, Maine, Carrie features a book by Lawrence D. Cohen (screenwriter of the classic film), music by Academy Award winner Michael Gore (Fame, Terms of Endearment), and lyrics by Academy Award winner Dean Pitchford (Fame, Footloose). Carrie White is a misfit. At school, she's an outcast who's bullied by the popular crowd, and virtually invisible to everyone else. At home, she's at the mercy of her loving but cruelly over-protective mother. But Carrie's just discovered she's got a special power, and if pushed too far, she's not afraid to use it.  

Beauty and the Beast: August 1-10, 2014
The brainy and beautiful Belle yearns to escape her provincial life...and her brute of a suitor, Gaston. However, Belle gets more adventurous than she wanted when she becomes a captive in the Beast's enchanted castle! Dancing flatware, menacing wolves, and singing furniture fill the stage with thrills as Buck Creek Players present the Playhouse Players Youth Production of Disney's Beauty and the Beast Junior, a beloved fairy tale about very different people finding strength in one another and learning how to love. Taking the stage for two weekends, August 1-10, 2014, all roles will be played by area youth ages 18 and under.  

In 2001, Buck Creek Players moved into its current home, the Buck Creek Playhouse, at 11150 Southeastern Avenue. The space was originally built as an indoor tennis facility that was later converted into a church. Much of the space was rebuilt to accommodate the productions it would now house. While increasing capacity, the space is still intimate, seating a maximum of 130 people.

Image from Buck Creek

December 3, 2012

Top Shows of 2012

This year has held some incredible performances and productions throughout the Midwest. Here are my top ten choices for 2012. Keep your eyes on these theatres in the future for more great shows.

1) Les Misérables at Clowes Hall performed by Broadway Across America

2) The House That Jack Built at the Indiana Repertory Theatre

3) August: Osage County at the Phoenix Theatre

4) The Woman in Black at the Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre

5) The Book Thief at Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago

6) Othello at the White River State Park performed by the Heartland Actors Repertory Theatre

7) Twelfth Night at the American Players Theatre in Wisconsin

8) Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde at the Indiana Repertory Theatre

9) Freud's Last Session at the Phoenix Theatre

10) The Wizard of Oz at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre

Photos courtesy of the Phoenix, Beef & Boards, Broadway Across America and the IRT

November 28, 2012

A Christmas Carol

“But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.”

That line from Scrooge’s nephew perfectly explains why A Christmas Carol is such a powerful play year after year. It is a reminder of all of the wonderful things the Christmas season holds. It's a reminder to value the people that are truly important in your life and to hold them close to you throughout the year. The Indiana Repertory Theatre's annual tradition is back again this year with a wonderful production of the Christmas classic.

The play has the same script each year, narrating the story of Scrooge's change of heart with a revolving cast of characters. The large and enthusiastic cast makes the show a fresh delight each year. There's always something new, like this year's addition of the lovely Megan McKinney in a variety of roles. Jason Bradley takes over the role of the beleaguered but cheerful Bob Cratchit and IRT favorites Ryan Artzberger and Robert Neal are back as Scrooge and Marley. The show is 90 minutes, with no intermission, perfect for both kids and adults to enjoy.

In addition to the play, the IRT is offering festive activities and events before and after each performance. They have everything from carolers in the lobby to visiting reindeer outside the theatre. Visit their site here for a full list of scheduled events.

The IRT is also offering special discounts for this show, including free and discounted tickets for military families. The IRT is now one of the 66 Theatre Communications Group (TCG) theater members to participate in the newly launched Blue Star Theatres program, which – in partnership with Blue Star Families – provides free or discounted ticket programs to military personnel and their families, as well as veterans.

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 Monday, Dec. 24 on IRT's Main Stage. Times for performances can be found at or by calling the IRT box office at (317) 635-5252. To purchase tickets call (317) 635-5252 or order online at 

*Photos courtesy of Zach Rosing

November 19, 2012

American Players Theatre Announces its 2013 Season

American Players Theatre (APT) is excited to announce its thirty-fourth season, which will run June 8 to October 20, 2013. APT’s flagship outdoor amphitheater Up the Hill will feature William Shakespeare’s The Two Gentlemen of Verona and Hamlet, along with W. Somerset Maugham’s comedy Too Many Husbands; Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead - Tom Stoppard’s accompaniment to Hamlet; and Arthur Miller’s great American classic All My Sons.

In the indoor Touchstone Theatre, APT is proud to produce its very first indoor Shakespeare production, an adaptation of Antony and Cleopatra. Also in the Touchstone, Brian Friel’s gripping Molly Sweeney and a reprisal of James DeVita’s Dickens In America, featuring James Ridge.

Tickets will go on sale for returning patrons March 4 and to the general public on April 15.
APT is a professional repertory theater devoted to the great and future classics. It was founded in 1979 and continues to be one of the most popular outdoor classical theaters in the nation. APT is located in Spring Green, Wis., on 110 acres of hilly woods and meadows above the Wisconsin River. The APT amphitheater is built within a natural hollow atop an oak-wooded hill. Under the dome of sky, 1148 comfortably cushioned seats encircle three sides of the stage. In 2009, APT opened the indoor Touchstone Theatre, offering a different type of play and experience

For more information, visit
The 2013 Season: June 8 – October 20, 2013


The Two Gentlemen of Verona

By William Shakespeare
Directed by Tim Ocel
One of Shakespeare’s early comedies, The Two Gentlemen of Verona is a coming of age story about youth, friendship and forgiveness. Valentine and Proteus are the best of friends. But when Valentine moves to the big city of Milan and promptly falls in love with the beautiful Sylvia (whose father has promised her to another suitor), Proteus can’t stay behind for long. Leaving his own newly won beloved Julia in Verona, Proteus also falls for Sylvia, committing the sin of putting his own desires before his friendship. But in friendship (and Shakespearean comedies) no one is ever beyond forgiveness. Featuring all the Bard’s greatest hits – mistaken identity, girls dressing up like boys, hilarious servants and one emotive dog – Two Gents makes for entertaining theater.

