Mailbox Monday: New Shows, a Rally, and More

Pepper LaPaglia and Ron Rose in Victorian Vaudeville.  Photo by Ryan Wing.

Good morning! I have received several bits of Indianapolis theatre and storytelling news this past week that I would like to share with you in this week’s Mailbox Monday post:


Donna Wing remembered how much I had enjoyed the salon-style presentation of “Cold Blooded” at the President Benjamin Harrison Home last October.  She sent me the photo you see above and the following information about the spring “Victorian Vaudeville Variety Show,” which opens this weekend:

It’s ridiculous…it’s fun…it’s different…and it’s musical. These are some of the descriptions for the Victorian Theatre by Candlelight spring 2009 production of “The Victorian Vaudeville Variety Show”. Patrons who are familiar with VTBC are used to experiencing three one-act plays performed in three different rooms of the President Benjamin Harrison Home mansion. This year each room holds a different combination of performances, a different surprise.

The dining room stages “Arabian Nights” by David Ives, a story of developing romance helped along by a somewhat obnoxious interpreter. Also in the dining room is “The Six Great Immortals,” a monologue delivered to the Monday Afternoon Browning and Croquet Literary Society.

“Box and Cox,” a classic British farce by John M. Morton, will be performed in the master bedroom. Created in the 1860’s, Box and Cox were a Victorian comedy team similar to Abbot and Costello. This play is the original episode in which both gentlemen meet in their boarding house and learn that they have more in common than they would like.

More fun awaits the audience in the back parlor. In “He, She and It” by William Muskerry, a newlywed man finds himself in serious trouble for forgetting his first wedding anniversary, and the “Anatomical Tragedian” invites audience participation in a very bizarre acting method.

Interspersed throughout the evening is live period music performed by a ragtime piano player and a singing match girl.

Performances are 8 p.m. on April 17-18, April 24-25, May 1-2 and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 3. Tickets are $18 per person; $15 for seniors and members. Call 631-1888 for reservations.

Victorian Theatre by Candlelight is performed in the President Benjamin Harrison Home at 1230 North Delaware.

This spring show sounds as if it will be as fun as the fall show!


Rebecca Berfanger sent me the following link to a two-minute video preview of the Spotlight show to benefit the Indiana AIDS Fund, coming up next Monday night, April 20, 2009, at Clowes Hall on the Butler University campus:

Spotlight 2009 preview on YouTube

More information is available at

This will be my first year to attend this annual event.  I am looking forward to it!


MANY people sent me information about the Indy Culture Matters rally coming up at mid-day next Monday, April 20, 2009.  One organization asked if I would like to go in with them on ordering special t-shirts.  I’m not a big t-shirt wearer, but I will definitely be at the rally.

Here are the 5W’s about the rally:

Central Indiana Cultural Organizations to Rally

 on Monument Circle in Downtown Indianapolis

 April 20 event, dubbed “Indy Culture Matters,” aims to increase awareness
 of the importance of the arts to the local economy and to the city’s reputation

 WHO: Cultural destination employees, boards, supporters, and others who believe that Indy Culture Matters

 WHAT: A rally to draw attention to the contributions of local cultural institutions and to demonstrate that these organizations have a significant impact on Central Indiana’s economy and reputation

WHERE: Monument Circle, downtown Indianapolis

WHEN: April 20, 12 p.m. to 12:30 p.m. Pre-rally performance by Cathy Morris at 11:30 a.m.

 WHY: Central Indiana’s cultural institutions have been sidelined in this city’s success for too long. It’s time to make some noise.

 “The purpose of the Indy Culture Matters Rally is to share with our fellow Hoosiers in a very tangible way, the impact of arts and culture on our everyday lives on a personal, emotional and economic level,” said Glen Kwok, ICAA President and Executive Director of the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis.  “Most importantly, we want the community to understand that in addition to playing a role as a vital industry in central Indiana’s economy, these cultural destinations and arts organizations reach people from all income levels, age groups and cultures whether through direct or indirect participation.”

Statistics provided by the Arts Council of Indianapolis:

  •  The arts generate $468 million in economic activity each year in the city of Indianapolis
  • The arts add nearly $52 million in local and state government revenue annually
  • The arts support more than 15,000 local jobs
  • Cultural organizations in central Indiana host more than 7 million visits to diverse performances, exhibitions and programs

 For more information, including up-to-date information and statistics about how cultural organizations contribute to the economy and quality of life of Indianapolis and its surrounding region, visit

 About the ICAA

The Indianapolis Consortium of Arts Administrators (ICAA) consists of 38 CEOs of Central Indiana’s largest arts and cultural organizations.

I hope to see you at the rally, too!


I was delighted to learn from storyteller Mary Hamilton’s husband via Facebook that Mary is the 2009 recipient of the National Storytelling Network’s Circle of Excellence Award.  She deserves it!  She is, indeed, an excellent storyteller and an excellent mentor. 

Mary is a role model for me in many, many ways.  For example, every time I hear her tell, or listen to her recording of, her version of “The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship,” and answer the invitations for self-reflection that are embedded in it, I learn something new and am re-inspired.  Mary has been a featured teller here at the Hoosier Storytelling Festival as well as at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesboro, Tennessee and at the Corn Island Storytelling Festival in her home state of Kentucky.  Mary and her business partner, Cynthia Changeris, run WOW weekends in southern Indiana for storytellers from around the country to “Work on Our Work” together via their production company, Scheherezade’s Legacy.  I was at the first of these weekends and have attended and benefitted from several others since.   Mary and Cynthia’s company also hosted the first three “Going Deep: Long Traditional Stories Retreats.”  I wrote about the most recent retreat in a series of four posts that begins here.

These examples are just a drop in the bucket of Mary’s positive influences on my own life and career as a storyteller, and her contributions to the rest of the storytelling community and to audiences around the country.  I am very pleased to know that Mary’s hard work and creativity is being recognized by the Circle of Excellence Award.


Ron Spencer from Theatre on the Square told me on Saturday that the whole run of Juli Inskeep’s new one-woman comedy about body image, “Does This Show Make My Butt Look Fat?” is already more than half sold.  I am looking forward to seeing it next weekend.  If you have been thinking of going, you should probably make your reservations soon!  Call the theatre at 317-685-TOTS or visit the website:


I saw three other new shows this past weekend and will share more detailed, individual reviews soon.  I bet all three of them will be selling out, too, although for different reasons, so here is my quickie guide to them:

“References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot,” written by Jose Rivera and directed by Bryan Fonseca at the Phoenix Theatre:  Sexy and odd, like a dream.  I will never look at the moon – or war – in the same way again.  Go see this if you are in the mood for something intriguing.

“Crowns,” written by Regina Taylor and directed and choreographed by Patdro Harris at the Indiana Repertory Theatre:  Exuberant!  With gorgeous hats, gorgeous shoes, gorgeous voices.  Go see this if you are in the mood for something uplifting.

“Treasure Island,” written by Marc Robins (also the director) and Curt Dale Clark (also an actor in the show) at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre:  A rousing coming-of-age story that exactly captured my own youthful longing for adventure.  Good songs, exciting battles.  Go see this if you are in the mood for something thrilling.


I have not received any new theatre season announcements in my email box yet but I did receive one from the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.  The ISO’s press release is rather long, and anyway, I like having separate posts for the “Season Previews” category on my blog, so I have already given the ISO its own post here.  The ISO’s 2009-2010 season looks very exciting!

I think that’s all I’ve got this week. ‘See you at the theatres!

Hope Baugh –

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