Mailbox and Vacation

"Relaxing" photo by Alessandro Valli

I will be on a blog vacation from now until July 19, 2009.  I hope you won’t forget about Indy Theatre Habit during that time.  More importantly, I hope you won’t forget about going to the theatre!  

There is a lot going on in terms of live storytelling and theatre in the Indianapolis area in the next couple of weeks.  Even if I weren’t taking a blog vacation, I would be wishing I could be three places at once.  Below are some items from my e-mailbox, in random order, to give you some ideas of what to see while I’m off.  If you feel like it, I hope you will leave a comment telling me about what I missed.


From Ellen Munds of Storytelling Arts of Indiana:

White River State Park Family Arts Series 2009

FUNtastic Classics featuring Bob Sander narrating “Corn in the Rock” at 6 p.m. and Bill Harley performing stories and songs at 7 p.m.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Enjoy an evening of storytelling at White River State Park! Grammy Award-winning artist, Bill Harley will be performing his stories and songs. As many of you know, Bill’s stories and songs are wise and witty, portraying contemporary American life with a slightly off-center beat. His performances are enjoyable for the whole family!

Prior to Bill’s performance, the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra will perform a FUNtastic Classic of “Corn in the Rock” narrated by Bob Sander. This Hispanic folktale is set to music played by brass and percussion instruments.

The Family Arts Series will feature free shows where the grass grows all summer long! Bring the whole family, your blankets and picnic baskets to the outdoor Celebration Amphitheater at White River State Park. An American Sign Language interpreter will also be at the show. Food and drinks will be available for purchase on site. For more information and additional dates for the FREE Family Arts Series, visit http://www.INwhiteriver.orgor call 317-233-2434. Rain location: George Washington Community School, 2215 W. Washington St, Indianapolis, IN 46222.

The Family Arts Series is made possible by the Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation and the Lilly Endowment, Inc.”

I have enjoyed Bill Harley’s storytelling many times, most recently with Carrie Newcomer.


 “Sanders Family Christmas” opens this week at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre.  These are the same folksy, home-spun characters from “Smoke on the Mountain Homecoming” that I wrote to you about last summer

Patricia Rettig, B&B’s media relations person, told me that several performances of this musical Christmas-in-July show have already sold out, so whether you were thinking of treating yourself to this show because you already have all your Christmas presents bought and wrapped, or because you want something to get you in the mood for working on that Christmas craft project you’ve been planning, be sure to make a reservation soon.


Ashley Jackson reminded me that the Greenwood Shakespeare group’s production of “The Tempest” opens this Friday at the Greenwood Amphitheatre at 7pm.  It runs only the one weekend, with performances on Saturday and Sunday also at 7 pm.  Her email doesn’t say, but I believe this production is also free of charge, same as their production of “Love’s Labours Lost” earlier in the summer.


Actors’ Theatre of Indiana is extending its run of “Forbidden Broadway Greatest Hits, Vol. One.”  The extra performances are on Wednesdays and Thursdays only, and begin this week!  Here is an excerpt from ATI’s new newsletter:

“Location:  The Mansion at Oak Hill is located at the intersection of 116th Street & Hazel Dell Parkway in Carmel (5801 E. 116th Street, Carmel, IN 46033).

Performance Dates: The extended run of FORBIDDEN BROADWAY opens Wednesday July 8 and runs on Wednesdays and Thursdays through the end of August: Wed. 7/8, Wed. 7/15, Wed. 7/22, Thurs. 7/23, Wed. 7/29, Thurs. 7/30, Wed. 8/5, Thurs. 8/6, Wed. 8/12, Wed. 8/19, Wed. 8/26, Thurs. 8/27.
Hours: Doors open at 6:00 PM, dinner is at 6:30 PM & show begins at 7:30 PM.
Admission: $45 per person includes dinner with the show; $25 show only tickets with 2 drink minimum. Reservations are required. To purchase tickets, contact Jennifer A. Zehr at (317) 843-9850.”