Too Many Husbands (AKA Home and Beauty)
By W. Somerset Maugham
Directed by David Frank
Prim English chivalry gets bushwhacked by fate in this hilarious comedy. In the wake of WWI, lovely Kate has lost one husband, but gained another. His charming best friend Frederick, in fact. But when husband number one is found unexpectedly alive, Kate and Frederick struggle to explain their relationship to chaotic (and very funny) results. Featuring characters who waltz with and around propriety, Too Many Husbands is one of those pieces that fits our players like an urbane second skin; an event not to be missed.

By William Shakespeare
Directed by John Langs.
The Prince of Denmark returns to the APT stage in all his hang-dog glory. A visit from the ghost of his murdered father sets Hamlet on a quest for the truth. Everyone is a suspect, from his uncle-turned-stepfather Claudius to his own mother, Queen Gertrude. But Hamlet’s investigation sets in motion events he couldn’t have imagined, as the kingdom grapples with what to do with their emotional and often dangerous Prince. Without hyperbole, Hamlet is one of the greatest plays ever written, covering all the big thematic bases – love, madness, revenge and murder are just the beginning here.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
By Tom Stoppard
Directed by James Bohnen
Hamlet bit players Rosencrantz and Guildenstern take center stage in Tom Stoppard’s philosophical comedy about free will and identity. Mssrs. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern try to make sense of the world through a series of insightful, witty conversations with each other (or themselves, as they often forget which one of them is which) and other characters who make appearances along the way. A funny, philosophical commentary about life, with moments of Shakespearean poetry. And P.S. – All the players from APT’s production of Hamlet will be reprising their roles in this play.

All My Sons
By Arthur Miller
Directed by William Brown
The Keller family struggles with tragedy and scandal in the wake of World War II. Patriarch Joe discovers that his youngest son, Chris, is preparing to propose to his deceased brother’s fiancé. Which poses a problem, since Joe’s wife, Kate, refuses to believe that their son Larry is dead. As it turns out, this is the least of the secrets at hand, and as more revelations come to light, the Kellers and their tight-knit community struggle to survive the fallout. A mystery in the guise of family drama from great American playwright Arthur Miller.


Dickens In America

By James DeVita
Directed by C. Michael Wright.
Join Charles Dickens on the last performance of his final American tour. Featuring readings from classic works such as Oliver Twist, Great Expectations and David Copperfield seamlessly paired with off-the-cuff insights, Dickens In America is a spellbinding combination of literature, history and fiction. Originally created in 2006 for James Ridge to play Mr. Dickens on the Uphill stage, we feel its true hearth and home is in the Touchstone Theatre.

Molly Sweeney
By Brian Friel
Directed by Kenneth Albers
Molly has been blind since she was a small child, and with the help of her father has learned to live contentedly using a combination of her other senses. After marrying the well-meaning dilettante, Frank, a new option becomes available via a struggling surgeon - one that may or may not restore at least some of her sight. Through a series of monologues, the three characters at the heart of this play investigate the question of “what have you got to lose”, as they struggle to stay connected in a hazy fog of memory and trust.

Antony and Cleopatra
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Kate Buckley
Adapted by James DeVita
Mark Antony – one of the three new rulers of the Roman Empire – has fallen desperately in love with Cleopatra, the Queen of Egypt, with whom he wiles away the time (and shirks responsibility). When Rome is threatened, though, he is forced to return. While away from his Queen, he dutifully marries another woman in order to bring peace between clashing emperors, angering everyone involved to the point of war and tragedy. APT’s new adaptation of Antony and Cleopatra allows the play to fit within the confines of the intimate Touchstone Theatre while retaining the power of the full production.

November 14, 2012

Billy Elliot

Billy Elliot, the story of a young boy who discovers his love of ballet, is on stage now at the Murat theatre, produced by Broadway Across America. It was a treat to be able to see the show for a second time this year. Seeing it again gave me the opportunity to enjoy layers of depth I missed the first time around. I was able to get past first impressions and reflect more on the story and performances.

When Billy’s mother passes away the Elliot family looses its anchor and is left reeling. Their community is also at war as the miner’s union goes on strike. In the midst of this chaos is the sweet story of a young boy who feels life his desires don’t match up with his environment.

The role of Billy Elliot was played by Noah Parets on Tuesday. The role rotates between three actors and Parets did a wonderful job. He had just the right balance of boyish earnestness and adolescent angst. Billy is trying to deal with feelings of grief after loosing his mother, shame for his growing love of ballet and hope for a future in dancing. That’s a lot for an 11-year-old to cope with and Parets captures that struggle.

I was once again impressed with Rich Herbert’s performance as Billy’s father. I think his role makes this show a bit more accessible for men who might not normally love musicals. He provides a relatable character for almost any father. He’s reluctant to accept his son for who he is and in the world they come from, that’s completely understandable, but his son’s happiness is more important than his pride.

Billy Elliot is about being true to who you are and supporting the people you love no matter what. I can’t think of a better message for a musical to share. On top of that the show is incredibly entertaining!

