Monday, December 1

Theater Review: Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre: A Beef and Boards Christmas 2014

Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre, Indianapolis, closes the season with its annual holiday variety production, A Beef and Boards Christmas 2014.

It's interesting to watch the changes in the holiday show over the years. The first I attended was my first year reviewing (2007), which is available only in the original newspapers. However, I have included the links to a few I have published in newspapers and posted online over my tenure.

Click here for 2009 review

Some years there are children on stage, others (such as this year) it is a whirlwind of adults-only dancers and singers mixing it up with The Grinch, Santa Claus and Frosty the Snowman.

And the flying reindeer.

So, this time I thought I would give my hits and misses list.

HITS
Indy's own co-host favorites ~ Deb Wims and Kenny Shepard ~ took the reigns once more for this production. Guiding the audience through a myriad of holiday staples, dancing characters and choral groups, the show would not be the same without this attractive and charming pair.

New to the Christmas cast is Heather Patterson-King, who portrayed Mrs. Banks in B&B's Mary Poppins. Patterson-King's vocals were a beautiful addition to each song and highlighted best in "Tennessee Christmas." A most welcome talent who this critic hopes to see (and hear) more of in the 2015 schedule. She is the best thing to be added to the holiday show in quite some time.

Click here for 2013 review

B&B's tradition of saluting the military serving our country always brings me to the edge of welling up. "I'll be Home for Christmas," performed superbly by Matt Branic is full of pride and respect. Here's to the continued practice.

Intermission with Santa Claus is an absolute keeper for me. Although I have no young ones dashing about, the free pictures with the jolly elf gives back to the audience and gives the kids something special.

MISSES
Not casting John Vessels is a big miss in my book. His zany antics bring the audience to tears every time he hits the stage. This year's fun segments seemed less so without this favorite of Indy theatergoers. Watching him plop about during his (see link for review below) rendition of, "All I Want for Christmas," still makes me laugh out loud.

Click here for 2011 review

Seeing children perform on stage gives children in the audience the crazy idea that they, also, can get up there and perform. Not a bad thing. It also holds their attention better than one adult after another. So, I would call it a miss to eliminate the kid factor this year.

I cannot see "Marshmallow World," performed by Shepard and Wims enough. Left out this year, the performers dress as Raggedy Andy and Raggedy Ann for an adorable segment of great music and dancing.

Bottom Line: A Beef and Boards Christmas 2014 offers a family friendly holiday show with song and dance for every age.

Images: JulieCurryPhotography.com

Elizabeth J. Musgrave writes two magazine food and wine columns: Destination Dining and White Linen & Corks,and is a travel, features, food and wine writer, travel and food photographer, and performing arts and restaurant critic. Catch her as the Travel & Leisure Adviser on FOX59 Morning News Show. She also is a speaker, consultant and trainer for hospitality, travel and luxury businesses, P.R., and tourism groups, as well as a radio and television guest and host. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Tuesday, November 25

Top 10 Best Ways to Enjoy RumChata

I have loved RumChata since the moment I tried it, which, was someone else’s idea as I hadn't heard of it until then. So, thank you Chef Greg Schiesser… Once I tried it, my mind began whirling with ideas of how to try it in virtually everything. Cocktails, cooking, baking, you name it and I was pouring it in, on and around. And, when I like something this much, I start telling everyone and sharing with them ~ spreading the love, so to speak.

Here are my Top 10 ways to enjoy the cream-based liqueur. It is similar in style to Bailey’s Irish Crème, but rum instead and with cinnamon-y goodness.

1. Straight over ice~ Keep it simple.

2. French Toast~ Dipped in RumChata instead of milk only makes any brunch better. There is an official recipe, but I felt it diluted the RumChata flavor too much so instead just replaced the milk in my normal recipe and it worked great.

3. Winter Warm up~ Using hot cocoa packets for a quick hot drink, mix with RumChata and pour into saucepan. Heat thoroughly, pour into cups and enjoy while sitting by the fireplace.

4. Morning Wake up~ Make your morning java as normal then pour in RumChata instead of creamer, stir and enjoy. You can also pour RumChata into ice cube tray, freeze and use with normal coffee over the ice cubes in a glass for iced coffee deluxe.

