Struggling with last-minute gift buying?
An easy solution is to buy tickets to Indy arts and entertainment offerings.
Need a little more guidance? Well, the following are a list of yet-to-happen events that were part of my 2009/2010 season preview. Let it serve as a jump start for your ticket buying. Of course, there's a lot more out there to choose from.
For the fan of high-energy, made-for-TV dance:
High-energy Hip Hop dancing is the order of the day for this head-spinning, arm-crossing, floor-sliding, rubber-limbed company that came to national attention on NBC’s “America’s Best Dance Crew.” It’s part of the Clowes Presents series, our leading dance importer. For info and tickets, visit www.cloweshall.org.
For the romantic:
“Valentine’s Romance with Tony DeSare “
Hilbert Circle Theatre
The rising pop vocalist was the highlight of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra’s Irving Berlin program last season. The ISO is wisely giving him more of the spotlight when he returns in 2010. A perfect gift for romantic couples. For info and tickets, visit www.indianapolissymphony.org
For the world-music lover:
Bela Fleck: The Africa Project
In creating his “Tales from the Acoustic Planet” recordings, Bela Fleck collaborated on location with musicians from Uganda, Senegal, Madagascar and elsewhere. For this tour, he’s bringing along kora player Toumani Diabate, guitarists Vusi Mahlasela and D’Gary, and pianist Anania Ngolia. It’s a world away from anything you hear on Top-40 radio, and it should be an ear-opener. Find info and tickets at www.cloweshall.org.
For the history and/or lit buff with an eye for dance:
“Fondly Do We Hope…Fervent Do We Pray”
In a work commissioned by IU Auditorium and Chicago’s Ravinia Festival, choreographer Bill T. Jones (Tony Award winner for “Spring Awakening”) brings together dancers, an actor, live musicians playing an original score, projected films, and text from Shakespeare, the Bible, and Walt Whitman in an exploration of the impact of Abraham Lincoln’s words, deeds and ideas. For info and tickets, visit www.iuauditorium.com.
For the movie buff:
Tobias Theatre at the IMA
The Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, which hit a home run last year with its live performance of Buster Keaton’s “The General,” tries it again with the great Harold Lloyd silent comedy “Safety Last” (which you may only know from the iconic image of Lloyd dangling from a clock’s hands). Expect a sellout. For info and tickets, visit www.icomusic.org.
For the muscial theater lover who could use a good cry:
Indianapolis Civic Theatre
It’s tough to make predictions when dealing with local theater. So much of the quality depends on the casting and directing. But I’m certainly looking forward to Civic’s sure-to-be strikingly visual production of what I’d argue is Rodgers & Hammerstein’s greatest achievement—and one of the top musicals written by anyone. If you haven’t seen it in years (or only saw the movie), you might be surprised at how dark it is. At least, before the “end of the storm.” For info and tickets, visit www.civictheatre.org.
For the people who don't think dance is for them:
Indiana Repertory Theatre
It’s part of the Dance Kaleidoscope season. But DK head David Hochoy generously shares choreographic chores for this performance with the talented Nicholas Owens of Kenyetta Dance Company and Cynthia Pratt from Butler University in this program that emphasizes romance. The music is by Richard Rodgers, George Gershwin, Lennon & McCartney and Frank Loesser, and giving voice to it will be tenor Steven Stolen. For more info and tickets, visit www.dancekal.org.
For the person who doesn't like to know what's going to happen next:
“Becky’s New Car”
March 24-April 11
Indiana Repertory Theatre
April 8-May 1
Playwright Steven Dietz has adapted such stories as “Dracula,” Sherlock Holmes mysteries, and even the kid classic “Go, Dog, Go!” for the stage. But both the Indiana Repertory Theatre and the Phoenix Theatre are giving Indy audiences a chance to see Dietz originals this spring.
The IRT is presenting “Becky’s New Car,” a 2008 comedy about an unsatisfied woman who is offered a new life by an eccentric millionaire. Slightly overlapping is the Phoenix’ “Yankee Tavern,” a darker work about characters caught up in conspiracy theories. For info and tickets, visit www.irtlive.org and www.phoenixtheatre.org.
For anyone who ever thought "Oh, what a night":
June 9-July 3
The season closer for the Broadway series—and the one show staying here for an extended run—is just about the best “VH1 Behind the Music” you’ll ever see. If the company that comes through Indy is even close to the quality of the version that played in Chicago last year, then you’ll find yourself joyfully caught up in the story of the neighborhood boys who came together as Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.
To be clear, I’m not a big fan of the “jukebox musical” concept. But if more were as fun, engaging, charming and toe-tapping as “Jersey Boys,” I’d think differently. For info and tickets, visit www.broadwayacrossamerica.com/indianapolis.