Don't Miss the Show


The show will run until November 18 at Old National Centre (the Murat Theatre). Tickets can be purchased at Clowes Memorial Hall, Old National Centre, by calling (800)-982-2787 or online at 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

November 9, 2012


 What does it take to be a good writer? Is it harrowing experiences or is it a unique perspective or way of life? Is it something that can be taught or can good writing only come from natural talent? These questions and more are discussed in the Phoenix’ current production: Seminar.

The play premiered on Broadway in November 2011 with a stellar cast. Less than a year later the Phoenix was able to snag it as part of its 30th season. It’s currently onstage in the intimate Frank and Katrina Basile Theatre.

Four aspiring fiction writers scrape together $5,000 each to hire an accomplished author to teach a 12-week writing seminar. Their teacher, Leonard, is a misogynistic jerk with a palpable self-loathing and a particular talent for crushing dreams. Played with relish by Bill Simmons, Leonard embodies a failed artist, lashing out at others who are just beginning their careers. He stumbles around as if drunk or high while spouting self-absorbed nonsense after merely glancing at his students’ work.

The classes are incredibly tense, as the five writers sit in a room and push each other’s buttons. The four students include: Martin (Sam Fain), who is a bit rough around the edges, but self-righteous about his work and Izzy (Lisa Ermel) who delights in using her sexuality to get a rise out of the people around her.

Then there’s Douglas (Neal Eggeson), an insufferable name-dropper whose self-entitlement is only matched by his mediocrity. Finally there’s Kate, played by Lauren Briggeman. She’s a middle-class, white female, so basically everything that Leonard despises in a writer. Her uptight, defensive nature and choices throughout the play make her a fascinating character, but I was frustrated by way the direction in which the story takes her. I felt like it was the easy way out and that her plot could have been so much more if it was handled differently.

Each of the characters is very well acted, but ultimately unlikeable. They are so wrapped up in their own neurosis that they are oblivious to each other’s pain. Everything they hang their hopes on is dashed on the rocks by the cruel and thoughtless words of their professor and they don’t know how to cope. If you ever needed a deterrent from becoming a writer – this is it!
Don't Miss the Show 

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

Performances: The show runs until Nov. 25 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 $18 to $28. The play has no intermission and includes adult language and mild nudity.

Photos Courtesy of the Phoenix Theatre


November 5, 2012

The House That Jack Built

This past weekend the Indiana Repertory Theatre hosted the world premier of playwright-in-residence James Still’s new production, The House That Jack Built. A family converges in a cozy home in Vermont for Thanksgiving dinner and as is to be expected with the holidays, emotions run high and past grievances and grief lay just beneath the tender surface.

I’ve been a fan of James Still’s work for years, but this production truly rises above anything I’d yet seen. He has an incredible talent for writing characters that are completely unique, yet somehow also completely relatable. That contradictory principle makes the people in his plays unforgettable. Overbearing mothers or bickering spouses could become clichés, but in Still’s plays they never are. Their flaws and connections to each other always run deeper than that and this play in particular, is full of beautifully complicated characters.  

Jack, the title character, is an enigma that we never meet, though he shaped the lives of everyone in the play. He is a reminder of all the lives we touch, with or without realizing it. I can’t single out a performer in the five person cast because each of them: Christopher Allen, Joseph Foronda, Patricia Hodges, Deirdre Lovejoy, and Jenny McKnight Jules, were so excellent in their very different roles.
The intimate set lends itself well to the 100 minute production. There is no intermission and conversation never lags. Comic moments break tense ones as the banter rolls on. The witty back and forth tumbles from casual chitchat to distant memories capturing the atmosphere of a true family get-together from the opening lines.

It’s rare to find a play that blends humor and heartbreak so seamlessly and to find performances and dialogue that move you deeply. In The House That Jack Built audience members find all of those things and more. It is a play about discovering who you are, because of and in spite of your family. It is about the ties that bind us together, even though they also cause us pain. And most of all, it is about the importance of family, both the one we are born with and the one we make along the way.

Please don’t miss your chance to see this remarkable show.

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 House That Jack Built" runs until Sunday, Nov. 25 on IRT's Upper Stage. Times for performances can be found at or by calling the IRT box office at (317) 635-5252. To purchase tickets call (317) 635-5252 or order online at

*Photos courtesy of Zach Rosing

October 29, 2012

The Woman in Black

 Take one deserted mansion in an English marsh, add in rumors of possible hauntings, children’s laughter and a nervous solicitor and what do you get: the perfect Halloween treat!

The Woman in Black is on stage now at the Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre. The beautifully dark show has long been a favorite in England. It’s the second longest-running play in London and was turned into a film starring Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) earlier this year. Now the ICT is presenting the creepy production just in time for Halloween.

As Hitchcock taught audiences for years, the less you see the scarier it is. That idea holds true for this show as well. The show features a play within a play and though it starts out slow, the momentum builds in a wonderfully satisfying way.

This two-man show features excellent performances by both of its leads. Dan Scharbrough is the earnest Arthur Kipps, a troubled man who wants only to unburden himself of his terrible story.  John Michael Goodson – last year’s Salieri in Amadeus – plays “the Actor.” He offers to perform  Kipps story, but doesn't know exactly what he's getting himself into.

The set, designed by Ryan Koharchik, is just incredible. His clever use of curtains and lighting achieves so much without ever overwhelming the story. It was truly one of the highlights of the show.

