Quick Thoughts From This Weekend’s Theatre Attendance

I saw “Becky’s New Car,” by Steven Dietz, at the Indiana Repertory Theatre with a friend on Friday night and we talked and raved about it all the rest of the weekend.

The show is funny and wonderful and GOOD on so many levels.  It has heart and wit and  it appeals to both men and women, judging from the laughs and comments I heard Friday night.  I’ll write more about “Becky’s New Car” in a day or two (after I finish my review of Peter Cook’s storytelling concert), but I can tell you right now that I will throw my usual caution to the winds and say, “This one.  Go see this one.”

I also enjoyed “Hello, Dolly!” at the Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre.  I will write in more detail about that in a few days, too, but I can tell you right now that star Iris Lieberman from Chicago makes the title role freshly and uniquely likable, and that a favorite local actress, Erin Cohenour, is a hoot in her debut performance at “the Beef.”

I think I will have time towards the end of the week to share a few thoughts from today’s interview by Lou Harry of playwright Steven Dietz.  It took place at the Phoenix Theatre and was open to the public.  I was inspired to tears (okay, weeping, but I hope I hid it fairly well) by that conversation.  Lou Harry asked good, chewy questions and Steven Dietz’s answers were fun and thought-provoking and essence-tapping.  I had seen a community theatre production of Steven Dietz’s “Dracula” and the IRT’s production of “Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure” in 2008 and now the IRT’s production of “Becky’s New Car.”  I am very much looking forward to seeing his “Yankee Tavern” at the Phoenix next month, too.

And finally, although I won’t have time to write about it in detail, I also want to mention that I swung by the Cabaret at the Columbia Club on Saturday night for the inaugural “That’s Brentertainment!” open mic musical theatre event.  It was hosted by Brent Marty and featured Su Ours.  Brent and Su are each fabulous vocalists with delicious stage presence and an appealing rapport with each other, so it would have been more than a treat to listen to them by themselves.  However, it was also a pleasure to listen to the other people that stood up to each sing one song.  Most were accompanied by Brent on the piano; one woman acompanied herself.  I am sorry that I did not catch her name.   I also loved listening to Marni Lemons, Anne Miller, Laney Wilson, Matthew Hume (sp?), and someone named “Rusty” who said he had just moved here from southern California.  He won the musical theatre triva contest conducted by Lou Harry…and then blew us all away with his rendition of “If I Were a Rich Man” from “Fiddler on the Roof.”

The first “That’s Brentertainment!” was a lot of fun, and over much too soon.  I am looking forward to the next one and sorry that it is not until August!

‘See you at the theatres…

Hope Baugh– www.IndyTheatreHabit.com.

Follow @IndyTheatre on Twitter.com, too.

P.S. – At the Dietz/Harry event at the Phoenix today, during the coffee-cookies-strawberries time in the lobby, Milicent Wright from the IRT told me she had received a mysterious email from a strange name with “Indy Theatre Habit” as the subject heading.  She wondered if I had acquired some extra staff.  Hah!  I wish!  However, the “staff” of Indy Theatre Habit is still just me, so I hope that that email she received was just an isolated belch from one of those weird, mash-up auto-spams that sometimes occur.  In any case, if you get an “Indy Theatre Habit” email that is not from Hope Baugh or amarylliswriter at gmail dot com, I wouldn’t open it.

(Photo above is from “Becky’s New Car” and was taken by Julie Curry.  On the sofa, left to right, are Adriano Gatto and Robert Neal.  Becky, in back, is played by Constance Macy.  Thanks again, Kelly R. Young, for getting the publicity photos to me so quickly!)

Theatre Review: “I Take This Man” by Oaklandon Civic Theatre

Last Saturday night I drove to the northeast corner of Indianapolis to see the all-volunteer Oaklandon Civic Theatre’s production of “I Take This Man,” written by Jack Sharkey and directed by Margy Lancet-Fletcher.

I had such a good time!  This wholesome show for adults and families is laugh-out-loud funny in a joke-filled, TV sit-com way.  The story is a light mystery with a fun little twist at the end and the five actors do a good job of bringing it to life.

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Theatre Review: “Carousel” at Indy Civic

Last Friday I drove to the Indianapolis Civic Theatre on the west side of Indy to see “Carousel” for the first time. This 1945 musical by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II won 5 Tony Awards for its 1994 Broadway revival.  Time magazine called it the best musical of the 20th century.  Our own Lou Harry (arts editor for the Indianapolis Business Journal) admires it, too.

In fact, Lou wrote an article “In Defense of Rodgers and Hammerstein” last week for the IBJ that I just loved.   It helped me understand how I could find a musical depressing but still be glad I saw it.

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Theatre Review: “The Twilight of the Golds” at The Theatre Within

On Friday, March 12, I drove to the Fountain Square neighborhood on the near south side of Indianapolis to see “The Twilight of the Golds” at The Theatre Within, an all-volunteer company that is hosted by The Church Within.  The play was written by Jonathan Tolins and directed for TTW by Rod Isaac. 

