“The Legend of Georgia McBride” at Phoenix Theatre

1 Comment

reviewed by Adam Crowe

The 2019-2020 Indianapolis theatrical Season has begun. There is something special about being in the audience for a sold-out season opener that makes my soul happy. That is doubly true when the show is as much fun as The Phoenix Theatre’s season opener The Legend of Georgia McBride by Matthew Lopez. Directed by the phenomenal Suzanne Fleenor (a Phoenix founder), The Legend of Georgia McBride is not edgy or especially political. What it IS is wonderfully entertaining. And credit for that fact goes entirely to the cast and design team.

Lopez’s script introduces us to the denizens of a run-down bar in Florida’s panhandle. Casey is an Elvis impersonator who can’t pull in a crowd. Bar owner Eddie is on the verge of bankruptcy when he hits upon the idea of bringing in his performer cousin to save the business. The twist is that his cousin performs as Miss Tracy Mills. Miss Tracy and her friend Rexxy bring Eddie their drag show. The Elvis act is summarily dumped and Casey is relegated to bartending. That is, until Rexxy becomes unavailable and Casey is pulled onstage – creating the (soon-to-be-legendary) Miss Georgia McBride.

The script itself is fun. But it is the incredible talents on and off stage at the Phoenix that make this production soar! Sam Jones is a sweet and heartfelt Casey, with Bridgette Ludlow as his loving, if confused wife Jo. Local favorite Ty Stover makes his Phoenix debut as the exasperated bar owner Eddie. As Miss Mills’ protégé, Phoenix newcomer Jonathan Studdard is terrific in double roles as Miss Anorexia (Rexxy) Nervosa and Casey’s friend and landlord Jason. All four are delightful. But the heart of the show belongs to John Vessels as the effervescent, ingenious and foul-mouthed Miss Tracy Mills. Vessels owns the stage and is simply perfection as the not-so-young-as-she-used-to-be Mills. Bringing hope and heart to Casey and Eddie both, Miss Tracy is a dazzling theatrical confection. Vessels performance is not to be missed. It may turn out to be the Performance of the Season!!

The Legend of Georgia McBride is NOT a drag show, but a play with a lot of heart that features some wonderful drag numbers. The design elements, by Andrew Elliot (hair), Stephen Hollenbeck (costumes), Laura Glover (lights), Lyndsey Lyddan (set), Zach Rosing (sound), Kenny Shepard (choreography), and Brent Marty (music) are ALL first rate and elevate the show immeasurably.

The Legend of Georgia McBride runs through October 6th. Indianapolis’ Phoenix Theatre is located at 705 N. Illinois Street. Free parking is available at the theatre’s own parking lot, just across Illinois street. Tickets may be purchased by visiting the website www.phoenixtheatre.org or by calling (317) 635-7529.  I cannot recommend this production enough. Tickets will sell very quickly – so get them while you can.

Advertisements

“Steel Magnolias” at Mud Creek Players

Leave a comment

reviewed by Ken Klingenmeier

Mud Creek Players opens its new season with a sold out performance of Robert Harling’s endearing play – Steel Magnolias. This tale of the bond between six Louisiana women had its start as an off-Broadway production in 1987 and did not make its Broadway theatre debut until 2005 – 16 years after the 1989 film version.

MCP’s production is well wrought, directed by Kelly Keller, with assistance by Ann Ellerbrook. These two, working together with a fine collection of local actresses, have attended to the script’s comic/drama aspects – balancing the many, very funny lines with the sorrowful notes therein.

Steel Magnolias has an ensemble type group of characters. The cast creates some very Southern ladies to populate the play – accents, style of movement, sense of culture are all in place. Having lived in the south for some time myself, I see no lapses from the real thing in these portrayals.

from left: Jennifer Kaufmann (Truvy), Erin Keller (Annelle) and Susan Hill (Clairee)

The roster of players includes Jennifer J. Kaufmann, flamboyant as romantic beauty shop owner, Truvy; Erin Keller, who progresses nicely from youthfully unsure to righteously religious as Annelle; Susan Hill, delivering some of the show’s funniest lines as the facetious Clairee; Savannah Scarborough, hitting the mark as the sympathetic Shelby; Barb Percy Weaver, strong yet emotional as Shelby’s mother, M’Lynn; and Linnea Leatherman, tough and fully present as Ouiser. The group works well together throughout, moving the story along nicely through its peaks and valleys, showing the love (and reliance) this cadre of women have for each other.

from left: Savannah Scarborough (Shelby), Barb Percy Weaver (M’Lynn) and Linnea Leatherman (Ouiser)

Noteworthy as well is the work by set designer/builder Mike Mellot and costume provider, Judy McGroarty. Both provided finishing touches that made a difference in the presentation.