Since opening in its new Carmel location last fall, it feels like the ICT has evolved in so many ways. Everything from the sets to the plays and musicals it has chosen to produce feel like they are a step up. The ICT has impressed me in so many ways in the past year and I’m excited to see what they have in store next. I hope that if you haven’t been to the ICT in a few years, you make it a priority to see at least one show there this season. You won’t regret it.

Don't Miss the Show

The show closes Nov. 10. Performances begin at 7 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. The Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre is located at 3 Center Green, Carmel, IN 46032 at the Center for the Performing Arts.


Ticket prices start at $39 and can be purchased by calling (317) 923-4597 or visiting There are $13 tickets available to students with a valid ID.
Photos courtesy of Zach Rosing

October 25, 2012

The Book Thief

The Book Thief was selected as this year's One Book One Town for Chicago. As part of the festivities, author Markus Zusak collaborated with a playwright to turn his wonderful book into a stage production.

The play is currently on stage at the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago. I had the opportunity to see the show and you can read more about my experience here.

October 15, 2012

Away in the Basement

The Church Basement Ladies are back for a third time at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre. This installment, Away in the Basement, is actually set in 1959, before the other two chronically. B&B’s audiences have grown to love the devoted crew and their playful banter. The ladies, so proud of their Norwegian heritage and Lutheran traditions, keep their churches’ events running smoothly.
The whole cast is back for a third installment with the exception of Lisa Bark, who is replaced by Hillary Smith as Beverly. Karen Pappas returns as Mavis, a hilarious woman with her own particularly style. Vivian (Licia Watson) is the group's matriarch with a strong aversion to change. Katherine Proctor is Karin, Beverly's mother and Vivian's deputy.

The Church Basement Ladies shows are always at their best when the women are supporting each other through both the heartbreaks and celebrations life brings. Vivian shows her softer side in the second act and Eddie Curry, the church's pastor, has a surprisingly tender number in this production as well.
This musical is particularly perfect for church groups and families. Beef & Boards is continuing the Christmas fun through the end of the year with both its holiday variety show, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary, and The Christmas Carol.


Don't Miss the Show

Performances: The show runs until Nov. 25. 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 $37 to $60 and include the show, tax, coffee, tea and the buffet. As Beef & Boards’ 2012 Family Show, this production offers a $10 discount off tickets for kids ages 3-15. This production offers discounts; call the box office for more details.
Photos Courtesy of Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre

September 28, 2012

Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson

Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson combines American history and rock ’n’ roll in a complete unique musical about the 7th president of the United States. Straight from Broadway this raucous retelling of Andrew Jackson’s life is more in the vein of “Anchorman” than a History Channel special.

The political musical is particularly timely in the midst of this election year. When candidates’ ads are yelling absurd claims at us from every direction, it’s the perfect time to reflect on past presidents and the difficult job they are entrusted with.

Expertly directed by Bryan Fonseca, the 90 minute show has no intermission and features a live band, led by Tim Brinkley, on the stage. Numbers like “Ten Little Indians” and “Crisis Averted” stand out as do the fights, coordinated by IRT regular Rob Johansen. There is adult language, so leave the kids at home.

Eric J. Olson plays the infamous 19th century president. His performance clearly reflects Jackson’s complex nature. Unlike many of the politicians running the country at the time Jackson was the “people’s president.” He was a frontiersman who shot first and asked questions later and his Git-R-Done mentality didn’t sit well with the folks in D.C. He embodied so much of what is still considered “American” today: a sense of entitlement, but also a driven nature that helped him succeed both in the political world and on a battlefield.

Claire Wilcher is an absolute scene-stealer every time she walks (or scooters) on to the stage. She plays a storyteller as well as a few other parts in the ensemble. Her performance in Avenue Q set a high bar for future expectations, but she’s exceeded them all with this show.

At the height of its silliness it’s clear the cast is having a blast and that translates into a great entertainment for the audience. The production embraces the irreverent portrayal of early America and just has fun with it. How can you resist a show that describes one of our presidents as “Federal Metamucil,” unclogging Washington?
In the midst of fun songs and hilarious dialogue there’s quite a bit of history packed in the show. History can paint quite a bittersweet picture. Go to enjoy the show, but afterwards you might just realize you learned quite a bit about “Old Hickory.”
p.s. Don’t forget to get out there and vote people!!!
Don't Miss the Show 

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

Performances: The show runs until October 21 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. 

To purchase tickets, call (317) 635-PLAY (7529). Prices range from $23 to $33. 

Photos Courtesy of the Phoenix Theatre 

September 25, 2012

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

The Indiana Repertory Theatre decided to tackle the gothic classic Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as its season opener. The liberal adaptation, masterfully done by Jeffrey Hatcher, focuses on Jekyll’s gradual loss of control to the dark incarnation of himself, which he has brought to life with a medical experiment. Mr. Hyde lives by no conventional moral guidelines and he wreaks havoc on Jekyll’s carefully ordered life.

The most interesting element in the show was the decision to have the entire cast, save only Dr. Jekyll, play Hyde at different points. At times there was even a chorus of Hydes. When playing that character each cast member wore the same outfit, a tailored suit with an upturned lime green collar. The multiple Hydes work surprisingly well, providing a creepy omnipresence in the play. They give the production a unique and enthralling quality.

Kevin Cox, making his IRT debut, was the best of the Hydes. His performance was at once playful and disturbing; he could taunt and then turn animalistic in an instant. Ryan Artzberger does a great job as the troubled Dr. Jekyll, slowly loosing his grip on reality.

