Mailbox Monday – Theatre Calendars?

Last Monday I attempted to share with you ALL of the theatre-related (with “theatre” defined very broadly) items in my various message boxes.  However, even with two long, unwieldy attempts in one day, I still left out several items.

So…I’m going back to just mentioning one or two items per week. I will, however, still read every press release and every bit of theatre-related gossip, news, questions, or opinion that people send me, so if you have something you want to me to consider for a “Mailbox Monday” post, please email it to me by midnight Sunday night.  My email address is amarylliswriter at gmail dot com.

I am quietly on Facebook and Twitter pretty much every day, too, and I check my US mailbox every day, and I put my green light on when I’m available to chat via gmail, but email is still my preferred method of receiving theatre-related news.

Humorist Erik Deckers said, when he first met me at a gathering of Indy bloggers, that he wished there was an online arts calendar for the Indianapolis area.  I think he was hoping I would say I would start one.  I politely changed the subject because for me, that would be the Joyless, Thankless, Job from Hell.  Someone would have to pay me big bucks to take that on, and even then I would think twice.  Pinning down and double-checking the five W’s for each of my blog posts is tedium enough for me.  The satisfaction for me – what makes it worth maintaining this blog as a labor of love – comes in reading and writing about the shows themselves.

However, I do sympathize with his wish and I know he is not the only one.  Just this week, a friend from out of town asked if I had an easy access Internet site for all of the productions in the metro Indy market.   He said, “I could better pick and choose for future shows (to see when I come to town.)”

As far as I know, there is no website that reliably lists all live theatre and theatre-related events in the Indianapolis area.   The ones that come close include the following:

IndianaAuditions.com covers a lot with the “Shows: What’s On Stage” area of its home page and it is definitely the most reliable for community theatre information.  However, you only get to see the upcoming weekend.  Also, the information on IA’s “What’s On Stage” area is maintained by a volunteer who does not have time to track down missing information, and the theatres often only submit the name of the show and a link to their website.  This is frustrating when you don’t have much time to wait for more sites to load.

(Don’t get me started on community theatre websites that make you go through five or six more web pages just to find the telephone number for making a reservation!)

Also, theatres at both the most professional end of the spectrum and the most fly-by-night end of the spectrum do not submit their info to IA’s “What’s On Stage,” so you will still miss some important shows if you rely only on IA.  For example, when I checked this morning, there was nothing on IA’s home page about “Mauritius” which opens at the Phoenix Theatre this week, or about “The Ladies Man,” which opens at the Indiana Repertory Theatre this week, or about “Dog Saw God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead,” which opens at Theatre on the Square this week.

IndyArts.org is the website of the Arts Council of Indianapolis.  It has a more easily-searchable and longer-range calendar than IA’s but it seems to miss a lot of community theatre events.  This is too bad, because there is a lot of good work being done in community theatres around town.  I am not allowed to blog about most of it because I am an Encore judge, but I can tell you that I am looking forward to seeing and writing about “West Side Story” soon after it opens at the Indianapolis Civic Theatre  on March 13.  When I checked this morning, there was nothing about that show on IndyArts.org.

AroundIndy.com probably does the best job of listing live theatre events from both professional and volunteer companies, but even here there are important gaps.  For example, this morning when I clicked on “Live Theatre” under the “Quick Links” area of the AroundIndy.com home page, I saw nothing about the Phoenix Theatre. 

I also saw nothing about Storytelling Arts of Indiana’s presentation of beloved storyteller Donald Davis on Saturday, March 14 at the Indiana State Museum (NOT the Indiana History Center this time!)   Nor did I see anything about comedy shows, which have become a new guilty pleasure of mine.

And I have no idea what to suggest for a consistently reliable source of information about local college and university shows, which can also be worth seeing.  I hear about most of them through word of mouth or sometimes through Lou Harry’s Thursday IBJ email.  (Sign up for it here, if you want.) In it, he talks about which arts events he thinks look most promising for the upcoming weekend.  

I also sometimes learn about shows that I hear about nowhere else in with a bunch of other stuff in an email from Nuvo.

I keep tabs on Indy’s performance magic scene via a weekly email from magician Taylor Martin.  He hosts a monthly magic show at Theatre on the Square.  It features his own work but also the work of several local and visiting magicians.  Sign up for the email at IndyMonthlyMagic.com.

I bet the theatres wish there was one site that was was the “go-to” place for live theatre listings in the Indianapolis area, too.  Does anyone have any other suggestions?