Bottomline: All in all, this is a lovely production of one of my favorite plays. The full-house audience enjoyed the show immensely and MCP can always be counted on to put together solid and worthwhile productions.

Steel Magnolias continues at Mud Creek Players with Friday and Saturday performances at 8 pm through Sept 28, and a single Sunday matinee at 2:30 pm on Sept 22. You can find more info about reservations, the theatre’s location and the company’s upcoming schedule by going to http://www.mudcreekplayers.org .

  • photos provided by Mud Creek Players, Colman Love -photographer

“Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” at Actors Theatre of Indiana

Leave a comment

reviewed by Ken Klingenmeier

Actors Theatre of Indiana opens their 15th Anniversary Season with Dirty Rotten Scoundrels – a musical play with book by Jeffrey Lane and music & lyrics by David Yazbek. The 2004 Broadway production was based on the original 1988 film which had no songs, and which starred Michael Caine and Steve Martin in the two leading roles.

Set in the French Riviera, the story revolves around the doings of two men who make their livings by jilting unsuspecting targets (mostly female) of their wealth, jewels and, sometimes, their emotions. We first meet the well practiced high-end swindler Lawrence Jameson, played here with much polish by TJ Lancaster. Jameson has built quite a nice life out of his smooth and diverse skills – charming, then financially harming his victims. Along comes a relative newcomer – the very unpolished Freddy Benson, offered in a highly energetic portrayal by ATI first-timer Tony Carter.

Swindler Laurence Jameson (TJ Lancaster) with cohort Andre Thibault (Don Farrell) in a scene from ATI’s “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”

Their sudden connection sends the story along, first with a “My Fair Lady” moment when Jameson accepts a challenge to teach Benson his refined practices and thereby lift him up. Enter the naive young Christine Colgate, performed here by striking ATI newcomer, Deborah Mae Hill. Noting this fresh target from small-town USA, the two scoundrels come up with a challenge to out-scam each other’s efforts with this new victim and that’s when the fun begins.

All three leads do wonderful work here. Lancaster and Carter are polar opposites in style and conveyance, which is perfect for their opposing characters. Ms. Hill is vocally-gifted and totally convincing as a wide-eyed, innocent. The surprise which the audience receives later is well set-up, indeed.

Muriel Eubanks (Judy Fitzgerald) meets novice swindler Freddy Benson (Tony Carter) in a scene from ATI’s “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”

While the three lead actors do much of the heavy lifting here, with admirable results, there are a handful of secondary roles that deserve mention. Sabra Michelle comes on strong as Oklahoma visitor Jolene Oakes. Ms. Michelle fills the stage with her loud and feisty performance and does good supporting work as an ensemble member, as well.

Christine Colgate (Deborah Mae Hill) ponders her circumstance in a scene from ATI’s production of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”

Perhaps even more cogent are the plot angles shared by ATI co-founders, Don Farrell, as Jameson cohort, Andre Thibault, and Judy Fitzgerald, who plays overly willing victim, Muriel Eubanks. Their shared times on stage are some of the true highlights of the production – comic moments that show these two old friends at their finest abilities. The remaining members of the cast – ensemble dance performers Annalee Traeger, Brynn Tyszka, Tim Hunt and Michael Corey Hassel – play what seems like a hundred additional roles with sparkle and precision.

Jolene Oakes (Sabra Michelle) joins Laurence Jameson (TJ Lancaster) and the dance ensemble in a scene from ATI’s “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”

Michael Blatt, who directed one of my all time ATI favorite shows, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, returns to lead the way on this production. Nathan Perry takes the reins musically and he and his small orchestra provide a noteworthy addition. Carol Worcel provides interesting and unique combinations of choreography. The dynamic set by designer P. Bernard Killian, lit by Erin Meyer, was augmented by the many varied costumes from Stephen Hollenbeck.

Bottomline: Taking nothing away from the heap of top-notch performances here – the material itself is not amongst my favorites. The show is very tuneful – that is, Full Of Tunes – more than most shows, I believe. But none of them remained in my head at the end. Plus, the story goes a very long way (145 minutes, with intermission) for what is a very nice payoff punch at the end. Even then however, the authors felt they needed to go just a bit further to prolong the event for some reason. It surprises me that the show was not cut down in its Broadway days – but, as always – all this is merely my opinion.

