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: www.indyfringe.org.

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 http://www.nuvo.net/.

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 Nuvo.net 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 – www.IndyTheatreHabit.com and www.twitter.com/IndyTheatre.

© 2014 Hope Baugh

A Librarian’s Approach to the 2013 Indy Fringe Theatre Festival

(Update 8/26/13 – I saw twenty-seven IndyFringe shows this year at $10 each.  I got into Stewart Huff’s sold-out show because someone didn’t pick up their pre-paid ticket.  The volunteer at the box office told me as he took my ten dollar bill that he wasn’t allowed to sell over the established ticket limit so he would put my $10 for that show into the Fringe’s building fund and give me a donator’s button instead of a ticket.  No offense to the Fringe, but I would rather that $10 had gone to Stewart.  However, I didn’t see a way to argue effectively about it and the show was about to start and I wanted in, so I said okay.  I bought Stewart’s $10 CD after the show, but that was also just because I wanted it.  I saw one of the shows a second time – $10 more dollars.  I also bought two backer buttons at $5 each.  Oh!  And I also gave $5 to a busker (artist performing on the street.)  All in all, not counting refreshments, gasoline for 10 round trips between my home in Carmel and the Fringe neighborhood in downtown Indianapolis, and the occasional parking meter fee, I spent $305 on Fringe-ing this year.

It was worth every dollar.

Below I have added my thoughts on the twenty-seven shows I saw.  There were at least fifteen other shows I wanted very much to see.  Such is life.

To everyone that made Fringe13 such a pleasure this year:  Thank you!)


2013 is the ninth year of the Indy Fringe Theatre Festival here in Indianapolis, Indiana.  I have been attending and writing about IndyFringe shows since 2007, so this will be my seventh year of Fringe-ing.  I have seen over 150 IndyFringe shows so far, some of them twice.

There are many right ways to Fringe.

One way is to do what my friend Robby Slaughter (@RobbySlaughter) does and just find a place to park, look around for a theatre, and see whatever show is running next at that theatre.   He’s seen a few duds over the years, but he’s seen more treasures.  And a lot of them were shows he probably wouldn’t have chosen if he had read about them ahead of time.

Another way is to do what my friend, Twitter buddy (and a Twitter critic of Indy Fringe shows and other events) Heather Sokol (@JustHeather), does: Invite a friend to go with you to the Fringe and then make them pick what show you’ll see.  She calls it the “Let Your Date Pick Method.”

Another way is to do what my friend, actor Adam Crowe does: See one show where you know someone in it, and one show where you don’t.

I earn my living as a readers’ advisory librarian so my instincts are to:

First make one big list of the shows in some kind of order so that individual shows are easy to find again.  Fortunately, the Indy Fringe Festival staff  have already created a “Fringe13 A to Z” directory on their website.

Then put the shows into groups based on their appeal factors, if I know them, or at least by type of show.  Librarians are always creating lists to help patrons find books that will be a good fit for them.  “If you liked The Hunger Games, try these other books…” and so on.  We talk about quality in the reviews we write, and sometimes we form committees to identify the “best” books of the year, but in our day-to-day work with patrons (customers), we try not to judge books or people.  We’re human, and we do have opinions of our own, but when we’re on the job,  “best” means “best for YOU in this moment.”

Recreational reading, like theatre-going, is a very personal thing.

Below are some groupings (in alphabetical order, of course) that occurred to me as I went through the whole “Fringe13 A to Z” list.

As your self-appointed “theatre advisory librarian,” I hope this is helpful to you.

Continue reading A Librarian’s Approach to the 2013 Indy Fringe Theatre Festival

Hope’s Theatre Year 2012: The Best, the Most, the Other…

I know, I know: most people have already shared their “best of 2012” lists and moved on.  What can I say?  Sometimes I like to linger.

Before I talk about the shows that impressed me and/or affected me most in 2012, I’d like to make note of a few other things that were unique to this past year for me:


Continue reading Hope’s Theatre Year 2012: The Best, the Most, the Other…

Reviews of 16 Shows from the 2012 Indy Fringe Festival

I set aside some money and took ten days off from my day job to enjoy one of my favorite “staycations”: the Indianapolis Theatre Fringe Festival, also known as Indy Fringe.   So far, I have seen sixteen shows since the 2012 Fringe began last Friday.

I can’t tell you if they are the “best” (whatever that means) because there are forty other shows in this year’s festival that I haven’t seen.

I can tell you that I am glad to have seen every single one of these sixteen.

Here are some thoughts about them, in alphabetical order by title:

Continue reading Reviews of 16 Shows from the 2012 Indy Fringe Festival

C Stands for Courtesy as well as Copyright

I learned how to make a copyright symbol for my blog posts today.  My lawyer tells me that everything is automatically copyrighted as soon as I write it, but that putting a copyright symbol at the bottom of each blog post is a defense against someone “not knowing” that it is not okay to cut and paste one of my reviews or other posts onto their own website or Facebook page or whatever.

