Eye surgery: the journey continues

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Ken clay eyepatch
I guess some of you remember that in 2013 I was diagnosed with an ocular melanoma in my left eye. (See http://asota.wordpress.com/2013/04/14/eye-surgery-did-that/). I had a rather complicated surgery on that eye on April 9 of that year, which bombarded the tumor with a lot of radiation. I was told at that time that I would be losing all or most of my vision in that eye. Since then I have visited my eye surgeon, Dr. Minturn, in August and November, and I am scheduled to see him again in May.

All has progressed as expected. The tumor inside my eye has been shrinking. And in late February, I started losing my left eye’s vision. I really was not too sure what to expect with regard to losing my sight. It started as a blanking out of the lower peripheral vision, then it went all hay-wire – with a finger of blankness running across my eye and now I have lost most of that eye’s focus, I’ve started seeing a yellow circle in the center of it all and I’m just generally having a mess to look through in that dying eye.

My right eye is just fine and has picked up on all of the focused, clear sight duties. It becomes rather tiresome if I am watching TV or playing the PS3 or reading off my Kindle or tablet. Sometimes it’s better to just wink my left eye out and just have clear vision. Most of the time, though, my brain seems to be able to disregard what is going on in the left side of my perception – it seems to depend a lot on what kind of light I am in or the brightness of what I am looking at.

So what now? I guess what I want to do is lose the glasses eventually and go with a right eye contact. If my left eye keeps corroding my total vision – I may have to get an eye patch or something. I realize I may look a little odd – but I fantasize that it will make me look more like an old Hathaway shirt ad from the 1950′s.
Regardless, there is nothing much I can do but to accept this new turn in my life. So, I am losing sight in my left eye…as I like to joke to my friends and family: hey, at least I am not losing my hair!

“Anything Goes” at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre

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The original production of Anything Goes first opened in 1934 and ran for 420 performances, the fourth longest run of a musical theatre show at that time. Not only was Indiana native Cole Porter’s snappy musical creation a huge hit during Depression days, it has been revived numerous times since then. And Beef and Boards’ current production, directed by Douglas E. Stark and choreographed by Ron Morgan with musical direction by Kristy Templet, follows a long line of popular stagings over the past 80 years.

Granted, this is a dated piece – although this version seems to follow the revival production of 1987′s reworkings. Yet even that edition carries the quick tempo and wise-cracking style of the original patter written by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse. B&B’s ensemble does a very nice job of keeping that 1930′s feel intact as they spin through this old chestnut of a tale. Basically, boy has met girl, is losing her to a rich suitor, will do anything to get her back, including putting his job in peril as he follows her onboard the SS American. Lots of comic and romantic situations (and songs) ensue and, of course, the ending leaves everything in good order.

Led by frequent B&B performer Timothy Ford as Billy Crocker and B&B regular Deb Wims as his seductive gal pal Reno Sweeney, the cast dances and sings and cavorts through the lively proceedings with polish and sass. Ford is perfect as the lovelorn Billy, though I had a bit of trouble wondering about the keys of some of his songs. He is suave, polished and very talented in every aspect of his performance. Ms. Wims belts out her many numbers with a Mermanesque flair and dances with style and sheen.

Timothy Ford and Whitney Meyer work through their number entitled, "Easy to Love"

Timothy Ford and Whitney Meyer work through their number entitled, “Easy to Love”

Whitney Meyer is sweet as Billy’s object of affection, Hope Harcourt, and adds her lovely voice to the proceedings; Susan B. Smith does a wonderful job with the part of Hope’s mother, Evangeline Harcourt; and Douglas E. Stark provides his usual remarkable comic sense with the rich and poorly sighted, Elijah J. Whitney.
Jack Milo and Deb Wims explore the range of their relationship in their rendition of "Friendship"

Jack Milo and Deb Wims explore the range of their relationship in their rendition of “Friendship”