5. Cheesecake~ Yes… cheesecake. Do I really need to say anymore than that? Here’s the recipe:

RumChata Cheesecake (from website)
15 graham crackers, crushed
2 tbs butter, melted
32 oz cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup RumChata
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 tbs vanilla extract
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease 9" spring form pan. In a medium bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs and melted butter. Press into the bottom of the pan. In a large bowl, mix cream cheese with sugar until smooth. Slowly blend in RumChata and eggs. Mix in sour cream, vanilla, and flour until smooth. Pour filling over prepared crust. Bake for 1 hour. Turn off oven and let cake cool in oven with the door closed for 5 to 6 hours to prevent cracking. Chill in the refrigerator until serving.

6. Whipped Cream~ This is actually how I tasted it first. While at Chef Greg’s Canvas and Cuisine class at Indiana Grand casino, he poured it into an aerosol can and created whipped topping for individual pumpkin tarts. Feel free to put the whipped cream in your hot chocolate also.

7. Kentucky Cocktail~ Pour 3 parts RumChata to 1 part favorite bourbon into Boston shaker with ice. Shake, pour into short glass and enjoy while betting on the thoroughbreds.

8. Cupcakes~ Okay, you could also use it on cake, so whichever is your favorite. I like it in the icing for spice cupcakes, or a bourbon icing on RumChata cupcakes.

RumChata Frosting (from RumChata website)
1 cup unsalted butter
3-4 cups confectioners sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 T vanilla
(up to) 4 T RumChata

Cream butter at medium speed for 2-3 minutes. Add 3 cups of powdered sugar and mix at low speed until incorporated. Add vanilla, salt and 2 tablespoons RumChata and mix at high speed for 3 minutes, adding more sugar and RumChata until desired consistency is reached. Frost as desired.

9. Hot Tub Cocktail~ Pour (3 parts RumChata to 1 part Pisa, 1 part vodka) into Boston shaker with ice, Pisa liqueur, a splash of milk and caramel vodka, shake vigorously and pour into tall glass of ice or strain into martini glass.

10. Fruit Dip~ I use this in whipped cream form as a fruit dip and use bananas, apple slices and other fruits for a change of pace from the typical fruit dip. Okay, I also dip gingersnap cookies in it ~

Elizabeth J. Musgrave writes two magazine food and wine columns: Destination Dining and White Linen & Corks,and is a travel, features, food and wine writer, travel and food photographer, and performing arts and restaurant critic. Catch her as the Travel & Leisure Adviser on FOX59 Morning News Show. She also is a speaker, consultant and trainer for hospitality, travel and luxury businesses, P.R., and tourism groups, as well as a radio and television guest and host. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Friday, November 7

Wanted: 7th Annual Ultimate Gift Guide 2014 Submissions Now Being Accepted

The 7th annual “Gotta Go Ultimate Gift Guide” is quickly coming upon us, with a shorter
turnaround time available, due to requests. I realize this is tight on time, however, viewers are requesting an earlier feature of the gifts to stay in line with their shopping habits.

The popular event ~ sharing the best holiday and Christmas gift ideas ~ will be televised again this year. I have switched from Fine-living Adviser on Indy Style to be the Travel & Leisure Adviser for Fox 59 Morning News Show. I will showcase winners on the program Thanksgiving morning, November 27 at 9:10 a.m.

Entries must include two of each entry, one for judging purposes and one for presentation on television (if selected).

November 24, 2014 is this year's deadline for entries. The list of winners (with image and website) will be published online at GottaGo.us during the week of November 27, 2014.

Entries will, once again, be selected by a three-judge panel.

Those submitting winning entries will be notified by the email address sent with the entry.

Purchasing and contact information should be included with entry, along with bio of product and company. Images should also be submitted via email. A hi-res image (or two) of each entry must be included via email with information in case needed for the television show.

All questions can be answered by emailing elizabethjmusgrave@gmail.com or elizabeth@gottago.us, or call her at 317-457-3221.

NEW THIS YEAR ~
All gifts will be in a general category as each year has seen a wide variety of items.

However, also new this year: ALL items will be accepted, including toys, children, stocking stuffers, books, food, wine/spirits, jewelry, clothing, et al. Whatever you can think of  ~ with the following exceptions:
No pornographic, fundraiser, political, religious, sexual, illegal, or hate items will be accepted.
Rules and tips: 

• Entries must be EXACTLY as the consumer would purchase ~ size, package everything. Ex. gift packs, gift baskets, monthly club, size, etc.

