Roundup: Cabaret theater’s new name, fresh hires at Conner Prairie and IRT, more

Emptying the notebook on A&E matters…

—The new home of the Cabaret now has a name. Thanks to a gift from the Christel DeHaan Family Foundation in support of its capital campaign, the venue at 9th and Pennsylvania streets will be known as the Christel DeHaan Theatre. Programming there begins this winter.The Foundation has also funded a new grant, the DeHaan Artist of Distinction Award, supporting high-quality visual art projects. The award will be administered by the Arts Council of Indianapolis.

—Things are looking up along east 16th St., where four sculptural installations are being added to light posts in a partnership between the Harrison Center and Indianapolis Power & Light Company. The pieces are the work of artists Quincy Owens and Luke Crawley who pay homage to the stained glass from churches in the area.

—The Indiana Repertory Theatre has named a new associate artistic director. Benjamin Hanna arrive with a resume packed with experience with such companies as Penumbra Theatre Company in St. Paul, MN, Bay Area Children’s Theatre in Oakland, CA, and Berkeley Repertory Theatre.

—Conner Prairie has hired Richard Cooper, former National Underground Railroad Freedom Center director, as its new vice president—chief programming officer.

—Frank Basile has been named president of the Phoenix Theatre board of directors as the company transitions into its new theater, on the rise at Illinois and Walnut streets.  

—Southern Indiana gets a new performance venue with the opening of Abbeydell Hall at the Legend of French Lick, the former residence of Larry Bird. Producer Rhett Thomas, a former Branson headliner, promises shows in the style of those at that country-music mecca. Opening is set for Oct. 14 with “Twist the Night Away,” a musical revue with a cast of seven. “Christmas Treasures” will follow for the holiday season.

—Magic Thread Cabaret, a new venture from Dustin Klein and local writer Tom Alvarez (the team responsible for “Calder: The Musical,” launches in Nov. with a quartet of concerts by 2015 Great American Songbook competition winner Lucas DeBard. Concerts will be held at IndyFringe. 

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