Season Preview: Phoenix 2009-2010

Phoenix Theatre Indianapolis - photo from website

The Phoenix Theatre today announced its 2009-2010 season AND a change (decrease!)  in its ticket prices.  I really appreciate that Lori Raffel, the marketing and media relations director for the Phoenix, included Indy Theatre Habit in her e-mailing of the press release to local media.  I am including almost the whole press release at the bottom of this post so that you can read it for yourself.

There is a lot of interesting stuff in the press release.  It’s going to be an exciting year at the Phoenix!

For example, I am delighted to see that Neil LaBute’s newest play, “Reasons to Be Pretty,” is in the line-up.   The Phoenix’s production of LaBute’s “Fat Pig” in the summer of 2007 is what got me started writing publicly about theatre (pre-blog, as Amaryllis Jones on   I saw it seven times, an all-time record for me.  In 2007 I also reviewed LaBute’s “Bash: Latterday Plays” for IA.  This year, LaBute’s “In a Dark, Dark House” as produced by the Heartland Actors’ Repertory Theatre, interested me so much I saw it twice.  LaBute’s often dark, often ambigous outlook on life is not for everyone, I guess, but he is definitely one of my “don’t miss” playwrights.

“Fat Pig” was also my introduction to director Dale McFadden.  Earlier this year, he directed “Mauritius” for the Phoenix, a show I “only” saw once, but enjoyed nonetheless.  In 2010 for the Phoenix he is directing a special performance of something called “Terre Haute,” written by Edmund White.  It sounds thought-provoking.

I am also delighted to see a new and original solo piece by Ricardo Melendez.  I loved his work in “Octopus” this year at the Phoenix and “Some Men” last year.  And you know me: I am always up for a one-person show.  Tell me a story!

I am intrigued to see a new mystery play by Steven Dietz.  I saw two plays by him here in Indy last fall:  He adapted the “Sherlock Holmes” piece that I saw at the Indiana Repertory Theatre and adapted the “Dracula” piece that I saw in Greenwood presented by ArtBox Productions.

I am glad to see another rolling world premiere in cooperation with the National New Play Network, and I agree with the press release writer that it wouldn’t be the holidays without the annual “A Very Phoenix Xmas” show.  I’m not sure I will be able to attend the one-weekend-only new piece by Dos Fallopia, but they were a hoot when I saw them at the Phoenix in 2007.

Some of the other pieces in the new season don’t ring any bells with me right now, but I will do my best to fit them into my schedule, simply because I am attracted to the Phoenix as a theatre in general.

Anyway, read the press release below and see what you think.

By the way, the photo above of the Phoenix Theatre is one I found through Google images on  It was taken by Around Indy’s devoted creator/manager, Bob Burchfield and used with his permission.  Thanks, Bob!

Hope Baugh –  – follow IndyTheatre on Twitter, too.




Phoenix Theatre Indianapolis
749 N. Park Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46202
Indianapolis – The Phoenix Theatre of Indianapolis proudly announces the 2009-2010 season, which includes one National New Play Network rolling World Premiere, five Midwest Premieres and two plays that have just ended their Broadway runs, The Most Damaging Wound by Blair Singer and Reasons to be Pretty by Neil LaBute.  Another highlight will be contemporary playwright Steven Dietz’s Yankee Tavern produced at the Phoenix at the same time IRT will be presenting his play Becky’s New Car, so that patrons can see two of Dietz’s plays back to back on Indy stages. Change and rebirth have always been constant at the Phoenix and this season is no exception. We will continue to be Indy’s Off-Broadway theatre, presenting intimate and thought-provoking plays, but we are also responding to the changes in the world around us. We are altering our pricing structure by including more Duke Energy CheapSeats performances, adding Sunday performances back into our schedule and producing eight plays this season – all on our Mainstage, as well as presenting three special performances in the Frank & Katrina Basile Theatre.

 The Phoenix Theatre was founded in 1983 by a group of Indianapolis theatre artists who wanted to produce contemporary plays as well as to pay the theatre’s artists, a goal that was achieved a few years down the road. In 1983, the Phoenix fulfilled a unique niche in the city’s theatre environment: producing exclusively current plays. The theatre’s mission has not changed since 1983, and Bryan Fonseca, the theatre’s Producing Director, retains his original position. The Phoenix mission statement reads: “The Phoenix Theatre entertains by presenting the best of professional, contemporary theatre in an intimate setting. Engaging our community, patrons and staff with issue-oriented plays, the Phoenix enlightens audiences about social concerns while challenging them to re-examine their roles in society.” Since 1988, the Phoenix has been housed in the Mass Ave Theatre and Gallery District in a 1907 former church building. The theatre’s two venues are the proscenium 130-seat Mainstage and the cabaret-style 75-seat Frank & Katrina Basile (buh-SEAL) Theatre.