Three spiraling staircases, dirty windows, and a spinning door create a set as dark and twisted as the story itself. The ghostly make-up on the entire cast adds to the eerie atmosphere on the show.

There’s a wonderful part at the end of the first act that sums up the overarching theme perfectly. A maid witnesses a murder and while giving her testimony she says she meant to call for help sooner, but her “bad” side wanted to watch what happened and so she waited. Even that minor character struggled with her sinister desires. Anyone who gives too much power to that part of their nature will begin to loose balance and control.

The story is a fascinating study of the duality that lives in every person. For Jekyll and Hyde that darker side has been given a name and a life of its own, but even without that, each person has their own demons to struggle with.

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. "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" runs until Sunday, Sept. 30 on IRT's Main Stage. Times for performances can be found at or by calling the IRT box office at (317) 635-5252. To purchase tickets call (317) 635-5252 or order online at

Make sure to check out the IRT's Going Solo festival as well. This year's shows include The Syringa Tree and The Night Watcher on stage until October 14th.

*Photos courtesy of Zach Rosing

September 17, 2012

A Chorus Line

A Chorus Line is a fun season opener in an exciting new lineup of shows at the Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre. The musical opens on a long line of dancers auditioning for one of only a few available parts in a chorus. As the winnowing process begins they're asked to share their personal stories. They are all very different people but they have one thing in common, their passion for dancing. From funny songs, such as “Sing!” to heartfelt ballads, the show honors the hard work that goes on behind the scenes of every musical.

There were a few standout performers in the show. The first was Tim Hunt. His quiet portrayal of the troubled Paul San Marco was powerful in its simplicity. Diana, played by Nathalie Cruz, was another. She takes the lead on the famous ballad “What I Did for Love” and has a the solo performance in “Nothing.” Her beautiful voice and her character's earnest devotion to the craft of dance were wonderful. Laura Lockwood, last seen in ICT’s Guys and Dolls, is also delightful as an acerbic older dancer. She once dreamed of becoming a prima donna, but now is wondering how long she has left in the business.

Ryan Koharchik deserves a nod for his excellent set and lighting design. The production utilizes a simple backdrop with occasional mirrors, letting the dancers themselves become the focus. Lighting is a vital element in this show as dancers take the spotlight as they tell their story and it was well done.
The show is performed with no intermission, which is crucial to maintaining the pressure and anxiety the dancers feel during their audition. The most interesting aspect of the show, which was a smash success when it premiered in 1975, is that the stories told on the stage are all based on the real stories of dancers in New York City. For decades the musical has remained close to the heart of performers, who can identify with the painful process. For the rest of us, it provides a glimpse into the lives of the people in show business. It can be a grueling life, but it's one fueled by a fiery passion.

Don't Miss the Show

The show closes Sept. 22. Performances begin at 7 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. The Tarkington is located at 3 Center Green, Carmel, IN 46032 at the Center for the Performing Arts.

Ticket prices start at $32 and can be purchased by calling (317) 923-4597 or visiting Next up is the chilling play, The Woman in Black, the perfect show for the Halloween season.

Photos courtesy of the Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre

September 1, 2012

Beef & Boards Announces 2013 Season

Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre celebrates its 40th Season with three fabulous new shows to its stage and several popular favorites from its richly entertaining repertoire.

Kicking off the season is the hilarious classic Arsenic & Old Lace. Opening Dec. 28, 2012, this comedy follows the deadly deeds of two charming elderly spinsters who believe they are rescuing their lonely lodgers by poisoning them and burying their bodies in the cellar. Between their special secret and their brother who believes he is Teddy Roosevelt, their nephew is in for quite a surprise when he pays them a visit! On stage through Feb. 3. Book by Joseph Kesselring.

Next on stage is the debut of the high-energy hit 9 to 5: The Musical. With music and lyrics by Dolly Parton, and based on the hit 1980 movie in which she starred, 9 to 5 is the story of three female coworkers who plot to get even with their sexist and egotistical boss – and take over the company while they’re at it! Outrageous, thought-provoking, and even a little romantic, 9 to 5: The Musical is about teaming up and taking care of business. Book by Patricia Resnick. On stage Feb. 7 through March 24.

Also new to Beef & Boards and the next on its stage is the hilarious celebration of women and the change: Menopause, The Musical. Written by Jeanie Linders and set in a department store, Menopause, The Musical brings four women together who have little in common other than a black lace bra. The ladies make fun of their woeful hot flashes, forgetfulness, mood swings, wrinkles, night sweats and chocolate binges in this production that includes parodies from the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s. On stage March 27 through May 12.

The Sound of Music, the iconic work of Rodgers and Hammerstein, opens May 16 and continues through June 30. As the 2013 Family Show, the production offers $10 discounts off tickets for kids ages 3-15. Follow the adventures of free-spirited postulant Maria as she is sent from the convent to become a governess for seven children of Captain von Trapp in Austria during World War II. With stories and song, she transforms the home and hearts of this rigid family. Adapted from “The Story of the Trapp Family Singers,” it was written by Russel Crouse and Howard Lindsay, with music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II.

Summer brings the return of the hit Smoke on the Mountain, opening July 5. One of the most popular shows in Beef & Boards’ 40-year history, this musical follows the Singing Sanders Family, who is invited to perform at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church by its new pastor, the Rev. Oglethorpe. Enjoy the “signing” sister June, and all your favorite characters as they perform energetic bluegrass and Gospel tunes and share stories that will touch your heart and leave you laughing. Book by Constance Ray. Conceived by Alan Bailey. Musical arrangements by Mike Craver and Mark Hardwick. On stage through Aug. 18.

