“A Christmas Story – The Musical” at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre

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reviewed by Ken Klingenmeier

Before last year’s Elf, B&B always presented its traditional holiday show – A Beef and Boards Christmas. Once again, the management at central Indiana’s premiere dinner theatre has decided to make a change for this holiday season. One of America’s favorite Christmas movies has long been 1983’s A Christmas Story. This nostalgic tale of young Ralphie and his family has become its own holiday tradition, and once it opened as a Broadway musical in 2012 with a book by Joseph Robinette, and music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, its reach increased by a large measure.

Ralphie (Ben Kistner), left, is forced to utter “uncle” by bully Scut Farkus (Austin Lizama) as his toady Grover Dill (Dylan Acquaviva) watches in Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre’s production of A Christmas Story: The Musical.

B&B’s production of A Christmas Story – The Musical , directed by Eddie Curry with choreography by Ron Morgan, is a cheerful seasonal entertainment that combines all the story segments from the film version with a good supply of lively and lovely songs. Ralphie’s quest for a Red Ryder BB gun as his Christmas present is at the very center of the show. The iconic lead is rendered with tremendous skill by 7th grader Ben Kistner, who handles the comedy, emotion, and songs of the role with a deft hand. His clear and powerful singing voice is a wonderful surprise which arrives early, during his very first scene.

The Old Man (Don Farrell), center, gleefully sings about the “major award” he received for entering a crossword puzzle contest in Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre’s production of A Christmas Story: The Musical.

Ralphie’s father, “The Old Man” in Jean Shepherd’s remembrance, is offered by Don Farrell. In Farrell’s hands – with a bow to Darren McGavin – the man is the same lovably frustrated character, trying to make the best of his less than perfect life. Farrell’s outstanding work in “A Major Award”, where he wins the fishnet stockinged leg lamp, is a highlight of the show. At his side, Ralphie’s steady Mother, sweetly played by Amy Bodnar, balances the family dynamic. Ms. Bodnar is touching in her portrayal, and her tender renditions of “What a Mother Does” and “Just Like That” are great moments. Fender Brokamp completes the central family with a worthy stage debut.

Other standouts include Eddie Curry as our Narrator; Lanene Charters, as immoderate school teacher, Miss Shield; Brett Mutters as the grouchy department store Santa; and Austin Lizama as bully-boy, Scut Farkus. Ms. Charters leads a remarkable ensemble tap dance number with a cadre of young tappers in Ralphie’s fantasized “You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out”.

Ralphie (Ben Kistner), right, reluctantly dons his gift from Aunt Clara to the amusement of his family (from left), Mother (Amy Bodnar), the Old Man (Don Farrell), and Randy (Fender Brokamp) in Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre’s production of A Christmas Story: The Musical

Kristy Templet leads her fine orchestra through the lively score with polish and spark; Jill Kelly Howe’s colorful costumes more than fill the bill; and to top the experience off, Chef Odell Ward has assembled a very tasty holiday buffet featuring roast turkey, cornbread stuffing, sweet potato souffle and brussels sprouts in a cream sauce topped with bacon. It is all truly outstanding!

Bottomline: Though I’ve always enjoyed B&B’s traditional holiday show in the past, I have to admit – it was a great idea to make a change with this sweet, funny family tale of Christmas. The performances are first-rate, and the holiday spirit is there for the taking.

Mother (Amy Bodnar) wipes the tears of Ralphie (Ben Kistner) after his first fist fight and sings “Just Like That” in Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre’s production of A Christmas Story: The Musical.

A Christmas Story – The Musical runs through Dec. 31st. As you read this and make the decision to attend – there is one important matter to note. I learned from B&B Marketing Director, Patricia Rettig, that the show is selling very, very well, and if you wish to go, you should be quick about obtaining tickets. The fastest, easiest way to do so is to use the theatre’s new online reservation service. Just go to http://www.beefandboards.com (24 hrs a day) – and scroll down to the “What’s on Stage” section. Then click on the “More Info” button, and pick a date to choose your seats and make your reservation. Of course, if you would rather, you may also call the box office at 317.872.9664. Whichever you choose to do – do not delay!

Have a very Merry Christmas and a wonderfully Happy New Year – from all of us at A Seat on the Aisle!

  • photos by Julie Curry

“Little Shop of Horrors” at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre

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reviewed by Ken Klingenmeier

Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre continues their 2019 season with the 1982 off-Broadway hit – Little Shop of Horrors. Based on a low-budget 1960 film by Roger Corman – “The Little Shop of Horrors”, this comic/horror musical tells the story of timid florist worker, Seymour Krelborn, who obtains a mysterious plant which thirsts for human blood. Alan Menken wrote the music with lyrics and book by Howard Ashman.

