Storytelling Review: “Root Doctors, Midwives, and Fried-Mice Pie” by Susan Grizzell

"Herb Bundles" photo by Carolina Gonzalez

On Sunday, January 24, 2010, I drove to the Frank and Katrina Basile Theatre in the newly renovated Indiana History Center in downtown Indianapolis to hear the premiere performance of “Root Doctors, Midwives, and Fried-Mice Pie: Medicine in Early Indiana.”  Storyteller Susan Grizzell was commissioned to develop and present this piece by Storytelling Arts of Indiana and the Indiana Historical Society as part of their Sharing Hoosier History Through Stories Series.

Not all public speaking involves storytelling.  This piece as presented was more of a read-from-notes lecture than a storytelling – more about this in a moment – but the information was interesting and Sue delivered it warmly.

Continue reading Storytelling Review: “Root Doctors, Midwives, and Fried-Mice Pie” by Susan Grizzell

Mailbox: Opening This Weekend…

Martha Jacobs (L) and Lauren Briggeman (R) in "The Housewives of Mannheim" - photo by Julie Curry

I leave for Boston in 15 minutes or so, to attend the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting and to help decide the ten winners of the Alex Award.  You may remember that I posted about last year’s winners here.

This means that I will not be able to see any of the many intriguing shows that are going on around Indianapolis this weekend.  So…I’ll just tell you that if I were going to be home, I would think about seeing the all-volunteer production of “Jerry’s Girls” at Footlite Musicals

I would also want to catch the opening of a new play called “The Housewives of Mannheim” at the Phoenix Theatre.   Doesn’t that photo, above, by Julie Curry make it look like an interesting show?  The actor on the left is Martha Jacobs.  The actor on the right is Lauren Briggeman.

Here is most of the press release that Phoenix Marketing and Media Relations Director Lori Raffel sent me:

Continue reading Mailbox: Opening This Weekend…

Mailbox: Congratulations to Playwright James Still!

Playwright James Still

I am delighted for one of my favorite playwrights:



November 3, 2009


 Playwright James Still is a newly-elected member of the National Theatre Conference and was inducted on October 30, 2009 at the historic Players Club in New York City.

The National Theatre Conference, founded in 1925, is a cooperative association of distinguished leaders of the American theatre — university, community, and professional.  Membership in the conference is by invitation only, and is limited to 120.  The conference operates as a theatrical “think tank” and meets annually to review and confer on matters pertaining to the welfare and development of the theatre and to honor outstanding achievement of organizations and individuals in the field.  For more information, see

Of special note to Mr. Still is that the National Theatre Conference meets annually at The Players Club at 16 Gramercy Park in New York which was where Edwin Booth lived (and died).  Audiences will remember that Edwin Booth was a character in James Still’s recent play THE HEAVENS ARE HUNG IN BLACK.  For more information about The Players Club see


James Still, as you probably remember, is the playwright-in-residence at the Indiana Repertory Theatre. He was one of my first interviews for this blog.

Yay, James!

Hope Baugh – and @IndyTheatre

Mailbox: New Theatre Partner and “Mamma Mia!”

Mama Mia! National Tour 2009 - Monette McKay, Liana Hunt, Nicole Laurenzi - photo by Carol Rosegg

Guess what?!  Broadway Across America is adding me to their media distribution list!  (Thanks very much, Nancy Parrott and Elizabeth Truitt!)  I have included an excerpt from their first press release to me at the bottom of this post.  I love reading press releases, don’t you?  Beyond their content, as pieces of writing they are as fascinating and enjoyable to me as theatre reviews.

Now if you have been reading my blog from the beginning, you may be thinking, “Hope!  The focus of your blog is live theatre in the Indianapolis area.  You don’t have time to see and write about every locally-produced show as it is!  What are you doing negotiating for media passes with a touring organization?”

Continue reading Mailbox: New Theatre Partner and “Mamma Mia!”

Mailbox: Scary Story Events Around Indy This Month

Scary Stories by Kurtfagerland

There is a LOT going on in terms of performance art in the Indianapolis area this month, especially since October is traditionally THE month for ghost stories.  In this post I would like to share excerpts from four emails that I received from people doing “scary” shows that sound interesting.

