You-review-it Monday

February 13, 2012
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For me, the weekend included a trip to Ball State to see a terrific student production of "The Drowsy Chaperone" (co-directed by that show's original Broadway star Sutton Foster) as well as an excursion to the Center for the Performing Arts' Studio Theatre for Actors Theatre of Indiana's take on "Godspell." More thoughts on both soon.

Plus there was the Grammy Awards which I live tweeted at IBJARTS.

And you? What A&E activity did you experience this weekend?

Your thoughts?

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  • Godspell & Lend Me a Tenor
    I had the opportunity to see the opening night performance of Godspell by Actors Theatre of Indiana and a performance of Civic Theatre's Lend Me a Tenor, both at the Carmel center for the Performing Arts. Godspell has always been a favorite of mine and this production did everything to maintain that appreciation. The production is lively, well directed, professionally performed and expertly choreographed. It is truly a most enjoyable 2 hours and should not be missed. Lend Me a Tenor is a campy, slapstick play in the style of Neil Simon. This production moves smoothly to a most comical conclusion. I would also recommend taking in this production.
  • Indy Chamber Orchestra
    The Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra play a fine concert Saturday night at the Basile Theater in the Indiana History Center. Music Director Kirk Trevor conducted and the soloist was oboist Leanna Booze. The program opened with a one on a part rendition of the Third Brandenburg Concerto of J.S. Bach. The violins and violas performed standing, which is likely the manner the orchestra in 1721 would have done all performances. The second movement, which is in reality a single cadence with harpsichord improvisation, was replaced by a slow movement from a Bach Violin Sonata, and it was well played by violinist Davis Brooks and harpsichordist Tom Gerber. The effect was a dynamic and energetic playing in which bow strokes were more audible than when several players are on each part. When bassist David Murray played the lowest notes on an extension that allows lower notes than low E, there was a noticeable oomph in the room, and it had a wonderful impact. Leanna Booze played a beautifully nuanced performance of Richard Strauss late masterpiece the Oboe Concerto. It was written in 1946 when the composer was 82. The orchestra played a well balanced accompaniment and the audience responded with a warm ovation. There seemed to be a bit of a hiccup at the beginning of the third movement and some tentative horn playing was noticeable. The remainder of the orchestra winds performed their significant roles extremely well. The second half of the concert was the 1788 Symphony 39 of W.A. Mozart. It was a nice opportunity to hear two contrasting versions, as the Royal Philharmonic played it a couple of weeks ago at the Palladium. Both performances were of a very high calibre, but the sound of the larger string section in the big warm hall was very different from this one, with a smaller string section in a drier and much more intimate setting. Maestro Trevor, conducting without score, led a most interesting and spirited rendition. This is the only late Mozart Symphony that does not use oboes, so a most interesting situation was mentioned by Trevor; there were no oboes on stage to give the tuning A for any of the works. It was given by harpsichord, english horn and clarinet. I especially liked what Trevor did with the third movement, as it was a bit faster and more aggressive than most performances, so the effect was closer to a waltz than to the traditional minuet, and it had a very nice flow and pacing. Without the presence of oboes, the clarinets are featured prominently, and they played very well indeed. The were slight balance issues with trumpet a bit loud and flute a bit soft, but this was a minor criticism of an overall fine performance.

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