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Showing posts from March, 2018

And Then There Were None

When the play you’re about to see is a murder mystery called “And Then There Were None”, you know there will be a body count. The deliciously dark Agatha Christie novel comes to life on the stage in the Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre‘s current production. Unlike most of its shows, this one is held in the smaller, more intimate Studio Theater, a great fit for the chilly drama.
Ten strangers find themselves trapped on an English island with a killer in their midst. They soon realize not all is as it seems when they are all accused of committing various murders. The three-act play has one 15 minute intermission and then a short pause after the second act. The pace clips along briskly as the story unfolds. Charles Goad had quite the challenge as the director. He has to show murders, both onstage and off, without revealing the killer. It’s a game of sleight-of-hand and he manages it beautifully. The audience is pulled into the guessing game as the bodies piled up. I frequently heard murmurs…

IRT 2018/19 Season Announcement

The Indiana Repertory Theatre is thrilled to announce the 2018/19 season. Season tickets are now on sale. IRT Executive Artistic Director Janet Allen and Managing Director Suzanne Sweeney are presenting another season packed with great plays. They cover everything from classics to a show straight off of Broadway. This year's selections deal with incredibly relevant issues like public education, mental illness, and women's rights. Subscriptions include all except A Christmas Carol, Elephant and Piggie and The Diary of Anne Frank. 
Holmes and Watson by Jeffrey Hatcher September 25 – October 21, 2018 - Chilling mystery Summoned to a remote asylum on a rocky island, Dr. Watson investigates three inmates who all claim to be the late master sleuth Sherlock Holmes. This eerie new puzzler by award-winning playwright Jeffrey Hatcher will stir your blood and tease your mind.
Pipeline by Dominique Morisseau October 16 – November 11, 2018 - Searing drama Nya’s son, Omari, is tormented with rage a…

ATCA Cincinnati Conference

Earlier this month I had the pleasure of attending a regional conference in Cincinnati for the American Theatre Critics Association. It was a chance to explore the theatre scene in a new city and get to know a few of my fellow critics from around the country. 

During the three-day event attendees were able to see four plays at different locations, tour two new (or newly renovated) theatres, attend two panel discussions (one on Shakespeare and another on ethics), and enjoy learning more about the city itself. The plays included Be Here Now, a modern day world premier the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. I was also able to see Othello at the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company and Red Velvet at the Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati. The two productions were a coordinated effort. One featured the original Shakespeare drama, Othello, and the other is a play about the first African American actor to ever tackle the role in 1833. Seeing them in conjunction gave an added depth to both. 
I was blown away…

Appoggiatura

Music and plot are so closely intertwined in Appoggiatura, that you can't mention one without the other. Even the title reflects this, it means: a grace note performed before a note of the melody and falling on the beat. The play, part of a trilogy written by playwright-in-residence James Still, follows three travelers on a sojourn through lovely Venice. On their journey they wander the canals finding pieces of their hearts as they go. The city feels like one of the main characters in the story. As one actor notes, "Venice is as old and broken as the rest of us.".

Like most of Still's work, the show is not driven by plot, but instead it focuses on the characters' interaction and self-discovery. There's Helen (Susan Pellegrino) whose forced optimism hides the tender memories of her own honeymoon in Venice. Helen's granddaughter Sylvie (Andrea San Miguel), for whom the confusing maze of Venice reflects her current feelings about life and love.…

Les Misérables

Les Misérables is in town at the Old National Centre this week. The Broadway Across America production features a huge cast and sets that are startlingly beautiful. The classic score contains so many familiar songs and it never disappoints. It tells the story of a prisoner who breaks his parole and spends years being hunted by a policeman obsessed with justice. It’s a tale of redemption, grace, second chances and falling in love. There’s a reason this show has had no problem finding audiences for more than 30 years.

Every time I see it a different song shines for me. This time it was “Bring Him Home”, the barricade ballad in the second act. Nick Cartell as Jean Valjean hits his stride and shows his range in the number and the result gives you chills. The beautiful number provides a moment of stillness in the midst of chaos. Through the decades, each new Les Mis cast has brought a slightly different interpretation to their characters. This current iteration features a younger Valjean t…

Fairfield Preview

It’s fitting that the last main stage play at the current Phoenix Theatre was the Pulitzer-Prize-winning “Sweat”. It was full of gritty dialogue, realistic portrayals of regular life, a diverse cast, and had an ending that left you reeling long after the final bow. The show closed this past weekend but as the Phoenix wraps up its time at the old church theater and prepares for its move to its new home on Illinois, you have one more chance to see a play in a building that has held 30 years of great performances. 
“Fairfield” opens this weekend on the intimate Basile stage. A grade school is thrown into chaos when a young white teacher decides use role playing to celebrate Black history month with her first grade class. Emotions run high and prejudices are revealed as the parents and superintendent get involved. The script is full of dark humor and is reminiscent of “Gods of Carnage”. The play’s conversations are all too familiar, but they’re approached in a way that uses humor to demons…

Broadway Across America Announces 2018/19 Season

Broadway Across America is thrilled to announce its 2018/19 Indianapolis season. 

Disney’s The Lion King
September 12-29, 2018 – Old National Centre
Winner of six Tony Awards®, including Best Musical, The Lion King brings together one of the most imaginative creative teams on Broadway. Tony Award®-winning director Julie Taymor brings to life a story filled with hope and adventure set against an amazing backdrop of stunning visuals. It also features the extraordinary work of Tony Award®-winning choreographer Garth Fagan and some of Broadway’s most recognizable music, crafted by Tony Award®-winning artists Elton John and Tim Rice. 

Dr Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical

November 27-December 2, 2018 – Old National Centre 
Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical is the record-setting Broadway holiday sensation which features the hit songs “You’re A Mean One Mr. Grinch” and “Welcome Christmas” from the original animated special. Max the Dog narrates as the mean …