Sarah Joy Ledtke (pictured with sailors in the top banner photo) sparkles in her depiction of moll/doll Erma; stage and film veteran Jack Milo does his baggy-pants best as Public Enemy #13, Moonface Martin; and popular B&B funnyman Jeff Stockberger explodes onstage with his zany and gleeful Englishman, Lord Evelyn Oakleigh. When you attend, look forward to his “The Gypsy in Me” number – it is a show-stopper!
The cast of "Anything Goes" at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre

The cast of “Anything Goes” at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre

The supporting ensemble sails through their song & dance duties with crisp and precise performances, playing everything from the ship’s crew, to flirty dance troupe girls, to spiritually preborn Chinamen, and girlfriends and attendants. The first act finale, a full-length and high stepping rendition of the title song – “Anything Goes” – features all these singers and dancers to great effect. It’s a tremendous act-closing number!

All in all, I found Anything Goes to be time very well spent. Some of the humor and comedy bits are a tad dated, but most are still quite funny. The Cole Porter songs are always great to hear again and there are so many wonderful classics in this version. Costumes by B&B’s Jill Kelly are their usual marvelously designed colorful creations, while the set by Michael Layton is fitting and very accommodating of the many inside and outside scenes.

This show’s buffet line features a delicious variety of vegetable dishes and meat entrees. My favorite this time was the Mediterranean Chicken with Wild Rice and Tuscan Blend Vegetables on the side. Our waiter was a new face for us, a young lady named Charisma, who gave us great service at our table. As always – a visit to Beef and Boards is a multi-tiered pleasure of great entertainment, great food and great service.

Cole Porter’s Anything Goes continues at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre, located at 9301 Michigan Rd. in Indianapolis, through May 11. For full information about show dates and times go to http://www.beefandboards.com or call the B&B ticket office at 317-872-9664.

* – photos provided by Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre

“The Mountaintop” at Indiana Repertory Theatre

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We are all very familiar with the impact of the life and works of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We celebrate how he worked for change in America. We know that he was shot and killed on a spring evening in Tennessee, 46 years ago. But, what might have occurred on the very last night of Dr. King’s life? In all the realms of possibility – what might have taken up his final hours at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis? In writing The Mountaintop, Katori Hall has let her imagination flow to an outer-most possibility in an attempt to answer that question. In doing so, she has allowed us to see a Dr. King many of us could not have imagined; a Dr. King who has reached the mountaintop, and who is about to stumble and fall – great, yet flawed – powerful, yet afraid.

IRT’s latest Upper Stage production takes place entirely in that Lorraine Motel room – Room 306 – outside of which the fateful act of King’s assassination took place. It is richly performed by David Alan Anderson as Dr. King and Tracey N. Bonner as his feisty and mysterious final night’s companion, Camae. It is directed with an open mind and a sure hand by Courtney Sale.

David Alan Anderson and Tracey N. Bonner in Katori Hall's "The Mountaintop" at IRT

David Alan Anderson and Tracey N. Bonner in Katori Hall’s “The Mountaintop” at IRT

With respect to the possibility that you will be going to see this play, I cannot tell very much about the story, except to say it is a very original and imaginative treatment of an historic time in our history, or rather the hours leading up to it.

Mr. Anderson’s portrayal of Ms. Hall’s King is fully realized – he is bombastic, self-assured, a leader – at the same time, he is restrained, uncertain, even fearful and questioning. He is the real man, not the iconic presence we ordinarily think of, but flawed, unsure, tired and lonesome. Anderson’s understanding of this complex side of the man comes through with a sense of wholeness. This is a complete and rounded depiction.

Ms. Bonner’s Camae, on the other hand, is created from whole-cloth by Ms. Hall. Camae’s initial appearance gives us one set of ideas about her, while her latter self is very different, and a bit mysterious. And when the conversion in her being takes place, we are struck suddenly with an ah-ha moment of “of course” and “why not?” Please note that I must cloak this character a bit so as to not be a spoiler. Just know that Ms. Bonner has a wonderful understanding of how this duplex character should be presented and we are not at all confused or disappointed by her choices. Ms. Bonner’s skill for fidelity to realism in a fanciful role works extremely well here on all accounts.