Ready or not, Stanley Banks is about to be the Father of the Bride, on stage Aug. 22 through Sept. 29. His daughter has announced her engagement and the preparations begin for a “small” wedding. But as the plans and the guest list grow rapidly, so does the debt – and the stress! Mr. Banks is surrounded by caterers, dressmakers, florists and furniture movers, and faces the unthinkable when his daughter calls the whole event off. By Caroline Francke, from the novel by Edward Streeter.

The musical phenomenon Les Misérables makes its Beef & Boards debut Oct. 3 through Nov. 24. Journey with Jean Valjean as he finds redemption against all odds in the corruption and chaos of revolutionary France. An eight-time Tony Award winner, Les Misérables is the struggle, the score and the story that has captivated millions around the globe. Based on the novel by Victor Hugo, music by Claude-Michel Schönberg, and lyrics by Alain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel.

The holiday season is time for the annual celebration A Beef & Boards Christmas, opening Nov. 29. This variety show has been a tradition at Beef & Boards for over 20 years, and makes the most of the season, with beautiful music, energetic dance numbers, colorful costumes and stirring voices. Gather with friends and family for this original production, on stage through Dec. 23.

Plus Beef & Boards brings back its one-hour musical adaptation of A Christmas Carol starting Dec. 6. This classic, enhanced with holiday carols, tells the timeless Charles Dickens story of miserly Ebenezer Scrooge whose cold heart warms with the visits of several spirits on Christmas Eve. The production is on stage for select dates through Dec. 21.

Tickets for all 2013 season shows are on sale to the general public starting Oct. 1. They may be purchased by calling the Box Office at 317.872.9664 between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. daily (10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays). Tickets for main stage shows range from $37.50 to $62.50, and include Chef Odell Ward’s dinner buffet, full fruit & salad bar and unlimited coffee, tea and lemonade.
Note: Discounts are available for groups and kids ages 3-15.

New VIP memberships for the 2013 Season are on sale starting Sept. 4. Tickets go on sale to the general public starting Oct. 1. Visit, for complete details.

Photos courtesy of Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre.

August 23, 2012

AMERICAN PLAYERS THEATRE: Troilus and Cressida, Skylight and Twelfth Night


There’s always something new and exciting at the American Players Theatre in Wisconsin and this season is no exception. APT’s core players never disappoint and the younger performers provides a wonderful suffusion of energy and passion to each production.

One of the best aspects of APT is the way it highlights its performers in multiple shows throughout each season. At any given time audience members can see a single performer in a modern drama, a Shakespearean comedy and a tragedy in the same weekend. Both Brian Mani and Greta Wohlrabe performed in all three shows I was able to see. They showed their comedic side in Twelfth Night, took on tragic roles in Troilus and Cressida and then portrayed the complex relationship between former lovers in Skylight. APT defies typecasting, allowing its performers to stretch and grow with each role, juggling multiple shows each season with apparent ease.

APT always does a fantastic job with each element in its shows. The sets, whether it’s walls of lovely iron gates and climbing ivy or a chilly apartment with laundry scattered about, they fit the mood of each show to perfection. The costumes are the same; rich leather and velvet period dress or Greek battle armor, they never disappoint.

Troilus and Cressida

“She is a pearl, whose price hath launch'd above a thousand ships.”

The story of the Trojan War and the beautiful Helen is well-known, but this Shakespearean tragedy about it is not. Troilus and Cressida is the story of two young Trojans caught in the midst of a nation at war. Despite being surrounded by the problems of others they find themselves falling in love. Troilus is the brother of the infamous warrior Hector and the lovesick Paris who ran away with the married Helen, incurring the wrath of the Greeks. It’s rare to find productions of this show, so for true devotees of the Bard they’re a treat.

The entire play is filled with passionate declarations of both love and war. The Greeks, like King Agamemnon and the hotheaded Ajax, are itching for a fight. Ajax doesn’t realize until too late that he is only a pawn in the hands of the generals. The Trojans on the other hand aren’t sure how they want to respond. Paris wants to defend Helen’s honor, but his older brother Hector has to decide if she is worth the fall of an entire nation. From his opening scene he has an impossible task. He knows the right thing to do in theory, but the obligations of honor and family loyalty prevent him from doing it.


The production is full to the brim with a remarkable supporting cast. From the tragic Cassandra, whose prophetic wails go unheeded to Pandarus (James Devita), Cressida’s uncle the meddling matchmaker. The show also requires some seriously well-choreographed battle scenes. With such a large cast, each swing of the sword must be perfectly timed and executed.

The title may be Troilus and Cressida, but that’s really a misnomer. While their romance is sweet, it’s truly the story of the Trojan War and the dicey decisions that warriors must face in battle. What is a single life worth? For Achilles, his love for one man is enough to make him fight or to stay his hand. For the love of his brothers Hector is willing to pick up his sword. The tragedy of war is that it’s a cyclical game; one death always leads to the desire for vengeance from the other side. Grief and bloodshed fuel only more of the same and this play is a poignant reminder of that.


We open on a small English flat with a small kitchen and a faulty heater. This intimate play by David Hare provides a glimpse into the lives of three English people. Completely unknown to us at first, we slowly realize how the three cast members lives are intertwined.

When we meet them Kyra and Tom have a complicated past and no idea what the future holds. Although they haven’t seen each other in years, the pair quickly falls back into their established roles. They bring out both the best and worst in each other, challenging the other’s perspectives in a love/hate dynamic that you can’t look away from. Together they reminisce about their early days, the happenstance that made their paths cross and the things that kept them apart or together.

