Theatre Review: “Chicago the Musical” by Actors Theatre of Indiana

On Saturday night a friend and I drove to the new Studio Theater to see the Actors Theatre of Indiana production of “Chicago the Musical.” 

The Studio Theater is part of the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel, Indiana.  Carmel is just north of Indianapolis.  Actors Theatre of Indiana (ATI) is the Center’s resident professional theatre company.

The book for “Chicago the Musical” was written by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse.  The music is by John Kander, with lyrics by Fred Ebb.  Judy Fitzgerald directed ATI’s production.

I loved the intimacy of this production!  I recognized many of the performers from other professional shows in larger venues around town over the years.  It was a treat to be able to see and hear these beloved performers doing their thing up close in a cozy space and in a show that highlights their singing and dancing talents.

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Theatre Review: “I Hate Hamlet” by the Carmel Community Players

Last Sunday afternoon I drove to the Carmel Community Playhouse in the Claypool Terrace shopping area of Carmel, Indiana (just north of Indianapolis) to see the Carmel Community Players’ production of “I Hate Hamlet.”  This comedy was written by Paul Rudnick.  It was directed for CCP by Lori Raffel and produced by Risa Krauter.

It was so good!  I leapt to my feet to applaud even before the house lights came up for the curtain call.  I drove to my next appointment with a wet but smiling face, feeling grateful for every person that answers the call to be a stage actor.

The following Thursday I went back to see the show a second time and enjoyed it tremendously again.  I wish it ran for three weekends instead of just two.  (I also wish I had a photo from the show to share with you, but never mind.)(Update 4/10/11 – Lori Raffel emailed me the above rehearsal photo.  Thanks, Lori!)

Tonight and tomorrow afternoon are your last chances to see this funny and exceptionally well directed all-volunteer production. 

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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:

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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:

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

Theatre Review: “Rabbit Hole” at Carmel Community Players


Last Friday night I drove north to Clay Terrace shopping center in Carmel, Indiana, to see the inaugural production of the 16-year-old, all-volunteer Carmel Community Players in their new space, the Carmel Community Playhouse.

It was a thrilling experience, not only because the new space is so nifty but also because the acting in this particular production is exceptional.  And by “exceptional acting” I don’t just mean in terms of community theatre.   The acting, especially the pacing, in this show is excellent by anyone’s standards.

The Show

The show is “Rabbit Hole,” David Lindsey-Abaire’s 2007 Pulitzer Prize winner.  It is a moving, thought-provoking, even surprising and funny piece about the changing dynamics in a family that has lost a young boy to a traffic accident.  Ken Klingenmeier directed it for the Carmel Community Players.  Lori Raffel produced it and designed the programs and posters for it.  Donna Klingenmeier is the stage manager. 

I have seen and loved two professional productions of this piece – first at the Curious Theatre in Denver, Colorado and more recently at our own Indiana Repertory Theatre in downtown Indianapolis.  Both of those theatres are relatively large.  CCP’s new space is smallish and quite intimate.  This means that the set (which was designed, built, and decorated by the director) feels more like an apartment than a huge suburban house, but both the humor and the pain in the interactions of the characters feel more personal.  We feel even more powerfully how much they all love each other and yet how distanced they are from each other emotionally now, even when they are physically close to each other.

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Theatre Review: “The Foreigner” at Carmel Community Players

On Friday, May 9, 2008, I drove to Studio 15, just off Main Street in Carmel, to see the Carmel Community Players’ presentation of “The Foreigner,” by Larry Shue.  It was directed by Ron Creviston, assisted by Dick Davis.  They share production credit.

The show closed this past weekend, on Sunday, May 18, but I didn’t have a chance to write about it until today.  Even though this review won’t help anyone decide whether or not to go see it, I want to write it anyway.  I want to record my impressions of this show so that when it receives some Encore nominations this fall for excellence in community theatre (as I am sure that it will!) I can come back here to my blog and re-live the pleasure that I felt when I saw the show.

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‘Had to get me another shot

Ernest Hemingway said, “What’s right is what feels good afterwards.”

I worked at my day job 9-7 today after going to a show last night.  (Review of “Well” at the Phoenix coming soon!)  I was going to stay in tonight and do a little writing, a little reading, a little laundry…you know, just take it easy and catch up on my life.  I would like to see and write about the shows currently running at Buck Creek and Epilogue, but I knew I couldn’t get to either of those shows by curtain time tonight.  And besides, there is such a thing as too much theatre, even for me. 

So I was going to go home, kick off my shoes, release my bra, slip into my sweats…  I was going to make scrambled eggs with onions and cheese, some steamed broccoli on the side, or maybe some wilted spinach a la Rachel Ray. (She adds nutmeg.)   

In other words, I had a plan.

But driving home, I suddenly realized that I could get to Studio 15 in Carmel in time to see “Art” again if I really wanted to. 

And I did!  I did want to see “Art” again.  And not only because I liked the show the first time I saw it.  I also just wanted to be around testosterone in a safe way.  Adult testosterone.  Maybe that was because at my day job I work mostly with women and teens, and because most of my friends are female.  For whatever reason, I just really wanted a shot of theatre AND a shot of the opposite sex.  Do you ever feel that way?

So I turned my car around.

I had to wait for a seat; they had a full house.  But some people with reservations didn’t show up, so I got one of the good seats after all.  (I was willing to sit in a folding chair by the coffee pot if I had to, though.)

And the three guys charmed me again. 

If Hemingway were here, I would tell him:  I feel great.  I can do laundry tomorrow.

Theatre Review: “Art” presented by the Carmel Community Players

On Sunday afternoon I drove with my windows down (balmy weather!) to Studio 15 in Carmel, just north of Indy, to see the Carmel Community Players’ production of “Art.”  This play was written by Yasmina Reza and translated from the French by Christopher Hampton.  CCP’s presentation was directed by Ken Klingenmeier and produced by Kim Howard.

I felt lucky to see this play so soon after seeing “Six Degrees of Separation,” by John Guare.  Both plays are about art and intimacy.  In both plays, the characters sometimes speak directly to the audience.  The pieces are very different in other ways, but they complement each other well.

In “Art,” three guys figure out their friendship as they figure out their own takes on art – art in general and one painting in particular.  Their conversations are smart, funny and thought-provoking.

Continue reading Theatre Review: “Art” presented by the Carmel Community Players