• Submissions must include 2 (two) of each item: 1 (one) for judging and 1 (one) for presentation on television (if selected).

• PR firms may submit for as many clients as they wish.

• Only three different items may be submitted per product company.

• Food items are allowed again.

• Alcohol and alcohol gift sets will be accepted again this year.

• Perishables are accepted, but please send to arrive the day before judging for best presentation.

• Children and pet items are being accepted again this year.

• Information for purchasing must be included (website, retail locations, etc.).

• MSRP must be included.

• Include social media information (Twittter, Facebook) in email for inclusion on website post.

No pornographic, fundraiser, political, religious, sexual, illegal, or hate items will be accepted.

• Entries must be received by 6 p.m. Monday, November, 24, 2014.

• Send all questions to elizabeth@gottago.us or elizabethjmusgrave@gmail.com.

• Due to the quantity of items received annually, all items cannot be featured and will be chosen by judges.

• Items cannot be returned.

• No monies, by way of donation, fee or otherwise, will be required or accepted by any judge. This is not a media buy or advertising project. It is strictly editorial.

• All decisions by judges are final. Judging will be held Tuesday, November 24, 2014.

Thank you for your interest. We look forward to a variety of gift ideas again this year.

Elizabeth J. Musgrave writes two magazine food and wine columns: Destination Dining and White Linen & Corks,and is a travel, features, food and wine writer, travel and food photographer, and performing arts and restaurant critic. Catch her as the Travel & Leisure Adviser on FOX59 Morning News Show. She also is a speaker, consultant and trainer for hospitality, travel and luxury businesses, P.R., and tourism groups, as well as a radio and television guest and host. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Thursday, October 23

Rocky Horror Picture Show Goes LIVE at The Athenaeum

Get ready to do the Time Warp again ~

If you are familiar, or even if you have never seen, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, chances are you have heard of it. It's one of those classic cult films your mother wouldn't let you go see as a teenager. Then you got old enough to sneak a showing of the movie at a midnight showing somewhere.

Coming to Indianapolis is the live stage version, produced by Zach Rosing Productions. Hitting the stage once before (in 2012 at Footlite Musicals), this go 'round will be performed at The Athenaeum, which will hold the bigger audience it will surely require.

Although the typical props audience members bring to the screen version ~ toast, rice, newspapers, umbrellas etc. ~ will not be allowed due to respect for the historic building's interior, costumes are enthusiastically encouraged. The late shows (10:30 p.m.) will be designated for the rowdier crowds who enjoy calling out at appropriate intervals and reciting the lines with performers.

I don't know about you, but I would think the rowdy version sounds like the most fun although the earlier show may allow you to actually catch the plot if you are not familiar.

A basic synopsis is two young adults, Brad and Janet, are the "Squares" lost and seeking shelter during a storm on a dark, dark night (naturally). They stumble around until they find the ultimate spoof-type castle, old and creepy. They meet the owner, Dr. Frank N. Furter, a transvestite scientist and Rocky, his "perfect" creation, along with other zany characters.

Among the cast are two names that jump out due to admiring their work in other productions I have reviewed over the years.

Danny Kingston is one of those actors. You know the kind. You never know which character he will morph into next: Evil, clueless, emotionally messed ... the list goes on and on. Never have I reviewed a performance in which Kingston was included that the show didn't receive high marks. Quite the chameleon, Kingston loses himself in each role making him a Destination Actor. Watch for him as a Phantom and Transylvanian in this show. For past reviews of Kingston click here. All I can say is if someone of Kingston's calibre is in the ensemble... imagine the talent of the major role's actors.

Another person of note in the cast is Erin Cohenour as Magenta. You'll remember my posting about Cohenour when I came upon her belting out several songs at my favorite haunt Chef Joseph's one late night (after reviewing a theater performance I often drop in for live music and one of Sara Yager's fab martinis). While I was chatting with a few others at the bar, she took the mic and reminded me so much of one of my favorites ~ the Empress of Soul ~ Gladys Knight, that I shushed everyone around me to enjoy her talent. Her onstage talents are also well documented, as in Mafia Daughter (M.J. Feruzza).