Greta Wohlrabe plays Kyra with fervent restraint. She hints at both her happiness and pain, rarely allowing her outer shell to break. She spends much of the first half of the show cooking and bustling about so she doesn’t have to open up.

Tom is more of an open book. Brian Mani embraces the role of the posh business man who has become accustomed to getting his way. He’s unused to feelings of guilt or grief ruling his life and he’s unsure of how to deal with them.

The play provides an in-depth study of the influence people have on each other’s futures. Our lives can never touch those around us with leaving lasting impressions and we affect the lives we touch both by our presence and our absence. We never truly forget or loose the people who are important to us.

Twelfth Night

Twelfth Night is the height of Shakespearean comedies: mistaken identities, disguises, pranks and unrequited love. The play contains some of Shakespeare’s best lines, some of his most hilarious scenes and the perfect hopeless love triangle.

Olivia is grieving her recently deceased brother and the Duke Orsino is attempting to woo her. Meanwhile, Viola and her twin brother are shipwrecked and separated in the fray. Viola disguises herself as a man and decides to work for Orsino, whom she promptly falls in love with. While Viola is delivering a message of love to Olivia from Orsino, Olivia falls in love with Viola, who is disguised as a man. Misunderstanding upon misunderstanding compounds the confusion until, like a magic trick, the perfect string is pulled and all is revealed in a moment. It’s an absolute delight.

In this year’s cast we find many performers from the Indiana Repertory Theatre. The much-loved Mark Goetzinger appears as a potential suitor. Three members of the cast of last year’s IRT play Fallen Angels, including Cristina Panfilio, Eric Parks and Steve Haggard also appear in APT’s shows.

Panfilio is wonderful as the earnest Viola, bumbling through the actions of a male, but unable to hide her budding love for her employer. In many scenes she says more with her pauses and facial expressions than with her words.

Greta Wohlrabe appears again as Olivia’s sassy maid who conspires with Brian Mani, a Falstaff-esque relative of Olivia’s, to trick the preening fool Malvolio. The two make a great pair and have fun with the bawdy roles.

I love all Shakespeare’s tongue-in-cheek references to his other works which he sprinkles throughout his plays. This one contains a nod to Troilus and Cressida, a Midsummer Night’s madness and there’s even a line saying, oh if this scene was to be played out on a stage! Shakespeare’s playful jabs remind you that he knew his audience and what they would love and much of it still holds true with audiences today.

**There are adult themes and language in Skylight and Troilus and Cressida. Twelfth Night would definitely be the best bet for a younger audience.
More Information:

The American Players Theatre is open until October 21 for its regular season. It will host a special holiday show, Gift of the Magi, this winter at its indoor Touchstone Theatre.

The theater's outdoor seats are comfortable, but definitely bring a jacket, rain parka or blanket depending on the weather. The show will go on even if it's chilly or drizzling. There are easily accessible restrooms and concessions at both the Up-the-Hill Theatre and the Touchstone Theatre.

There are plenty of camping/B&B/cabin/hotel options nearby, depending on your preference. You can find additional information about where to lodge, restaurants and other attractions on APT's website.

For more information about APT and Spring Green, WI visit its
website. Spring Green, Wi is only 6.5 hours from Indianapolis and makes a perfect weekend getaway!

Photos Courtesy of the American Players Theatre.

July 9, 2012

Billy Elliot

This fall Indy’s Broadway Across America season opens with a Tony-award-winning smash Billy Elliot.
Caught up in the midst of a miners’ strike in the 1980s, Billy Elliot watches as his father and brother struggle to stay calm as their union looses power. Billy has recently lost his mom and it’s not until he unexpectedly finds himself in the midst of a ballet class that he finds a place where he can shine.
The brassy ballet instructor, played by Janet Dickinson, and her strange group of misfit students provide a strange new home for Billy. He soon finds that he must choose between pursuing his dreams and following in his father’s footsteps.
The lead role is played by multiple boys in each touring show. The performance I saw in Louisville featured Ty Forhan as Billy. He is an incredibly gifted dancer. His Grandma, played by Patti Perkins, is a pip and the Dad (Rich Herbert) provides just the right balance of machismo and fatherly love. The rest of the cast embraces the thick working-class British accents and ‘80s wardrobe taking the audience to another world for the duration of the show.


The plot is surprisingly intense. Tensions run high when a man’s livelihood is a stake, but the show finds a quieter tone in the second act and focuses on the characters’ relationships. The dual ballet number is particularly spectacular and was the most breath-taking element in the production. Combine that with the fancy footwork in Solidarity and a tap dancing number featuring jump ropes and the musical provides some great original numbers.
 Don't Miss the Show

The show will run from November 13-18, 2012 at Old National Centre (formerly the Murat Theatre) so make your plans now. Tickets can be purchased at Clowes Memorial Hall, Old National Centre, by calling (800)-982-2787 or online at 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

June 5, 2012

The Wizard of Oz

There’s nothing quite like a child’s first experience with live theater. Although it has been two decades I still remember my first show clearly; it was Brigadoon at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre. So it was especially meaningful to get to take my nephew to his first show at the same theatre this past weekend and The Wizard of Oz provided the perfect introduction to world of musicals.
Fans of the Church Basement Ladies shows will recognize Dorothy, played by Lisa Bark. Her fresh-faced innocence is just right for the role and kids will love the fact that she’s accompanied throughout the show by a real dog playing Toto.
The rest of her gang is made up of B&B favorites like Doug King as the rubber-bodied Scarecrow, Jeff Stockberger as the cardiac-challenged Tin Man and Jayson Elliott as a Lion that’s all roar and no bite. Young audience members can’t help being delighted by the trio as they help Dorothy on her way.

