Zippy “Zoomerville” launched

May 8, 2009
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share
It's always a challenge staging an unknown show.

It's even more challenging to stage an untested show.

It is far more challenging to stage an untested musical.

That's probably why you won't find many brand new musicals being staged here in Indianapolis. Just a few weeks ago, "Treasure Island" gave it a shot and the solid production by Beef & Boards offers reason to hope that the show will continue to develop further with subsequent productions. (See my full review here.)

Last night, the Phoenix Theatre opened an original musical of its own, this one by a local team. I'll be writing about it in an upcoming IBJ print column, but for now, I'll just say this: "The Zippers of Zoomerville or Two-Hundred Laps and a Lass" is a true original, a must-see that not only offers over two hours of joyful silliness, but also the rare instance of a top-notch show that is, truly, an Indiana creation from top to bottom (or from the starting line to the finish line, as the case may be).

"Zoomerville," a spoof of the 500 and its culture, wisely never gets too precious or insidery. It hits the wall occasionally and, like the race itself, there are some uninspiring stretches. But those barely put a dent in my admiration, enthusiasm and, okay, maybe even awe about what's being pulled off at the Phoenix.

Inspired by Gilbert & Sullivan, "Zoomerville" also seems to be imprinted with influences from Steven Sondheim to Andy Prieboy (whose club musical "White Trash Wins Lotto" is the closest thing I've seen to it in style and spirit). But I don't want to give too much credit to its antecedents at the expense of praise for the relentless creativity of playwright/co-lyricist Jack O'Hara, aided and abetted by composer Tim Brickley (who plays piano on stage throughout). The densely (and hilariously) packed lyrics and jaunty score are both stronger than any reasonable theatergoer would expect. And, with one exception, the cast gets the tone just right, with Phebe Taylor and Scot Greenwell in the plum parts of pageant queen Happenstance Throttlehopper and rookie racer John Hoosier Lordyboy Jr. standing out.

I look forward to racing back (FYI: The Phoenix has added Wednesday shows for this one). See you there?
  • We put together a little video about the show here: It should answer *all* your questions about the show (haha)!
  • Sorry, it's
    That link didn't work.
  • Okay, I told myself I was going into reader only mode on Lou's blog for a while - some weeks it is as addictive as Facebook! - but I'll start that diet tomorrow.

    Today, I have to add my heck, yeah to Lou's about Zippers of Zoomerville. My friend and I laughed our heads off last night. 'Loved the music, loved the many treats in this skillfully ridiculous show! I'll be writing more about it on my own blog, too, of course, in a day or two.

    Tonight and tomorrow night I'm judging Encore shows, but thinking seriously about seeing Zippers again one of these Wednesdays...

    Hope Baugh
    Indy Theatre Habit

Post a comment to this blog

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
  1. I am so impressed that the smoking ban FAILED in Kokomo! I might just move to your Awesome city!

  2. way to much breweries being built in indianapolis. its going to be saturated market, if not already. when is enough, enough??

  3. This house is a reminder of Hamilton County history. Its position near the interstate is significant to remember what Hamilton County was before the SUPERBROKERs, Navients, commercial parks, sprawling vinyl villages, and acres of concrete retail showed up. What's truly Wasteful is not reusing a structure that could still be useful. History isn't confined to parks and books.

  4. To compare Connor Prairie or the Zoo to a random old house is a big ridiculous. If it were any where near the level of significance there wouldn't be a major funding gap. Put a big billboard on I-69 funded by the tourism board for people to come visit this old house, and I doubt there would be any takers, since other than age there is no significance whatsoever. Clearly the tax payers of Fishers don't have a significant interest in this project, so PLEASE DON'T USE OUR VALUABLE MONEY. Government money is finite and needs to be utilized for the most efficient and productive purposes. This is far from that.

  5. I only tried it 2x and didn't think much of it both times. With the new apts plus a couple other of new developments on Guilford, I am surprised it didn't get more business. Plus you have a couple of subdivisions across the street from it. I hope Upland can keep it going. Good beer and food plus a neat environment and outdoor seating.