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Showing posts from January, 2013

A Little Night Music

The Indiana Repertory Theatre typically shies away from musicals, depending instead of dramatic plays for the majority of its productions. But when the theater decides to do one it holds nothing back! Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music is on the IRT’s Main Stage through the middle of February and the sheer scale of the undertaking is impressive. There’s a large cast, decadent costumes, incredible voices, and a live orchestra performing the score beneath the stage. The cast even includes Sylvia McNair, a Grammy-award-winning performer.
The stage is set with lines of thin birch trees, giving an added depth to the stage. The elaborate period costumes include piles of tiaras and beautiful jewelry to compliment the men’s tuxes and ladies’ evening gowns. The show itself is a reflection on love and the odd pairings it sometimes creates. It’s a bit like a French farce blended with an operetta, quick witty dialogue and humor balancing the characters’ heartbreak and loneliness.

Fredrik is a …

Jackie and Me

Joey Stoshack has the unique ability to travel back in time using old baseball cards. Jackie and Me, based on the novel by Dan Gutman and adapted for the stage by the talented Steven Dietz (Dracula, Becky's New Car), follows Joey back to 1947 where he meets the great Jackie Robinson. The show is now playing on the Indiana Repertory Theatre’s Upperstage and it's a wonderful way to bring history alive for any age group.
The casts rotates through the present day segments and those in 1947 with almost every person taking on multiple roles. Rob Johansen’s turn as the card collecting Flip was particularly fun. Robert Neal was perfect as the brash Branch Rickey who went out on a limb and signed Jackie Robinson as the very first African-American to play in the Major Leagues. Beethovan Oden, Lanise Antoine Shelley, Ryan Artzberger, Jennifer Johansen all do wonderful work as Jackie and Rachel Robinson and Joey’s concerned parents along with a myriad of other characters.

One of the most ou…

Jersey Boys

Jersey Boys, the musical smash based on the band Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, is back in Indianapolis this month. The Broadway Across America show tells the story of the group that wrote and sang dozens of hits, like "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You" and "Ragdoll."
From humble beginnings the four Jersey boys rocket up the charts with hit after hit, but the road to success is never easy. Girls, drinking and gambling, the pitfalls are many and hard to avoid. It's hard to resist the bright lights of success and reaching the top can be bittersweet.

The first half of the show builds slowly as the group evolves, finding its name and sound. The second half feels more like an energetic concert as the cast bursts forth with one recognizable hit after another. It’s like having the opportunity to travel back in time and see the band live. The musical is even better the second time around. It gives you the chance to appreciate some of the supporting characters.

Arsenic and Old Lace

Beef and Board Dinner Theatre kicks its 40th Anniversary Season off in style with the classic screwball comedy Arsenic and Old Lace. Mortimer, a young theatre critic,  learns his two aunts are murders and his long-lost brother returns all in the same night. Chaos ensues as Mortimer tries to keep anyone else from getting killed. 
David Schmittou is excellent as the straight man Mortimer trapped in the farcical situation. His bewilderment and consternation at his family's madness is hilarious. He says more with one incredulous face than a dozen lines of dialogue could convey. 

One of my favorite bits in the show are the playful jibes at theatre critics. Mortimer hates the theatre and spends hours lambasting new plays and saving time by "writing the review on the way to the show." You can't help but think that was a bit of revenge from a frustrated playwright. 
Eddie Curry plays Dr. Einstein perfectly, channeling the long-dead Peter Lorre who played the same role in the fi…