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A Little Bragging Plus Current Reviewing Plan

Guess what?  Someone from IndyStar.com contacted me a couple weeks ago to ask if I would be willing to a) be part of a new “directory of interesting local bloggers” and b) allow him to put “an icon representing the IndyStar blogger network in the rail” of my blog that would link back to the directory.  He said there would be “a small advertisement that would appear with the icon” and that he would “put a little bit of code in the background” of my blog to “count how many times the ad was displayed.”

He also said, “There were lots of blogs we looked at which didn’t make the cut, either because they weren’t updated frequently enough or because they just didn’t seem that interesting.  Yours was one of the blogs our group liked best.”

Is that flattering or what?!  That email MADE MY DAY on the day I received it, and I confess that I am still a little high from it.  I still feel like a baby when it comes to blogging and yet The Indianapolis Star – the “paper of record” in my home town – values my theatre reviews blog!  How cool is that.

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Quick Post Over Lunch…

I popped downtown last night to see “Sunlight,” a new play written by Sharr White and directed by Bryan Fonseca, before it finished its run at the Phoenix Theatre

I won’t have time to write about it in detail but since there are two more performances (tonight and tomorrow), I wanted to let you know that I loved it.  Magnificent acting from Bill Simmons, Gayle Steigerwald, Rich Komenich, and Angela R. Plank.  Sumptuous set designed by Robert Broadfoot.  And a layered, language-y script that made me itch to jot down the lines I particularly loved.  It made me think deeply about how life as we know it has changed since September 11, 2001, but it did that in a powerfully, complexly, human way, not in a “oh, no, another dreary 911 piece” way.

Have I mentioned that I loved it?

I’m working on my review of “The Twilight of the Golds” which has one more weekend at The Theatre Within.  This piece does not have the production values that the Phoenix piece does, but it, too, is thought-provoking, timely theatre.  Yes, timely, even though the play is from the 1980s.  In fact, it is perhaps more powerful and relevent now as a “period piece” than it was (I imagine) in the 1980s.  More about that in a day or two.

There is a LOT of other intriguing theatre going on this weekend in the Indianapolis area.  I’m going to see as much as I can of it and write about at least some of it.

But right now, since I just popped home on my lunch break, I had better pop right back to my day job.

‘See you at the theatres!

 Hope Baugh – www.IndyTheatreHabit.com

Follow @IndyTheatre on Twitter.com, too!

Theatre Review: “Three Sisters” at Franklin College

Last Thursday night I drove south of Indianapolis to Franklin, Indiana, to see the Franklin College Theatre’s production of “Three Sisters,” written by Anton Chekov, translated by Paul Schmidt, and directed at Franklin by Fine Arts Lecturer Nicolas Crisafulli.

And I tell you, I am a better person for it.  I can cross Chekov off my theatre addict bucket list and admit that it was like nothing I had ever seen before.  I am sure that a lot of it went over my head, but I enjoyed the rush.

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Theatre Review: “The 101 Dalmatians Musical” at Clowes

"The 101 Dalmatians Musical" - photo by Joan Marcus

Last Tuesday night I drove to Clowes Memorial Hall on the Butler University campus in Indianapolis to see the Broadway Across America professional touring production of “The 101 Dalmatians Musical.”  

It was marketed as a show for families with children of all ages, but it was a feel-good evening for this single adult, too.

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Theatre Review: “Nunsense” by Actors Theatre of Indiana

"Nunsense" - Actors Theatre of Indiana

Last Saturday night I met a friend at the Carmel Community Playhouse in the Clay Terrace shopping center to see Actors Theatre of Indiana’s professional production of “Nunsense: A Musical Comedy.”

This particular friend is very particular about her theatre, so I only invite her to shows that I am pretty sure are going to be well done.

And guess what?  At the end of this show, my friend said, “Very well done, especially the comic timing.”


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Dance Review: “Love Is…” by Dance Kaleidoscope

"Love Is..." - Dance Kaleidoscope

Last Thursday night I attended the preview night of Dance Kaleidoscope’s “Love Is…” program at the Indiana Repertory Theatre in downtown Indianapolis.  It was a wonderfully cathartic evening, artistically admirable in and of itself, but also coincidentally a perfect fit for my euphoric, spring-time mood and my emotional and aesthetic needs at the time.  I left feeling washed and ready.

The next day I still felt physically and emotionally uplifted by the experience.  I think this was because the program had incorporated not only strong, graceful dancing and other visuals but also spoken words, sung words, and explicit, well-communicated storytelling in the movements of the dancers (as opposed to abstract emotions.)  Most of it was easy for me to relate to, and yet there was also content that stretched and inspired me. 

The program included four pieces, all of which were new to me.

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