The Mountaintop takes us to an unlikely place, but it is one we are glad to have visited. It shows us a side of Dr. King which is not often exposed – and a side of possibility we often deny to ourselves. Congratulations to IRT and Ms. Hall for a unique and unexpected theatre experience.

Kudos also must go to the imaginative and effective choices of Lighting Designer Kate Leahy and Sound Designer Tom Horan. Their creations are a vital part of the production’s feel, as is the wonderfully evocative set designed by Robert M. Koharchik.

Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop continues on IRT’s Upper Stage through April 27. Information about show times and dates can be found by logging on to http://www.irtlive.com or by calling the IRT ticket office at 317-635-5252. If you have the time, try to get there about 45 minutes before curtain time for an informational prologue – some are done by my great friend, Adam Crowe, and some will be done by Beverly Roach.

*-Photo by Zach Rosing provided by IRT. Other illustrations are from the IRT website.

“Other Desert Cities” at Indiana Repertory Theatre

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A struggling NYC writer returns after 6 years to the lavish Palm Springs home of her well-to-do right wing parents for the family’s Christmas celebration. Joined there by her brother and her mother’s sister – the daughter has a real surprise to share; having spent those 6 years struggling to rediscover her voice after her first novel, she has finally finished a book that is soon to be published – a memoir about the family.

Such is the bare bones synopsis of IRT’s newest production, Other Desert Cities by Jon Robin Baitz. A more fully endowed storyline includes such factors as a third child, an older brother lost to suicide, it seems, many years ago; the daughter’s perception of her parent’s culpability in that loss; the aunt’s alignment with the daughter along with her ongoing alcohol and drug recovery; the father’s retirement from film acting for a hard-line right wing political career; the brother’s production of a low-class reality television program; and the mother’s brash, fault-finding, and controlling nature whereby she is equipped and ready to go toe to toe with anyone, and often does. Oh, and the parents have been holding onto a very deep, dark secret.

With the possibly family-destroying book as it’s centerpiece, Baitz has constructed a fully engaging plotline that wades through a longish first act, only to deliver in the second act with a knockout punch of a resolution. The long exposition is very necessary for this complicated, yet engaging, American family drama. We learn so much about these folks, layers and layers of essential facts, and are led into the conflict of the dangerously truthful book through Baitz’ fully crafted portraits of the privileged Wyeth family members.

Will Mobley, Robin Moseley, Paige Lindsey White, Anne Allgood and Lawrence Pressman in IRT's "Other Desert Cities".

Will Mobley, Robin Moseley, Paige Lindsey White, Anne Allgood and Lawrence Pressman in IRT’s “Other Desert Cities”.

Skillfully directed by James Still, and co-produced in an agreement with Arizona Theatre Company, we are treated to a first rate cast which includes: Anne Allgood as the strongly resolved mother, Polly Wyeth; Lawrence Pressman as the diplomatic ex-actor father, Lyman; Will Mobley as the television producer brother/son, Trip Wyeth; Paige Lindsey White in the central role of novelist daughter, Brooke; and Robin Mosely portraying the recovering aunt, Silda Grauman. This ensemble is impressive in their full understanding of this troubled family. Each cast member delivers a skillful and distinctive performance. It occurred to me how fortunate we are to have a set of actors who have come to our stage from a full run of the show in Arizona previously this year. They were flawless in their deliveries and truly worked as a unit for the entire expansive play. Ms. White gave a standout performance as Brooke – totally engaged and meticulous in detail. Pressman and Ms. Allgood also impressed, as a couple struggling with duality and misfortune. Mobley came through nicely with an adroit personification of a put-upon, youngest adult child, while Ms. Mosely had a field day with the slyly witty Silda.

Anne Sheffield’s amazingly beautiful and complete set design works to give us the feeling we are voyeurs, watching the neighbors through glass walls, albeit with advanced audio spying equipment. The look and feel of the set faithfully denotes the wealth of these Wyeths. And I believe this is the first time I have seen a show anywhere with a swimming pool so realistically suggested onstage.

