My 2014 Indianapolis-Area Holiday Show List

Sorting Items from my Christmas Drawer - H. Baugh

I will review at least four of the following 2014 holiday shows for Nuvo but I have made a list of ALL of the Indianapolis-area holiday shows that I know about here on my own blog just for myself. If it helps you, too…yay!

(11/26/14 – I updated this list a day later to include five dance shows.  HOW could I have forgotten them?!?  Four are versions of the Nutcracker ballet. The other is a holiday alternative from Dance Kaleidoscope.)

Please confirm all dates and locations with the theatres.

Priorities for me, whether I review them or not, include (in fairly random order):

Continue reading My 2014 Indianapolis-Area Holiday Show List

2014 Indy Fringe Theatre Festival – Reviewing for Nuvo

The 10th Annual Indy Fringe Theatre Festival – aka Indy Fringe – opens this Wednesday night, August 13, 2014 with the free Performers Showcase at the Athenaeum at 6:00. Then, beginning at 6pm on Thursday, August 14 and running through Sunday, August 24, 2014, some sixty-eight shows will run on eight stages within (fast) walking distance of each other in downtown Indianapolis. Read more about them here:

This will be my eighth year “fringe-ing.” I am paradoxically relaxed and excited.

In years past I have posted reviews here on my theatre blog of the Fringe shows I saw. For the past couple of years I even created an informal guide ahead of time.

This year, however, I am reviewing Fringe shows for Nuvo, part of a team of seven or eight other people. I will probably also tweet a bit (@IndyTheatre) but I will not be blogging the Fringe.

Nuvo, in case you’re new to the area or reading my blog from out of town, is Indianapolis’ weekly alternative news publication. You can pick it up in paper form for free in boxes on the streets around town, or read it online at

I have been reviewing live theatre for Nuvo since March, actually. I blogged about that decision at the time and I intended to continue blogging regularly on the side but a couple of homeowner crises and other things demanded my energy. I have been more or less maintaining my 2014 Annual Directory of Shows I’ve seen, though, and I expect I’ll get back to blogging, too, one of these days.

In the meantime, my Fringe assignment for Nuvo is to catch the eight shows in the Cook Theatre, plus one other, and write about them all before 8:00 Monday morning.

If all goes well, when our complete guide comes out in paper and goes up on the website mid-week, it will include a review of every single 2014 Indy Fringe show. I hope you will look for it!

Even more, I hope you have a great time at the Fringe, whether you see one show or several.  ‘See you at the theatres…

Hope Baugh – and

© 2014 Hope Baugh

Q Artistry’s “Bomb on a Bus” (Nuvo review)

I saw Q Artistry’s “Bomb on a Bus: a Speedy Musical” (book and music by Paige Scott) at the Irvington Lodge the first weekend it opened.  I was on assignment for Nuvo. Here is a direct link to my review.

Director Ben Asaykwee gave the curtain talk.  I was delighted to hear that Q’s “Bunny Spectacular” show for families will be back this April and their “Zirkus Grimm” will be back this summer.  You may remember that I loved “Zirkus Grimm” so much that I saw it three times during its first sold-out run.

I was also  delighted to hear Ben talk about their next “Q Kids” (I think he called it) production: “East Side Story.”  Ben said that each of the twelve (I think) kid actors would be paired with an adult mentor for the rehearsal process.  During the show itself, the kids would be the Jets and the adults would be the Sharks. (Or vice versa, I forget.)

“There is no sex in this version,” Ben scolded us, which made everyone laugh.  “It’s a story of FRIENDSHIP here on the East side of Indianapolis.”

 Three of my next four assignments for Nuvo are shows I probably wouldn’t have made time to see on my own but now that I’ve accepted the assignments, I am very much looking forward to them.  I’ll try to link to them from here on my blog, too, once they’re up, with whatever bonus news I might have that didn’t make sense to put in the official review.

I think I’d also like to put the basic “who did what” from each show here on my blog, too.  It will be more searchable that way than merely keeping paper programs in a drawer or relying on theatres to keep the info on their own websites once a show is over.

But I find that kind of record-keeping tedious so we’ll see.

‘See you at the theatres…

Hope Baugh – and @IndyTheatre on Twitter.

For PLA Librarians Visiting Indianapolis Who Also Love Live Theatre and Storytelling

Whenever I go to a Public Library Association conference (or American Library Association conference or Young Adult Library Services Association conference or any conference, for that matter) in another city, I try to set aside some time and money to check out the local theatre scene.

Multiple conferences in Washington, DC, for example, gave me wonderful experiences at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, the Studio Theatre, and the Shakespeare Theatre Company. In Denver I fell in love with the Curious Theatre Company and also enjoyed a show at the Garner Galleria Theatre.  In Philadelphia and Chicago…well, the show I wanted to see at Philly’s Walnut Street Theatre turned out to be sold out the night I was there, and let’s just say I was disappointed by the one show I saw in Chicago.  But I’ll get to those cities again some day because there are only a few cities that are able to handle hordes of librarians and anyway, that’s just the way it goes sometimes.  Life is an adventure and anything can happen with live theatre.

This week the Public Library Association’s biennial conference is going to be in my area – Indianapolis, Indiana – for the first time.  I’ve been thinking about what I would want a local to tell me about the theatre scene here this week, especially the scene relatively close to the Indianapolis Convention Center, if I were me but visiting from out-of-town.

I am delighted to report that this is a particularly excellent week for theatre-goers in downtown Indianapolis, especially theatre-goers on a budget.

