Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre

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Every year the producers at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre choose a family friendly show especially for their younger audience members. This year’s selection is the very popular musical – Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.

For those few of you who aren’t familiar with the story – this is the tale of a young prince whose uncaring manner with an enchantress results in a spell being set upon him. The spell commands that he live as a horrible looking beast until he is able to show love and to receive it back. The spell also turns his servant staff into various objects – a clock, a candelabra, a tea pot, a feather duster or a vanity chest. In a little town nearby there lives a beautiful young woman who is as different as the beast is, in terms of her fitting in with the townspeople. The woman, Belle, longs to get away from the confines of her life. In the course of the story, she finds herself captured by the beast and facing challenges which test her and change her.

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The charming Julia Bonnett plays Belle opposite the powerfully voiced Preston Yates as the Beast in B&B’s production of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast”

These two main characters are wonderfully portrayed by local talent Julia Bonnett and B&B newcomer Preston Yates. Ms. Bonnett charms us immediately with her gentle characterization and her spectacular voice. She is such a pleasure to watch and listen to, I was totally drawn into any scene she appeared in. Her duet of “No Matter What” with her father Maurice, played here by longtime B&B favorite Ty Stover, is touching and superbly sung by both. Yates is well suited for the Beast, with a sorrowful countenance giving way to hope touched with humor as his salvation through Belle comes into focus. He is a keen actor with a powerful baritone voice that literally fills the room on his “If I Can’t Love Her”.

Touring the castle

John Vessel’s Cogsworth (left) and Alan M-L Wager’s Lumiere show Belle, played by Julia Bonnett around the Beast’s castle in B&B’s production of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast”

Much of the fun in this story comes from the castle staff who must endure being objects: becoming a clock is the consequence for the tightly wound Cogsworth, played here with gusto by John Vessel; a life as a candelabra is the outcome for the romantic Lumiere, rendered with a joyous delectation by Alan M-L Wager; Kelly Teal Goyette brings her operatic talents to bear portraying former singing star turned vanity chest, Madame de la Grande Bouche; Erin Becker is alluring as the flirtatious maid Babette, who has become a feather duster; and B&B star Suzanne Stark returns to provide us with a lovely Mrs. Potts, the teapot, whose beautiful song “Beauty and the Beast” is a highlight of the show.

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Madame de la Grande Bouche (Kelly Teal Goyette, center) tells of her glorious past in the opera as Mrs. Potts (Suzanne Stark, left) and Belle (Julia Bonnett) look on in B&B’s production of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast”

Belle’s hometown has it’s share of characters as well. This includes the aforementioned Ty Stover, whose gentle and eccentric Maurice is a steadying force for his daughter Belle; the egotistical Gaston, done with over-sized presence by Jon McHatton; his foil and sidekick LeFou, played with generous silliness by Samuel P. McKanney; and the “Silly Girls”, all giggly and starry-eyed as provided by Samantha Russell, Sally Scharbough and Christine Zavakos. Peter Scharbrough does a noteworthy turn as the creepy asylum director Monsieur D’Arque, and second-grader Holland Barnes returns to the B&B stage (after his stint as Michael in last year’s Peter Pan) as cute teacup Chip.

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Gaston (Jon McHatton) is surrounded by the admiring flock of Silly Girls, (from left – Sally Scharbrough, Christine Zavakos and Samantha Russell) in B&B’s production of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast”

Of special note is the work of scenic designer Michael Layton, whose multi-level structure (a re-working of B&B’s Cinderella set) provides the many different spaces necessary for this tale to be told.

Director Eddie Curry, along with choreographer Ron Morgan, and musical director Kristy Templet have created an enchanting and colorful stage experience for audiences of all ages, but children especially will enjoy this adventure at the theatre.

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The entire cast of B&B’s production of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” after the spectacular “Be My Guest” number.

I cannot comment on an evening at B&B without mentioning the fine buffet that is offered (lots of kid favorites on the line this time) and the wonderful theatre staff, caring waiters and ever-present bussers, who make a visit to the theatre by the pyramids such a pleasure!

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast continues at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre through July 10th. Show times and reservations can be obtained at http://www.beefandboards.com or by calling 317-872-9664.