The result of all these marvelous elements is yet another inspiring show for IRT and it’s audiences. The acting here is top quality throughout. Honestly, I was awestruck by the intensity, the nuisance, the perception and the complexity of these actors’ characterizations. Furthermore, the IRT design team went overboard in their imagining the Wyeth residence and in their construction of their ideas. It is rare indeed to be greeted with such a lavish piece of stagecraft as one sees upon entering the auditorium.

Once again, I have nothing but good words for an IRT production. This out of the ordinary theatre experience is a must see!

Other Desert Cities opens tonight, March 14 and continues through April 5th on IRT’s One America stage. For information about show dates and times, or to make ticket reservations, please got to http://www.irtlive.com or call the IRT ticket office at 317-635-5252.

* – pictures are from the IRT and Arizona Theatre Company websites

“The Dining Room” at Carmel Theatre Company

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New to A Seat on the Aisle: guest reviewer Larry Adams, well-known central Indiana actor, reviews our production of The Dining Room which opened recently at Carmel Theatre Company.
After a long week in the office, at the tail end (we hope) of the World’s Longest Winter, it was truly a treat for me to head out for an opening weekend performance of Carmel Theatre Company’s production of The Dining Room. Apparently I wasn’t the only one to feel this way, as, after a bit of a hike from my geographically-challenged parking space, I found the cozy room at 15 1st Ave NE already filling with eager patrons half an hour before the curtain. Director Ken Klingenmeier kindly directed me to what he called “the ejection seat,” and, after politely declining his request that I write a guest review for his blog, “A Seat On the Aisle” (you can see how much good that did), I settled in for a relaxing evening of central Indiana community theater.

If you’re looking for deep and complex character development and a more traditional single-story narrative, A. R. Gurney’s play, first produced in 1982, is definitely not your ticket. The Dining Room presents a series of eighteen often overlapping vignettes, with six actors portraying over fifty upper-middle class characters in the course of two hours- at first glance, kind of a Greater Tuna: The WASP Edition. But there is, in fact, one constant, one character that never changes, the glue that holds all these seemingly unrelated scenes together: the Dining Room. This more formal, vaguely pretentious and vanishing relic of 20th Century WASPish households acts here as a metaphor for the vanishing upper-middle class culture itself, the culture for which Gurney writes this theatrical epitaph. Here we see the history, the values, the fears, and the challenges of a dying breed in a changing world.

Not that The Dining Room should be mistaken for some relentlessly ponderous, Arthur Millerian piece of theater- as the cast at the Carmel Theatre Company makes clear right from the outset, serving the audience a steady diet of laughs set off by just the right amount of palate-cleansing poignancy. And it’s the cast here that truly is the main course for the evening. Community theater can understandably fall victim on occasion to uneven levels of talent, but these six actors are- to a person- outstanding and well-matched in their skill on the stage. Mark Tumey, whom I’ve had the good fortune to see in several previous productions around town, particularly impressed me with his wide range- completely convincing in both drama and comedy, whether as an eager child or a curmudgeony, old grandfather. Daniel Shock, one of my perennial favorites on stage, was a stitch as both a little boy and the patriarch of a family of nerds (or is it geeks? I never can remember)- a scene that generated the biggest laughs of the evening. His timing, inflections and facial expressions are gifts I can only envy as a sometime actor myself. Barb Weaver was especially memorable for her turn as Aunt Harriet, in a scene designed to spell out more directly the theme of the show (for those- like myself- who are a little more paint-by-numbers on this kind of literary, subtle-meaning stuff than the average bear). Tonya Fenimore consistently hit the mark, whether playing a teen seeking to establish her autonomy or an uptight mother, while the mysterious “Ryan Shelton” (Sorry, no bio in the program, folks- but, hey, it’s community theater, you probably know him anyway) was masterful in balancing both the humor and the pathos of a father who really would rather not deal with the carnage of his daughter’s broken relationships. The most heart-rending moment of the night, however, belonged to Sonja Distefano, whose softly sweet portrayal of a mother suffering from dementia will no doubt bring a tear to the eye of anyone who has experienced the ravages of this disease in their family or circle of friends.