The film can be seen often, and is worth watching. My thoughts, however, are how often does a person get to see it live on stage in Indianapolis? During Halloween season. That makes this a must-see. So go. Watch. Enjoy. You can thank me later ~ 

Thursday - October 23 - 7:30
Friday - October 24 - 7:30 & 10:30

Thursday - October 30 - 7:30

Friday - October 31 - 7:30 & 10:30
Saturday - November 1 - 7:30 & 10:30


Tickets
$20 for the first weekend (10/23-10/24)
$25 for the second weekend (10/30-11/1)
Call (800) 838-3006 or visit RockyHorrorIndy.bpt.me

Cast and Crew

Leads
Magenta: Erin Cohenour
Brad: Brandon Alstott
Janet: Betsy Norton
Riff Raff: Damon Clevenger
Columbia: Nathalie Cruz
Frank 'N' Furter: Scott Keith

Rocky: Logan Moore
Eddie/Dr. Scott: Paige Scott
Narrator: Dave Ruark

Phantoms and Transylvanians 
Matthew Altman
Danielle Carnagua
Kristin Cutler
Nick Heskett
Danny J. Kingston
Samuel McKanney
Megan Medley
Miranda Nehrig
Elizabeth J. Musgrave writes two magazine food and wine columns: Destination Dining and White Linen & Corks,and is a travel, features, food and wine writer, travel and food photographer, and performing arts and restaurant critic. Catch her as the Travel & Leisure Adviser on FOX59 Morning News Show. She also is a speaker, consultant and trainer for hospitality, travel and luxury businesses, P.R., and tourism groups, as well as a radio and television guest and host. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Monday, October 20

Theater Review: Beef and Boards: Fiddler on the Roof

Stark as Tevye
Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre, Indianapolis, brings dancing, music and anti-semitism to the stage for its autumn offering. Fiddler on the Roof, celebrating its 50th anniversary, covers the timeless topic of an ever-changing world. The loosening of strict cultural mores and the resistance of the older generation while the youth embrace the change is set amid the rising hatred of Jews in pre-revolutionary Russia.

Tevye (Douglas E. Stark),  is father of five daughters and faced with helping his Jewish community keep peace with the Russian constable (Ken Klingenmeier). During this uneasy time frame, he is also attempting to make his three daughters of marrying age happy as they break tradition and select their own spouses. This decision leaves Matchmaker Yente (Licia Watson) displeased, along with Tevye's wife and mother of the girls Golde (Lynne Perkins).

You'll remember Stark delightfully playing M. Thenardier in B&B's rendition of Les Miserables. If you are a stickler for accents and dialects being correct and consistent, then it will bother you that Stark played the Jewish Russian villager with zero accent. This was even more noticeable when interacting with Golde, Yente, his daughters and Lazar Wolfe, portrayed by one of my Destination Actors Mark Goetzinger, who all handled the necessary accent even while singing.
Wolfe (Goetzinger) and Tevye (Stark) making deal for daughter.

Wolfe and Tevye are marvelous together while drinking and bartering over the bride-to-be. The dancing is performed well, particularly considering the small stage ~ it is always a pleasure to see how marvelously creative the sets (Michael Layton) and choreography (Kenny Shepard) are in that regard.
Watson as Yente

Overall, this is a popular show in Indy and this cast is balanced and enjoyable as they are obviously having fun with the treasured story. The first several shows are at a near sell-out status and I would expect the remaining shows (through Nov. 23) to be full as well. The fun dancing, familiar songs and enthusiasm of the entire cast is contagious for the audience with many laugh-out-loud moments and singing and clapping along with the songs.

Vocal highlights are "Sunrise, Sunset," with several solos about the growing up of children, and "Do You Love Me," a duet by Golde and Tevye about their lives together.

Bottom Line: Beef and Boards' Fiddler on the Roof provides an enjoyable evening with plenty of dancing, classic songs and matchmaker hijinks.

Images: JulieCurryPhotography.com

Elizabeth J. Musgrave writes two magazine food and wine columns: Destination Dining and White Linen & Corks,and is a travel, features, food and wine writer, travel and food photographer, and performing arts and restaurant critic for GottaGo.us and BroadwayWorld.com. Catch her as the Travel & Leisure Adviser on FOX59 Morning News Show. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.