B&B’s production is a comic strip storyboard coming to life – from the indispensable set by Michael Layton, through the colorful costuming by Jill Kelly Howe, to the highly keyed lighting by Ryan Koharchik. Adding to the fun are the freely stylized characterizations of the top level cast developed by director Jeff Stockberger and augmented by Ron Morgan’s frolicking choreography. And, of course, there is also Audrey II – but more on that later…

(from left) Mr. Mushnik (Douglas E. Stark), Seymour (Joey Boos) and Audrey (Jenny Reber) meet Audrey II, the plant.

The cast is led by Joey Boos as the nebbish Seymour. Perfectly filling the pitiful young man with endearing qualities of thankfulness and hope, Boos presents a character worthy of our empathy, even as he commits a series of very questionable actions. His top-notch singing talents add to our enjoyment. The girl of his dreams, florist shop co-worker Audrey, is offered here by Jenny Reber. Already an accomplished comic actress, Ms. Reber raises the bar on her talents with some very skillful vocal work. Her Audrey is a true delight to watch, and to hear.

Orin Scrivello, DDS (Logan Moore) intimidates Seymour (Joey Boos) in a scene from B&B’s production of “Little Shop of Horrors”

Douglas E. Stark takes the role of floral shop owner Mr. Mushnik and makes the most of every opportunity to entertain. Logan Moore has his Equity debut with a well-done, dynamic rendering of Orin Serivello DDS. Totally embracing the comic book idea for his character, Moore bursts with highly comical movement and patter that stretches the ideal.

(from left), Crystal (Devin Kessler), Chiffon (Jameela Leaundra), and Ronnette (Carlita Victoria) in a scene from B&B’s production of “Little Shop of Horrors”

Carlita Victoria, Devin Kessler, and Jameela Leaundra comprise the Skid-Row urchins – Ronnette, Crystal and Chiffon, respectively. Their function as story commentators and participants is energetically peppered with electric song and dance arrangements which give these ladies the chance to really show their talents. Brett Mutter busily handles 7 comic roles and makes each one distinctive and humorous.

The nefarious Audrey II is an awesomely impressive presence – the combined creation of puppeteer Josh Maldonado and deep-voiced vocalist Josiah R. McCruiston. As the plant increases in size, so do their duties, until Audrey II takes up much of the stage – a monstrous, albeit cartoonish, horror.

Seymour (Joey Boos) is threatened by Audrey II in a scene from B&B’s production of “Little Shop of Horrors”

Bottomline: this is an example of a perfect production – it entertains fully as comedy, musical, and horror show with wacky characters, romance, amazing songs and singing, eye-catching dances, wonderful stagecraft and an unexpected plot resolution. Go see it!

Little Shop of Horrors continues at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre through November 17th. Find show times and reservations at http://www.beefandboards.com or call the box office at 317-872-9664.

  • – photos by Julie Curry

“Hairspray” at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre

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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

“Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story” at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre

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reviewed by Ken Klingenmeier

Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story is Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre’s tuneful summertime treat for 2019. The jukebox musical was first presented in 1989 in London’s West End where it played for 12 and a half years. With a storyline written by Alan James and music by the inimitable Buddy Holly, the show provides a touchstone history of the rock n roll artist’s rise, and his fateful demise. We first find Holly and his band – The Crickets – in Lubbock Texas as he pushes against the predominant country style music with a self-possessed passion for rock. After failures in Lubbock and Nashville, the band finds their way to Clovis New Mexico where, in the recording studio of Norman Petty, they are finally able to record their signature sound with a long series of cuts. Eventually, it’s on to Harlem’s Apollo Theatre and further stardom.

Cricket drummer Jerry Allison (Josh McLemore), frontman Buddy Holly (Kyle Jurassic) and bassist Joe Maudlin (James Daley) perform at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem in Beef and Boards’ production of “Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story”.

Although the narrative of the plot follows Holly’s climb to success in a thinly threaded storyline, it is the music that is the show. Studio sessions, an elongated Apollo Theatre show, one privately romantic song for Holly’s wife, and a grand, full blown final concert scene form the true impact of this musician’s journey. And what an outstanding display of talent and energy is offered here by every cast member!

Kyle Jurassic as Buddy Holly in Beef and Boards’ production of “Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story”.

Directed by Jeff Stockberger, Buddy features a full roster of talented musicians and vocalists. Kyle Jurassic takes the title role, in his third opportunity to do so – having played the part at the Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre in Lancaster PA and at Harrah’s Resort in Atlantic City. Jurassic shows a tremendous understanding of the man – whose quiet nature in private is coupled with a fierce drive for self-expression and a charismatic stage aura. Jurassic knows how to rock the house, and does so in song after song with an energetic force in both his Holly-mimicking vocals and his fine guitar work. I think we are very fortunate to be the benefactors of his previous encounters with this character. Buddy Holly truly comes alive in Jurassic’s performance on the B&B stage.

The Big Bopper (Chuck Caruso), Buddy Holly (Kyle Jurassic) and Ritchie Valens (Edward LaCardo) rock the house in Beef and Boards’ production of “Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story”.

The supporting cast is rife with accomplished players and singers. Edward LaCardo does an impressive high octane rendering of “La Bamba” as Ritchie Valens. Chuck Caruso is superb as The Big Bopper (J.P.Richardson), offering an authentically slick version of the Bopper’s hit, “Chantilly Lace”. In the Apollo Theatre scene, Tarra Conner Jones blows the roof off as Mama Pearl in her rendition of “Shout”, with a tremendous and lively accompaniment by Joshua L.K. Patterson. James Daley on bass and Josh McLemore on drums form Holly’s band – The Crickets, along with guitarist Christopher Tucker. This trio crushes the Buddy Holly catalog with absolutely dynamic presentations.

Buddy Holly (Kyle Jurassic) reassures his wife Maria Elena (Kelly Powers-Figueroa) in Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre’s production of “Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story”.

Other highlights include B&B favorite John Vessels as Lubbock C&W DJ, Hipockets Duncan; Justine Figueroa as Holly’s New Mexico producer, Norman Petty; Kelly Powers-Figueroa as Holly’s wife, Maria Elena; and Sarah Hund, showing her extraordinary fiddle chops as a featured musician in several scenes.

The undeniable high point of the show is the second act finale, where the entire cast portrays the final fateful Holly/Valens/Bopper appearances at Cedar Lake Iowa. Consisting of 10 musical numbers, we are entertained with a concert-like event, in which we get to see and feel the unbound talents these noted performers gave to their audience. It’s crazy-good!

On the more technical side, Kristy Templet provides the exceptional musical direction, Michael Layton devises a clever scenic design, Ryan Koharchik’s lighting ideas are perfect, and Jill Kelly Howe once again knocks it out of the park with her costume designs. Chef Odell Ward’s inviting menu features honey-mustard chicken and cajun cod, along with a good variety of veggies and other dishes.

Bottomline: Even with its rather thin storyline, this show is a rousing portrait of one of the great rock n roll pioneers. The standing ovation for these performers was well-deserved – I daresay, everyone in attendance had a memorable time.

Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story continues at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre through August 18th. 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

“The Little Mermaid” at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre

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reviewed by Ken Klingenmeier

Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre’s ambitious new production, The Little Mermaid is, of course, based on the 1986 eponymous Disney film which became 2008’s Broadway version of the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale from 1837. Director Elizabeth Payne and choreographer Ron Morgan have, with their fine work in this production, completed a tremendous treat.

Prince Eric (Nate Willey) and Ariel (Sarah Daniels) are afloat (center) for the “Kiss the Girl” number in Beef & Boards’ production of “The Little Mermaid”.

The technical staff has gone all out for this one with multi-media set aspects, puppetry, an outstanding array of colorful costumes, blacklight features, plus flying (and floating) performers. Every scene is augmented with at least one upgraded stagecraft attribute. Coupled with the top level performances by the cast, the show is a very appealing experience for every audience member – young and old.

Sarah Daniels stars as Ariel in Beef & Boards’ production of “The Little Mermaid”.

All the major roles are filled by outstanding talents: Sarah Daniels (Ariel), Nate Willey (Prince Eric), Michael Ray Fisher (Sebastian), Peter Scharbrough (King Triton) and Kelly Teal Goyette (Ursula) all possess and display rich voices which lift the production. Ms. Daniels returns to B&B after her achievement as Sandy in Grease, once again charming us with her exceptional gifts, making her Ariel a sweet but persistent mermaid. Mr. Willey joins her in the story’s romantic coupling, finding just the right tone of regal character for his Prince. Mr. Fisher adds shine to the role of Sebastian, the crab recruited to guide Ariel’s choices. Peter Scharbrough’s stately King Triton conveys power, while Ms. Goyette is especially nasty as the villainous Ursula, albeit adding an evil charm to the portrayal.

There is conflict between siblings Ursula (Kelly Teal Goyette) and King Triton (Peter Scharbrough) in Beef & Boards’ production of “The Little Mermaid”.

There are also many exceptional supporting performers. Fifth grader Jack Clark does awesome work as Flounder, Chris Trombetta brings rollicking squawks and flutters as the busybody seagull – Scuttle, real-life twins Austin Glen Jacobs and Ryan Alexander Jacobs provide Ursula’s nefarious henchmen Flotsam and Jetsam, Brett Mutter has a lively seafood recipe as Chef Louis, and John Vessels adds his comical talents as the Prince’s guardian Grimsby. Kristen Noonan displays her fearless flying aerial talents in a few of the more extravagant production numbers.

Grimsby (John Vessels, center) leads a vocal contest of prospective princesses in Beef & Boards’ production of “The Little Mermaid”.

An array of beautiful feminine characters are supplied by the gifted dance ensemble – Jennifer Ladner, Kristen Noonan, Amy Owens, Sally Scharbrough, AnnaLee Traeger and Christine Zavakos. Danard Daniels Jr. and Logan Moore skillfully step into a series of supporting roles.

Ariel (Sarah Daniels) and Prince Eric (Nate Willey) from a scene in Beef & Boards’ production of “The Little Mermaid”.

Although B&B costumer Jill Kelly Howe has the advantage of a great many rentals from MSMT Costumes at her disposal here, her work at augmenting, arranging and fitting the plethora of costumes certainly deserves notice. Terry Woods leads the B&B orchestra through the challenging score, while Troy Trinkle coordinates the aerial facets of the show with Ms. Noonan. Also, special nods go to wig designer Kurt Alger, lighting designer Ryan Koharchik, and scenic designer Michael Layton for their noteworthy work on the production.

Bottomline: The entire family will enjoy this enchanting and spectacular version of the Disney favorite. Gold standard performances by this wonderfully talented group of actors and actresses will thrill the little ones. Kudos to B&B Artistic Director Eddie Curry for bringing together this absolutely brilliant cast.

The Little Mermaid continues at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre through June 30th. 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

“42nd Street” at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre

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reviewed by Ken Klingenmeier

42nd Street, which opened this week at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre, certainly has a long history. The 1933 film musical, which many of us are familiar with, was based on the eponymous 1932 novel by Bradford Ropes. In turn, a Broadway stage version, directed by Gower Champion, appeared in 1980 to great acclaim, winning awards for choreography and costuming. Some memorable tunes come from the show – namely “We’re in the Money”, “Lullaby of Broadway”, “Shuffle Off to Buffalo”, and the title song – “42nd Street”.

The show’s story arc is pure 1930’s idealism: a small town girl, Peggy Sawyer, arrives in New York City to chase her dream of being a Broadway star – but she is turned away at her first audition. Suddenly, as her talents becomes more evident, she’s offered a small role by famous director Julian Marsh. There is a clash with the salty established star of the show, Dorothy Brock. Eventually on opening night, Sawyer is blamed for an injury to the star and is fired on the spot. When Marsh finds he’ll need a replacement for his disabled lead, he chases after Peggy, finds her at the train station and coaxes her to rejoin the cast – which assures her meteoric rise into stardom. The thin plot amounts to the stylings of a revue, where traditionally we come to be entertained primarily by the inserted songs and dancing – and that is exactly what choreographer Ron Morgan and director Eddie Curry have achieved here.

The cast of “42nd Street” in the “Getting Out of Town” number

Mr. Morgan has gone all out, fashioning at least 10 rousing tap dance numbers – most of them employing the complete set of hoofers, which includes all the talented dance corps members and most of the leads. It makes for scintillating musical numbers, which wow us again and again!

Kaylee Verble (center) stars as Peggy Sawyer – with dancers (from left) AnnaLee Traeger, Jen Martin, Sally Scharbrough and Amy Owens.

The sparkling cast is well-stocked with amazing voices and dancers. Kaylee Verble makes her B&B debut in the role of Peggy Sawyer, and she certainly fits the part of the uber-talented small-town girl. Unassumingly reserved and energetically focused, Ms. Kaylee’s Peggy is just perfect for the 30’s storyline. Countering her innocence is the aging star, Dorothy Brock, played to the hilt by B&B favorite, Sarah Hund. Ms. Hund’s undeniable talents are well featured here as she sails through her musical numbers with a seemingly effortless luster.

(foreground from left) Billy Lawlor (Dan Bob Higgins), Abner Dillon (jeff Stockberger) and Dorothy Brock (Sarah Hund) in a scene from “42nd Street”.
(background) – composers Maggie Jones (Lanene Charters) and Bert Barry (Brett Mutter)

The two male leads – director Julian Marsh and youthful star Billy Lawlor – are offered up by Mark Epperson and Dan Bob Higgins. Both return to B&B after recent successes here, and both carry on the high levels of performance we have previously noted from them. Epperson is commanding as director Marsh, while Higgins advances a set of glossy song & dance performances.

Notable supporting role turns are given by Jeff Stockbereger as a comic Abner Dillon – Dorothy Brock’s “sugar-daddy” – as well as, Brett Mutter and Lanene Charters doing fine work as composer/performers Bert Barry and Maggie Jones. Kristy Templet leads the B&B orchestra which turns in great sound and high energy – exactly what is needed for the show.

Peggy Sawyer (Kaylee Verble) and Julian Marsh (Mark Epperson) in the “Lullaby of Broadway” scene

On the tech side – Michael Layton has designed a very colorful and functional rotating set. Costumer Jill Kelly Howe has gone above and beyond her normally exceptional design work and has rendered an unbelievable volume of exquisite, dazzling and shimmering costumes for the cast – which one must see to believe.

Just one example of Jill Kelly Howe’s incredible costume design work as Don Bob Higgins (center) leads the dance corps in “We’re in the Money”.

Bottomline: I am afraid I may not have used enough superlatives to describe the gleaming extravaganza that B&B’s impressive 42nd Street is. The energetic cast provides a splendid array of musical entertainment that I doubt will be matched soon. Congrats to all involved in the effort. This is a true hit show!

42nd Street continues at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre through May 19th. 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

“Grease” at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre

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reviewed by Ken Klingenmeier

Most of us are familiar with the popular musical Grease from the 1978 film version which starred John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. Of course, it was first a small offbeat show put together by friends Warren Casey and Jim Jacobs which developed from its early form in a small nightclub in Chicago in 1971, on through to an off-Broadway styling in February of 1972, before becoming a full blown Broadway hit in larger and larger venues until it closed in 1980 with a run totaling 3,388 performances.

Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre adds to the show’s history with a talent filled edition directed by Eddie Curry, and choreographed by Ron Morgan. Musical director Terry Woods adroitly manages the song filled score and Jill Kelly Howe’s costumes fill the stage with color and throwback 1959 style.

Sarah Daniels as Sandy Dumbrowski and Kaleb Lankford as Danny Zuko take center stage in B&B’s production of “Grease”.

B&B newcomers Sarah Daniels and Kaleb Lankford take the epochal roles of Sandy Dumbrowski and Danny Zuko, applying masterful singing talents to each character’s catalog of songs. Ms. Daniels has had prior experience in the role and it indeed shows as her choices seem both easy and genuine. Lankford’s Zuko is a lively conveyance of all the traits we expect from the “greasy” character. As I noted, both have killer voices and it is a pleasure to hear each of their performances in the production.

Sandy and the Pink Ladies (left), and Danny and the T-Birds (right) remember Summer Nights in a scene from B&B’s production of “Grease”.

But this element of polished vocal skills doesn’t end there. Pink Ladies Casi Riegle (Betty Rizzo), and Kristina Kastrinelis (Marty), plus T-Birds Andy Kear (Roger), and Josh McLemore (Doody), along with Joshua L.K. Patterson (Teen Angel) all knock it out of the park with their amazing voices. Add in the entire cast’s dancing prowess, plowing through Ron Morgan’s inventive combinations with wild enthusiasm, and you have just the right recipe of ingredients to make a memorable show.

Miss Lynch (Karen Pappas) gets caught up in the moment in a scene from B&B’s production of “Grease”.

And I can’t leave out the wonderful comic touches added by Karen Pappas as strait-laced teacher Miss Lynch, B&B fave Jeff Stockberger as the slick and creepy radio DJ, Vince Fontaine, along with a side order of Chris Trombetta as the socially inept Eugene.

Bottomline: You are going to love the entertaining work this high quality cast puts forth. It is such an attractive, joyful bunch of performers. Keep in mind that it IS rated PG-13, but for the most part, the show is a spirited romp with many highlighted moments. Oh, and the buffet was top-notch, too!

Grease continues at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre through March 31st. Get show times and reservations at http://www.beefandboards.com or you may call the box office at 317-872-9664.

  • – Photos by Julie Curry

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