from top left: Mark Tumey, Sonja Distefano, Barb Weaver, Daniel Shock, Tonya Fenimore, Ryan Shelton

from top left: Mark Tumey, Sonja Distefano, Barb Weaver, Daniel Shock, Tonya Fenimore, Ryan Shelton

From a technical standpoint, the show is simply a marvel. Having stumbled through a stint as director of a show myself this past year, a show with a fairly traditional form and only two characters, I could only imagine how much of a nightmare (or perhaps, more delicately, “a challenge”) this show would be to helm, with its unconnected yet overlapping scenes and dizzying quick-change entrances and exits. Not surprisingly, however, Ken Klingenmeier- aided by the versatility of his talented cast and crew- have managed to fit together these interlocking parts nearly seamlessly. The pacing was neither rushed nor slow, and the flow was seemingly effortless- always a testament to just how much effort really is involved behind the scenes. I could also only imagine the back stage flow chart required to keep things straight- that is, I could only imagine it until Ken emailed me a copy later: a color-coded, heavily notated, bar graph that looks like something off a viewscreen on the Starship Enterprise (and not The Original Series, either- I’m talking Next Generation, at least!).

And finally, a few words about the venue itself. It had been roughly six years since I had last set foot in the building, at that time as part of the cast of a Carmel Community Players production. The seats have been replaced (Can we have a round of applause, for that, ladies and gentlemen?), but the intimate atmosphere thankfully remains the same. As an actor, I’ve always loved that feeling of being in the audience’s face- practically in their collective lap- connecting with them, drawing them into the experience. Now, as an audience member, I can tell you that feeling is just as much fun, and something you simply won’t experience at a bigger theater. The cast and crew of Carmel Theatre Company’s current production have taken full advantage of that feeling to produce an excellent offering for the local community theater audience. The table is set. Come to The Dining Room.

Carmel Theatre Company’s The Dining Room continues at CTC Theatre Fri Sat and Sun March 7, 8, 9, 14, 15 & 16. Evening shows start at 8 pm, while Sunday matinees begin at 2:30 pm. CTC Theatre is located at 15 1st Ave NE in the Arts and Design District in downtown Carmel. Parking for the show is available at the PNC Bank parking lot at the corner of Rangeline Rd. and Main St.- one block west of the theatre. Reservations can be made by calling 317-688-8876. Further information about the cast of The Dining Room can be found at http://tdratctc.wordpress.com/

Mystery Cafe at The Milano Inn

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Mystery Cafe
When Mrs K and I were invited by a friend to attend “Peggy Sue Got Murdered” at Mystery Café last Saturday, I really did not know what to expect. I had certainly heard of the “dinner and a show and a mystery” venue, but I had never even been to the Milano Inn. We were both quite surprised when we arrived and found a bustling restaurant full of diners. We reported to the reservation desk and were sent up a circular stairway to the second floor where the Cafe’s activities take place.

Soon after we were seated, and our drink order was taken, the actress who was portraying Peggy Sue, Tina Nehrling, could be seen setting the stage for the 1950′s era that we were about to enter and gently recruiting patrons who wanted to have a part in the play. I say “gently” because when she arrived at our table and asked who would be interested in having a role, it was all done without chiding or any attempt to win over one’s inclusion. In other words, when Mrs K said she wasn’t interested in doing a role, Peggy Sue graciously took that as a no and moved on. Naturally, ham that I am, I asked for a role and got the part of Mack the Knife, one of the many characters attending the sock hop at our high school setting. I would “appear” in Act 2. After all the parts were handed out, the show began.

