Indianapolis Theatre News: Mailbox Monday

Storyteller and Folk Singer John McCutcheon - photo courtesy of Storytelling Arts of Indiana

My “Mailbox Monday” post is on Tuesday this week because yesterday I was at the Indy Culture Matters rally at noon and the Spotlight gala in the evening.  (Check back for more about Spotlight in a future post.  It was a wonderful event!)

In between I was stressing over the fact that I haven’t written reviews of the IRT’s production of “Crowns” or Beef and Boards’ production of “Treasure Island.”  I loved both shows.  I’m not sure what my problem is.  Please don’t give up on me, though.  I’m sure I will be able to write about them both soon. 

In the meantime, you probably already saw that the reviewers at Nuvo gave both shows five out of five stars, and here is a fun, photo-filled review of “Treasure Island” by a Chicago reviewer who made the trek south.  (Thanks, Patricia Rettig, for sharing it with me!)

More importantly, why not check out both shows for yourself?  They are both treats.

Speaking of treats, my email box this week holds several enticing press releases from theatre and storytelling people:

***  Ellen Munds of Storytelling Arts of Indiana sent me the photo you see above plus information about John McCutcheon’s storytelling concert this Saturday, April 25, 2009 at 7:30 pm at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church.  I’ve never heard John tell, but I have friends who rave about him.  Please see full press release at the bottom of this blog post for more info.

***  Tony Longoria from Theatre on the Square tells me that “Does This Show Make My Butt Look Fat?” starring Juli Inskeep has been extended!  Call the theatre at 317-685-TOTS for the exact dates and times.  When I saw this show last Saturday night with a group of women friends, stage manager Thom Turner said in his curtain talk that the show is SOLD OUT through May 2!  Congratulations, Juli, director Donald Barnes, and TOTS!

***  Kelly Long sent me a press release about “Rabbit Hole.” It opens at the Indiana Repertory Theatre this week.  I have been looking forward to seeing the IRT’s production of this moving piece ever since I saw the Curious Theatre Company’s production of it in Denver in January.  Here is a description of the show from Kelly’s press release:

Actress Priscilla Lindsay and IRT’s playwright-in-residence James Still take a seat in the director’s chair as they pair up to bring audiences the Pulitzer Prize-winning production, Rabbit Hole. In this gracefully observed contemporary drama, an affluent family deals with the accidental death of their 4-year-old son. Parents, grandmother and aunt – each deal with their grief differently, attempt to hold onto their memories and their relationships while learning to move on with their lives. Audiences will be taken through the emotions of grief laced with wit, insightfulness and compassion and honesty.

*** Ulrike Steinert from the Indianapolis Civic Theatre alerted me to the fact that Civic’s final show of this season, “Twentieth Century,” opens Friday, May 1, 2009.  Here is a description of the show from her press release:

All aboard the fast track to hilarity in the latest blast by Ken Ludwig, author of Lend Me a Tenor, Moon Over Buffalo and Leading Ladies. This hilarious adaptation of the 1932 screwball comedy is a riot on rails. Bankrupt, with is career on a downslide, egomaniacal Broadway director Oscar Jaffe boards the legendary Twentieth Century Limited and encounters his former discovery and ex-chorus girl Lily Garland, now a temperamental Hollywood star, on the train from Chicago to New York. He’ll do anything to get her back under contract and back in his bed, but his former protégé will have nothing to do with him. Aided by his pushy manager Ida, his press secretary Owen and a whacky religious fanatic willing to bankroll his comeback project, Oscar pulls out all the stops in persuading her to return to Broadway in his upcoming show.  If he fails, it’s the end of the line. “A thrilling funhouse ride.” – The New Yorker

***  Sharon Gamble sent me a press release that contains an audio snippet from the show that opens at the Phoenix Theatre on May 7, 2009.  Besides impressing me with its cleverness and the fact that I could play it without having to download a bunch of extra software, the audio snippet made me laugh out loud because it is about racing and includes the phrase “Show us your tits!”  I’m sorry I don’t know how to include it here on my blog for you to hear.  Anyway, here is the short version of the press release:

Indianapolis – The Phoenix Theatre of Indianapolis will produce the world premiere of Jack O’Hara and Tim Brickley’s The Zippers of Zoomerville, or 200 Laps and a Lass: a mini-mockeretta in the Frank & Katrina Basile Theatre at the Phoenix May 7 through June 6, 2009. The book and lyrics are by Jack O’Hara, and the music is by Jack O’Hara and Tim Brickley. Jack O’Hara is a Nashville (IN) based writer, musician, comedian, actor, and director. In The Zippers of Zoomerville he has written a gentle send-up of all things Indy 500 — but also a gentle send-up of all things Gilbert & Sullivan.

ALL of the above shows sound like they will be worth seeing, don’t they?

***  I was also touched and delighted to receive a personal email from Ashley Bontrager of TrendyMinds telling me that the Indianapolis Art Center will present the 40th Broad Ripple Art Fair on May 16-17, 2009.  Ashley says “The event will feature 225 artists from all over the country along with four entertainment stages and two food courts.” 

It’s been a few years since I last attended the Broad Ripple Art Fair, but I remember it being lots of fun.  I hope I can squeeze in a visit this year.  Thanks for the heads-up, Ashley!

***  Milicent Wright from the Indiana Repertory Theatre sent me information about a Monologue Workshop for non-union actors and students in high school or above.  The workshop will take place on Tuesday, April 28, 2009 from 6:00-9:00 pm.  Enrollment is limited to 25 people and costs only $25 ($20 with student ID.)  The workshop leaders are the IRT’s associate artistic director and head of casting, Priscilla Lindsay, and the IRT’s resident dramaturg, Richard Roberts. 