Special Presentations

In addition to the eight plays on the Mainstage, the Phoenix Theatre will also be hosting three Special Presentations in the Frank & Katrina Basile Theatre. These presentations will include Dos Fallopia in October, Call Me BORICUA in February and Terre Haute in August.  For the fourth year in a row, we will be reaching out to the Latino community by presenting at least one performance of Call Me BORICUA in Spanish. (See details below)

Ticket Prices

Thanks to the generosity of Duke Energy, our CheapSeats performances are expanding to Thursdays and Sundays, so our prices for the 2009-2010 Season will be $15.00 per person on Thursdays and Sundays. In response to the economy, and because we know that there are only so many entertainment dollars to go around, we are offering a discounted rate of $20.00 per person on Fridays and Saturdays (down from $25.00 last season). The Phoenix will continue to offer a youth rate of $15 for those 24 and under. We won’t be selling FlexPasses this year, since all rates are discounted from our standard prices, so tickets are available now for all shows in the 2009-2010 season. Tickets for the new season may be purchased by calling the box office at 317.635.PLAY (7529) to charge by phone and will be available to purchase on-line at beginning August 10, 2009. All seating is general admission on a first-come, first-served basis. Performances are Thursdays at 7:00 pm; Fridays at 8:00 p.m., Saturdays at 8:00 pm. and Sundays at 2:00 pm. Doors open ½ hour prior to curtain for seating. The Phoenix Pub, located inside the theatre, offers beer, wine, soft drinks, coffee, and bottled water, as well as treats, and all refreshments may be taken into either theatre and consumed during the performance.

For more information about any Phoenix programs or to purchase tickets, call the Phoenix Theatre box office at 317.635.PLAY(7529). The theatre’s website is


Information on each of the 2009-2010 productions:


The Most Damaging Wound, by Blair Singer

September 3-September 26, 2009

Midwest Premiere


Five college buddies reunite with the intention of getting very drunk and burning a box of memorabilia from their glory days. Kenny, the organizer, has just become a father and is terrified that he’s not ready for the job. His best friend Alan, who is married with a kid, brings his girlfriend to the festivities. Rounding out the quintet is GG, the up-tight outcast who owns the still-under-construction restaurant they meet in; Dicky, who never truly grew up; and his rock star friend Bo, who is struggling to get sober. The evening doesn’t go as planned, and the friends are left wondering if the past is ever as glorious as we remember.


Shipwrecked! An Entertainment, The Amazing Adventures of Louis de Rougemont (As told by himself)

by Donald Margulies

October 16-November 15, 2009

Midwest Premiere

Mainstage – sponsored by Barnes & Thornburg LLP

Be ready to be astonished! Louis de Rougemont is looking for his 15 minutes of fame. Gaining notoriety at the turn of the century for his fantastical tale of being shipwrecked on an exotic island, learning to ride sea turtles, and holding court with the Queen of England, Louis is finding his audience increasingly skeptical. Could his entire adventure be discredited as a hoax? De Rougemont’s fervent desire to justify his life’s purpose provides the emotional current that transforms a ripping good yarn into a touching character study. After all, who doesn’t need his “dabbing a little spot of color on the drab canvas of life”?


A Very Phoenix Xmas – Our Stockings Are Stuffed, by playwrights to be announced

November 27-December 20, 2009

World Premiere


This wonderful holiday tradition is back with all-new material and a few returning chestnuts for your seasonal enjoyment. As always, there will be music (both traditional and I-can’t-believe-they-did-that), dance, and original sketches. Nothing and no one is sacred in this grab bag of theatrical vaudeville and television variety show with all the irreverence of Monty Python. Sort of Saturday Night Live meets Donny and Marie on crack. It wouldn’t be December without us!


The Housewives of Mannheim, by Alan Brody

January 14-February 6, 2010

Midwest Premiere


It’s spring 1944 in May Black’s middle-class Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn, where she dishes the dirt with her two long-time friends. Wisecracking and streetwise Billie Friedhoff buys and sells on the black market, while Alice Cohen is a judgmental, self-appointed, moralist busybody. Into their lives comes Sophie. Worldly and sophisticated, she helps each woman discover something about themselves that their husbands never could. Out of necessity, the women flourish and are able to contemplate the freedoms that would only truly be available to generations of women yet to come.


Sunlight, by Sharr White

February 25-March 20, 2010


Presented as a National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere with InterAct Theatre (Philapelphia, PA)) and Marin Theatre Company (Mill Valley, CA)

Matthew Gibbon, liberal lion and university president, may have finally gone too far in his battle against the conservative dean of the law school-his son-in-law and former protégé. Why would this respected academic leader, so close to retirement, tarnish his otherwise brilliant career by breaking the very laws that he has spent a lifetime defining? What begins as a political debate turns fiercely personal, potentially pitting his family against his legacy. What price is too high to pay for loyalty and power?


