You-review-it Monday: 'Billy Elliot,' 'Yankee Tavern,' etc.

April 12, 2010
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Getting to "Yankee Tavern" at the Phoenix Theatre and the opening of "Billy Elliot" in Chicago (more on these to come) meant missing an art opening at the Harrison Center, Melora Hardin at the Cabaret at the Columbia Club, Carrie Underwood at Conseco and more.

So fill me in here at our virtual water cooler. Share what you saw, heard or otherwise experienced this weekend.

Your thoughts?

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  • Good art weekend
    Thursday I saw Michael Burke's Women of Troy at the Irvington. Indy is lucky to have him for as long as we can hold on. Anyone who saw his Medea at Fringe knows he is great at making classics modern and fresh feeling. Great performances by all the women involved.

    Friday was Spark A Revolution at the Earth House. My first exposure to Know No Stranger was bind blowing. 31 performance artists created a carnival like experience recreating your favorite internet destinations.

    And Sunday was a trip to Buck Creek Players for Brain from Planet X. REALLY fun satire. Excellent set and costumes. And a great ensemble. Would love to see it with a more energetic crowd than what I saw at the Sunday matinee.
  • Billy Elliot
    I am eager to hear feedback about "Billy Elliot." I saw it in London several years ago, and was so eager to see it -- and ended up so disappointed. It was just extremely loud, and musically very, very undistinguished -- none of the score is memorable. The kid who played Billy was impressive, but that was it. I wondered if it was the result of the show running for so long and thought perhaps a fresh company might make things right.
  • 2 plays, 1 band, 1.5 books
    I saw "Yankee Tavern" at the Phoenix Theatre, too, although on a different night from you, Lou. I thought it was deliciously creepy. I also loved being able to see another new Steven Dietz play after just seeing "Becky's New Car" at the IRT. The two pieces are very different in tone and subject matter but equally engaging, equally entertaining. "Yankee Tavern" is darker, and about conspiracy theories and ghosts, and about knowing when to ask more questions and when to let go.

    I also drove out to Danville to the Longstreet Playhouse, new home of the Hendricks Civic Theatre. "Grace & Glorie" is this all-volunteer community theatre's 4th production in their new space but it was my first chance to get there. It is a charming, intimate space in a renovated church. I was moved by the show, too. It is an inspirational drama about a hospice worker and the 90-year-old woman she volunteered to help.

    I will, of course, write more about both of these shows on my own blog in a day or two.

    I had planned to hear Anne Shimojima share stories at the Indiana History Center on Saturday night but decided I needed to stay home and catch up on my blog writing instead. But later, on a purely last-minute whim, I joined some family members at Radio Radio in Fountain Square to hear a Bloomington-based band called "Gentleman Caller." Very fun.

    I also read and loved a new novel called Anthill, by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Edward O. Wilson. It is about a boy growing up near Mobile, Alabama. He decides to try to save a tract of wilderness from developers...but it is a much more rounded story than that. Lovely writing, a pleasure to read. I will never think of ants, or the South, in the same way again.

    I am in the middle of a new nonfiction book called The 188the Crybaby Brigade: A Skinny Jewish Kid from Chicago Fights Hezbollah, by Joel Chasnoff. It is funny and insightful and fascinating, about an American who joins the Israeli army.

    Hope Baugh
    Indy Theatre Habit

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