The story focused on how Peggy Sue is so popular and how her best friend, Betty Lou, is identical to her in every way (except, of course, her popularity). Along with Peggy Sue, we meet Mr. Edsel – the Boys’ Counselor, played by Joe Strange – who is chaperoning the dance. These two actors played out their energetic performances, along with several audience members standing to do their various roles. The story turns when Peggy Sue goes to find Betty Lou and returns bloodied and mortally wounded. End of Act 1 – and it’s time for soup. Trays full of bowls appear and we are all served a delicious minestrone.

And that’s how it goes – with an act of the show, then a course of the meal. Act 2 is followed by a salad – all you want – act 3 is followed by the entrée (you have a choice of four dishes) and a generous bowl of spumoni ice cream. All the food was well-prepared and professionally served by the Cafe’s very attentive wait-staff.

Other characters appear, all played by Ms. Nehrling and Mr. Strange, all the parts that were handed out are performed with good humor by the very adept audience members, and at the end, those who wish to can write down their guess of “whodunit” on a worksheet, which is then handed in. After the show is over – one winner is given a prize for their correct guess. A best actor prize is also awarded – a can of ham – and so, being the biggest ham in attendance, I managed to win it.

I must say, Mrs. K and I had a wonderful time. The atmosphere was friendly, totally relaxed and non-judgmental. Everyone enjoyed the audience participation aspect, and the two actors kept the proceedings going with their high energy performances. Granted – the story is not Shakespeare, nor is it meant to be. There was a nice little twist to the plot, the characters were entertainingly portrayed, and a lot of good laughter and applause filled the room of about 70 participants.

I am glad Mrs K and I had the opportunity to spend a very nice evening with those 70 people. We came away well fed, well entertained and with a lot to talk about on the way home. We thoroughly enjoyed the fun experience!

Mystery Café performances take place every Friday and Saturday evening at The Milano Inn, 321 S. College Ave. in Indianapolis. They asked us to arrive at 6:45 pm and the show started right around 7:30 pm. You can make reservations by calling the Box Office at (317) 684-0668. You can find more details about Mystery Café by going online at http://www.themysterycafeindy.com/

“CATS” at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre



Much like my experience with Les Miserables at Beef and Boards, I came to a recent performance of B&B’s CATS with little or no exposure to the show. Oh, I had seen a clip from it on television and I certainly had been exposed to it’s hit song, “Memory”, but never had I seen the entire show. Upon telling people this, the most typical reaction I get is as if I had never been to a bank or to a dentist. The truth is, I have simply never had an opportunity to see CATS, and so this first chance to do so comes at rather a fortunate time, I think – because now, I can write about it.

My larger point is that I saw this production of CATS through unfettered eyes. I have neighbors and friends who have seen the play in New York or even in London, and I imagine they will come to this show with a different set of expectations and understanding. So, this review is my impression of what I saw, from my “first exposure” perspective.

Let me start with the talent I saw. Director/Choreographer Buddy Reeder’s 22 member singer/dancer/acrobat/gymnast/actor ensemble delivers dance and vocal performances that are nothing short of breath-taking. When the complete cast is onstage, their precision and proficiency is never anything but brilliant. And while the entire cast is so astonishingly striking, there are also individual performances that take the audience to an even higher level of amazement. In no particular order – Brooke Leslie Brown as Victoria, shows us her inspired and dazzling dance skills; Kristin Noonan as Jellylorum/Griddlebone, has us holding our breath during both her daring silk panel aerials and her incredible vocals; Judah Frank as Rum Tum Tugger, brings polish and panache to his characterization with an exceptional song and dance presentation; Aaron Della Villa as Mistoffelees, displays superior dance skills in his energetic performance; and Eileen Faxas as Grizabella, truly delights us with her superb renditions of “Memory”. And those are just some of the highlights! I also need to point out the excellent stylized choreography that director Reed brings to us through his talented corps. It is at once so complex and so very expressive. And the variety seems endless. With 18 or so dance numbers to create, he seems to never lack for new and original ideas on how to turn a dancer’s cat-form into magical manifestations.

