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Arts & Entertainment, etc.

Roundup: Ryan White's letters, Storefront Theatre's first project, more

March 30, 2017

Emptying the notebook on arts matters.

—Nearly 6000 letters written to Ryan White, the Indiana teen who bravely fought prejudice and societal ignorance while battling HIV/AIDS, will become available to researchers via the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. A $102,000 Museums for America award/grant will allow for study and digitization of the letters by the Children’s Museum and IUPUI’s Center for Digital Scholarship. The Museum is searching for those who sent the letters to gain permission to make them public. If you were among them, email connect@childrensmuseum.org. White is one of the subjects of the Children’s Museum’s “Power of Children” exhibit.

—Storefront Theatre of Indianapolis, the new production company run by former Chicago producer Ronan Marra, has announced its first local project. Sept. 29-Oct. 15 it will present Hannah Moscovitch’s play “Infinity” concerning a musician, a mathematician, and a theoretical physicist colliding over love, time, sex and math. No casting details yet, but the play will be staged at IndyFringe’s Indy Eleven Theatre.

—The Indianapolis Symphonic Choir has launched a $3.75 million endowment campaign in conjunction with its 80th anniversary season.

—The Indianapolis Museum of Art’s Summer Nights film series will include “Dial M for Murder,” “Bedknobs & Broomsticks,” “Friday,” and “Cool Hand Luke.” It kicks off June 2 with “Footloose” and ends Aug. 24 with “Blazing Saddles.”

—I’m supposed to be on vacation this week, but the arts are always a part of my time, whether on office time or not. Last August I wrote about BroadwayHD.com and its livestream of the Broadway musical “She Loves Me.” See story here. In my downtime, I checked in again for its latest livestream premieres, including “Long Day’s Journey Into Night”—with Jane Kaczmarek and Alfred Molina—from the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles and Richard Nelson’s outstanding Gabriel Family trilogy from New York’s Public Theatre. The three plays in the latter cycle, each taking place on a key 2016 date in the election cycle, concern a family dealing with fear, control and cooking a meal as their means are slipping away. Sounds like a downer? Perhaps. But the writing is so deceptively casual and the performances so strong that I found my only disappointment was that there weren’t more plays in the series. And Maryann Plunkett, among a uniformly outstanding cast, gives a performance to be treasured. You still have until April 3 to watch them, so in and around your live A&E experiences, I strongly recommend a look if you’ve got the time and $14.99 for a month subscription.

—Also in vacation mode, I happened to be in New Orleans during the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival/New Orleans Literary Festival. While I didn't take advantage of any of the productions, lectures, or panel chats, I did witness the Stella Shouting competition, a joyous event on Jackson Square celebrating the signature moment in Williams' "A Streetcard Named Desire." My takeaway: Even serious literary and theatrical events can make room for some goofy, crowd-pleasing fun.

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