December 31, 2014

The Odd Couple

Beef & Boards launches its 2015 season with the buddy comedy The Odd Couple. It’s the story of two men, unmoored from their marriages, who find themselves as unlikely roommates. One is the fastidious Felix, a worry wart with an anxious disposition and a deep desire to clean. The other, Oscar, is a slob, with no motivation to tidy his home. The Neil Simon comedy is celebrating its 50 year anniversary, which is a tribute to just how timeless this story is. 

The production is a perfect showcase for two of Beef & Boards’ favorite performers, Eddie Curry (Felix) and Jeff Stockberger (Oscar). It’s at its best during a silent scene where the two men circle each other after a big fight. They do everything they can to provoke a response, all without words. Both men excel at physical comedy and the bit works well.

The set gives the show a farcical feel, which fits in well as Beef & Boards traditional season opener usually falls into that category. Doorbells or phones are constantly ringing and cast members come and go through in a blur. There were a few moments where cast member stumbled over their tongue twister lines, losing the flow for a second, but those first night clips are usually ironed out quickly. 

The Odd Couple’s sitcom feel makes for an entertaining performance. This one is a great fit for a date night play because guys and girls alike can identify with living with a polar opposite personality.
Don't Miss the Show 

Performances: The show runs until Feb. 8. 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 $40 to $65 and include the show, tax, coffee, tea and the buffet.  

Photos courtesy of Beef & Boards

December 22, 2014

Top Ten Shows of 2014

Every theatre is unique and the shows that they produce there reflect that diversity. I’m grateful Indy has so many great ones to choose from. There were some wonderful shows in 2014 and here’s a top ten list of my personal favorites. Make sure you keep an eye on these theaters in 2015! 

1) The Wars of the Roses performed by the EclecticPond Theatre Company 

2) Who Am I This Time? at the Indiana Repertory Theatre

3) A Streetcar Named Desire an Acting Up Production  

4) The Tempest a Shakespeare on the Canal performance by HART  

5) The Rocky Horror Show a Zach Rosing Production

6) The Book of Mormon at the Old National Center performed by Broadway Across America

7) Petunia and Chicken an iNDYFRINGE performance

8) Tribes at the Phoenix Theatre
9) The Games’s Afoot at the Indiana Repertory Theatre
10) Hamlet an Acting Up Production
Photos courtesy of EclecticPond, Acting Up, HART, and iNDYFRINGE

December 17, 2014

Elf and The Wizard of Oz

When Elf (the movie) came out in 2003 people were expecting a goofy Christmas romp. While it was hilarious, the reason it remains a seasonal favorite is because of the sweet message at its core. What could have been pure comedy instead had real heart, encouraging even the grumpiest of adults to find the magic in Christmas. Now the movie is a musical and Broadway Across America has brought the cheerful production to Indianapolis just in time for the holidays. 

That unbridled enthusiasm translates well into a stage musical, where bursting into song is expected, but something is inevitably lost with that expectation. We know there will be singing, so it's not surprising when Buddy the Elf starts singing in the midst of Macy's Christmas rush.

The musical takes that same plot of the film and adds bubbly songs and gives a few characters a bit more meat. Buddy's new stepmother Emily and his father's assistant Deb both benefit from the changes and are great in their respective roles. Emily particularly excels at the songs with playful banter with her husband, like "In the Way." 

The whimsical set captures the storybook feel nicely. Buddy the Elf is tireless in his eagerness to please. The show will be a delight for kids who have grown up with Buddy the Elf as a Christmas staple, but adults should be ready for a bit more sweetness than the film provides.
Don't Miss the Show 

The show runs until Sunday, Dec. 21 at the Old National Centre (Murat Theatre) so hurry to get tickets. Tickets can be purchased at Clowes Memorial Hall, The Murat Theatre, by calling (800)-982-2787 or online here. 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

The Wizard of Oz 

As the music swells in the orchestra pit, the familiar score immediately takes audiences back to a tiny farm in Kansas. The Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre's holiday offering this year is The Wizard of Oz.

I viewed a rehearsal of the production and so things were still being ironed out in that performance. The set and costumes were the final versions and those were both breathtaking. It's no surprise that veteran set designer Robert Koharchik knocked it out of the park. He created a farm yard steeped in sepia tones and a vibrant city of Oz with all the trimmings. There is a yellow brick road, a rainbow tunnel, a forest, and even the cornfield bursting with glittery brilliance. It's truly a visual trip to Oz.

The costumes, designed by Adrienne Conces, were just as luxurious. From the tiniest of munchkins in the Lollipop Guild to the sheer size of Glinda's poofy sleeves, no detail was neglected. I was also impressed, for the second time in the last couple months, with Damon Clevenger's performance. He plays the scarecrow perfectly, embracing both the tenderness of the character and the physical comedy the role requires.

The family-friendly show is a good fit for those who've loved the musical for decades and those who are new to the story.

Don't Miss the Show 
Performances: The show runs until Jan. 3. 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. 
Tickets: Ticket prices range from $24 to $46.50 and can be purchased by calling (317) 843-3800 or visiting 

Photos courtesy of Zach Rosing