Yankee Tavern by Steven Dietz

April 8-May 1, 2010

Midwest Premiere


Alfred Hitchcock meets Oliver Stone in this fascinating and funny new play set in a dusty old New York City bar. Here, a charismatically cantankerous regular argues conspiracy theories with anyone who will listen. The young owner behind the bar just wants to pour beer, marry his fiancée, and live happily ever after. Then a stranger walks in and orders a drink for himself and his invisible buddy, setting off a thriller that grips you until the very last word. When the young man disappears, everyone gets caught up in “what if” and tries to solve the mystery. Is it just cold feet or only the tip of a deadly iceberg?


Speech and Debate, by Steven Karam

May 20-June 12, 2010

Indiana Premiere


Sex. Secrets. Performance-art video blogs with a George Michael beat. Just another typical day when you’re a teenage outcast in Salem, Oregon. Solomon, Diwata, and Howie have never met, but when a shocking scandal involving one of their teachers brings them together through an unexpected chain of events, they realize three voices are stronger than one. Maybe starting their school’s first speech and debate squad will be their chance to be heard at last-by the school and even by the world. In the process, each loner learns the value and power of being a friend.


Reasons To Be Pretty by Neil LaBute

July 8-July 31, 2010

Midwest Premiere


Do we ever really know what our partner thinks of us? Reasons To Be Pretty confronts America’s obsession with physical beauty headlong when Greg, a working-class guy in a long-term relationship, inadvertently remarks to a friend that, compared to a pretty coworker, his girlfriend is “regular.” This inarticulate, off-hand statement changes everything. He loves her, but can she still love him? Their relationship cannot survive the monumental and unexpected fallout from this innocent slip of the tongue, and all four characters begin to experience insecurities in their own lives. Is anyone ever totally comfortable in their own skin?


Information on each of the 2009-2010 Special Performances:


Dos Fallopia: Deja Poo: (dé·jà poo:  The undeniably eerie feeling that you’ve seen this crap before…)

October 1-4, 2009

Four nights of classic Dos Fallopia, jam-packed with Lisa Koch and Peggy Platt’s favorite sketches, satire, and patently warped characters.


Call Me BORICUA by Ricardo Melendez

February 11-21, 2010

World Premiere

Written by and starring Ricardo Melendez and presented by The Workshop Group, Call Me BORICUA is Ricardo’s story of his travels from Puerto Rico to America in 14,600 days.  Equally hilarious and touching, this production allows Ricardo to shine as a storyteller and actor.


Terre Haute by Edmund White

August 5-8, 2010

The Crossroads Repertory Theatre and the Phoenix Theatre co-present Terre Haute, directed by Dale McFadden. Described as a “beautifully written, fluidly paced play” by the Sunday Telegraph, Terre Haute depicts a series of engaging prison interviews conducted by a character based on novelist Gore Vidal of a death-row inmate based on Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.

This production is supported in part by a generous grant from the Indiana Arts Commission through one of its regional offices, Arts Illiana, based in Terre Haute





“The Phoenix Theatre has cornered the market on hip new works.”

— Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune
The Phoenix Theatre is Indiana’s only professional contemporary theatre, and has presented productions to challenge and entertain the Indianapolis community for 26 years. An Equity house, the Theatre presents the Midwest and Indiana premieres of many popular Broadway and Off-Broadway plays, and has presented more than 70 world premieres in its quarter century. The Phoenix operates the 130-seat proscenium Mainstage as well as the 75-seat cabaret-style black box Frank & Katrina Basile (buh-SEAL) Theatre. The Phoenix Pub, located in the Basile Theatre, serves beer, wine, coffee, soft drinks, water, and treats, and patrons may take all refreshments into either theatre. Both venues are housed along with administrative offices in a renovated 1907 church in downtown Indianapolis’ historic Chatham Arch neighborhood, part of the Mass Ave Arts & Theatre District. The Phoenix Theatre is a member of the National New Play Network and the League of Indianapolis Theatres, and is supported by the Indiana Arts Commission, the Arts Council of Indianapolis, and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as local corporate and foundation funders and more than 500 individual donors.


4 thoughts on “Season Preview: Phoenix 2009-2010”

  1. I’m an avid read of your blog and just wanted to express my delight that the Phoenix has selected “Speech & Debate” for a spot in its upcoming season. I was fortunate enough to see this play in its off-Broadway run at the Roundabout Theatre Company’s delightful “underground” black box space. It is a smart, topical, edgy, hilarious, human piece of theatre. (Sorry to resort to the string of adjectives!) Anyway, thank you for the heads-up that I will soon have a chance to experience this piece all over again in Indianapolis!

  2. Jamie, thank YOU, for reading my blog and for leaving this informative comment. I love adjectives (as you can probably tell) and thanks to yours, I am now even more excited about seeing “Speech & Debate.”

  3. Thank you, Hope, for including the Phoenix 2009-2010 Season announcement on your site. We appreciate your support – and I usually end up learning something new about each production when you write about it. I was the lucky one who presented Speech and Debate at our Phoenix Pitch Night and I think my enthusiasm was contagious. I am really thrilled about our entire season, but I certainly feel a special excitement for Speech and Debate. It will be hard to wait until May!

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