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Wild Horses

A one-woman show starring two of Indy’s finest leading ladies, Wild Horses is a fascinating concept with a big payoff. Constance Macy and  Jen Johansen rotate nights for their performances in the coming-of-age story. T he one-act play flies by because it feels like chatting with an old friend who’s regaling you with stories from her past. From first crushes to alcohol concoctions only the underaged would dare to drink, the show captures the electric, reckless feel of youth. The night I attended, Johansen was in the driver's seat and she  kept up the break-neck pace for the entire 80-minute show. Solo shows rest entirely on the shoulders of the actor and  Johansen was perfect for the role. She imbued each scene with humor and heartbreak. She was full of energy and captured the emotional peaks and valleys of adolescence.   She skips easily between half a dozen impressions and voices as she tells the story of the summer when she was 13 and the world was both full of excitement and cru
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Heroes of the Fourth Turning

  Empathy is often in short supply when it comes to how we feel about people on the opposite side of the political divide. Heroes of the Fourth Turning, a Pulitzer-prize finalist, explores that tricky topic in an intense and memorable way. The show is perfectly in line with American Lives Theatre’s mission to provide provocative and entertaining plays to Indy. With a cast of five people, director Andrew Kramer tackles a difficult premise. Former students and friends from a Catholic college in Wyoming reunite to celebrate an old professor. Late at night the talk turns to politics and even though it’s a very conservative group, emotions run hot as the lines that divide them become evident. I loved how each new pairing offered a unique point of view. Individuals popped in and out of the house allowing for conversations to shift and new tensions to appear as they challenged each other’s beliefs. The set, designed by Daniel McCullough, is incredible. The IndyFringe’s normal layout is toss

Clue

  Clue, the classic whodunit farce, kicks off Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre's 50th anniversary season. The mystery show takes the famous board game and film and turns it into a play. Each character is given a weapon and a motive and the murders begin. Eddie Curry directs the fast-paced production and keeps the actors as close to their movie counterparts as possible.  The cast reads like a who’s who of Beef and Boards' favorites including Suzanne Stark, John Vessels, Deb Wims, David Schmittou, Jeff Stockberger, and Sally Scharbrough. Audiences might also recognize a subdued Ben Asaykwee in a very different role than many of his other productions. Scot Greenwell particularly shines as the timid Mr. Green. For each cast member, the role plays to their individual strengths. Schmittou's impressive monologue explaining each of the crimes at the end is an absolute highlight.  The set is incredibly simple, a turntable with half a dozen doors perfect for slamming and a few screens

Beef & Boards Announces 50th Anniversary Season

2023 marks a golden milestone for Beef & Boards – 50 years of keeping audiences well-fed and exceptionally entertained, and keeping them coming back for more. It’s a celebration that includes three new shows to the Beef & Boards stage, fan and family favorites, and a return of the most successful show ever presented at the theatre. It all begins on Dec. 28, 2022 with the play based on the beloved Hasbro board game of the same name. Clue is a hilarious farce-meets-murder mystery in which six mysterious guests arrive at a remote mansion for an unusual dinner party, where murder and blackmail are on the menu. Led by Wadsworth, the butler, all of the usual suspects are on hand, including Miss Scarlett, Professor Plum, Mrs. White, Mr. Green, Mrs. Peacock, and Colonel Mustard. This comedy whodunit is rated PG and is on stage through Feb. 5, 2023. Then it’s time to cut loose for the first musical of the 2023 Season: Footloose . The explosive movie musical bursts onto the stage featuri

Aladdin

  Broadway Across America does big musicals well. Obviously, the trend of movie-to-musical has touched every genre, but Disney musicals tend to translate well in that medium. Aladdin is no exception. Everything is big, bright, sparkling, and bursting with color. The special effects don’t disappoint. There are lightning-fast costume changes and spectacular sets. The Cave of Wonders is particularly impressive.   The show feels different through the eyes of a child. Critics might feel overwhelmed by the hugeness of the cast, set, and costumes, but for kids it's magical. A favorite movie comes to life in front of them and the production nails that. The magic carpet ride alone is worth the price of admission for the look of sheer joy on your kiddo’s face. The musical has learned from some of its Disney predecessors. In The Little Mermaid, the annoying sidekicks didn’t translate well to the stage and in Aladdin, those characters are wisely eschewed. Instead of a querulous monkey, the

Tick, Tick…BOOM!

  Tick, Tick...BOOM! is the incredibly personal musical from Jonathan Larson, the creator of RENT. This 90-minute musical tells the story of Jon (Patrick Dinnsen) as he approaches his 30th birthday. He’s wondering if a career in the arts is a lost cause. The show is all the more profound because of his real-life untimely death just before his 36th birthday. There are just three actors plus a live band on the stage's second level. The musicians' excellent performances sometimes overwhelm the vocals, but it gives it a great rock ‘n’ roll feel. Some of the quiet songs hit deeper because of the clarity of each carefully crafted lyric, brimming with angst and ambition. Emily Ristine Holloway‘s direction keeps things moving with a revolving door of characters played by the talented three actors. She lovingly choreographs the show so there is rollicking fun that slides easily into poignant numbers. The set, designed by Zac Hunter, is gritty and perfectly NYC in the '90s. There’s a

King John

One of the highlights of this year‘s Bard Fest is the rarely-produced King John. There are whispers of other Shakespeare plays echoing in the heartbreaking history All the classics are there but presented in a show that’s often overlooked. There are warring families, devious brothers, and vindictive paranoid monarchs, all grasping at power with greedy fingers.    The show is produced in a new space for the festival. The Shelton Auditorium is breathtaking in its layout. Doug Powers’ direction takes advantage of the incredible facility to stretch the action up the stairs to create the fiction of a fortified city. The battles often happen off stage which keeps the snarky banter front and center. It is a verbally dense play rich with prose. Georgeanna Smith Wade is a revelation as Duchess Constance. Like so many of the other actors, she plays multiple characters, but it’s her turn as a grieving mother that is worth the price of admission. Unfortunately, her character disappears in th