The incredible cast of Beef and Boards' "CATS"

The incredible cast of Beef and Boards’ “CATS”

All this action is well-supported by Terry Woods’ crisp orchestra direction and by lavish costumes provided by the talents of John White and Jill Kelly. As you can imagine, or can recall if you are one of the many CATS aficionados, the costumes are a huge part of the production, as is the makeup – which was also designed by Mr. Reeder. So, all the necessary elements for great theatre are there – onstage. And I was truly wowed by all of the cast members’ performances.

Then, there is the story. The program tells us that CATS is based on T.S. Eliot’s “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats”, a collection of humorous poems which Eliot evidently wrote to amuse his many cat-loving friends. Many of the lyrics of the songs are entirely taken from these poems. Fair enough – a great author is used as a source for a great composer, Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Created upon this element is the thinnest of story lines. Cats meet once a year for a ball, at which time they select one of their kind to be sent to cat heaven to be reborn. Fine enough, but as I say – thin. And thinly related to the audience, in my opinion.

To my unfettered eye, what the show seemed to be about is…well,…cats – this cat and that cat featured in one musical dance number after the other. And as I expressed earlier – this cast’s performances were all top-notch and I fully enjoyed and appreciated them for the extreme skill-set that they showcased. But I guess, I must have expected that more of a tale would be told. And I was surprised as the show spun on, that all the astonishing work I was watching was so much more akin to a revue than to a story. In my defense, I have read that: (quote) -Due to the Eliot estate asserting that they write no script and only use the original poems as the text, the musical had no identified plot during the rehearsal process, causing many actors to be confused about what they were actually doing. (end of quote). I felt the same.

Those of you who are CATS lovers obviously look past this or are locked into everything that is happening because of your prior experience with the show. Having had nothing to base my fresh exposure to the show on – I, too, felt confused at first. Be it my own personal theatre background or training OR taste, I have to say this: I was absolutely blown away by the astounding performances – but not so much about the “script”. And I lament: Everyone else loves CATS – why can’t I?

Finally, I cannot fail to mention the delicious buffet provided by Chef Odell Ward – it really was one of the best selections of items I have seen there – and the uncompromised service that the entire B&B restaurant/theatre staff provides for your visit. (Sidebar: A couple sitting near us arrived very late due to having a flat tire on their way to the theatre and when they arrived just before curtain, the B&B staff made sure they had drinks and plates of food – after the buffet line had closed – and the couple was made to feel that they were very important to everyone serving them. I was quite impressed!)

Bottom line: I strongly suggest you get your B&B tickets soon for what will be a very popular show. And, when you go to see this great Beef and Boards show – and I know most CATS devotees will – a little advice if you are like me and the show is new to you, do a little online research (I never do that before seeing a show I am reviewing – always after), know what to expect, and thus fully enjoy this truly amazing production.

CATS continues through March 30 at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre. Show schedules, reservations, and other information is available by going to http://www.beefandboards.com or by calling the box office at 317-872-9664. Box office hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays.


HowIBecameAPirate Sail into adventure with Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre’s debut of How I Became A Pirate, opening on Valentine’s Day! This exciting new Pyramid Players production is based on Melinda Long’s best-selling children’s book, and is on stage through March 15 for kids of all ages.
Young Jeremy Jacob is recruited by Captain Braid Beard and his mates to help find the perfect digging spot for their treasure. Along the way, Jeremy learns all about being a pirate, and discovers many surprises – including the perfect spot to bury the treasure.
How I Became A Pirate is live on stage Feb. 14 through March 15, and is the first production in the 2014 Live Theatre for Kids series at Beef & Boards. Pyramid Players productions are one hour in length and presented without intermission. Performances are for all ages, but offered particularly for children in preschool through sixth grade. Children have the opportunity to meet the cast after each show for pictures and autographs.
Performances take place at 10 a.m. on most Fridays and at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on most Saturdays. All tickets are $15.50 and include a snack. For reservations, contact the box office at 317.872.9664. Box office hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays.

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