Theatre Review: “This” at the Phoenix Theatre

Last Thursday night I drove to the Phoenix Theatre in downtown Indianapolis to see the Midwest premiere of “This,” by Melissa James Gibson.  It was directed for the Phoenix by Dale McFadden, assisted by Jonathan James Courtemanche.  It was produced by the Phoenix’s Producing Director, Bryan Fonseca.

It is a smart, delicately funny show that made me wish I had brought a whole box of tissues with me.

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Theatre Review: “The Storytelling Ability of a Boy” at the Phoenix

Last Thursday I drove to downtown Indianapolis to see the Midwest premiere of “The Storytelling Ability of a Boy” at the Phoenix Theatre.  It was written by Carter W. Lewis and directed for the Phoenix by Bryan Fonseca, assisted by Raphael Schwartzman.

As with just about every show I see at the Phoenix, I loved the layered-ness of it.

Continue reading Theatre Review: “The Storytelling Ability of a Boy” at the Phoenix

Theatre Log: “Norway” at the Phoenix

Here it is almost midnight on Wednesday and I still have two promised reviews from last weekend to finish writing plus a show or two coming up this weekend, plus, you know, my fulltime day job and my life outside Indy Theatre Habit, so I am not going to be able to write a full review of the co-world premiere of Samuel D. Hunter’s “Norway” at the Phoenix Theatre.

Even though I loved it.

I will instead start a new practice for 2011 that I’m going to call “logging” (as opposed to “reviewing.”)  For shows that I saw NOT on a media pass and for which I will not have time to write a full review, I will at least post the basic who-did-what from the show’s paper program so that it will be searchable here, plus I will copy whatever I happened to write about the show elsewhere (e.g. on Twitter.)

Here is what I tweeted the night I saw “Norway”:

Continue reading Theatre Log: “Norway” at the Phoenix

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:

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Theatre Review: “In the Next Room or the Vibrator Play” at the Phoenix Theatre

Dear Reader, I must apologize for again taking longer than a week to post a review.  I saw and loved Sarah Ruhl’s Tony-and-Pulitzer-nominated “In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play,” directed and produced by Bryan Fonseca, at the Phoenix Theatre in downtown Indianapolis on Sunday, October 3, 2010.  That was the weekend it opened here.  It is scheduled to run for two more weekends.

As wonderful as it is, it is not the sort of play that is going to be snapped up by community theatres here in central Indiana, and somehow I don’t see the other professional theatres picking it up, either, so if you want to see it, you had better make time to see it at the Phoenix.  But even beyond the Phoenix’s exclusivity, the Phoenix’s production of this play is lovely.  Truly lovely.

Continue reading Theatre Review: “In the Next Room or the Vibrator Play” at the Phoenix Theatre

Theatre Adventure: “Pure Prine” at the Phoenix Theatre

The answer is “yes.”  Yes, I saw the new Prine show at the Phoenix before it closed.  A lot of people have asked me that in the past week.

And yes, I loved it, too.  It was unlike any other show I had ever seen.

I am not going to write a regular review of it because I did not see it in the regular way.  However, if you will indulge me, I would like to share my experience of it:

  Continue reading Theatre Adventure: “Pure Prine” at the Phoenix Theatre

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

Theatre Review: “Yankee Tavern” at the Phoenix

A couple weekends ago, I drove downtown to the Mass-Ave theatre district of downtown Indianapolis to see the opening performance of “Yankee Tavern” at the Phoenix Theatre.  It was written by Steven Dietz and directed by Bryan Fonseca. 

I liked this creepy-funny show so much that I went back to see it a second time this past Thursday night.  (Thursday and Sunday performances are always “Duke Energy Cheap Seats” this season at the Phoenix: tickets are only $15.)

I love that it is a play about conspiracy theories surrounding what happened in and to the United States on September 11, 2001, but also about unusual coincidences and conspiracies in general.  A certain line about a potential Abraham Lincoln conspiracy made me bark with laughter, it was so preposterous, but I also agreed with my friend, Anne, who said as we were leaving the theatre, “I want to know which ones of those are true!”

I also love that “Yankee Tavern” is a play about all forms of communication, including communication with ghosts.  Also, the design elements and everyone in the show are very attractive, which is icing on the layered cake of the story.

Continue reading Theatre Review: “Yankee Tavern” at the Phoenix

Quick Thoughts on “Yankee Tavern, “Grace & Glorie,” and Phil

You know that I can maintain this theatre reviews blog right now only because I work my butt off at another, fulltime-plus, job which I also love and for which I am paid, right?  So I hope you will again forgive me for being behind in my review writing.   I have to/get to work at my fulltime job this weekend, too, so I won’t be caught up with my theatre blogging any time soon.

In the meantime, then, I’d like to say quick word about the two new shows I saw last weekend:

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Theatre Review: “Octopus” at the Phoenix

Ricardo Melendez in Octopus - photo by JulieCurryPhotography.com

Last Thursday night I met my friend, Chris, and his partner, Doug (who is also becoming my friend, I hope!) at the Phoenix Theatre in downtown Indianapolis to see the opening night performance of the Midwest premiere of “Octopus,” by Steven Yockey.  Bryan Fonseca directed it, assisted by Brandon Gelvin.

It is an intense show, full of satisfying surprises both in terms of the story and the staging of it.  After a lot of post-show discussion, Doug pronounced it “poignant.”  Chris pronounced it “genius.”  I loved it, too, but for maybe different reasons than they did. 

Continue reading Theatre Review: “Octopus” at the Phoenix