Here are my recommendations, night by night during the PLA conference:

Continue reading For PLA Librarians Visiting Indianapolis Who Also Love Live Theatre and Storytelling

A New Chapter In My Theatre Writing Life: Writing for Nuvo

I am very excited.  This morning I met with Nuvo Arts and Entertainment Editor Scott Shoger and signed an “Editorial Freelance Agreement” to write for them about theatre.  In case you’re reading my blog from some other city, Nuvo is Indianapolis, Indiana’s weekly alternative newspaper/website.

Continue reading A New Chapter In My Theatre Writing Life: Writing for Nuvo

Three Playdates at Indy Actors Playground

11-18-13 Indy Actors Playground at Indy Reads Books - H Baugh

I attended my third Indy Actors Playground last week.  Lou Harry and Bill Simmons host it, usually at 7pm on the third Monday of every month at Indy Reads Books, which is at the northeast end of Massachusetts Avenue in downtown Indianapolis.  The Best Chocolate in Town store stays open until 7pm on Mondays, so after work you can pick up some exotically flavored chocolate truffles for later and then cross the street to eat crawfish etouffee’ or red beans and rice at the new YATS location before you walk a few steps to the bookstore to hear some of Indy’s best professional actors reading aloud a play just for the fun of it.

Actors take turns choosing the play and casting it. They may or may not rehearse it together ahead of time, but since they are donating their time and talent and since most of them are working a lot already professionally, it is not meant to be a big time commitment for them.  No one except the hosts and that month’s participating actors know what the play will be ahead of time.  This is so the selecting actor does not have to think about a play’s marketability.  He (or she) can choose a play for his own reasons, simply because he likes it.

There is no charge.  There are also no promises to the audience about appropriateness so leave your kids at home and keep your mind open.

Continue reading Three Playdates at Indy Actors Playground

Two Vacation Days (includes a review of Claire Wilcher’s show at Chef Joseph’s at the Connoisseur Room)

My storytelling went well, if I do say so myself.  Thank you, again, to all who participated in any part of the Basile Emerging Stories Festival earlier this month!  If you missed Matthew Roland’s lovely preview article about it in the Indianapolis Star, here is a link that should let you read it for free if you haven’t already read 30 free articles from the Star:   Its headline is “Storytelling is slow entertainment in fast-paced age.” Slow entertainment like slow food.  I feel more relaxed just thinking about it.

After that very full weekend and the anxiety leading up to it, I successfully completed a very full week at my day job.  Then I finally went on vacation and…I RESTED.  No Facebook, no Twitter, no work email, no clocks, no appointments, no promises, no plans, no expectations, no lists, no goals, no answering questions of any kind from anyone, no public sharing, no promoting, no entertaining, no coaching, no managing, no work, NO COMMITMENTS for a whole week.

Well, okay, I had two commitments.  And of course they were theatre-related.

Continue reading Two Vacation Days (includes a review of Claire Wilcher’s show at Chef Joseph’s at the Connoisseur Room)

Storytelling Preview: “Hoosier in Tokyo: a Tale of Leaving Home and Finding It Again” and the Basile Emerging Stories Festival

Photo by Christopher Anderton

“I usually tell people that I moved to Japan because I wanted an adventure…”

That’s how my “Hoosier in Tokyo” story begins.  I’ll be telling it again this Saturday, November 2, at 7pm in the Indy Fringe Theatre building as part of the Frank Basile Emerging Stories Festival.  The tickets are only $5 per telling, with your choice of eleven different tellers over the course of the three-day festival.  There is more info on the Storytelling Arts of Indiana website.  If this kind of thing interests you, I hope you can come!

In the meantime, I’d like to share some thoughts I’ve had as I’ve been revisiting this piece in preparation to tell it again.

Continue reading Storytelling Preview: “Hoosier in Tokyo: a Tale of Leaving Home and Finding It Again” and the Basile Emerging Stories Festival

Jay Harvey’s New Gig

In 2008, I was upset when the Indianapolis Star managers fired theatre reviewer Whitney Smith and gave his beat or whatever you call it to music reviewer Jay Harvey to cover as well. 

Here in 2013, when I hear that Jay resigned from the Indianapolis Star (his last day was Friday, May 17), I just sigh and hope that the Star’s head honchos will hire someone good to replace him. 

I’m afraid that they won’t hire anyone, not even a hodge-podge of freelancers.  I’m afraid that the Star will see this as an “opportunity” to just stop covering local performance art all together.

That would be horrible for Indianapolis’ arts organizations and a shame for the city itself.  It would also be a further erosion of the Star’s already low trust capital.

But I can’t control what the Star managers do, so I’m going to focus on the good news in Jay’s resignation:

Jay has started his own arts blog: Jay Harvey Upstage. 

Jay hasn’t said anything about monetizing his blog, only that he sees himself “thriving on this blog, responding to the arts scene around me, making it clear that I’m not in love with my opinions (I hope), but that my perspective after so much practice of cultural journalism in central Indiana might contribute fruitfully to the arts conversation.  I like to think I can encourage people to develop their own thoughtful responses to the arts just by modeling that behavior. I’m dreaming that ever more significant numbers of people will join me.”

How cool is that?! 

Even if he doesn’t have to worry about earning a living, Jay may get tired of writing for free once the rush of writing whatever he wants to write wears off.  And he may find that he simply wants to try doing other things.  He wouldn’t be the first “retired” professional journalist to have started a blog and then given it up.  There is no shame in that. 

But as long as Jay keeps writing his blog, I will keep reading it because I love the way he writes and thinks.  I wish him the very best with it.  I encourage you to give it a look, too.

See you at the theatres!

Hope Baugh –

©2013 Hope Baugh