Thoughts on Zoobilation, ‘Spamalot’ and more

June 16, 2013
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The Indianapolis Zoo was, to no surprise, packed for Zoobilation on Friday night. The annual benefit features a wide range of food-sample stations, from high-end steakhouses generously serving sliders to treats from Blondie's Cookies (remember Blondie from her attempt to find funding on TV's "Shark Tank"?). My favorite from the event: 10-01's simple melon soup. I can't tell you how many shot-size samples I snagged.


The evening's only downside was an out-of-place appearance by the Naked Cowboy, the Times Square eyesore and shameless self-promoter brought in by Oceanaire. What's next? Hiring a Kardashian? 

On Saturday, I caught a joyous performance of "Monty Python's Spamalot." More on that later, but suffice it for now to say that "Spamalot" marks the most fully realized of director/producer Bob Harbin's summer shows at the Athenaeum. If you've ever quoted a line from "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," this is a must-see. 

I returned to Mass Ave on Sunday as well, with the intention of seeing the musical "Zanna Don't!" at Theatre on the Square. At the box office, though, I was told a tale I haven't heard in about 35 years of theatergoing: Apparently some of the actors in the production, thinking there were only three reservations (there were actually more), decided they didn't want to perform and left before showtime. The management was apologetic and assured us those actors would never get parts at TOTS again. Ah, well, at least Yats was still open ...

And you? What did you see or do this weekend? 

Your thoughts?