Lynne Perkins clearly has a blast playing the Wicked Witch of the West. She cackles and shrieks with menacing glee in every scene and embraces the pun-littered dialogue with gusto. Eddie Curry also does a great job as the blustery wizard.
Costumer Jill Kelly outdid herself in this production. Everyone from the Munchkins (all played by Central Indiana kids) to the Wicked Witch is beautifully decked out. The apple trees in the Land of Oz are particularly lovely.
The Wizard of Oz is a wonderful treat or families. Take your kids, nieces, nephews or grandkids to see it and inspire a new generation to kindle a love for live theatre! Seeing the show through their eyes will give you a new appreciation for the magic of live theater!

Don't Miss the Show

Performances: The show runs until July 15. 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.


To purchase tickets call (317) 872-9664 between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Prices range from $37 to $60 and include the show, tax, coffee, tea and the buffet. As Beef & Boards’ 2012 Family Show, this production offers a $10 discount off tickets for kids ages 3-15. This production offers discounts; call the box office for more details. 

Photos Courtesy of Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre

May 11, 2012

IRT announces 2012/13 Season

The Indiana Repertory Theatre has announced its 2012-2013 One America Season

Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, by Jeffrey Hatcher, adapted from the book by Robert Louis Stevenson

Sept. 5 - 30 
What is the nature of the beast that lives in all of us? This deliciously provocative re-imagining of Robert Louis Stevenson's classic digs deep to answer the question. Smart, sexy and suspensful, Jeffrey Hatcher's adaptation takes us from Victorian drawing rooms to the grim alleyways of London as it examines the inner workings of two very different personalities and the ties that bind them dangerously close.

The Going Solo Festival:
    The Night Watcher, by Charlayne Woodard
Sept. 18 - Oct. 14 
Family ties reach beyond blood in this moving, one-woman piece by acclaimed playwright Charlayne Woodard. Investigating the social and cultural challenges that come with raising kids, Woodard's tales of her "children" are transfixing and tragic. Millicent Wright returns to channel the voice of Woodard in the fourth of her autobiographical plays, continuing an IRT cycle from previous seasons that includes Pretty Fire and Neat.

    The Syringa Tree, by Pamela Gien
Sept. 19 - Oct.  13  
Out of the shadow of apartheid comes this joyous, personal tale of ties that cannot be broken. Elizabeth Grace is a young white girl growing up in South Africa in the sixties, making her way through a world losing its innocence. Along her journey she meets friends and strangers, black and white, young and old. Through her we see the complexities of the world they share-their dreams, struggles, and laughter-and their shared humanity.

The House That Jack Built, by James Still

Oct.  30 - Nov. 25 
The latest work from IRT Playwright-in-Resident James Still takes us to a rambling Thanksgiving get-together in Vermont where friendship and family are intertwined and memories of the past have a place at the table. It's a funny and affecting visit with three women, their significant others and their not insignificant desire to recapture what they once shared. A World Premiere.

A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens
Nov. 25 - Dec. 24
Join Scrooge, Tiny Tim and a host of spirited ghosts in this timeless story of regret and redemption. The holidays aren’t complete until you’ve treated the family to a tradition that has spanned the decades-- A Christmas Carol at IRT, the season’s most heartfelt gift.

Jackie and Me, by Steven Dietz, adapted from the book by Dan Gutman
Jan. 11 - Feb. 16
A young boy’s school report on Jackie Robinson finds him travelling back in time to meet one of the most influential baseball players in history. But a strange twist gives him a unique understanding of the struggles faced by the first black man to play in the major leagues. This tale of an American icon leaves the history books and lands on stage in this brilliantly adapted play based on the young adult novel by Dan Gutman.

A Little Night Music, by Steven Sondheim
Jan. 23 - Feb. 17 
This season, one of Steven Sondheim's most beautiful works waltzes onto the IRT stage. It's a captivating tale of romance and loss that exquisitely reminds us: the best dance is done with a partner you love. Inspired by one of Ingmar Bergman's most enchanting films, this Tony Award Winner for Best Musical features the bittersweet classic, Send In The Clowns. Starring international vocalist Sylvia McNair (see photo above).

The Whipping Man, by Matthew Lopez
March 5 - 24 
As the Civil War comes to a bloody close, a Passover Seder in a shattered antebellum mansion reveals hidden truths about the nature of freedom and the frailty of family.  Everyone carries scars in this emotionally stirring period drama that binds three men whose world has changed forever. What comes next when the end of bondage brings uncertainty rather than liberty?  Find out in this impressive debut from playwright Matthew Lopez.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, by William Shakespeare
April 10 - May 12 
Mistaken identities, love charms and magical encounters all run amok in Shakespeare's classic comedy set in an Athenian forest inhabited by sprites, fairies and a group of amorous couples who change partners at the drop of a spell. This exuberant tale of young lovers in the woods for a night of mischief is sure to please anyone who remembers the magic of true romance. What fools these mortals be!

About the IRT
The IRT celebrates its 41st season. Founded in 1972, the IRT is the largest and leading fully professional not-for-profit theatre in the state and has grown into one of the leading regional theatres in the country. The IRT continues to be one of the top-flight cultural institutions in the city and state, providing experiences that engage, surprise, challenge and entertain.

Photos courtesy of the IRT