I started to add the following statement to my copyright symbol:

“You do not have my permission to cut and paste this post onto any other website or publication or handout, no matter how badly you want to.  You may quote a sentence or two if you like, but then you had better also link back to this post and say that the post was written by Hope Baugh for Indy Theatre Habit.  If that is too much trouble, then please do not ‘share’ any of it.  I do not care about promoting any particular show, and I do not care about getting a million readers.  I am trying to have a courteous written conversation with a probably small group of people that love to attend live theatre and let it transform them.  That is all.”

But then I started laughing. 

And then it was time to take a shower and head back downtown Indianapolis to see some more 2012 Indy Fringe shows.

(“Creatures of the Night” is my favorite out of the eight shows I’ve seen so far, although I loved “Feed Your Nightmares” and “Go to Hell,” too, and there was something to appreciate about each of the others as well.)

So that was as far as I got in my blogging today.

‘See you at the theatres!

Hope Baugh – www.IndyTheatreHabit.com (@IndyTheatre on Twitter)

©2012 Hope Baugh

A Planner’s Guide to the 2012 Indy Fringe Festival

If you love live theatre as much as I do, you want to see EVERYTHING, including all 56 shows in the 2012 Indianapolis Fringe Theatre Festival also known as Indy Fringe.

But after fringe-ing for five years I know that there is a limit to the number of stories and creative manifestations of artistic visions that I can absorb in ten days – let alone write about them – without being reduced to a quivering pile of brain jelly.  I’m taking ten days’ vacation from my day job for this and I’m buying all of my tickets rather than accepting a media pass, so I won’t be able to take more time off or pay for a spa vacation to recover from Fringe-ing.

So…I need a plan for doing the Fringe.  Maybe you do, too?

There are several possibilities:

Continue reading A Planner’s Guide to the 2012 Indy Fringe Festival

Theatre Review: “The Boy in the Basement” at White Rabbit

Last Thursday night I drove to the White Rabbit Cabaret in the Fountain Square neighborhood on the near south side of Indianapolis to see the full-length version of the hugely popular 2010 Indy Fringe comedy, “The Boy in the Basement.”   It was written by Katharine Heller and first produced at the 2008 New York Fringe Festival.  Here in Indianapolis, it was directed by Callie Burk and produced by the Wisdom Tooth Theatre Project.  Wisdom Tooth’s artistic producing director is Ronn Johnstone. 

Because of its popularity at the IndyFringe last month (every single performance was sold out), “The Boy in the Basement” has received an extended run of three Thursday night performances at the White Rabbit in September.  (There are two performances left.)

Continue reading Theatre Review: “The Boy in the Basement” at White Rabbit

2010 Indy Fringe – Last Day – Tweet Highlights and a Couple Other Reviews

(Photo above taken by me with my trusty iPhone.  The beautiful artwork on the buttons is by Lydia Burris.  Her larger, and even more beautiful, original IndyFringe piece was unveiled around the beginning of August 2010 and will be on display on the side of the Firefighters’ Memorial at the intersection of College and Massachusetts Avenues in downtown Indianapolis for one year.)

Well, another Indianapolis Fringe Theatre Festival draws to a close.  What a satisfying week it has been, both personally and artistically. 

Continue reading 2010 Indy Fringe – Last Day – Tweet Highlights and a Couple Other Reviews

2010 Indy Fringe: Day What? (2 more videos, a new venue, and some tweets)


I haven’t had much writing time during the past two days, but I was able to make two more little videos with performers from the 2010 Indianapolis Fringe Theatre Festival.

In the above video, playwright-performer Dan Bernitt talks about his solo staged reading of “Swan Balloon,” a fairy tale for adults. 

Continue reading 2010 Indy Fringe: Day What? (2 more videos, a new venue, and some tweets)

2010 Indy Fringe – Day Five – 1 Review, 2 Videos, and Some More Thoughts on Laughter

Yesterday I made two little videos while hanging out between shows at the 2010 Indianapolis Fringe Theatre Festival.  In the video above, “The Last Straight Man in Theatre,” Kurt Fitzpatrick, talks with me about his multi-media solo show (which I hope to see next weekend) and shares advice about how to succeed as a performer on the Fringe circuit.  He is from New York and has taken this particular Fringe show on the road throughout the Midwestern United States and Canada.

(While Kurt and I are talking, his stage manager is recording both of us for their own video files.)

The other little impromptu video, which is at the bottom of this post, is of cast members and friends of “Grind: the Musical” sharing songs from that show for the people walking by on Massachusetts Avenue.  I’m sorry I didn’t stand close enough for my iPhone to pick up the sound better, but I think you can still tell that there are some lovely singing voices in the “Grind” company.

Also at the bottom of this post is a review of “Bill and Erin: One Night Standards.”  But first I’d like to indulge myself with a sort of Fringe-goer’s reflective journal entry:

Continue reading 2010 Indy Fringe – Day Five – 1 Review, 2 Videos, and Some More Thoughts on Laughter