When I saw this I thought, “How cool is that!  I would LOVE to spend an intimate evening working with those two!  I bet this workshop would really help my storytelling, not to mention my theatre blogging!” 

The email said the workshop would cover:

  • Immediate feedback on your monologue with time to work on a few notes
  • The audition process from seeing the notice listed to your post-audition follow-up
  • What type of pieces you should have in your repertoire

But then I read the last line of the announcement:

* This will count as your general audition for the IRT for the 2009-2010 season!


After a few moments of daydreaming about what a great learning experience it would be to be cast in a professional theatre production, I realized that I would just be wasting the workshop leaders’ time if I were to take this workshop.  If I were to be cast in a show (and that is a huge, laughable assumption) I could not possibly add one more thing to my calendar of commitments.

Also, I already have another commitment on the evening of April 28.  Sigh…

However, if YOU are an actor interested in this opportunity, here is the rest of the info:

Bring: a picture and resumé and two copies of your monologue

Prepare: a one to two minute monologue, memorized and have a second contrasting monologue that you want to work up.

To register contact:  Milicent Wright, manager of outreach programs mwright at irtlive dot com or (317) 635-5277 ext. 4843.


  • Check made payable to: IRT or Indiana Repertory Theatre and mailed to


140 W. Washington St. 

Indianapolis, IN 46204-3465

  • Credit Card, call to make arrangements with Suzy Beinart, accounts payable specialist

***  I am grateful to receive frequent emails from the Indy Fringe, but they are in the form of colorful online newsletters rather than in the form of plain text press releases, so it is hard for me to quickly cut-and-paste info from them.  So…I’ll just say quickly that there is a lot going on in the Fringe building these next few days, including a Mass Ave fashion show on Thursday , the Kenyatta’ Dance Company and more on Fringe Friday, and…circus cats(!?!) appearing on May 2 and 3, 2009.  I urge you to consider signing up to receive the Fringe e-newsletter yourself.  Visit for more info.

***  And Tim Northcutt and Jessica Di Santo, bless their faithful, respectful souls, sent me a press release with the ISO’s Symphony on the Prairie season.  I will post that separately when I get a chance.  I think the information is interesting, and I like having new posts in my “Season Previews” blog category. 

So far, none of Indy’s theatres – professional or community – that have announced their 2009-2010 seasons elsewhere have taken the time to email the information to me, even when I have taken the time to ask for it directly.  This, I confess, hurts my feelings.  

But  it also makes me all the more determined to earn respect as a theatre blogger.   Grr. 

I’m not asking anyone to do extra work.  I’m saying that if a professional theatre person is already preparing a season announcement for the more mainstream media such as the Star, the IBJ, and Nuvo, why not pop my email address in the routing list, too?  If a community theatre person is already taking the time to type up new season information for, why not cut-and-paste that work into an email to me, too?  My email address is amarylliswriter at gmail dot com.

Maybe it’s like Plato said:  “You think YOU are busy?  Other people are even busier.”  Or something like that.   I sympathize.  But last month I had 5000 unique visitors to my blog, and over 100,000 hits.  I can’t figure out why any theatre person would NOT want to take a moment to share his or her theatre’s season preview announcement with me for inclusion on Indy Theatre Habit.

Can you?  What am I missing?

Anyway, thank you very much for reading. ‘See you at the theatres!

Hope Baugh –

PS – Here is the full press release I promised you about the John McCutcheon storytelling event this Saturday night:

Indianapolis – John McCutcheon, one of the great American folk artists of our time, will perform “Politics, Love and Other Small Miracles” on April 25, 2009, at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Indianapolis.  He has won acclaim as an award-winning folk singer, musician and political gadfly, and in this performance he will be showcasing his talent as a consummate storyteller.  His storytelling style has been compared to Will Rogers and Garrison Keillor.


John McCutcheon has been a national treasure since the release of his first album in 1974.  Since then, he has added some thirty more albums to his catalog, capturing the kaleidoscope of American heritage through a rich library of original folk songs, as well children’s music and spoken-word recordings.  In addition, he has also published children’s books and songbook compilations.  As a storyteller, he has performed repeatedly at the National Storytelling Festival.  His work has earned him six Grammy nominations, and he has won multiple Parent’s Choice and American Library Association awards.


McCutcheon began his odyssey into the heart of American culture as a teenager, when he set out from college in Minnesota for a planned three-month independent study to learn from legendary folk musicians in Appalachia.  The education, independence and music have not stopped since.  From early strumming on a mail-order guitar to learning banjo from masters, he demonstrated versatility on a variety of instruments and is acknowledged as a premiere hammered dulcimer player.  Johnny Cash called him “the most impressive instrumentalist I’ve ever heard.”


One of McCutcheon’s gifts is to tackle topical subjects with wit and insight, through music, writing and the spoken word.  He is a keen observer of the human experience, connecting with audiences throughout the nation with what the Utne Reader has described as his “message about the amazing endurance of what’s best in American culture.”  As he put it himself, “This notion of telling stories of ordinary people who have done great things, and carrying those stories from one place to another, of telling people ‘this is where I’ve been, this are the stories I can bring you,’ is the heart of what I do.”


The celebrated talents of John McCutcheon will touch Indianapolis again with his performance of “Politics, Love and Other Small Miracles,” presented by Storytelling Arts of Indiana in collaboration with St. Luke’s United Methodist Church.  The performance will occur on Saturday, April 25, 2009, starting at 7:30 p.m. at St. Luke’s, 100 West 86th Street.  Tickets are $20 in advance, or $25 at the door.  To order tickets or for more information, please call (317) 232-1637 or visit

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