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels continues at ATI’s Studio Theatre in the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel through Sept 29th. You can get information about the schedule and tickets by calling 317.843.3800 or by logging on at http://www.atistage.org .

  • photos by Ed Stewart

“Twelve Angry Men” at Indiana Repertory Theatre

Leave a comment

reviewed by Vickie Cornelius Phipps

Twelve Angry Men is a play by Reginald Rose, adapted from his 1954 television play for the CBS Studio One Anthology television series. Its Broadway debut came fifty years later, on October 28th, 2004, by the Roundabout Theatre Company at the American Airlines Theatre. It is best recognized as a 1957 movie starring Henry Fonda and later, the remake in 1997 starring Jack Lemmon, along with many other top actors.

The assembled jury for IRT’s production of “Twelve Angry Men”

This courtroom drama tells the story of a dozen jurors who deliberate the fate of an 18-year-old boy from the slums of New York City, who has been charged with premeditated murder of his own father. A guilty verdict means the death penalty. There are two witnesses; a lady from across the street and an old man who lives on the floor below the defendant. The jury members are identified by numbers; no names. The entire play takes place within a small jury room and an adjacent washroom.

The play forces the audience to self-reflect while observing the personality and the actions of the jurors. As the jurors dissect the facts and the credibility of the witnesses, prejudices and social tempers emerge. Each man is confronted with his own preconceived beliefs through the lenses of personal life experiences and rooted prejudices. I was struck by the timelessness of the themes of this play. “We live in dangerous times.”

IRT’s Twelve Angry Men, under the fine direction and choreographed precision of James Still, is a well-produced and thought-provoking work, injected with some tension reducing humor. It is performed by a stellar cast. From juror 1 through 12: Seth Andrew Bridges, Scot Greenwell, Craig Spidle, Henry Woronicz, Demetrios Troy, Casey Hoekstra, Michael Stewart Allen, Cris Amos, Mark Goetzinger, Robert Ierardi, Patrick Clear, Charles Goad, and Adam O. Crowe.

The cast of IRT’s “Twelve Angry Men” – from upper left: Seth Andrew Bridges, Scot Greenwell, Craig Spidle, Henry Woronicz, Demetrios Troy, Casey Hoekstra, Michael Stewart Allen, Cris Amos, Mark Goetzinger, Robert Ierardi, Patrick Clear, and Charles Goad

As Juror #8, the virtuous architect and compelling voice of reason, Amos plays it steady and strong, but I couldn’t help but want more dynamics from this character. “I just want to talk for a while” – so begins the jury deliberation on the hottest day of the year in the un-airconditioned room as jurors begin to bicker and battle it out from competing views. Mark Goetzinger, Juror #9, gives a strong portrayal of the mild, old gentleman. Scot Greenwell, Juror #2, stands out as the timid man in the group. Patrick Clear, as Juror #11, the refugee from Europe, remains dignified & poised against the spewed-out prejudices and Juror #3, Craig Spidle, is so believable as the most abhorrent member of the group that I personally felt the baggage he was carrying.

Each member of this solid ensemble takes a turn in the spotlight and has opportunity to display his distinctive character in dialogue and interactions, aided visually through attire (Costumer and Scenic Designer: Junghyun Geogia Lee). They are also assisted by a clever bit of staging: the centered long table and chairs are on a slowly revolving turntable, which solves site-line issues while providing the audience with an ever-changing perspective, both literally and figuratively. The story line never reveals the ethnicity nor race of the alleged killer, leaving us to fill in the blanks and, in the process, test our own possible prejudices and class consciousness. This truly American drama brings to light our justice system and examines deeply the intimate ways we relate to each other.  

Usually I marvel at the magnificent sets that are constructed for IRT productions. And this set had no shortage of interesting elements such as the aforementioned turntable and the cleverly lit scrim wall of men’s washroom. But there was something about the three windows on the back wall of the set for this show that I found distracting. The views out those windows seemed incoherent, providing confounding perspectives of buildings and sky that looked like they couldn’t belong together.

All in all, however, this is another terrific production, as we’ve come to expect from IRT. The Verdict: Go see this play – because we can all use reminding of how easily we can slip into prejudice.

IRT’s Twelve Angry Men runs through September 29th. Go to http://www.irtlive.com or call the box office at 317-635-5252 for tickets. The theatre is located at 140 W. Washington Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204.

