September 15, 2015

Little Women

 After celebrating its 100th anniversary last season, the Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre kicked off its next century of performance with the Broadway musical “Little Women”. The show is based on the beloved book by Louisa May Alcott, but it doesn’t stick strictly to the text. It wisely begins with the lead character, Jo March, away from her family in New York. Early scenes with the sisters can feel a bit slow and beginning it later in the story gives the show a stronger opening. 

The musical incorporates some of Jo's stories into the performance. As she reads them aloud to her sisters or friends we see the adventures acted out on stage. The campy dramas provide laughs as her "blood and guts" tales come to life. 
Julia Bonnett plays Jo March and it’s her role that truly stands out in this production. Bonnett is fiery and ambitious as the young writer. Her enthusiasm and temper sometimes get the better of her and it’s the character’s flaws that make the audience love her as much as her strengths. Bonnett’s voice is beautiful and she proves to be the heart of the show with solo numbers like “Astonishing”. 

As a whole, I believe Little Women might have worked better as a play than a musical. The quiet moments the sisters share and the burgeoning romances felt interrupted when characters broke into song. The relationships between most of the main characters felt rushed. This particular production is still a fun one and the Civic Theatre handles the show well. It’s a good fit for a girls' night out or a family outing as it’s kid-friendly. 
Don't Miss the Show:

Performances: The show runs until Sept. 26. Performances begin at 7 p.m. Thursday 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 $20 to $40 and can be purchased by calling (317) 843-3800 or visiting 
Up next is “The Game’s Afoot” in October.  

 Photos courtesy of the Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre

September 1, 2015

Beef & Boards announces 2016 Season

Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre is thrilled to announce its 2016 season.

Run for Your Wife
It all kicks off Dec. 29 with the return of Run for Your Wife, the funniest show ever performed at Beef & Boards. In this uncanny comedy, a cab driver manages to maintain two marriages – keeping each wife a secret from the other – until one mishap leads to an unraveling of his precise schedule. His double life is in danger of being revealed as complications and hilarious situations pile up faster than he can handle them. This fast-paced farce is on stage through Feb. 7 and is rated PG-13 for adult humor.

Sister Act
Opening Feb. 11 is the first of two new shows in 2016, Sister Act. Based on the hit movie starring Whoopi Goldberg, this musical follows disco diva Deloris Van Cartier who witnesses a murder and is put in protective custody – in a convent! Disguised as a nun, Deloris breathes new life into the church with her disco moves and singing talent, but blows her cover in the process. Nominated for five Tony Awards and on stage through March 26, this show is rated PG.

Guys and Dolls
A sure bet for fun, Guys and Dolls opens March 31. Set in New York City, this odds-on favorite follows gambler Nathan Detroit, who is trying to set up the biggest craps game in town while dodging the authorities and his girlfriend of 14 years, nightclub performer Adelaide, who wants to get married. Nathan turns to fellow gambler Sky Masterson for the dough, but Sky ends up chasing the straight-laced missionary Sarah Brown. This five-time Tony Award winner features the songs “Luck be a Lady,” “Guys and Dolls” and “Sit Down You’re Rockin’ the Boat.” On stage through May 15, Guys and Dolls is rated PG.

Beauty and the Beast
Disney’s magical musical Beauty and the Beast opens May 19 as the 2016 Family Show at Beef & Boards. Belle yearns for more than her simple life in a provincial town. When her father disappears, Belle bargains with the Beast who imprisoned him and takes his place in the Beast’s enchanted castle. As she spends more time with the Beast, Belle discovers his life without love is the greatest prison of all. Will their love bloom before it’s too late in this tale as old as time? With $10 discounts for all children ages 3-15, Beauty and the Beast is on stage through July 10 and is rated G.

Church Basement Ladies
Then cool off in the basement during the summer as the Church Basement Ladies returns on July 14. This is the show that got this laugh-a-minute series started! Set in Minnesota in 1965, the times are changing quickly for the Lutheran ladies who keep things cooking at their church. With heaping helpings of laughs, this show is equal parts silly and sweet. On stage through Aug. 21, Church Basement Ladies is rated PG.

Menopause the Musical
Ladies who love life and learn to laugh at the changes it brings are celebrated in the musical parody Menopause the Musical, opening Aug. 25. Changing perspectives about the “silent passage,” this lighthearted show is staged to classic tunes from the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s. Four women from different walks of life meet in a department store and find they have much more in common than they would have thought. This hilarious celebration of women and “the change” is on stage through Oct. 2 and is rated PG-13 for adult humor.

Into the Woods
Fall takes audiences Into the Woods starting Oct. 6 for the Beef & Boards debut of the Stephen Sondheim musical. Classic fairy tales all converge in the woods, including a baker and his wife who wish to have a child, Cinderella who wishes to attend the King’s Festival, and Jack who wishes his cow would give milk. Their wishes may come true – but happily ever after comes at a price. This Tony Award winner was made famous by the recent Disney film and is on stage through Nov. 20. Into the Woods is rated PG-13.

A Beef & Boards Christmas
The holiday season is celebrated with the theatre’s original production, A Beef & Boards Christmas, opening Nov. 25 and featuring beautiful costumes, heartwarming songs, dazzling dancing and even Santa himself. A tradition at Beef &Boards for more than 20 years, and perfect for the entire family, this seasonal celebration is on stage through Dec. 23.

A Christmas Carol
Also returning in 2016 is Beef & Boards’ one-hour adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol, on stage for select performances Dec. 5 through 19. Enhanced with holiday carols, this iconic tale of miserly Ebenezer Scrooge who is given a second chance is the ideal way to enjoy the holidays.