2016 Directory of Shows I’ve Seen


Fancy, Old Fashioned Theater Seats - Benjamin Thompson

(Last updated 12/21/16)

I realized recently that one of the many reasons I love going to see live theatre is because whether it makes me laugh, cry, or think, it usually gives me an experience of good communication. If there has been fear or pain or sorrow in my personal or work life due to communication failures, I am comforted that I can go to one of my favorite theatres with an open heart and…understand what is going on.

Writing this makes me laugh, but it is true.

I don’t know what 2016 will mean for me in terms of writing about theatre but I do know I want to see a lot of shows.  I bought flex passes to the Phoenix Theatre and to Theatre on the Square; a World Class Pass to the Indiana Repertory Theatre; and a VIP membership to Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre. I hope to see shows at several other Indianapolis area theatres as well, and probably at least a handful in Bloomington, Indiana and maybe other places.

Below is what I’ve seen so far in 2016.  I will update it all year as I go along, as I did in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015.

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Review: “A Steady Rain” – Acting Up Productions

Professional theatre company Acting Up Productions was only able to offer five performances of “A Steady Rain” by Keith Huff.  I am very glad I got to witness one of them!

“Witness” is the most precise word for the experience.  In this piece, the theatrical fourth wall is down.  Two Chicago police officers try to explain to the audience and to themselves how their life-long friendship and partnership fell apart.

Their efforts are heartbreaking on many levels, and not just because the body count is high.  Being in the audience is not so much about judging them as about recognizing and respecting their complex humanity, sharing their sorrow, and knowing that, as the characters themselves acknowledge at different points in their storytelling, “there but for the grace of God” go you and I.

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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: “The 39 Steps” at the Indiana Repertory Theatre

On Saturday afternoon I drove to downtown Indianapolis to see the Indiana Repertory Theatre’s production of “The 39 Steps.”  It was adapted by Patrick Barlow from the novel by John Buchanon, from the movie of Alfred Hitchcock licensed by IV Global Entertainment Limited, and from an original concept by Nobby Dimon and Simon Corble.  Peter Amster directed it for the IRT, where Janet Allen is the artistic director and Steven Stolen is the managing director.

I now know that the stage show was nominated for the 2008 Tony Award, and I now know that one of mystery master Alfred Hitchcock’s most famous noir films is “The 39 Steps,” but I didn’t know anything about either of these two facts going in to the IRT on Saturday.

And it didn’t matter.  This show is very accessible and so much fun!  It is a suspenseful, funny treat for stage fans and film fans alike, not to mention mystery fans.

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Theatre Review: “Bunny Spectacular” by Q Artistry

On Friday, April 1, 2011 I drove to the Historic Irvington Lodge on the near east side of Indianapolis to see the world premiere of Q Artistry’s “Bunny Spectacular.”  It was directed by Ben Asaykwee, with segments directed by Maria Meschi.  Ryan Powell and Carrie Morgan were the assistant directors.

If you are a regular reader of Indy Theatre Habit, you know that I almost never have time to write about shows for children.  However, I made time for this show because a) I love Q Artistry’s work in general and b) a giant bunny came to visit me with free tickets to opening night.

“Bunny Spectacular” is definitely a treat of a show for families with little kids, but this solo adult had a great time, too.

Continue reading Theatre Review: “Bunny Spectacular” by Q Artistry

Theatre Review: “Annie Get Your Gun” at Beef and Boards

Last Sunday evening I drove to the northwest side of Indianapolis to see “Annie Get Your Gun” at the Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre.  The music and lyrics for this 1948 Broadway musical were written by Irving Berlin.  The book was written by Herbert and Dorothy Fields. It was directed for Beef and Boards by Doug Stark. (Douglas E. Stark)

It is a beautiful, beautiful production and it piqued my interest in Annie Oakley.

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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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Sad Indy Theatre News: John Austin Butsch Killed

Update 4/18/11:  Here is a direct link to the obituary in the Indianapolis Star:


It includes the following information (at the end) about a memorial service:

A Memorial Celebration will be held on Wednesday, May 4, from 6 to 8 p.m., at the Athenaeum Theatre, 401 E. Michigan St. Burial services will be private.

John’s sister, Kristin, emailed me to add that calling is from 6 – 8pm with a service/program from 7 – 7:30pm.

Update 4/19/11 – Unfortunately, I have a work conflict that night that I can neither reschedule nor delegate, so I will not be able to attend the celebration of John’s life.  However, I will be there in spirit, wishing John and his family and friends all comfort and peace.


(Original April 9, 2011 post below, with an update on April 13, 2011)

Continue reading Sad Indy Theatre News: John Austin Butsch Killed

Theatre Review: “Auntie Mame” at Buck Creek, Plus 2011-2012 BCP Season

Last Saturday night I drove to the southeast side of Indianapolis to the Buck Creek Playhouse to see the Buck Creek Players’ production of “Auntie Mame.”  It was written by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee, based on the 1955 bestselling novel by Patrick Dennis.  It was directed for Buck Creek by Andrew Ranck and produced by Cheryl Kern.

I love the 1974 movie version starring Lucille Ball and I would like to read the novel some day.  Now, after seeing this non-musical stage version, I am fonder than ever of the irrepressible title character and her story. 

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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.

Continue reading Theatre Review: “This” at the Phoenix Theatre