  • – Photos by Julie Curry

Wisdom Tooth Theatre Project’s “The Merry Wives of Windsor”

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Last night, Mrs. K and I traveled to the Indyfringe Basile Theatre (which has been much transformed since our last visit in 2011) for Wisdom Tooth Theatre Project’s season ending production of The Merry Wives of Windsor, directed by Bill SimmonsWe were met there by a very satisfying and well-constructed performance of what is often considered one of Shakespeare’s weaker comedies.

The tale deals mainly with Sir John Falstaff’s need for quick monies and quicker romances. His faux pas of writing duplicate letters to his two targets for said benefits, with the added factor of the targets being very good friends, sets the ball rolling through a rousing story of lively revenge plots, comical jealousies, and mischievous misunderstandings.

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Sir John Falstaff (Adam O. Crowe, right) encounters jealous husband Ford, (Rob Johansen) “disguised” as Brook in a scene from “The Merry Wives of Windsor”.

Simmons writes in the program’s Director’s Notes that this was his first try at directing Shakespeare, or if fact – any classic text, and that he faced the challenge by deciding on a feminist angle, which was indeed on the mark. His precision in guiding his actors’ intentions, and the variety of characterizations allowed, ultimately led this cast to a wonderful understanding of their roles and the ways in which they would personify them. Simmon’s placement of the action at the 1950’s Windsor Hotel & Resort also gave the latitude necessary for a set of ’50s sensibilities and styles, which worked very well.

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Mistress Ford (Amy Hayes, right) and Mistress Page (Claire Wilcher) devise a plan of revenge against the lecherous Flastaff in “The Merry Wives of Windsor”

The cast is led by: Adam O. Crowe – magnificently lecherous and opportunistic as the fat knight, Sir John Falstaff; Amy Hayes and Claire Wilcher – scheming and hilariously giddy as gal-pals Mistress Ford and Mistress Page; and Rob Johansen – a tour de force as the jealous husband Ford (and as his disguise wearing alter-ego, Brook). Overall, this was a most evenly talented group – with memorably devised depictions by Carrie Schlatter as sultry “concierge” Mistress Quickly; Chelsea Anderson as the hula-hooping ingénue, Anne Page; Michael Hosp, as a shorts and collar-wearing clergyman, Sir Hugh;  and Josh Ramsey, whose sporty, nifty Page all but swished through his swank actions. In an ironic twist of Shakespearean practice, several woman played men’s roles, with aplomb. Gari Williams was remarkable as an aggressive Dr. Caius; Frankie Bolda took the role of the doctor’s much put-upon servant, Rugby; and Kelsy VanVoorst wooed the young Anne Page as the indefatigable Slender. Rounding out the well-suited cast was Zack Joyce, as Shallow; Benjamin Schuetz, as Anne Page’s persistent suitor, Fenton; and Adam Tran as Falstaff’s somewhat devious servant, Pistol.

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Some of the unfettered action in “The Merry Wives of Windsor” as the cast breaks into a song, and Page (Josh Ramsey, right) dances with Pistol (Adam Tran)

The action was played on Sara White’s inventive set design, while costume designer Peachy Kean Costuming provided just the right period-look for what sometimes seemed like a 50’s sit-com.

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From right: Dr. Caius (Gari Williams) is urged away by Shallow (Zack Joyce) as Rugby (Frankie Bolda) looks on in “The Merry Wives of Windsor”

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Fenton (Benjamin Schuetz, right) courts young teen Anne Page (Chelsea Anderson) in “The Merry Wives of Windsor”

Bottom-line: It seemed like all the right decisions were made regarding style, casting, designing, direction and feel resulting in a highly enjoyable evening of priceless laughs and depictions. The sit-com relevance is strong in this one, and it works like a charm. Go see it – you will be glad you did.

The Merry Wives of Windsor continues at the Indyfringe Basile Theatre weekends through May 28th. Call 317-522-8099 or go to http://www.wisdomtooththeatreproject.org for ticket and schedule information.