ATI’s new newsletter was packed with interesting info about the three founders’ other creative projects.  Subscribe yourself via the ATI website.


You know that I find “drag” (where men re-invent themselves as women through their clothing, hair, makeup, and mannerisms and sometimes also sing, dance, and/or do stand-up comedy) one of the most fascinating forms of performance art. 

So I was doubly fascinated to learn that the Bloomington Playwrights Project is trying a new fundraising event called “A Brunch of Drag.”  The email that BPP managing director Gabe Gloden sent me says:

“Start your Sunday off right with your two favorite things: brunch and drag.  Enjoy a delicious buffet brunch featuring four types of quiche, bacon, sausage, coffee cake, a full cash bar…the works!  All while you experience a professional-quality drag show featuring celebrity impersonators from throughout the years.

This is a drag show you can take your parents to!  And don’t forget your dollar bills.”

Sunday, July 19, 2009.  12 noon-2 pm at KRC Banquets & Catering, 216 S. College Ave., Bloomington, IN.  Tickets $35 (includes a full brunch and one free drink) are available at the Buskirk Chumley Box Office or online at  Produced by Vicci Lane & the Bloomington Playwrights Project.


After several attempts, the folks from “The Drink and I” managed to send me an email that was actually addressed to me and, more importantly, included all 5 of the essential “W”‘s (who, what, where, when, why/how), so even though I still can’t imagine enjoying this show, myself, because I have too many not-funny associations with drunkenness, I mention the show as an example of there being all kinds of performance art in the Indianapolis area.  Really, there is something for everyone around here!

“The Drink and I” is a “drinking play,” so if you go, be sure someone in your group volunteers to be the designated driver.  The email I received says it is “sketch comedy about the funny thing you see happen at the bars in Indianapolis.  Two parts Sketch Comedy, One Part improv, and One part drinking games.  We play drinking games during the play.  Cast vs. Audience etc.  We do not endorse the over consumption of alcohol.  5% of all ticket sales go to the SCI Hope Fund of Hendricks County.  Tickets are $9 online and $12 at the door.  VIP tickets 12.95 (selective seating + free drink).  Full access Tickets 19.95 (backstage pass + free drink + T-Shirt)”

July 19, 2009.  9:30 pm.  Morty’s Comedy Joint – 3625 E. 96th St. Indianapolis IN.


An email from Lori Raffel reminded me that this is the last weekend to see “Octopus,” by Steve Yockey, at the Phoenix Theatre.  Thursday night’s performance starts at 7:00 and tickets are only $15, thanks to Duke Energy.  Friday and Saturday shows are at 8:00 and tickets are $25.  Call the Phoenix box office at 317-635-PLAY (7529) to make a reservation.


Sharon Gamble sent me a press release telling about the Midwest premiere of “The Do’s and Don’ts of Time Travel,” a love story by Nicholas Wardigo.  It opens downstairs on the Frank and Katrina Basile stage at the Phoenix Theatre on Thursday, July 16, 2009.  ALL performances of this show will be priced as Duke Energy Cheap Seats!  Call the Phoenix box office at 317-635-PLAY (7529) to make a reservation.


I also have some other theatre-related news to share:

HART (the Heartland Actors Repertory Theatre) is seeking volunteers to assist with “front of house” activities for their production of “Much Ado About Nothing” in the White River State Park on July 31 and August 1, 2009.  They need people to pass out programs, collect surveys, sell merchandise, etc.  You will receive a HART t-shirt as a special thanks.  If you can help, please send an email to Ben Tebbe at heartlandactors at gmail dot com and indicate which night you can help.  You will need to arrive by 6 pm.


And finally, I don’t normally include items in my Mailbox posts that I’ve received via Facebook because it’s hard enough for me to pull everything together from one email box, let alone every social network I participate in.  However, I am making an exception today with news about “Midwestern Hemisphere.” 

