You-review-it Monday

April 4, 2011
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Yes, there was something to do this weekend besides watch basketball.

For me, that meant experiencing tap master Savion Glover at the Palladium, "Annie Get Your Gun" at Beef & Boards, and "This" at the Phoenix. There was also a side trip to Conner Prairie, although the winds kept me from checking out the new Junior Aeronaut program that launched during opening weekend. 

What about you? 

Did you get to any First Friday gallery openings? Check out an orchestra (either Indianapolis' own at the Hilbert Circle Theatre or the St. Petersburg Philharmonic at the Palladium)? Get to "Gospel According to James" at the IRT or The Amazing Acro-Cats at the Fringe Building?

Share your thoughts on whatever you saw, read or otherwise experienced on the arts and entertainment front.

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  • St. Peterburg - Palladium
    I simply cannot believe what I saw last night. A stupendous world-class orchestra, the likes of which simply cannot be heard outside of Chicago, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Berlin, London, chose to come to central Indiana and perform an absolutely stellar concert for us. What did they get? Rude, incoherent, insulting and embarrassing misplaced applause not just between movements (which can be understandable in the face of a magnificent performance), but IN THE MIDDLE OF A PHRASE in the slow-movement cadenza (which cannot ever be appropriate under any circumstances)!!! I have not witnessed such an affront to artists since my Junior High class went on an ISO field trip 40 years ago. I hope that everyone who bought tickets to this concert because it was the "thing to do", not knowing or caring what they were seeing or hearing, and who kept true music lovers out of the hall by buying the tickets up for the show (and then a good portion of them not even bothering to show up) appreciate what they saw, because by now I'm certain that wonderful orchestra has notified all other European orchestras not to come anywhere near this place. Based on this egregious performance by many individuals in the audience who obviously were out of their league attending an event even remotely on the good side of a high school play, we have proven ourselves unworthy to EVER host a truly remarkable orchestra. I had such high hopes of our being able to attract the best of the best... but will now have to continue going to to Carnegie, LA and Chicago to hear them. And such a nice hall they built, too... Shameful, Carmel... Absolutely shameful.
    • Wow
      Don't think I'll be visiting the Palladium anytime soon . . .
    • Fabulous
      Enthusiastic applause or not, the St. Petersburg Philharmonis was absolutely fabulous. And the sounds - without microphones - was stunning.
    • No clapping here
      If you want sans clapping until the end... then go see "The Gospel According To James" at the IRT. It is very gripping and intense. You are only clapping on your feet at the end.
    • Dan the Elitist?
      Thanks a bunch Dan for offering your superiority over the audience that attended the event and jumped to their feet in rousing applause, perhaps since they have never had the chance to experience art so moving and extraordinary prior to this. Hopefully for your sake, others like yourself will get a jump on these tickets keeping these also-rans out.
    • DK does it again!
      Extraordinary performances are always expected when I go to a Dance Kaleidoscope show, but they also know how to throw a party! Their Roaring 20's fundraiser was beautiful all the way around. The costumes worn by nearly 80% of the guests are what set the night apart. Great dinner, ambiance and, of course, a performance by the dancers, plus open dancing at the end of the night created a memorable evening! Congrats to DK!
    • busy, good weekend!
      I saw five shows this weekend and clapped for all of them, for different reasons.

      The Midwest premiere of "This" at the Phoenix Theatre downtown is a smart, delicately funny, highly relatable, coming-of-middle-age story, superbly acted. Bring lots of tissues. I'm going to make time to see this one again.

      Q Artistry's "Bunny Spectacular" at the Irvington Lodge is a hilarious combination of the old "Laugh-In" comedy show and the best of public library story time. A gazillion bunny puppets using a variety of puppetry styles deliver bunny jokes, bunny songs (some in divided harmony), and bunny stories from around the world. The little kids around me were entranced but I (solo adult) had a great time, too.

      It was fun to see the stage version of "Auntie Mame" at the Buck Creek Playhouse on the southeast side of Indy. Each of the numerous volunteer actors in this community theatre piece do a good job, but I particularly enjoyed the warmth and sparkle that Carrie Bennett Fedor brings to the title role.

      "I Hate Hamlet" at the Carmel Community Playhouse had me barking with laughter and I stood to applaud before the lights even came up for the curtain call. It's a sexy play about a TV actor that resists answering a true call to play Hamlet...and a ghost that helps him overcome that resistance. This show made me cry, too, and feel grateful yet again for every stage actor that I know - professional or voluteer. I'd like to make time to see this one again, too.

      "Annie Get Your Gun" at the Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre is a musical comedy with an old-fashioned message ("You can't get a man without cutting yourself down") that disappointed me but the show itself did NOT. Oh, my goodness, what a beautiful show. Beautiful costumes, beautiful singing. I swooned over the male lead, Curt Dale Clark as always, and swooned over the chemistry between him and the female lead, Tiana Checchia.

      I am working on more detailed reviews of all of these for my own blog. I saw "The Gospel According to James" at the Indiana Repertory Theatre downtown last weekend but didn't get a chance to mention it here last Monday. I loved your review of it, Lou, and have shared my own thoughts about the show on my blog.