****************** 

This weekend, after I taught my storytelling class at IUPUI for the School of Library and Information Science on Saturday morning, I swung by Theatre on the Square for almost three hours of the annual Laff-a-Thon run by IndyProv and ComedySportz.  I laughed SO HARD! 

I enjoyed all of the comedians’ work, but I especially loved finally getting a chance to see ComedySportz leader Ed Trout in action – he is a master! – and being introduced to intuitive newcomer(?) John Colby’s work.  I agree with my friend who saw “Jay-co” later in the laff-a-thon and wrote me afterwards that J-co is “really good… (He) reads the audience and other performers well.”

Do you supposed that’s why J-co (Jay-co?) showed his knees so much during the hour I saw him?  Because he could tell I thought they were cute?

On Saturday night, I went to see “The Typographer’s Dream,” which I had mentioned in the past two Mailbox Monday posts, but I found all of the actors still in their street clothes and huddled in the box office.  The producer told me that since only I and one of the actors’ parents had shown up to see the show, they were cancelling that night’s performance. 

Now, normally I would have said, “Well, I am here, and I turned down comps to five other shows in order to see yours, and because you did not contact me earlier today, it is now too late for me to get to any of those other shows…so get your butts in gear, gang, because your show must go on.”

But I was exhausted from burning the candle at both ends, and the thought of just turning around and going home was unusually appealing to me.  So that is what I did.

On Sunday I judged an Encore show and then drove to Trinity Episcopal Church to hear the Indiana Repertory Theatre’s managing director, Steven Stolen, sing.  It was a blissfully energizing experience – a real treat, and exactly what my heart, mind, and soul needed.  I hadn’t planned on blogging about it, but after only the first song, I knew I wanted to record some thoughts about it here.  So…watch for a review of “All About the B’s” as presented by the Meridian Song Project soon.

 And in the meantime, have a great week!

 Hope Baugh – www.IndyTheatreHabit.com

6 thoughts on “Mailbox Monday – Theatre Calendars?”

  1. Hi Hope, thanks for the love. Believe it or not, the best arts calendar I’ve found so far is Nuvo’s. While it’s not complete, it seems to be one of the better ones around. Indy.com’s is okay, but it’s powered by MetroMix, which is a national service out of Chicago, so I’m a little suspicious of their quality. A couple people at Indy.com assure me that they’re pretty good, and I need to check them a little more thoroughly against Nuvo, but those are the two I usually use.

  2. Hi, Hope!

    I first connected to your blog through Smaller Indiana and have since visited it several times to get the latest scoop on Indy Theatre.

    I work for the Indiana Arts Commission and we do have an arts calendar on our website that represents the entire state. However, we don’t administer it at all; organizations, theatre groups, artists, etc. are in charge of creating their own username and password and entering their events themeselves. We welcome and encourage all genres of art to utilize this tool (including theatre), however, the representation for theatre -and Indianapolis events in general- on our calendar is slim. My guess is they’re all too busy trying to keep up with the different event calendars around the state, as well!

    While this doesn’t really answer your request, I thought I would put it out there.

    http://www.indianaarts.org/dci/event/results.asp?mode=NewSearch&Site=IAC

  3. Thanks, Erik, and thanks, Laura, for your comments! I really appreciate your taking the time to write them.

    Laura, I’m sorry you had to wait for me to approve yours by hand. It was because of the long link, but I’m glad you shared it!

  4. There are A LOT of calendars out there for the arts. Unfortunately, you have to submit your events to each one individually. Some you can do easily through email, others take a more specific form on the web site. It is a very time consuming process. Which would make sense as to why you won’t find all events, most either don’t have the time to do it, or don’t even know all the options.

    Indy.com and Nuvos are probably better, because they will pull the info from any event announcement they get, such as a press release or email blast. Saving you the step of sending to the calendar.

    It would be nice if there was one calendar everyone could pull from. Rather than each organization taking the time to run their own. Save time and resources on both ends!

  5. Hey lady! Sorry I missed you a Laff-a-thon. I played for three hours too, late that night. Whew! Lots of improv.

    Anyway, just lettin’ you know: J-Co (as he is often called) is a “back-in-town” case. He’s been with CSz for years and years, then moved to Chicago for a bit to study with Second City up there and play with the CSz-Chicago team. We are very glad (and lucky) to have him back. He’s got mad skillz.

    That’s all. Thought you’d be interested. Take care!

    -Claire

  6. Thanks, Justin! And thanks, Claire! I do appreciate the info. Claire, I’m sorry I missed you at Laff-a-thon! I hope to get back to see your late-night Three Dollar Bill comedy show one of these Friday nights…

Leave a Reply