Sad Theatre News: Dannon Crews

I was shocked and very sad to wake up this morning and read from various people on Facebook and Twitter that young Indianapolis actor Dannon Crews had passed away during the night.

I was not close to him personally, but I enjoyed his company whenever I happened to hang out with him at a party or whatever. 

More importantly, I loved his work as an actor.  He was hilarious in “Kitty, Kitty, Kitty!” and “A Night in Vegas” at Theatre on the Square, for example.  I most recently admired him in a more serious leading role in “The Twilight of the Golds” at The Theatre Within this past March.  Selfishly, I am very sorry for this loss to the Indianapolis theatre community and to myself as an audience member.

I would like to offer my deepest sympathy to Dannon’s family and friends.

Hope Baugh –

Theatre News: The Great Gay Play Contest

I love to receive theatre-related press releases from “markets” outside the Indianapolis area.  I rarely do anything with them besides read them, and I laugh at myself for letting them make me feel important, but still, they delight me.

I have been saving this one to share with you because even though it is about theatre in Chicago – not Indy – it involves Bryan Fonseca who is, as you probably already know, the head honcho at the Phoenix Theatre here in Indianapolis.

(He is also one of my benchmark directors.  When it comes to any question of artistic leadership or tactful collaboration, I ask myself:  What Would Bryan Do?)

Bryan is going to be one of the judges of the five finalists in The Great Gay Play Contest in Chicago, Illinois next spring.  Here is the full press release (and thank you, David Zak, for sending it to me!)  The bolding is mine:

Continue reading Theatre News: The Great Gay Play Contest

Storytelling News: Going Deep Retreat calling for stories

Continuing my end-of-the-year e-house cleaning, I could have sworn that I had an email with information about the feast that will be the 2012 Going Deep Long Traditional Story Retreat, including a call for stories.  However, I must have been too enthusiastic when I was in “delete mode” or something because now I can’t find it.  Here, instead, is the “Request for Proposals” that I found on the website.  I have also contacted some of the folks in charge of the event, asking for more information.  I will update this post if I learn anything more.

I wrote about this core-shaking, multi-day, tri-teller event a couple of the times when it was held in Bethlehem, Indiana.  (I attended the first one, too, in 2006, but that was pre-blog.  I blogged about the 2008 and 2009 events.)

I have heard rumors that it will move to Arizona next, but don’t quote me on that.  As soon as I know the 2012 details for sure, I am going to ask for the time off from my day job.  There is nothing like the intensity of healing and personal growth and enjoyment that comes from deeply listening to three epic stories told well in a temporary-yet-intimate community of story-lovers.

Here is information about the Retreat in general, within the Request for Proposals:

Continue reading Storytelling News: Going Deep Retreat calling for stories

Theatre News: “The Velvet Rut” published

Here is another piece of Indy theatre news that I’ve been keeping in my mailbox for a while – this one since September (eep!) – but a) I think it is still interesting and b) you may not have heard about it yet and c) there are only a few days left in 2010, so here goes.

I received this “Announcement of Publication” from playwright James Still.  You probably already know that he is the playwright-in-residence at the Indiana Repertory Theatre.  He mentioned this play, “The Velvet Rut,” when I first met him, back in 2008.  Someone pitched it at the annual meeting of the National New Play Network when it was here in Indianapolis a little later that year, and I heard about the world premiere of “The Velvet Rut” when I learned that James had received the Medallion award from the Children’s Theatre Foundation of America.

So I was delighted to learn this fall that “The Velvet Rut” has been published.  Now anyone (directors, producers, theatre bloggers) can buy a copy and read it for themselves. 

Here is the full announcement that James sent me:

Continue reading Theatre News: “The Velvet Rut” published

Theatre News: Health Foundation & Clowes

With just a few days left in 2010, I am going to follow the “better late than never” rule and quickly share with you a handful of press releases that I found particularly interesting.  Some of these have been sitting in my email box for a while but I think they are still interesting and you might not have seen their theatre-related news anywhere else.

This first one has been in my box since August (eep!) but the person who sent it to me, Lisa Sirkin Vielee, was correct in thinking that I “might be interested in learning about a non-traditional sponsor (The Health Foundation of Greater Indianapolis) trying to connect kids and performing arts…”  Thanks, Lisa, for sending this to me:

Continue reading Theatre News: Health Foundation & Clowes

Theatre News: Assistant Director Intern Program at the Phoenix

A few days ago I received a press release from Lori Raffel at the Phoenix Theatre. The news was of their new assistant director internship program.

Reading it brought back good, rich memories of my own assistant director experiences at the Phoenix in the late 1980s, before it was a professional theatre with Equity contracts and all that.  I first assisted Bryan Fonseca when he directed “The House of Blue Leaves,” by John Guare, and then “Bouncers,” by John Godber.  Then I assisted Rock Mers when he directed a show called “Nightbreath,” by Dennis Clontz. 

It was a pleasure and a privilge to work with both of these directors.  I learned a lot about myself as well as how to make theatre art.  I also had a wonderful time.

So…this new A.D. internship program sounds very cool.  Congratulations to each of the seven new interns!

Here is the full press release:

Continue reading Theatre News: Assistant Director Intern Program at the Phoenix

Theatre News: 2011 IndyFringe applications open now

(UPDATED on November 17, 2010 with a little more info and a “Perry Haughter” photo.)

I have so much in terms of Indianapolis area theatre news and reviews to share with you, and so very little free time in which to do it! 