  • – Photos by Zach Rosing

“The Mousetrap” at Indiana Repertory Theatre

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As I am still busy working in a production up in Carmel, I recruited my good friend Mark Kamish to see and review Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap at IRT. Mark is a lawyer, a stage actor and very active in voice acting for commercials and audio books. Here is his review:

Ken Klingenmeier does a great service for our Indy theater community with countless reviews found here in his “A Seat on the Aisle” blog. I was happy to pinch hit for Ken Saturday and literally took a seat on the aisle at the Indiana Repertory Theatre to enjoy an evening of humor and suspense with Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap.

Ryan Artzberger and Cassandra Bissell

RYAN ARTZBERGER (Giles Ralston) and CASSANDRA BISSELL (Molly Ralston) in IRT’s production of “The Mousetrap” by Agatha Christie.

Surprisingly, I had never before seen this particular crown jewel penned by the “Queen of Crime.” I say surprisingly because The Mousetrap is the world’s longest running stage play of any kind. Now in its 64th year, The Mousetrap opened in London’s West End in 1952, and has been running continuously ever since. One marvels at how, more than 26,000 performances later, this humorous and suspenseful whodunit remains such a timeless and crowd-pleasing thriller. Dame Christie herself marveled at the show’s popularity. Never considering it her finest work, when asked once why The Mousetrap had been so successful, Christie replied, “People like it, but who can say why?”

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JAN LUCAS (Mrs. Boyle) and JENNIFER JOHANSEN (Miss Casewell) in IRT’s production of “The Mousetrap” by Agatha Christie.

I’m not sure I can say definitively either, but IRT’s final production of this 2015-2016 season was a delight to witness. To begin, the gorgeous set by scenic designer Robert M. Koharchik is breathtaking. Since the script confines onstage action to a single setting (the recently-opened guesthouse Monkswell Manor), Koharchik’s design creates the look and feel of what the great halls of English manor houses must have looked like in the 1950s – filled with more detail and grandeur than the eye can even fully capture in slightly over two hours.

Certainly Christie’s script has a lot to do with the show’s appeal: a houseful of strangers trapped by a blizzard and stalked by an unknown murderer among them. Part parlor comedy, part murder mystery, the dialogue is crisp and lively as we are introduced to eight people in Act I (down to seven by intermission) and are taken on a ride of twists and surprises in Act II, leading to the climactic conclusion.

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CASSANDRA BISSELL (Molly Ralston) and CHARLES PASTERNAK (Det. Sgt. Trotter) in IRT’s production of “The Mousetrap” by Agatha Christie.

Monkswell Manor is run by Mollie and Giles Ralston (Cassandra Bissell and Ryan Artzberger were perfectly paired), a newly-married couple who are soon joined by a motley assortment of boarders. “It seems very hard that all our guests should either be unpleasant or odd,” muses Mollie. They include the flamboyant and peculiar Christopher Wren (Jürgen Hooper made me smile a lot), the affable retired army officer Major Metcalf (Robert Neal), the persnickety old Mrs. Boyle (handled wonderfully by a younger Jan Lucas) and the rather masculine and hard-boiled Miss Casewell (well performed by Jennifer Johansen). Later, the group is also joined by Mr. Paravicini (an Italian gentleman believably played with accent and affect by Henry Woronicz) and Detective Sergeant Trotter of the Berkshire Police (Charles Pasternak), a serious young detective who has come to Monkswell Manor to investigate a recent murder elsewhere. And the murderer is still on the loose! Trotter’s pursuit of “the truth” shines a light on the power of false accusation in which everything is suspicious and everyone’s a suspect.

Charles Pasternak and Jurgen Hooper

CHARLES PASTERNAK (Det. Sgt. Trotter) and JÜRGEN HOOPER (Christopher Wren) in Irt’s production of “The Mousetrap” by Agatha Christie.

But the script alone could not carry this show without it being interpreted and performed by gifted artists. Great direction and a complimentary company of actors make a show like this work, and IRT’s production of The Mousetrap satisfies, in large part, because of the skill with which these artists at once individually embrace and portray the personalities of starkly-contrasted characters while bringing almost seamless and engaging interaction between those characters. Accents are sometimes tricky when attempted by casts this large, but British, Italian and even cockney accents were all pulled off consistently and believably by every member of this one.

