You-review-it Monday: 'Wicked,' cabaret hopping, and more

November 18, 2013
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For me, the weekend included catching the return of "Wicked" to the Murat. (See my review here.) I also enjoyed an impromptu visit to the Cabaret at the Columbia Club to hear Christine Andreas, whom I haven't seen on stage since her appearance in Broadway's "The Scarlet Pimpernel."

Why impromptu?

Because my intent Friday night was to hear Claire Wilcher ("Spamalot," "Avenue Q") in her solo debut at Chef Joseph's at the Connoisseur Room. I took flight, however, after 25 minutes of straining to hear a few notes here and there. That's no fault of Wilcher's. Blame, instead, goes to a a bar crowd that seemed to believe it was at a hockey game instead of a cabaret performance.  But it also would have helped if managment had given Wilcher a proper stage introduction instead of having her do her own cold opening. Here's hoping the crowd eventually realized there was a lady on the stage and that this isn't typical of the respect shown to talent at this attractive venue that's going out of its way to offer a stage to local performers.

In contrast, over at the Columbia Club, the lights were dimmed, host Shannon Forsell welcomed the audience, Andreas was given a proper introduction, and the crowd barely said a word for two lovely sets. The mix included songs from Andreas' Broadway hits (including "My Fair Lady" and "La Cage Aux Folles"), a bit of Edith Piaf, some atmospheric Italy-centric songs, and a sneak preview of a tune from  "The Countess of Storyville," a new musical by her husband/pianist Martin Silvestri. A first-class evening all around.

The rest of my weekend included catching up on films (voting in the Indiana Film Journalists Association awards is just a few weeks away). On my weekend roster:  "Ender's Game" (which I found surprisingly effective and thought-provoking enough for a cinematic sci-fi adventure), "The Place Beyond the Pines" (a rambling disappointment in spite of a strong first third and solid performances), "Dallas Buyers Club" (I'm glad I saw it knowing next to nothing about its story), and "Frances Ha" (a small film that I found sad, funny, and beautifully human). 

And you?

Did you see the new "Ice Age Giants" show at the Indiana State Museum? Catch "Red" at the Eiteljorg (my thoughts can be found here)? Take shelter during the matinee of "The Odd Couple" at the Studio Theater or "August: Osage County" at Cardinal Stage on Sunday?

Let me know what you experience on the A&E front this weekend.

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  • I saw "Enough Said"
    Enough Said was a fun, entertaining movie and a good farewell performance by James Gandolfini. Definitely worth checking out!
  • Claire Was Awesome! Crowd Was Not!
    I agree completely...Claire Wilcher's show was AWESOME and the crowd was very disappointing. I liked the concept at Chef Joseph's and hope they will continue to refine the delivery. Of course, I would listen to Claire perform the phone book!
  • Supper Club
    Claire was amazing and in the last two sets had the audiences full attention. Don't be confused, Chef Joseph's is a Supper Club, not a Cabaret. Guests are not expected to stop everything and listen to the performer, the performer is there to enhance the entire experience. That is why there is No Cover and No Ticket to purchase. I'm sure you could speak with Claire or any other of Chef Joseph's regular musical family and find out that they are just that, family.
  • Acoustic Cafe
    I saw a wonderful singer songwriter and acoustic musician, Michael Johnson, at the Indy Acoustic Cafe Series at the Wheeler Center in Fountain Square...terrific show...two sets, hilarious banter, phenomenal musicianship on the guitar, great songs...Johnson has been around for ever, was in the Chad Mitchell trio back in the days of folk, has had several pop and country hits over the years (You may remember "Bluer than Blue")...his true milieu is live performance and he delivered in spades...IndyAcousticCafeSeries.com, more shows to be announced soon. Series is 17 years running, features the best acoustic music and performers anywhere (I have no connection to the series other than I rarely miss a show)...check out the website to see who has played there in the past...amazing roster of artists...subscribe the the e-mail list to get online notice of shows and buy tickets...
  • Brooklyn Rider
    Loved Brooklyn Rider string quartet at Clowes, plus Bela Fleck. There was a world premiere, commissioned by Clowes for their 50th anniversary. Brooklyn Rider especially showed enormous versatility...and there is, indeed, bluegrass in Brooklyn!

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