  • Banner artwork by Kyle Ragsdale
  • Photo provided by IRT

“Hairspray” at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre

Leave a comment

reviewed by Ken Klingenmeier

When I explored the history of Hairspray, the lively stage musical which opened this week at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre, I was surprised to learn that this much-loved show started out as a modestly successful 1988 motion picture, which some called a “satirical dance melodrama”, and which starred the likes of Ricki Lake, Divine, Debbie Harry, Sonny Bono, and Jerry Stiller, among others. It became a cult classic in its subsequent home video release and was eventually turned into the Tony Award winning Broadway musical version in 2002. The popular film adaptation was released in 2007 and featured memorable performances by John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Walken, Queen Latifah, Zac Efron, and Nikki Blondsky.

I’d have to say B&B’s remarkable production of the show will be equally memorable to those who attend. Developed by the creative talents of the prolific Eddie Curry/Ron Morgan production team, the show is a colorful, tune-filled, dance-charged swirl of entertaining performances with a righteous social message. Extremely well-cast, with near perfect musical facets, this story of teen anxieties, class rivalries and high-minded aspirations is a true delight.

Amber Von Tussle (Sarah Daniels), right, faces off with Tracy Turnblad (Adee David), center, in Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre’s production of Hairspray

Adee David, who returns to B&B following her role as ‘Pink Lady’ Jan in the recent production of Grease, is absolutely perfect as the star struck, idealistic teen – Tracy Turnblad. Her high-end vocal talents and impressive dance abilities are truly star quality stuff. Rounding out the Turnblad family are Daniel Klingler, a marvelous spectacle as Tracy’s mother Edna, and Eddie Curry, solid as Tracy’s fun-loving dad, Wilbur.

Seaweed J. Stubbs (Antonio LeRoy King) sings “Run and Tell That” in Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre’s production of Hairspray

Standout performances are also offered by Nikki Miller, adorable as Tracy’s best friend Penny; Sarah Daniels and Amy Decker, aptly villainous as her rivals – Amber and Velma Von Tussle; Nate Willey, who sparkles as her dream boyfriend Link Larkin; Antonio LeRoy King, remarkable as her multi-talented friend Seaweed; and Tarra Conner Jones who, as Motormouth Maybelle, delivers a show-stopping rendition of the evocative and inspirational “I Know Where I’ve Been”.

Motormouth Maybelle (Tarra Conner Jones), center, sings a powerful “I Know Where I’ve Been” in Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre’s production of Hairspray

Matthew C. Branic, is impressive as television personality Corny Collins, while B&B regulars Suzanne Stark and Jeff Stockberger both fill the stage with a roster of wacky smaller roles. The remaining ensemble members all add luster to the production, especially with regard to Morgan’s complex choreography and the absolutely stunning vocal work, directed by musical director Kristy Templet.


Link Larkin (Nate Willey), front, sings “It Takes Two” to Tracy Turnblad (Adee David), right, in Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre’s production of Hairspray

Twenty-five cast members share the stage, and the well crafted set design by Michael Layton, along with lights by Ryan Koharchik, and sound by Daniel Hesselbeck, nicely fills the bill. Ms. Templet’s six piece orchestra sounds bigger than the sum of its parts and is flawless throughout the tricky score.

Edna Turnblad (Daniel Klingler) shows off the dress she made to a national television audience in Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre’s production of Hairspray

Bottomline: This is yet another quality presentation from the practiced B&B methods of casting, directing, choreographing and technical embellishing. I love that this theatre is not afraid to put on large scale productions, on what is generally thought of as a medium sized stage. The craft and care toward putting together show after show of high merit is well appreciated.

Hairspray continues at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre through October 6th. Find show times and reservations at http://www.beefandboards.com or you may call the box office at 317-872-9664.

  • – photos by Julie Curry

NCAC’s “Macbeth” at Federal Hill Commons

1 Comment

reviewed by Daniel Shock

Shakespeare in the Park. When I have been an actor in a Shakespeare production, it is most often outside…in the park. One park in Tulsa, OK and two in Noblesville, IN. It is a wonderful tradition in communities all around the world. A summer evening with ancient stories, wine and bug spray. When the weather and environment co-operate, these evenings can be magical.

This summer, The Noblesville Cultural Arts Commission has produced it’s 27th iteration of Shakespeare in the Park at the Federal Hill Commons in Noblesville and brought us: The Tragedy of Macbeth.