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ROBERT NEAL (Major Metcalf) and HENRY WORONICZ (Mr. Paravicini) in IRT’s production of “The Mousetrap” by Agatha Christie.

I’d also like to mention The Mousetrap marks Associate Artistic Director Courtney Sale’s final IRT production as she leaves Indianapolis for new audiences and challenges at the Seattle Children’s Theatre, where she will serve as artistic director. Thank you, Courtney, for April 4, 1968: Before We Forgot How to Dream, And Then They Came for Me: Remembering the World of Anne Frank, A Christmas Carol and the many other contributions you made to the Indianapolis theater scene over the past three years. We wish you well.

In keeping with the tradition of this show, each night, one actor from the company finishes the performance with a direct address to the audience: “Now you have seen The Mousetrap. You are our partners in crime, and we ask you to preserve the tradition by keeping the secret of whodunit locked in your hearts.” In return, the audience promises not to reveal the twist. I will keep that pledge.

So take the opportunity this month to find out for yourselves whodunit. This is a classic work by a great American playwright presented by an exceptional cast and crew. Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap continues its run through May 22. Find out more about the upcoming schedule and reserve your seats early by calling the Box Office at (317) 635-5252, or by heading to IRT’s website at http://www.irtlive.com.

  • – Photos by Zach Rosing
  • – Banner artwork by Kyle Ragsdale

“Unnecessary Farce” at Actors Theatre of Indiana

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Once again, I am unable to review one of the area’s current shows – for good reason, because I play a role in it. So, my good friend Adam Crowe has taken the job of reviewing Unnecessary Farce for us.

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Ken is onstage – and that means I get to drop in and tell you all what he’s up to!!

I have been around Theater long enough to know that musicals usually sell better than plays, and new plays can be the hardest sell of all. Without a recognizable name or author, new plays can have trouble gaining traction. That said, a good script will always rise to the top. A perfect example is onstage now at the Studio Theater at the Center for the Performing Arts , where Actor’s Theater of Indiana (“ATI”) is presenting Paul Slade Smith’s Unnecessary Farce.

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Agent Frank (Scott Russell, left) encounters Eric Sheridan (Scot Greenwell) and Karen Brown (Leah Brenner) in a scene from ATI’s “Unnecessary Farce”.

ATI has presented some breathtaking musicals this season, but the Central Indiana premier of Smith’s ridiculously funny comedy is a perfect end to any theatrical season. The author assembles the essential elements of great farce – multiple characters and multiple doors – and sets them loose with secrets, misunderstandings, mistaken identities, and the timing of a swiss watch. An actor himself, the playwright knows not to spend time with deep character development or too much realism. Farces need to get wound up in the first scene and then fly. Unnecessary Farce soars!

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Mayor Meekly (Ken Klingenmeier, right) walks in on some of the mayhem occurring with Agent Frank (Scott Russell, left) and Eric Sheridan (Scot Greenwell) in a scene from ATI’s “Unnecessary Farce”

Director Darrin Murrell (who has been onstage with ATI in My Fair Lady and The Odd Couple) assembles a terrific cast and puts them through their paces, without missing a beat. Ken Klingenmeier plays a Mayor who is the subject of a sting operation run by police officers Scot Greenwell and Jenny Reber. These three are joined by various other characters, all of whom combine to bring the story and the comedy to a perfect boil. Scott Russell, Leah Brenner, Roger Ortman, and Vickie Cornelius Phipps (as a security agent, an accountant, a dangerous Scotsman and the Mayor’s wife, respectively) round out the cast. I will not spoil the fun by telling you how all these folks collide. Suffice it to say, every actor onstage is at the top of their game and the situations that arise as the story unfolds elicit the single most important ingredient to any farce – an audience in stitches!

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Officer Billie Dwyer (Jenny Reber, left) explains her unusual weapon to Agent Frank (Scott Russell) and Todd (Roger Ortman) in ATI’s “Unnecessary Farce”.

Bernard Killian’s set design is pitch perfect, as are the costumes by Donna Jacobi. Marciel Irene Greene designed the lighting and Jonathan Parke the sound and both elements are up to the challenge of keeping track of seven frantic and very busy actors.