  Continue reading Mailbox: Scary Story Events Around Indy This Month

Anticipating the 2009 Fringe: “The Rise of General Arthur”

"The Rise of General Arthur" - Phillip Low

I am DELIGHTED and honored that some of this year’s Fringe performers have started emailing me their press releases and publicity photos directly.  I am going to share them here on Indy Theatre Habit as a way of anticipating the 2009 Indy Fringe Festival, which will take place August 21-30 in various locations on and near Massachusetts Avenue in downtown Indianapolis.   I can hardly wait!

By the way, if you are a Fringe performer and would like me to consider sharing your publicity info, please email it to me at amarylliswriter at gmail dot com.  Yes, I’m on Facebook, and yes, I check every day, but if you really want me to consider writing about you, please send me your info via email. 

If you have never written a press release (and even if you have) be sure to include the 5 W’s – WHO you are, WHAT your show is called, WHERE you will be performing, WHEN you will be performing, and WHY your show is of interest (which might include what it’s about and/or how you came to develop it, your experience, your biographical info, quotes from reviews in other cities, etc.)

If you can also attach a publicity photo, all the better!  I didn’t start out blogging with publicity photos, but now I am totally addicted to them.  I prefer photos of performers rather than photos of show posters or graphics.

Below is an excerpt from the first info I received this year from a Fringe performer.  How excellent that Phillip Low is a solo storyteller, one of my favorite forms of performance art!  He is based in Minneapolis.   Break a leg at the Indy Fringe, Phillip!

Continue reading Anticipating the 2009 Fringe: “The Rise of General Arthur”

Mailbox: New Liars Contest at the State Fair!

"Axe" photo by Ben Fulton

Guess what?  I am going to be one of three judges for a new liar’s contest at the Indiana State Fair on Sunday, August 16, 2009!  The other two judges will be two of my favorite sister storytellers, Sue Grizzell and Celestine Bloomfield.  There will be cash prizes!

So what do you say?  ‘Know any good stories? 

Details are below in the press release that Ellen Munds sent me from Storytelling Arts of Indiana.  It includes the contest rules and info about the prizes.  Oh, I am so excited about this!  I love listening to good stories told live.  I also love being one of the first to hear and see promising new tellers.  So, whether you are an experienced teller or not, I hope you will consider entering this contest!

Continue reading Mailbox: New Liars Contest at the State Fair!

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.

Continue reading Mailbox and Vacation

Mailbox: More Playwright News and NNPN News

Playwright Steven Yockey

Yes!  Remember how I said a few days ago that I had some other playwright news that I was waiting to confirm before I shared it with you? 

I have been too busy even to make a phone call, but today I happened to receive confirmation of one those bits via a press release that I received from Jason Loewith, Executive Director of the National New Play Network c/o Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company.

Steven Yockey, author of “Octopus,” which is currently having its Midwestern premiere here in Indianapolis at the Phoenix Theatre, has been selected for one of three Emerging Playwright Residencies sponsored by the National New Play Network.  Steve’s residency will take place at the Marin Theatre Company in Mill Valley, California.

Congratulations both to Steve and to the Marin Theatre Company!  Yay, Mill Valley, too!

Jason’s press release also informed me that our own Phoenix Theatre has received an award from the National New Play Network’s Continued Life of New Plays Fund to participate in a three-way rolling world premiere of a new play called “Sunlight,” by Sharr White. 

Congratulations, Phoenix!  Yay, Indianapolis, too!  I don’t know anything about “Sunlight” yet, but I don’t really need to know anything about it in order to look forward to it.  When Phoenix Artistic Director Bryan Fonseca and his team select a play, I know it is worth seeing.

Below is the full press release with all kinds of exciting National New Play Network news.  As you know, here at Indy Theatre Habit we love reading the whole thing.  Speaking of the Phoenix, I am heading there now to see “Octopus” for the fourth time.  This Wednesday night performance is a Cheap Seats Night.  There will be no performance this Saturday, July 4, 2009.

Continue reading Mailbox: More Playwright News and NNPN News

Mailbox and More: Festive Possibilities for the Weekend Ahead!

Last year's Brew-Ha-Ha? Photo provided by the Phoenix Theatre

My goodness, there is a lot going on this next weekend!  “Annie” is still running at Beef and Boards, for example, and “Octopus” continues at the Phoenix…but before I tell you about the new stuff that caught my eye in my email box this week, let me invite you to take a virtual tour of my friends’ beautiful house.  Here is the link:

 What does this have to do with live theatre in the Indianapolis area, you ask?

Continue reading Mailbox and More: Festive Possibilities for the Weekend Ahead!