You-review-it Monday: Jason Robert Brown and more

October 17, 2011
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For me the weekend included a double dose of music by one of my favorite contemporary musical theater composers, Jason Robert Brown ("The Last Five Years," "Songs for a New World"). Brown headlined at the Cabaret at the Columbia Club and I served as the Q to his A in post-show, on-stage discussions Friday and Saturday nights.

Highlights of both evenings included songs familiar to fans of his work (who probably already saw the set list here), but also strong new songs from his in-the-works musicals based on "The Bridges of Madison County" and "Honeymoon in Vegas."

Neither had been on my high-anticipation list before. But hearing Brown's plaintive "Wondering" from the former and the joyfully smarmy "When You Say Vegas" gives clear indication that both shows are in great musical hands. They provided more evidence that no one writing musicals today has as sure a hand as Brown in defining characters through song.

Brown also brought Shoshana Bean, a powerhouse vocalist/actress who nailed not just the notes, but also the heart of his tunes.

Were you there? What did you think of the show?

Having seen many of the Heartland Film Festival movies in prep for my previews (find them here and here), I didn't get out to more this weekend. But It would be great to hear what you thought of what you saw.

Or maybe you caught one of the three Going Solo shows at the IRT?

Or something else.

Your thoughts on your A and/or E weekend?



  • necessities
    I came back from a trip on Friday and made a point of looking for the big piece of art over the escalator in the Indianapolis airport when I went down to collect my bag.

    "Chrysalis" by James Wille Faust looks great there. Its cheery colors and shapes lifted my spirits after a long day of traveling and the little globe in the middle made me feel both lucky to be able to travel and lucky to be able to come home.

    On Saturday and Sunday I was still pretty jet-lagged and I cancelled a lot of the things that I had hoped to do. However, I did make it to the Indiana Repertory Theatre to see the last performance of "Lost: a Memoir," which is based on the book by Canadian Cathy Ostlere. Constance Macy was LUMINOUS in the USA premiere of this one-person show about (among other things) traveling and coming home.

    Hope Baugh
    Indy Theatre Habit
  • What a high school orchestra!
    I went to the concert of the Carmel High School orchestras - all four of them. This is the first time that I have seen new assistant conductor James Woomert on the podium and he did a very nice job. The freshman strings played an energetic and entertaining new piece by Indy violinist and composer Cathy Morris. I have been observing high school conductors of band, orchestra and choir for 35 years (after all I am married to one) and can honestly say that Soo Han is the most outstanding high school conductor I have ever seen. He led the Symphony Orchestra in a moving and eloquent interpretation of the slow movement from Benjamin Britten's Simple Symphony - this did not sound like a high school string section at all. The concert ended with the second and then the first movement to Beethoven's Seventh Symphony. Again, Mr. Han's interpretation and conducting was spot on. The strings sounded great and most of the solo winds were fine - a bit of fatigue seemed to set in with the horn section, but again, this was far from what one would ever expect to hear from a high school orchestra, especially in October!
  • Heartland!
    I went to seven Heartland films over the weekend. Saw "Red Dog" on Friday night -- cute movie, good for the ABC Family channel. Saw several documentaries that were fascinating. Really enjoyed the Pruitt-Igoe Myth about the failed housing project in St. Louis in the 1950s-70s. "A People Uncounted" is another good--though heartbreaking--movie about the Roma/Gypsy people. "The Hammer" was also well filmed.

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