You remember that this piece was written by local playwright Lou Harry and Eric Pfeffinger, and that it had its world premiere here in Indianapolis.  Now it is getting a staged reading in Philadelphia.

Here is the description from the Facebook page:

“What happens when people who live next door to each other suddenly have to become neighbors? That’s the question asked in Midwestern Hemisphere: a suburban metaphysical comedy by Lou Harry and Eric Pfeffinger.

The play had its world premiere in Indianapolis in April of 2008, courtesy of Heartland Actors Repertory Theatre, earning notice in American Theatre magazine, and causing critic Hope Baugh of to write “…this play is gently profound as well as funny.” Davis Zivan, editor of Indianapolis Monthly added “..lots of big laughs. A truly clever play with a big heart.” John Belden of the Greenfield Reporter called it “…laugh-out-loud funny…”

Midwestern Hemisphere was further developed in a workshop with Crossroads Repertory Theatre in the summer of 2008. The reading at the Walnut Street Theatre will be the first full presentation of the revised play.

A Temple University graduate and former writer for, among others, Philadelphia Magazine, Main Line Today, and Seven Arts, Lou Harry is the author or co-author of more than 25 books including Strange Philadelphia, The High-Impact Infidelity Diet: A novel, The Encyclopedia of Guilty Pleasures and Creative Block. In addition, he has written for over 50 publications (including Variety, TheatreWeek and Dramatics) and was the founding Artistic Director of the Philadelphia-based Comedy for Kids theater company.

Co-author Eric Pfeffinger’s plays have been produced by the Actors Theatre of Louisville, Geva Theatre Center (Rochester, NY), Visions and Voices (Chicago), Vox Humana (L.A.), the Noble Fool (Chicago), and the Bloomington Playwrights Project.

The cast for the reading includes: Ben Lipitz, Jeb Kreager, Maggie Lakis, Erin Reilly, Laura Giknis and Andrea Miskow

Production: MIDWESTERN HEMISPHERE: a suburban metaphysical comedy
By: Lou Harry and Eric Pfeffinger

Location: The Walnut Street Theatre, Philadelphia.  (5th and Walnut Streets – 5th floor studio)

Date: Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Time: 7 pm

Tickets: Free, but donations accepted. Please RSVP* since space is limited.”

Lou gave me permission to share with you a message that he sent me privately as well.  Here is an excerpt:

“The cast that’s shaping up is, well, humbling. A member of the tour of Avenue Q, a winner of last year’s Barrymore Award for Best Actor in a Play…even the woman reading stage directions has extensive experience in the classics. And dear Ben Lipitz (Pumba from the Lion King tour) is playing Jerry and directing.

It should be quite an event. Meet in the morning, rehearse all day, read in the evening. So far, a good response from Philly theater companies and media. And some people on the Maybe RSVP list that are making me gulp. I’ll let you know if any of them show.

Anyway, just wanted to thank you for your ongoing interest, understanding, and support of the show.”

You’re welcome, Lou.  I wish I had the time and resources to fly to Philadelphia for this new reading!  I love this play.

*I’m not sure how people can RSVP saying they want to come if they are not on Facebook.  I hesitate to post any of the email addresses I have for Lou without his permission, but if I get more info, I will share it. 


There are also Encore shows opening in the next couple of weeks but, as you know, I am not allowed to write about them.

If you would like me to consider including news of your non-Encore show (theatre, storytelling, comedy, dance, music, etc.) in a future Mailbox post, please email me your press release at amarylliswriter at gmail dot com.

‘See you at the theatres!  (And back on my blog July 19.)

Hope Baugh –

Twitter:  IndyTheatre

2 thoughts on “Mailbox and Vacation”

  1. Thanks for the mention and the enthusiasm.

    Some cast changes, but everything shaping up. Should be nice to visit the University of the Arts again (that’s where we’ll be rehearsing). Sat in on a Master Class taught by Billy Joel there years and years ago.

    Wish I could see more theater while here. Would love to get back in the Spring for the Arden Theatre Company’s production of Sunday in the Park with George…


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