A successful farce combines quirky characters and situations with continually rising stakes, keeping the action moving as the situations get constantly crazier (and funnier). Unnecessary Farce may be a “new” play, but it skillfully combines comic situations and ploys that have entertained audiences for as long as theater has existed. ATI has chosen (and cast) wisely. You would be equally wise to get your tickets soon. A show this funny will sell out quickly.

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Mary Meekly (Vickie Cornelius Phipps, left) is looking for her husband in a scene with Agent Frank (Scott Russell) in ATI’s “Unnecessary Farce”

Unnecessary Farce runs through May 15th at the Studio Theater at The Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel. Ticket information at www.atistage.org or call (317) 843-3800.

  • – Show photos by Zach Rosing

“Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” at Spotlight Players

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I welcome the musings of my good friend, acclaimed actor and physician Dr. Larry Adams, as he takes my place at the critic’s desk while I am busy rehearsing for a future production. ========================================================================

“Any idiot can face a crisis. It’s day to day living that wears you out.”

  • Anton Chekhov (1860-1904)

Day to day living is wearing out fifty-some year-old siblings Vanya and Sonia in playwright Christopher Durang’s 2013 Broadway hit. Floating through a purposeless existence in the crumbling lakeside estate of their deceased parents, the two casually bicker and lament the trajectory of their uneventful lives, until Masha, their movie star celebrity sister, pays a surprise visit with her young lover, Spike, threatening to uproot it all.

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Kathy Pataluch, Jenni White and Jim LaMonte in Spotlight Players’ production of “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike”

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Spotlight Players’ latest offering, is at first glance a play that can’t make up its mind, careening back and forth between- at some points- a black humor study of disagreeable siblings trapped in the ennui of unfulfilled lives, and- at others- a rather pedestrian 70’s TV sitcom. Themes of loneliness, unreached potential, and lives left discarded on the berm in the world’s mad rush for youth and novelty are jarringly juxtaposed against sight gags, plot complications and one-dimensional characters whom one could easily imagine showing up at Mr. Roper’s door in a rerun of “Three’s Company.” In this, a little familiarity with the Russian playwright Anton Chekhov is like insanity in the workplace: it’s not essential, but it sure helps. Chekhov, a nineteenth and early twentieth century physician who in his spare time dabbled a bit in literature and playwriting during the waning days of the Russian Empire, is the ghost behind the setting and nearly all of the machinations of Vanya and Sonia et al. His trademark mix of comedy and tragedy was presumably the model for Durang’s modern day script, and Durang does everything but take out Super Bowl ads to telegraph this to the audience- probably a wise thing when your prospective audience includes Biology majors like me, whose first thought when someone mentions “Chekhov” is not masterworks of great literature but “Shields up, keptin?” The setting of an ancestral home on a lake, multiple character names, and several plot devices are all straight out of Chekhov’s most famous works, and, as if this weren’t enough, Durang’s characters pointedly and repeatedly vocalize for the audience their parents’ preoccupation with community theater and the dead Russian playwright. Suddenly (or at least, for me, after a little post hoc research at the University of Google), the structure of the show begins to make some sense. We watch, sympathize and laugh as the six characters on stage express their dreams, lament their failures and attempt to exert some control over lives that are not quite what they had hoped. But after nearly two and a half hours of bickering and angst-filled inertia that seems, in true Chekhovian style, to go almost nowhere, Durang suddenly (spoiler alert!) wraps it all up with a rather contrived and decidedly un-Chekhovian happy ending that is, I’m afraid, both jarring and ultimately unsatisfying. Back to the 70’s sitcom. Roll credits. “And next, on a very special MacGyver…”

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Jim LaMonte and Nan Macy in Spotlight Players’ production of “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike”

My problem with the script aside (and let me emphasize that, unlike A Seat on the Aisle’s head honcho, my good friend Ken Klingenmeier, this humble back-bencher has absolutely no training or qualifications in theater criticism at all beyond a book report I wrote in middle school; this show won the 2013 Tony Award, for Pete’s sake, so you should probably take my review with the proverbial grain of salt), I must say that Spotlight Players has, as is its habit, once again staged a production that showcases the best of Indianapolis community theater. The actors are all top-notch, inhabiting their characters with strong choices befitting their roles, and director Jeremy Tuterow has molded them into a cohesive unit that seems comfortable managing whatever the text throws at them.