  • The show must go on
    When I was in college, many students bought into a pervasive campus myth that "if the professor is more than 15 minutes late, class is canceled." Of course, there never was any such policy, and even though I know some actors who have kicked around similar rumors (wishful thinking, perhaps) that the theatre where they're working will cancel a show if there are fewer than X reservations, I don't know of any Indy theatre that really does that either. Every actor has war stories about playing to a tiny house (my personal best: performing for two people who both left at the intermission), but no matter how many people show up, the show must go on. They paid for their tickets and their contribution and time should be respected. What if it's their first visit to your theatre, or any live theatre? Or what if they just happen to be theatre critics for an influential Indianapolis publication? You never know who's going to show up. Make it memorable for everybody . . . in the right way. At any rate, I hope the unprofessional behavior of those actors won't put any readers off going to see live theatre at TOTS, where I've seen many a great show over the years. Besides, as small as the Indy theatre community is, I have a feeling that the names of the performers in question will get out quickly, and you may not see them on stage anywhere for a while. So keep going to live theatre in Indy! You will be glad you did.
    • Spam, Spam, Spam
      Saw "Spamalot" Friday night. What a fun evening. Very talented cast in a very funny and entertaining show. Well done Bob Harbin and company!
      • Spamalot
        Casting was perfect. Highly entertaining, well worth the low price of admission.
      • Time for Three
        Time for Three were the guest performers this weekend at the Indianapolis Symphony Pops concert. They were scheduled as the guest performers for the opening concert last fall, but were cancelled due to the contract dispute. As I understand it, Time for Three is completing a multi-year residency with the ISO, and their delayed performance was certainly worth the wait. Everything that they played - from classical, to bluegrass, to jazz, was wonderful and captivated the audience. The ISO is always wonderful, and they complemented Time for Three perfectly. Indianapolis is really fortunate to have Jack Everly and the ISO. I am looking forward to next year?
        • Agreed
          Well said Brian!!
        • Petty
          I begrudgingly agreed to go to Tom Petty this weekend with my wife and I am mostly glad I did. Petty was great and seemed to genuinely enjoy the IN crowd. Entering and exiting Klipsch is painful and has not improved at all over the years. Traffic on 69 was backed up all the way to 116th street. My fault for going that way I guess. My line to enter the concert had a very thorough security gaurd patting everyone down. It took way too long and as I stood there not one person was turned away for any sort of contraband. Imagine my surprise when the group behind us went through a bail of weed at the concert. I am getting old, but so are many of the rockers I like. I am thinking the Murat is more my speed now, a lot less people. And do not get me starteed on exiting Klipsch. What a nightmare. Great venue once you get inside but it would be nice to get in and out more quickly.
        • Irving
          I visited the Irving Theater Saturday for Jude Fest, a full day of great roots/folk music to benefit local artist-musician-teacher Jude Odell. I'd never been to the Irving, but the visit makes me wonder what the story is. It looks to be shored up frame-wise and awaiting some fabulous (or at least functional) indoor renovations. The floor is bare concrete and the walls are a mess; seating is old theater seats and church pews. But what a great stage and room! Interestingly, we got shooed out just past the 10 pm ending time so they could set up for Rocky Horror at midnight. Wish I could have stayed for that! Best of luck to the folks at the Irving! Can't wait to see what other programming shows up there.
        • More Time for Three
          Time for Three was a fantastic performance. The sounds were spectactular; the program varied and entertaining and the talent amazing. Hope they stay closer by, but we'd gladly travel to hear their phenomenal sound.
        • Spamalot
          Truly great and funny play. Vocalists were Broadway caliber and stage settings ideal for small stage. Would go again!
        • ZOO
          Went to Zoobilation Friday night and had a great time. The weather was super nice and the food was very good, for the most part. Lots of sliders this year at many different tents. The slider from Alexander's was inedible, all four in my group ended up tossing it after one bite. Some tents were out of food by 8:30 and one bar area was out of cups at 8:30, not sure how that can happen. Great event in Indy and I look forward to it each year.
        • No thank you, Naked Cowboy
          Thank you for pointing out the absurdity of having The Naked Cowboy at Zoobilation. For the life of me, I don’t know why anyone would want a picture with that guy, but there were plenty of folks lined up to get a shot with him. The event could have used more restrooms out on the bridge, more photo booths and vendors offering something besides meat. There were a few more veg-friendly options this year than last, but it has a long way to go.
        • Loved Zoobilation
          This was our first year at Zoobilation and I think we picked the best year to start our new tradition. It was a wonderful evening. I agree with Sally's comments about the food. As a vegetarian, I had a hard time finding much to eat, but I muddled through with lots if cupcakes and a fabulous Vietnamese noodle wrap that blewy taste buds away. I was a little offended by the under-dressed cowboy and Oceanaire did not score any points with me by flying him in.
        • Mormon Tabernacle Choir
          The show was superb! The choir was excellent as was the orchestra. I enjoyed the wide variety of songs they performed. It's just a shame it has been over 100 since they last performed in Indy. I would highly recommend the show to anyone who has the opportunity to see them. Thank you so much Lou for the opportunity to see them.
        • Great Spam
          Agreed. This one of Harbin's best efforts. Very well done, and that from a total Python fan. Do see it--it is definitely worth the price of admission and then some.
        • LaughALot
          Spam a lot is a Must See!! Even if you don't know Monty Python, this play is so well done it is funny through and through. Terrific casting and unbelievable talent. Go and laugh your face off!
        • Eclectic Pond's Much Ado About Nothing
          This small community theater in the heart of Irvington does Shakespeare proud. Small, but mighty. One more weekend.
        • Spamalot age appropriateness?
          would language/content be appropriate for Jr. High aged kids?
          • Men's Chorus
            Saw the Indy Men's Chorus "Music of Gilbert & Sullivan" at the Indiana Historical Society on Sunday evening.
          • Junior High
            Bob H.: I couldn't imagine anyone enjoying "Spamalot" more than a junior high-aged kid. That's about how old I was when I discovered "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," which I thought was pretty much the funniest thing in the universe. "Spamalot" is naughty and irreverent, but hardly offensive to any but the most prudish of people.
          • Zoobi-licious
            Zoobilation is hands down my favorite event in Indy! I loved the chilled melon soup from 10-01 and was excited to have the chance to try something new from a restaurant I already love. Would have liked to have seen 'edgier' samples from other places. I hope they put a limit on the number of sliders next year. Bru Burger and St. Elmo's are the only ones I need! Also enjoyed chatting with Lou in the Oceans exhibit!
            • Zoobilation
              Nice chatting with you, too, Jessica.
            • Zanna Don't Actor
              As an actress in Zanna Don't I'd like to comment here. I would have earlier but we were asked by the theatre to refrain from commenting until they pubicly responded. We received an apology but I haven't seen anything stated to the public. Sunday's show did not go on due to major lighting problems. While running warm ups it was discovered that several lights were out and this was a safety issue. I understand that the lights have now been repaired and the show will go on this weekend as well as next Friday and Saturday.

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