You-review it Monday: More holiday shows

December 5, 2010
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It shouldn't come as a surprise that everything I saw on area stages this weekend had a Christmas focus. There was the 25th edition of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra's Yuletide Celebration, Actors Theatre of Indiana's "A Year with Frog and Toad" (which includes a song celebrating "Merry Almost Christmas"), the Leisure King's holiday program at the Cabaret at the Columbia Club (including an extended version of the "Jingle Bells, Batman smells" and a gargled version of "Silent Night"), Bobdirex's production of "Silver Bells, Silver Screen," and Cardinal Stage's "Santaland Diaries," which roadtripped from the company's home in Bloomington to make its Indy debut at the Indy Fringe Theatre.

Did you spend part of your weekend with any of these? Or did you try "Beef & Boards Christmas," "A Very Phoenix Xmas," or the IRT's "A Christmas Carol"? (All reviewed in this weeks IBJ here.)

Or perhaps you caught a "Nutcracker" or stopped in holiday-themed gallery show. Or went off the board for something that had nothing to do with Santa and company.

Whatever the case, share what you experienced this weekend.

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  • Butler Ballet's Nutcracker
    It's a joy to see so many young children on stage (well rehearsed with clean acting and dancing), who will remember this production forever. THe sets and costumes were as good as the best professional company in the land. Well done, Butler!
  • Santaland
    I actually travelled to tiny Sullivan, Illinois and saw the Little Theatre on the Square's presentation of "Santaland Diaries." Over the years, I could not imagine it as a performance piece, and now I think it should never have become one. Read the story (whish is hilarious) or listen to Sedaris read it. I am interested to hear how Scot Greenwell's version was, but I was not impressed with the piece as "a play."

    Sullivan, by the way, is a cute little town, and the Little Theatre on the Square is a nice theatre with a rich history. Jibby's is a neat little restaurant/bar around the corner which is fun before and after the show. The owner, TLC's Doug Wilson, happened to be there Saturday night.
  • John Prine @ Murat
    Saw JP at the Murat on Saturday. The man always puts on a great show. Too bad the crowd was really rowdy and at certain points downright rude, yelling while he was talking and telling stories about the songs. JP handled it well though, at one point even telling an unruly guy to go do mcdonalds if he wants to yell out orders. I wish the Murat would not have allowed cameras in the theater as the constant flashes were a nuisance, especially the girl next to me who felt the need to get a photo every 5 minutes. Seems like anymore people go to concerts and forget that they're not the only ones who paid to see the show.

    Aside from the audience, the music and storytelling from John Prine and band was top notch. Jason Wilber's opening set was great too.
  • Best Christmas Pageant Ever
    Hendricks Civic Theatre Production of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever was terrific. Playing to a sold out crowd on Sunday I laughed at all the mishaps of the Herdman kids but was also moved by their interpretation of the Christmas Story. Glad I ventured out into the cold for this heartwarming show.
  • Artcraft Theater
    We headed to the always-charming Artcraft Theater in Franklin to see "A Christmas Story." One highlight of the evening was the pink-bunny frosted sugar cookies for $1!
  • Zionsville Talent High
    You should have attended the Zionsville High School multi-group performance at Zionsville High School over the weekend. There were approximately 550 talented musicians and signers performing at the same time, and in many special groupings, ending with essentially the on-screen music from Polar Express, performed perfectly to a large projection of excerpts from the film. A hardy Well Done to all involved.
  • It's A Wonderful Christmas Story
    We saw "It's a Wonderful Life" on the big screen - first time seeing this classic on a screen bigger than a home TV. It was, well, truly wonderful. Then the fabulous Artcraft Theatre in Franklin showed "A Christmas Story" this past weekend. We went Friday night and enjoyed the show with hundreds of film fans.
  • Cardinal's Santaland Diaries
    Saw Cardinal Theater's Production of Santaland Diaries this weekend. The show is visiting Indy at the Indy Fringe theatre through next weekend and I urge all to see it if you have a chance. I hadn't read the story prior to the show so don't know if that made a difference in my experience. I thought Scot Greenwell did a fabulous job with the part. My husband and son were with me and they also enjoyed it immensely! The theater appears to be in an old, small church which created a great, intimate atmosphere - perfect for a one man show. Support your local small theater groups and see this performance if you want a break from all the holiday stress. You'll leave with a smile on your face and a subtle reminder of what really matters at this time of year!
  • Theater on the Square's "Now we don our gay apparel"
    Saw this and this is definitely one that I would go back and see again. If your easily offended then this isn't the play for you. They tackle Christmas, Kwanza, and Hanukkah. With a lot of drag thrown in as the 3 wise queens instead of the 3 wise men, everyone is sure to find something to laugh about.
  • Indianapolis Symphonic Choir
    I sang with the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir and the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra Brass Ensemble for the Festival of Carols in Fishers and Zionsville Saturday and Sunday. The music was beautiful, and perhaps the most moving part of both performances with singing "Dream Isaiah Saw." What a great way to begin the holiday season: spreading Christmas cheer with other talented musicians!
    • Carmel HS
      The name says it all..the Holiday Spectacular at Carmel HS is just that. An oustanding performance.
    • Very good, drums spoiled it
      I attended the Saturday night concert at Holy Spirit Church at Geist. It was a very good concert, with showed the great amount of preparation work.
      BUT the "Isiah" was RUINED by the drummers, who overshadowed the choirs (Symphonic Choir and two from Fishers HS). You couldn't hear the words, which were not printed in the bulletin, much to my disappointment.
      They also skipped "Rose", again to my disappointment. So, we bought the CD (only $10, for a 2005 concert) which had both songs, so we could hear them.
      Otherwise, a very good concert.
    • Heritage Christian Christmas Concert
      Friday and Saturday night were the (sold out) Christmas choir concerts at Heritage Christian School. It was beautiful, inspiring, and jam-packed with talent! Kids from 5th through 12th grades participated. Parents worked behind the scenes to create a lovely Christmas setting. Choir director Mike Hummel and accompanist Pat Rozeboom put together a stunning show. Congrats to all! It was the best place to be this weekend!
    • Yuletide with Frog and Toad
      My sister is a librarian with the Symphony and she invited my husband, children and I to the final dress rehearsal for Yuletide. It is a fabulous show! Sandy is as wonderful as ever, the Symphony is magnificent and the guest artists - Les and Dazzle and Mike and his Harmonica are OUTSTANDING!

      My daughter and I had the great fortune to be on the run crew for A Year With Frog and Toad. She ran a spotlight and I kept Frog's house changing stage left. Bradley Reynolds and Don Farrell are just delightful! Jessica, Kyra and John were a hoot! We are very proud to have joined this merry crew and look forward to many more years with Frog and Toad!
    • Phoenix Xmas
      The Phoenix Xmas show was a mixed bag. Some skits were pretty good, but many weren't much better than some I've seen in high school "skit" productions. It was hard to believe that it was an equity house, based on this production. I've seen other shows at this theater, this one isn't worthy.

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