May 18, 2015

Peter Pan

Peter Pan was one of the very first shows I saw performed live. I had grown up watching the 1960 TV version starring Mary Martin, but it wasn’t until I saw it at Beef & Boards that it truly came alive for me. Peter Pan is back on stage at the Indianapolis dinner theatre and seeing the Beef & Boards’ production was a sweet reminder of the songs and story I loved so much when I was young. 

The adventure-packed show is a wonderful introduction to theatre for young kids. With pirates, Indians, fairies, and flying there’s so much magic happening on stage the youngsters in the audience couldn’t help their occasional exclamations of excitement. 

Phebe Taylor, who served as the spirit Ariel in HART’s “Tempest” last summer, is a Beef & Boards newcomer. She’s perfect as the eternally youthful Peter Pan. Her energetic performance was backed by incredible vocals on numbers like “Neverland” and “Distant Melody”.

The villains are over-the-top and cartoonish, a perfect fit for a show geared towards kids. Jeff Stockberger is in his element as Hook, the world’s most dramatic pirate. He leads his band of dim-witted miscreants as they make plans to destroy Peter Pan. 

Productions that feature a large cast of child actors can be tricky, but this one seemed to hum right along. From the Lost Boys to Wendy and her brothers, the kids did a great job. The second act drags a bit as we hear a few reprises of earlier songs, but it’s not big detraction. 

This timeless story feels fresh to each new generation. We know we don’t want to grow up long before we understand what growing up entails. Take your family, no matter what ages, and let the kid inside you enjoy the show.

Don't Miss the Show 
Performances: The show runs until July 3. 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

May 10, 2015

Typhoid Mary

In a society that thrills at the mention of an Ebola outbreak or questions of vaccinations, few subjects could feel timelier than the story of Typhoid Mary. The infamous Irish cook became famous at the turn of the century for unknowingly spreading Typhoid fever in the homes where she worked as a cook. The Phoenix Theatre’s Playwright-in-Residence Tom Horan’s own “Typhoid Mary” is currently hosting its world premiere at the theatre. 

The cast is made up of only three individuals, but each one packs a punch. Lauren Briggeman plays the title character, Mary Mallon. She wowed audiences in last year’s Acting Up Production of Hamlet as the female lead. Though this role is very different, she brings the same feisty passion to the stage. Jolene Mentink Moffatt brought levity to the production with her friendly demeanor, but there was an icy sarcastic edge beneath the surface that I loved. As a female doctor during that time she conveys the difficulty of her position in the male-dominated field.

The play’s strength lies in Horan’s ability to balance humor, historical fact, and moral dilemmas with aplomb. He threads together Mary’s religious beliefs, scientific understanding of that time, and a larger picture of the way disease in viewed in our culture. His whip-smart dialogue keeps the audience laughing despite the serious subject. The show also includes a description of the actual breakdown and effects of the disease. That inclusion was important and brought home the seriousness of the pain and fear that people were experiencing during the epidemic.

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 May 24 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) 635-7529 or visit Prices range from $27 to $33.

Photos courtesy of the Phoenix Theatre.