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Review: 'Spotlight 2011'

May 3, 2011

I usually dodge commentary on charitable events because, well, they're charitable events. 

But the annual "Spotlight" fundraiser for the Indiana AIDS Fund (held on Monday, May 2) once again offered the unique opportunity to see the talents of representatives of many of the city's arts groups. How could an arts writer resist?

Still, given the nature of the show, I think it only appropriate to discuss the highlights here. They included...

... an aggressive, high-energy presentation of the "Cell Block Tango" from Actors Theatre of Indiana's current production of "Chicago." I'll be reviewing that show in an upcoming IBJ, but suffice it to say that this excerpt seemed to send the crowd scrambling to their programs to find out more about the company and the show. Here's hoping some make it to the Center for the Performing Arts to see the whole thing.

... David Murray's playful bass, representing the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra on Astor Piazzolla's "Le Grand Tango" with pianist Catherine Bringerud.

... Phoenix Theatre's slice of "The Zippers of Zoomerville" featuring hilarious word-play lyrics by Jack O'Hara, helpful projected, opera-style.

... a lyrical world premiere, "Weather the Storm," by the new-ish Nicholas Owens Dance Company.

... Dance Kaleidoscope, overcoming some eyebrow-raising costumes for a spirited look at the finale from "Skin Walkers," part of its upcoming show teaming the company with violinist Cathy Morris.

... a lovely Butler Ballet spin through a segment of "The Sleeping Beauty" featuring let's-see-more-of-them dancers Lindsay Moncrieff and Garrett Glassman.

... a boy-can-that-woman-hold-the-stage reading of "Tongue and Cheek" by poet Tasha Jones.

While the overall show could have used an element or two more to distinguish it from previous years, "Spotlight" remains not only an important local institution, but also a terrific night of entertainment.

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