You-review-it Monday

October 5, 2009
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Knowing my weekend was filled and I'd have to miss the full production, I sat in on part of the dress rehearsal on Thursday for Indianapolis Civic Theatre's concert version of "Camelot." I'd love to hear from anyone who saw the full production.

Friday meant the Indianapolis Opera's season opening production of "Ariadne auf Naxos" (more on that later). Then it was a run to Chicago for the gloriously silly--as well as beautifully sung and danced--revival/rediscovering of "Animal Crackers" and a revisit to the coming-this-season-to-Indy "Jersey Boys."

Why the second look at the Four Seasons musical? First, because it's a blast. Second, because I'll be hosting a live on-stage interview with "Jersey Boys" cast members on Oct. 19 at the Murat Theatre and I wanted to look more closely about what makes it work so well.

So what did I miss?

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  • A double header of Flaming Guns of the Purple Sage at Buck Creek Players and Zombieland at the movies. It was sort of a kill or be killed weekend!

    Flaming Guns is very well done with a strong cast. Act one is strangely funny, with less horror, but act two makes up for it with more horror and a healthy 2nd dose of funny. In the end, its an enjoyable show and great this time of year!

    Zombieland was a hoot. There's a lot of funny here and a ton of zombies!
  • They call me Mr. Fry at the IndyFringe Theater Building. It is playing for two more weekends. A play based on a true story that documents Mr. Fry's first year as a teacher in South Central LA. Relationships with students, and administrators are explored on a personal level. Funny and dramatic. You will get tears in your eyes from the sadness and the joy. Overall, great performance. If you are an educator or have an interest in education, it is a can't miss. If you like good theater, acting and great scripts...it is a must see. I paid $10 for a student discount. Regular ticket was $15.
    • I am constantly amazed at the high quality we receive from Indianapolis Opera productions. This past weekend's performance of ARIADNE AUF NAXOS had uniformly wonderful singing -- as good as I see in the "big houses," i.e. The MET, Chicago Lyric, etc. It was wonderful to experience Angela Brown's singing but just as wonderful were Jane Dutton and Rachele Gilmore. The entire ensemble gave us great singing and overall performances...Arnold Rawls' voice amazed and I particularly like Matthew Cellis and Mark Gilgallon. IO productions are ones not to be missed...I hope people increasingly realize what a jewel we have in our performing arts with INDIANAPOLIS OPERA!
    • I attended the sasquatch lecture hosted by Big Car Gallery and iMOCA at the Central Library on Wednesday. Very interesting. The presentation was by Idaho State University anthropology professor Jeffrey Meldrum. I also attended the first friday opening of the sasquatch exhibit at Big Car Gallery held in conjunction with the lecture. There were different interpretations, both by artists and non-artists, of what sasquatch look like. And you could draw your own Bigfoot and hang it on the wall. I don't know that I believe in Bigfoot, but I do find it to be an intersting, quirky subject, and I applaud Big Car for always providing different, interactive art experiences.

      I also went to the Indieana Handicraft Fair at Harrison Center for the Arts both on Friday and on Saturday! Made a lot of purchases of unique handmade items for holiday gifts for my family, including music poster art and a handmade purse.
    • For 13 years, a little known series dedicated to the best artists in acoustic music has existed in Indianapolis. The Acoustic Cafe is the brainchild of Mark Butterfield, a local sound engineer who has worked with some ot the biggest names in the music business over the past 30 years. This years' series opened with John Gorka, who is one of the pre-emminent names in folk music, and he put on a great show. Wonderful songs, hilarious banter. Just a man with a guitar, piano and some great stories. All in an intimate listening room at the Wheeler Center for the Arts. Excellent.
      Type in Indy Acoustic Cafe series in your search engine to see a list of the great artists coming this season.
    • The Civic Theatre hit a home run with its first "Broadway Concert Series" production, Camelot. The minimalist, but very well thought out, stage served to heighten Lerner and Loewe's timeless score, wonderfully executed by the cast's talented voices.

      Headlining the evening was Tobin Strader as King Authur. The magic of his voice alone made the experience quite memorable. His clear and crisp command of the music--as well as the story's emotional range--made me wish he had been opposite Julie Andrews on Broadway.

      Paul Nicely's Lancelot Du Lac was a disappointment. It did not equal his terrific performance as Agustin Magaldi in Evita, and it was no match for Strader's Arthur.

      Theresa Koleszar did well as Guenevere, though her voice was far better than her inconsistent script reading. Kudos to her "costume designer;" she was radiant and impeccable throughout the night.

      Philip Christiansen was a convincing Merlyn.

      Daniel Draves as Pellinore was most fun; his comic relief hit all the right notes all night long.

      Michael Simms's Mordred was excellent and dark, but his overly thick accent was distracting.

      The Ladies and Knights were noble support from start to finish. For me, their highlight was adding great drama to the jousting scene.

      Lastly, it was truly special to see the orchestra on stage and to the hear the audience's repeated appreciation of their role in the magical night. Their skill and the cast's talent didn't make me wish for scenery or costumes for even one minute. Bravo!

      I cannot wait to experience My Fair Lady!
    • I went to see the hit play called They Call Me Mr. Fry. It is a great show! One-man shows are hard pull off, but this one is an exception. The guy who plays the teacher is a great actor and very funny, he even got me welling up a few times. It closes this weekend so don't miss it. The website is misterfry.com
    • Just saw it last weekend. Agree! Shows like this is what good theater is all about. Spread the word on this one.

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