Witches (from left, Amber Shatto, Nikki Lynch and Mellie Sokolski) taunt Macbeth (Matt Anderson) in a scene from NCAC’s production of “Macbeth”

Macbeth begins with three witches (Mellie Sokolski, Nikki Lynch & Amber Shatto). They predict their next meeting will be with Macbeth. Shortly after, the witches do meet with Generals Macbeth (Matt Anderson) and Banquo (Eric Dixon) where they predict Macbeth’s reward for his victories in service to King Duncan (Ken Klingenmeier). These rewards consist of titles and the prediction that eventually Macbeth will be king. Their prophecy also includes General Banquo – that he will be “father of kings”. Both men are skeptical, but when they come before King Duncan and he bestows the title of “Thane of Cawdor” on Macbeth, he is convinced and becomes ambitious. He writes to his wife, Lady Macbeth (Rhonda Tinz-Mize), telling her of his good news. Lady Macbeth also becomes ambitious and convinces her husband to murder King Duncan. Macbeth is doubtful, but is finally convinced when she challenges his manhood. Once the murder is committed, Macbeth and his wife are then wracked with guilt and paranoia. Forced to commit more and more murders to protect himself from enmity and suspicion, he soon becomes a tyrannical ruler. The bloodbath and consequent civil war swiftly take Macbeth and Lady Macbeth into the realms of madness and death.

Rhonda Tinz-Mize takes the stage as Lady Macbeth in a scene from NCAC’s production of “Macbeth”

Macbeth is a bloody story. The action, while thrilling, is presented in such a way that it should not be too disturbing for young people. One of the murders on stage is a young child, but it is not presented in a realistic and grisly manner. The actor’s screams offstage are more unsettling than anything seen onstage. You should use your own judgment, but I would not be too concerned for my own children. We have discussions about pretending and play. Stories are ways for us to understand and frame real life – they are not themselves real life.

This production of Macbeth offers a delightful evening of thrills, scares and laughs. I normally like to start with the positive parts of production before getting to the nitpicks, but I really feel I should start with this point. Before I lay it out – I will admit that this is not a fair nit to pick.

Shakespeare in the Park has a mission. Part of that mission is to spread the love of Shakespeare far and wide. For that reason, it is free and it is brisk. Almost every play they present is cut for time. Hamlet would be over four hours if the entire text was performed. Macbeth is the shortest tragedy, so it wouldn’t be that long, but it would be about an hour longer than the 90 minutes of this production. Okay – so my one complaint: many of my favorite lines were cut. As an actor who covets the role of Macbeth, that kills me. As an audience member, I feel like it made some of the guilt that Macbeth and his wife wrestle with less clear. I feel like this is my personal problem…the audience seemed engaged and loved it. They laughed and thrilled to what was before them. Every single person I talked to after the show had a great time and were happy that they were there. I feel guilty even writing this complaint, but I would feel like I was not being honest if I didn’t.

Macbeth (Matt Anderson) laments his actions in a scene from NCAC’s production of “Macbeth”

Matt Anderson deserves high praise for his portrayal of Macbeth. He portrayed a man who is at once entitled, doubt ridden and vile. (I felt he was really going to injure everyone with his sword he was so zealous with his swing!) His chemistry with Rhonda Tinch-Mize is critical. Ms. Tinch-Mize gives a career highlight performance as Lady Macbeth descends into madness. Without these two performances, the show would not work and these two pull off a difficult job (especially considering the deep cuts to the text).

Other standouts include, Ken Klingenmeier, as King Duncan, who brings his wonderful and royal voice of authority to the role. The witches, played by Mellie Sokolski, Nikki Lynch & Amber Shatto, were at once creepy and alluring. Glenn Dobbs as MacDuff was effective in his grief. Eric Dixon and Matt Hartzburg each distinguished themselves as Banquo and Malcom respectively. Paul Haskin, whom I have never seen on stage before, was an utter delight as the Porter. He brought some much-needed humor to the evening. He was outstanding. Finally, another surprise from someone unknown to me was Morgan Morton as Lady McDuff. She was excellent in her short time on stage. Her heartbreak and terror were portrayed with great skill.

Paul Haskin brings the Porter to life in a scene from NCAC’s production of “Macbeth”

Directors Rob Heighway and Mark Tumey did a fantastic job casting the show – a great mix of familiar actors and new faces that I will look forward to seeing again. The set by Rob Heighway was simple and effective. Sound Design by Geoff Lynch was well done. Sound effects were great. In general dialog was clear and easy to understand. There were moments (very few)where microphones cut out as actors were talking. Lighting by Eric Matters was luminous and fun when it needed to be. Costumer Linda Grow did a wonderful job of getting everyone in period apparel – especially the women. The witch’s costumes looked especially great. Finally, the fight choreography by Scott Russell was high energy, believable and fun to watch.