Newcomer Rahshe Byrd plays Spike, a boy-toy who seems to flirt, tease, and strip to his underwear at every opportunity “because,” as one character wryly notes, “he can.” I could have stood with a little less bopping in his walking every time he crossed the stage, but Byrd resists the urge to overact that is seen in most first-timers to the stage and instead exudes a natural delivery, confidence and poise that bodes well for a promising theatrical career ahead. Megan Nicole Smith brings a youthful exuberance and sweetness to Nina, the one fully likable character of the show, sparking some life in the world-weary Vanya and providing a nice counterpoint to Masha’s rough edges and sharp elbows in an enjoyable (if somewhat downplayed) rivalry for Spike’s romantic attentions.

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Rahshe Byrd and Nan Macy in Spotlight Players’ production of “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike”

Jenni White plays Cassandra, the domestic servant and soothsayer who, like her namesake, is prone to making dire predictions of doom that no one takes seriously. Durang seems to have conjured her straight out of Central Casting as the nutty housekeeper, with no real purpose in the show but comedy relief, but White laudably commits to it entirely, nearly taking over every scene she inhabits. Nan Macy is wonderful as Masha, the aging movie star diva, injecting every line and facial expression with a theatrical flourish that is both humorous and sad in its attempt to cover the fall from a life and theatrical career that have not met her expectations. White and Macy drew the biggest laughs of the night.

The heart of the show, however, belongs to Vanya and Sonia, the show’s only truly three dimensional characters, played with depth and feeling by Jim LaMonte and Kathy Pataluch respectively. Pataluch captures the resigned despair of a middle aged woman sidelined throughout life by circumstance and choice; her second act portrayal of disbelief that anyone could genuinely be interested in her is both touching and spot-on. LaMonte, always a bright point in any production of his I’ve been fortunate enough to see, once again impresses with his laser-lock on the character, illustrating with subtlety and finesse the fatalistic acquiescence to dreams deferred by family obligations, circumstance, and the inertia of life. His deft handling of a climactic monologue bemoaning the death of everything from rotary phones to Ozzie and Harriet is a highlight of the show and brought poignancy and meaning to what could easily have come off as simply a rambling, disjointed rant. We’ve all known people like Vanya and Sonia in our lives- heck, we’ve all been people like Vanya and Sonia in our lives, at one time or another. And it is that appeal to the universal that is theater at its best. We can all relate.

In Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Spotlight Players has succeeded in bringing a challenging show- challenging for both the actors and the audience- to the Indianapolis area, and I encourage everyone to support it and take advantage of it. There certainly is a market, and even a need, for perennial favorite shows; but the rich community theater “community” we boast has the potential- and, I daresay, the obligation– to expand the horizons of our audience from time to time with off-the-beaten-path shows such as this. “Only entropy comes easy,” Chekhov once wrote; to stay relevant and alive, theater has to grow. No matter how much you like it, you can only watch Steel Magnolias so many times.

Larry Adams

(As a side note: At the door, Spotlight Players is collecting packages of underwear- something Spike would appreciate- for The Coburn Place, a transitional housing program for victims of domestic abuse, and Horizon House, a secular resource center for the homeless. I don’t think a donation gets you any discount off your ticket- though it does get your name in a drawing for a season pass- but it will make you feel just a little bit better about yourself!)

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike continues at Spotlight Players new venue, Theater at the Fort, 8920 Otis Ave. in Lawrence through April 17th. You can find out more information and make reservations by going to http://www.spotlight-players.org or by calling 317-366-4795.

  • – Photos from Spotlight Players

“Guys and Dolls” at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre

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To me, modern productions of Guys and Dolls, the 1950s show which recently opened at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre, have the good feeling of a pair of nicely worn, comfortable shoes – providing a pleasant and agreeable experience that is both cozy and familiar. So it goes with the B&B production directed by Elizabeth Stark Payne, choreographed by Ron Morgan, with musical direction by Kristy Templet.