(Keep breathing, Hopie.  Everything that needs to get done WILL get done, in its own best time.  Do your best and leave the rest; angels do no more.)

Self-talk aside, here is a quick but important post to tide us over until I can carve out some more writing time:

Here is an excerpt from an email that I received from Indy Fringe director Pauline Moffat a few days ago:


Dear Performers,

IndyFringe 2011 applications will be on line this week.     

To make it even easier IndyFringe  will be taking applications via email and payment via credit card!   

Also, IndyFringe is currently seeking applicants for DivaFest. See more information below.

The next most important piece of news is that IndyFringe is raising funds to buy the building which is home to the festival and a low cost rehearsal and performance space all year round.

If you have a few spare dollars please donate to the festival and help us buy the building.

I need to get this done by December 13!!!   Will you help us?




I cut out the part that talked about her travel plans because I didn’t know if she wanted that out here on the Internet.  The rest of her email was not in a form that I could cut-and-paste so you’ll have to go to the IndyFringe website to read about DivaFest.  Here is a direct link to that page:

The big news seems to be that there are applications this year for both 10-minute plays and 1-hour plays. 

I enjoyed the two shows (“Dash Thirty Dash” and “Madwomen’s Late Night Cabaret“) that I saw during the first DivaFest, earlier this year.  I’ll look forward to visiting this new theatre festival again in early 2011.

And, of course, I have the 2011 IndyFringe Festival on my calendar already:  August 19-28, 2011.  I am already curious about who the performers will be!

There is almost always something interesting going on at the IndyFringe Theatre year-round.   Some day when I am independently wealthy and have a whole staff of writers for Indy Theatre Habit, one whole writer will be devoted to covering the IndyFringe beat.   Wouldn’t that be great?

In the meantime, here is what I am working on:

*** Review of the 2010 Basile Emerging Stories event, plus news of Niall de Burca coming from Ireland to share stories at the Indiana History Center on Friday, December 3 (for families) and Saturday, December 4 (for adults), 2010.  For more info right away, please see  I don’t know for sure, but I think “Niall” is pronounced the same as “Neal” or “Neil.”

*** Review of Broadway Across America’s “Dreamgirls” at the Murat, plus news of the 3-days-only “Cats” coming up at Clowes Hall.  (From the press release:  “CATS will play Clowes Memorial Hall, November 26-28, 2010: Friday at 8:00PM, Saturday at 2:00PM & 8:00PM and Sunday at 1:00PM. Tickets range in price from $22.00 -$62.00 and may be purchased in person at Clowes Memorial Hall, the Old National Centre Box Office of the Murat Theatre, and the Broadway Across America Box Office downtown at 342 Massachusetts Avenue. You can also purchase them online at and by phone at 1-800-982-2787. For groups of 15 or more, contact the group sales department at 317-632-5182 ext 103.”)

*** Review of Q Artistry’s “Perry Haughter and the Magical Musical” at the Historic Irvington Lodge.  Only one more weekend for this fun “Q-munity” production. (Here are the quick comments I wrote on Lou Harry’s IBJ blog for his weekly “You Review It” invitation just now.  And from the press release:  “Perry Haughter and the Magical Musical” November 12, 13, 19, 20 at 8pm; November 14, 21  at 2pm. Running Time: 2 hours, with intermission.  Q Artistry at the Irvington Lodge, 5515 E Washington St, Indianapolis, IN 46219
Tickets $15 for adults,  $13 for children (to age 12), seniors, and groups (10 or more)
Tickets available through Brown Paper Tickets ( or 1-800-838-3006.)”

Here is a photo from the show, taken by director Ben Asaykwee (left to right – Abigail Wright, Matt Campbell, Ryan Powell):

I also have many, many news items to share with you.  Soon, I hope!

‘See you at the theatres!

Hope Baugh –

Mailbox: Exciting Theatre News About Phil the Void!

Holy smokes!  Have you heard?  Phil Van Hest, aka Phil the Void, aka the hilarious, long-time Indy Fringe performer who has been comfortably based in Los Angeles the whole time I have known him, aka the beloved purveyor of gnome saying bumper stickers and BattleCat trading cards,  is definitely MOVING TO INDIANAPOLIS this spring!

Continue reading Mailbox: Exciting Theatre News About Phil the Void!

Word of Mouth and Mailbox

As always, there was a lot going on in terms of live theatre in the Indianapolis area last weekend and I have a lot in my email box about events coming up. 

Here is my writing plan for the next few days:

  • Word of Mouth and Mailbox (today’s post)
  • IndyFringe DivaFest Overview
  • Spotlight 2010 For the Record
  • Theatre Review: “Dash Thirty Dash” at IndyFringe DivaFest
  • Theatre Review: “Madwomen’s Late Night Cabaret” at IndyFringe DivaFest
  • Theatre Review: “Always Patsy Cline” at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre.  (And since this show runs through June 6, 2010, I will tell you right away that whether or not you are a country music fan, this show is a treat.  It is a satisfying musical tribute to the late Patsy Cline, but it also a moving and funny show about friendship and the power of musical storytelling in general.  Plus there are lots of beautiful dresses.)
  • If I have time, something related to the copious, compulsive notes I took at the Steven Dietz interview last month and the DivaFest panel of advisors this month.

In the meantime, here are a few items from last weekend’s gallivanting and from my email box, in random order:

Continue reading Word of Mouth and Mailbox