McDuff (Glenn Dobbs) battles Macbeth (Matt Anderson) in a scene from NCAC’s production of “Macbeth”

Despite my issues with the cutting of the text, this is a wonderful Shakespeare in the Park experience. Please, if you are available, make the effort to grab a blanket or a lawn chair and go to Federal Hill Commons to see this Macbeth!

Macbeth will be presented by the Noblesville Cultural Arts Commission on July 26th & 27th and August 1st, 2nd, & 3rd at 8:30 pm at Federal Hill Commons in Noblesville, IN (175 Logan St, Noblesville, IN 46060, USA). Admission is free.

The cast and crew of NCAC’s 2019 Shakespeare in the Park production of “Macbeth”

Summer Stock Stage’s “Into the Woods” at Marian University

Leave a comment

reviewed by Adam Crowe

This week, while Ken is defending Scotland up in Noblesville, I had the good fortune of attending the final production of the 2019 Season of Summer Stock Stage (SSS). While improvements are being made to the company’s usual home at Park Tudor, SSS has spent this summer at various locations. The season closer, performed at Marian University, is a beautiful production of James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim’s brilliant deconstruction of the Brothers Grimm, Into The Woods.

Summer Stock Stage is a program dedicated to the talents of Central Indiana’s teenage performers. Students from over a dozen high schools around central Indiana have been gathered to perform an intricate and demanding musical that takes numerous familiar storybook characters and forces them to face what happens after Happily Ever After.

The cast of Summer Stock Stage’s production of “Into the Woods”

Director Constance Macy has gotten terrific performances from her student cast. Into the Woods may be concerned with famous characters from children’s literature, but the script and music are NOT child’s play. Broadway casts have included the likes of Bernadette Peters and Vanessa Williams, and every role is quite demanding. SSS has succeeded in meeting the rigorous challenges posed by this modern classic of musical theater.

Cora Lucas (center) as Cinderella in Summer Stock Stage’s production of “Into the Woods”

The large cast adroitly lays out the stories of a Baker and his Wife, Jack and his Mother, Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Rapunzel, and their respective Princes, and the attendant people in their lives (and stories). While all seems to end “happily ever after” at the close of Act One, Act Two delves into consequences, doing so with some dark twists. Johnny Miller and Abby Anderson are the Baker and his wife. Julia Murphy and Mallory McKeeman are the Witch and her charge, Rapunzel. Michael Krauter plays cow loving Jack, with Elly Burke as his long suffering Mother. Amelia Wray plays Red Ridinghood, with Cora Lucas as Cinderella. All are fantastic. Equally great are the remaining performers, especially the Princes of Jacob Crow, Nate Schlabach. Every single cast member gets a chance to shine, and as a whole, they are more than up to the task presented by this vocally complex piece of theater.

Amelia Wray (right) plays Red Ridnghood in Summer Stock Stage’s production of “Into the Woods”

Scenic Designer Kyle Ragsdale’s set and Quentin James’ lighting are both breathtaking. Music Director Jeanne Bowling’s orchestra is first rate, as are the costumes by Jason Gill. Local geniuses Zach Rosing (sound design) and Mariel Greenlee (choreography) complete the top notch production team.

As I mentioned, Act Two ponders the consequences of wishes coming true. Director Macy and her creative team have made some especially bold choices in this Act. The result is a unique and powerful take on the show’s message about choices, wishes and children. SSS Artistic Director Emily Ristine Holloway should be very proud!

A scene from Summer Stock Stage’s production of “Into the Woods” featuring Kyle Ragsdale’s set design and Quentin James’ lighting design.-

Into The Woods only runs this weekend. It closes Sunday the 28th. Are you seeing my point? GET THOSE TICKETS! I expect all remaining performances to sell-out! Into The Woods displays the marvelous talents of dozens of this area’s most talented young performers. Don’t let this weekend pass you by without experiencing it!

Summer Stock Stage is performing on Marian University’s Mainstage, located on the campus on Cold Spring Road. Tickets may be purchased by visiting the website at summerstockstage.com Tickets are only $20.00, and revenues support high caliber arts education in Central Indiana.  

  • photos by Michael Camp

Older Entries