The colorful Runyonesque characters in the story are well-done by many recognizable B&B performers. Betsy Norton (featured in last year’s Beef and Boards Christmas show) takes the role of Save-a-Soul Mission’s Sergeant Sarah Brown. Playing opposite her is Timothy Ford (Robert in 2015’s The Drowsy Chaperone) as slick gambler Sky Masterson. B&B regulars Deb Wims and Eddie Curry take the parts of Miss Adelaide and Nathan Detroit. All four players bring great energy to their roles. Ms. Norton’s bell-like soprano is a highlight of the show and Ms. Wims hits a high mark with her comic portrayal. Mssrs. Ford and Curry sing and dance through their iconic roles with aplomb.

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Featured players include Shaun Rice (returning after his great portrayal of Uncle Fester in last year’s The Addams Family) as Nicely Nicely Johnson; Mark Goetzinger (back for his 32nd production at B&B) as Arvide Abernathy, Sarah Brown’s grandfather; Jeff Stockberger (you all know funnyman Stockberger’s resume, I believe) as Benny Southstreet; Daniel Scharbrough (returning after much too long an absence) as Lt. Brannigan; and Daniel’s son – Peter Scharbrough (another B&B regular) as Big Jule. Highlights from this group include Rice and company in a lively “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat” and Goetzinger’s beautifully sensitive rendition of “More I Cannot Wish You”. Also noteworthy are the musical numbers presented at the Hot Box Nightclub – with Hot Box Girls Danielle Carnagua, Amanda Downey and AnnaLee Traeger joining Ms. Wims for several sparkling presentations.

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Deb Wims (top) as Miss Adelelaide performs “A Bushel and a Peck” with the Hot Box Girls.

 

Familiar tunes abound in the score: the standards “A Bushel and a Peck”, “If I Were a Bell” and “Luck Be A Lady” all come from this show and are well-presented by the cast. Ms. Templet’s orchestra does a really fine job with the tune-filled score, while other technical aspects, such as Michael Layton’s crafty set design, Jill Kelly’s bright array of costumes and Ryan Koharchik’s lighting scheme all add greatly to the total stage picture and the story-telling.

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Shaun Rice (center) as Nicely Nicely Johnson, leads the cast in a rousing “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat”

Bottom line: A familiar show is presented with a comfortable depiction. And let’s not forget the added features at Beef and Boards: the wonderful buffet (this time featuring Honey Mustard Chicken and Battered Cod) plus, the usual wonderful service provided by every waiter and staff member.

Guys and Dolls continues at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre through May 15th. Show times and reservations can be obtained at http://www.beefandboards.com or by calling 317-872-9664.

  • – Photos by Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre

Cast for “Calder – The Musical”

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Klein & Alvarez Productions, LLC proudly announces the cast of “Calder,The Musical.”

Alexander Calder-Logan Moore
Thalia the Muse/Narrator-Maggie Held
Young “Sandy” Calder-Mitchell Wray/ Ian Gamble
Peggy Calder-Jordan Pecar/Piper Murphy
Louisa Calder-Virginia Vought
Nanette Calder/Ensemble-Emily McDuffee
Stirling Calder/Piet Mondrian/Ensemble-Jake McDuffee
Zelda Fitzgerald/Dancer/Ensemble-Chelsea Anderson
Josephine Baker/Dancer/Ensemble-Ashley Saunders
Gertrude Stein/NYC Times Editor/Dancer/Ensemble-Christa Runion
Dancer/ensemble/Trapeze Artist/Acrobat-Erin Fiandt

Congratulations to all of the cast members! And remember the show dates for the IndyFringe production of this brand new show will be Aug. 18th-28th 2016.

Addendum: I just wanted to add some important info and clarification given to me by Tom Alvarez, who is the lyricist for this show. – First of all, the dates above are the dates for the 2016 IndyFringe and of course every Fringe show gets a total of 6 shows during those dates – Calder’s  six dates are TBA. Also, I am pleased to note this: Tom informed me that Klein and Alvarez Productions is planning a full-length offering of “Calder – The Musical” – date and venue info is also TBA.

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