January 23, 2012

Radio Golf

Radio Golf is the tenth and final play in August Wilson’s Pittsburgh Cycle. The Indiana Repertory Theatre has produced plays from this series in the past (The Piano Lesson and Gem of the Ocean), each of which has had its own unique feel. Each of the 10 different plays are set in one decade of the 20th Century and look at issues the African American community have had to deal with during that time. This newest production, set in 1997, is on stage now.

An ambitious man, Harmond Wilks, returns to the rundown neighborhood he grew up in to spearhead his campaign for Mayor and a redevelopment project in the area. One house is set to be torn down to make way for a Whole Foods. The man who grew up in the home claims he still owns it. The house happens to be the setting of Gem of the Ocean, the first play in the cycle, which makes it a nice bookend for the series.

At the IRT there's always something to love, but a few of the elements in this production fall short. At two hours and 45 minutes, many scenes feel bloated and could have been cut. The plot is ambitious, but loses its focuses in the second act when it tries to address too many issues at once.

What makes the play interesting though are the characters and the talented performers who bring them to life. Old Joe, played by Abdul Salaam El Razzac, is the highlight of the show. He lights up the stage with his lanky frame and conveys deep messages with a single glance. He dispenses wisdom with his odd stories and is both bitter and playful in equal measures. His performances alone would make the show worth seeing, but the rest of the cast does a great job as well.

A huge kudos goes to Vicki Smith for creating an unbelievably realistic set. The neglected office building looks like it has been in that spot for decades. You can see telephone wires and old homes in the distance behind it. The aged pipes and peeling paint all add to the exceptional design.

One additional note, the IRT offers options for visually and audio-impaired audience members. Be sure to check and find out what performances feature sign language or other options to fit your needs.

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. "Radio Golf" runs until Sunday, Jan. 29 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

January 21, 2012

Broadway Predictions: Spring 2012

This Broadway season is packed with promising new shows. Check out this article for more details and to see a few of my predictions.

Photos of Once and Newsies from Broadway.com

January 18, 2012

Dixie Swim Club

The Dixie Swim Club introduces audiences to five friends and former swim team members who meet in a North Carolina cottage each year to reconnect. No husbands, no kids, no work; everything else is fair game.

Part Steel Magnolias and part Same Time, Next Year, this estrogen-fueled story of friendship provides a sweet opener for the Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre’s new season. The cast features a mix of B&B regulars and newcomers. Angela Plank plays the organized Sheree. The actress has made her mark at the Phoenix Theatre over the past few years, but this is her first show at Beef & Boards. She does an excellent job playing the group’s mother hen.

Sarah Hund is a delight, as always, as the accident-prone Vernadette. I think she could truly make any character loveable. Rita Thomas takes on my favorite character, Dinah, a workaholic with a wicked sense of humor who knows her way around a martini shaker. As the other women find the groove Thomas nails her character from the start.

Jeri Neal (Laurie Walton) plays a sweet-natured nun and Jill Kelly takes on the self-centered Lexie. The two opposites remind us that sometimes it may seem like we have nothing in common with our friends, but often it’s our differences that make our friendship strong.

The show is split up into different time periods in the women’s lives. Each time we see them a few more years have passed and each new era brings with it a handful of new problems. Whether its divorces or new beaus, troubled kids or trouble at work, the women support and encourage each other through the new challenge.

The show is a celebration of friendship, especially those that last a lifetime.

Don't Miss the Show 


The show runs until Feb. 12. 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. This production offers discounts; call the box office for more details.

Photos Courtesy of Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre