Dessert at intermission

May 8, 2008
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A while back, I was asked by a charitable foundation if I’d be willing to be part of a silent auction package at a fund-raising dinner. The prize? The highest bidder would join me on one of my reviewing assignments. Fair enough, I figured, and asked around to see if any arts group might be interested (with the understanding that offering the prize wouldn’t in any way influence my review).

Not only did American Cabaret Theatre generously donate an extra pair of seats for a performance of “Victor/Victoria,” but the folks at ACT spread the word and biggie-sized the package, adding in a dinner at the Rathskeller and a bottle of vino from Mass Ave. Wine Shop.


Of course, this obligated me to more than just two hours or so in a darkened theater with strangers. I had to actually socialize before the show.

Luckily, the high bidders were truly delightful guests. And an outstanding dinner at the Rathskeller (they had me at the soft pretzel in the bread basket) helped considerably.

Our guests (one local, one her out-of-town date) were regular arts patrons, although not loyal to any particular presenter. They often didn’t know if or what they would see by the Thursday before a given weekend—and they were just as likely to catch something at IndyFringe as they were to spend an evening at the opera. And they were critical without being cynical.

In short, they were the kind of people that the Indy arts scene could use more of. And it was a pleasure to introduce the out-of-towner not only to ACT but also to the Rathskeller and the wonderful Athenaeum building itself.

Conversation (and wine) flowed and, before we knew it, we found ourselves up against “Victor/Victoria” curtain time upstairs. Thankfully, the Rathskeller has a new policy with ACT: Order dessert in the restaurant and it will be delivered upstairs during intermission. A win-win-win move for us, the restaurant and the theater—although it aroused jealousy in those at surrounding tables.

The evening not only got me thinking more about dinner-and-show options, but also about the pleasures of experiencing arts and entertainment with others. I tend to go to events on my own or with one guest, but there’s great pleasure to be had by expanding the group. I know a number of couples who book season tickets as foursomes and look forward to these regular grown-up nights out.

Something to think about when you consider buying season tickets for your favorite Indy arts group. (You are considering buying season tickets, aren’t you?)

For my review of Victor/Victoria, visit here.

Your thoughts?
  • The dessert delivery sounds like a good partnership between the ACT and the Rathskeller. I like knowing that dessert is coming at the intermission of a show at Beef 'n' Boards, too.

    For the past year or so I have been going to shows by myself for the most part, mostly because I wanted to see a lot of shows and it was easier to just jump in the car and go. But also because I had decided I wanted to write publicly about each show I saw. When I started getting both love mail and hate mail about what I was writing, I realized more deeply what a responsibility writers, especially reviewers, have. Who knew that anyone would care so much about what I wrote? Anyway, I therefore wanted to give each show my undivided attention.

    However, now that I have been writing publicly about shows for almost a year (including my informal reviews on, I am beginning to feel a teeny bit more relaxed about this project I have taken on. I am going to ask a friend to go with me more often in the coming theatrical year.

    I might continue to go by myself, though, because (and I was just talking to my sister about this last night!) I have been lucky in getting to meet a lot of people who are connected with the shows, and/or who are fans like me. So, even when I go to shows by myself, it is rare now for there to not be anyone in the audience for me to say hi to.

    This is both good and bad, because even though I am comfortable doing public speaking, I am shy as heck (please notice my word choice! hee hee) in every-day conversations. But it is mostly good.

    Re: season tickets. I like the idea of buying two season tickets and asking a different friend to each show or concert. My friend Stacey does that. (I know because I have been among the lucky invitees!)

    I like your idea of two or more couples (or church group or singles' club) going in on season tickets together, too.

    Hope Baugh
  • 'Sorry for the too-long, blathering post!

    Short version: Yes! Buying season tickets with friends is a great idea!

    Guess what? I just heard that the American Cabaret Theatre is offering 2-for-1 tickets to Victor/Victoria tonight and tomorrow (Friday and Saturday)! Man, I wish I had time to go see it again!

    Hope Baugh
  • I have several friends involved in local theater and a group of us always goes out to support our friends. It's usually a really great time with all of us getting together before the show for dinner and after for drinks. I think theater is best when you can go with friends and I'm very lucky to have so many wonderful and talented people in my life. A couple of my friends are really active with the Fringe and through those events we've met even more great people and get to see some really interesting artistic endeavors.
  • I agree that more is definitely merrier at many performance locations around town. A couple great examples include the Indiana Historical Society's Concerts on the Canal and Lunchtime Concerts on the Canal.

    Okay, so I do work for the IHS, but I also patronize (in a good way) these programs, including the purchase of tables for the Thursday evening performances several times during the summer. You can enjoy them for free by sitting on the steps or on the grassy slope across the Canal, but I enjoy hosting friends and family on the plaza itself, where food, drink and restroom facilities are right there. The Wednesday lunchtime concerts have free seating on the plaza...

    These musical afternoons and evenings, which showcase some of the best local entertainers as well as some regional acts, are as much about socializing as they are about listening to the tunes. You can enjoy a conversation with a melody as the backdrop, or the music can take center stage--either way works for the performers and your neighboring tables.

    Both series start at the end of this month and continue through the end of August--I encourage everyone to join in the fun!

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