      I also read and enjoyed My Passion for Design, by Barbra Streisand (it is more about her than about how to decorate, but it's fun) and I started reading The Girlfriend's Guide to Hockey, by Teena Dickerson. I only started following hockey after my father took me to a Tampa Bay Lighting game a few weeks ago. And now the Bolts are in the playoffs! So I decided I'd better learn some more about the game beyond the fact that it is fast and exciting.

      Hope Baugh
      Indy Theatre Habit
    • St. Petersburg Shines
      Lou â?? you are so right that it was a busy and wonderful weekend for the arts in Central Indiana. The Butler Wind Ensemble and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra also performed concerts in addition to the several that have been mentioned. I thought that the St. Petersburg Philharmonic concert at the Palladium was a magnificent musical experience. Conductor Nikolai Alexeev, directing without a baton, established a seamless and well-balanced sound that was nuanced, powerful without being harsh, and which brought out internal details neglected in many performances. As a conductor myself, I was spellbound by watching his hands â?? it almost seemed as if he were sculpting the sound rather than just marking the meter and flow. The principal woodwinds and the concertmaster, who had lengthy solo moments in Scheherezade, were masterful in their execution and in their artistry with these two Russian works. The encore, the Trepak from Tchaikovskyâ??s ballet The Nutcracker, was a nice way to end a program that consisted of two such lengthy and intricate pieces. Piano soloist Nikolai Lugansky was a powerful force right from the solo introduction to Rachmaninoffâ??s popular Piano Concerto #2. The end of the second movement was thrilling in its fade into vapor. Addressing a comment made by an earlier writer about the audience - the applause that unfortunately interrupted the piano solo cadenza was made by only three people, and the audience groaned their disapproval at this lack of concert decorum. I saw nothing â??rude, incoherent or insultingâ?? about the audienceâ??s enthusiastic response to the performance. Embarrassing I will grant, but only because of less than 1% of the audience. I wonder how the writer is connected well enough to know about the communications between European orchestras â?? I rather doubt that there will be a boycott of such a wonderful facility. Carmel Clay schools were on spring break, and that explains many of the empty seats, as many season ticket holders were not able to attend. Proper or not, it is not uncommon for crowds in America to applaud between movements. Conductors learn to use gestures that keep the applause from happening where they do not want it, and Maestro Alexeev took control of the situation and the crowd followed his lead. Audiences have been large and tremendously enthusiastic at the Palladium, and there is nothing shameful about that. The Palladium administration has brought fantastic performers into Central Indiana, and there is nothing shameful about that. Bravo to the St. Petersburg Philharmonic for a wonderful and illuminating concert, and thank you to the Palladium for making it possible for such a world class ensemble to come to Carmel.
      • Oops
        Sorry about the dashes being somehow reinterpreted on the transfer. I hope that the text is clear even though some punctuation will be a bit strange.
      • Acro-Cats
        Charming, delightful and for a great cause! Acro-Cats was one of the most hilarious things I have ever seen. Don't miss them if they come to town again.
      • Totally Agree
        It was an amazing evening. I heard that Conductor Nikolai Alexeev emailed the staff at The Palladium expressing how much he and the orchestra enjoyed playing at the hall and look forward to a return engagement. If the enthusiastic standing ovavation from those in attendance was any indication the St. Petersburg Philharmonic will be most welcomed with another sold out performance.
      • music-sculpting hands
        Charles - As one of the many people that check Lou's blog every day not only to see what he has written but also to see what his readers have written, I appreciate your taking the time to share your experience of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Concert at the Palladium.

        I don't know why some punctuation changes when one writes something in Word and then transfers it to a blog's comment box. But anyway, don't worry: everything you wrote was clear.

        I especially loved:

        "Conductor Nikolai Alexeev, directing without a baton, established a seamless and well-balanced sound that was nuanced, powerful without being harsh, and which brought out internal details neglected in many performances. As a conductor myself, I was spellbound by watching his hands - it almost seemed as if he were sculpting the sound rather than just marking the meter and flow."

        I confess that I don't really understand what a conductor does, but your sentences gave me a tantalizing hint of the complexity of the job and its artistic potential.

        So...thanks!

        Hope Baugh
        Indy Theatre Habit
      • Gospel According to James
        Lou, I saw "Gospel According to James" on Friday night and was thoroughly enthralled. While I agree with your review that it was hard to separate reality from fiction, wasn't that also the point of the play? In the spirit of the theme of how reality and memories cross-pollinate, I was actually born and raised in Marion. Perhaps that peppered my feelings toward the play...I knew the places they spoke of and could envision the scenery. Even though I was born almost 50 years after the incident, I found tears in my eyes during the scene where Thomas, Abram, and James speak about the lynching and the fact that, quite possibly, people I know could have been friends with the victims - or worse, could have had a part in the crime. It's a shameful moment in my hometown's past, but I think it's important that we are still having a conversation about it. I also thought Tyler Jacob Rollinson was great as Abram...and I think I saw in the program this was his first professional role.

        I also feel that I should respond to the applause post by Dan. This is one of the things I really dislike about the art world. Calling audience members "shameful" for applauding at the wrong moment makes the arts seem elitest. Don't we want to share art, whether it's classical music or professional plays, with everyone, no matter their experience level? I don't know about you, but my answer to that question is "yes."

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