Sunday, June 14

The Blue-Eyed Bettys Perform at Chilly Water Brewing

Free is good.

Usually.

Well ~ sometimes. 

This time it is great.

Sarah Hund, who you will remember as one of my Destination Actors and regular on the Indianapolis stage, has a side addiction. It is called The Blue-Eyed Bettys.

What is "The Blue-Eyed Bettys"? A folk music group of three musicians and singers expressing their love of theater, music and America with audiences across the nation. Daniel Emond and Ben Mackel,  are the two other blue-eyed band members.

This love brings them to Indy Friday, June 26 to perform at 8 p.m. in the trendy Fletcher Place~Fountain Square neighborhood. The free show will be held at local brewery spot Chilly Waters, 719 Virginia Ave., #105.

Hund will reprise her critically acclaimed role as June Sanders, the (ironically) non-singing family member of a singing church group in Smoke on the Mountain: Homecoming. Running July 9-August 16, the smash hit live show has proven to be a sell out production time and again at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre.

I believe June 26 will be just about the time there will be a need to try out the Chilly Water brews with a friend or two, and catch some folk music by the multi-talented Ms. Hund. Join me, won't you?

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.

Sunday, May 3

Theater Review: Beef and Boards: The Drowsy Chaperone

The Drowsy Chaperone, continuing at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre, Indianapolis, may seem misleading at first glance. One might imagine the show jumping from the vinyl record (remember those?) onto the stage is the story. It isn't, however.

The true story is the gentleman sitting to the left of the "show" playing out on stage. "Man in the Chair" as he is billed, is portrayed flawlessly by David Schmittou. His wistful, almost pleading, connection with the audience touches the heart. Completely ignoring the fourth wall, Schmittou opens his most prized possession with us: his favorite musical.
As he explains the meaning behind the show, his tenderness and affection for the memories it stirs will stir your own memories of favorite songs, musicals, plays, films and books. The ones which shape your character and which you are so desperate to share with others so that they, too, may be forever uplifted, touched, and changed by it.

Without leaving his chair, well not often, Man in the Chair introduces us to "his" show and its cast. Set in the Jazz Age, a starlet (Laura Douciere) and tycoon (Timothy Ford) are to be wed, if only the stage star can decide whether to return to the life which beckons her or break from the thrill of stardom forever and say, "I do."

A fun romp through a memorable time with pastry chefs who are actually gangsters (Craig Underwood, Sam McKanney) and the up and coming starlet Kitty (Deb Wims). Self-loving Italian playboy Adolpho (Alan M-L Wager) meets his match with the title character, portrayed deliciously by Victoria Weinberg.

Keep your eye on the narrating man in the well worn chair throughout, however, if you are able, as he is the true story and a rather wonderful one at that.

Bottom Line: Check out Beef and Boards' The Drowsy Chaperone for the fun side and remember it for the sentimental side.


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.

Wednesday, April 29

Theater Review: Dear Henry: When Loves Blows Up


Unable to make it to NYC for the debut of "Dear Henry," written
 and directed by Arthur Wooten, I asked a fellow critic, John Simmons, to step in for me as he has reviewed theater in Miami and now NYC.
~~~~~
With the house lights still on – and with the audience at Christopher Street’s cozy Cabaret Theater amiably chatting and sipping wine – a tall, thin, bespectacled young man begins re-arranging the furniture in his apartment for what appears to be a dream date. He pours two glasses of wine, compulsively rearranges the furniture, and constantly primps in front of an imaginary mirror – all while trying on shirt-after-shirt, in an effort to capture just the right “look” for the evening’s extracurricular activities.

The young man is Clark Compton Lowell III (Luke Doyle) who, when the house lights go down, will spend the next hour or so telling us about his relationship with the love of his young life: a man named Henry.

We really never see Henry. Instead, we learn of their on-again-off-again love affair through a series of letters the two have written to one another – all read (and accompanied by some very funny commentary) by Clark himself. These letters tell us that, while Clark is a sexual naïf whose first sexual experience was with a rubber raft named “Ken,” Henry is a mess ~ for starters, Henry is seriously into leather and bondage and is rumored to have done jail time for selling drugs.

As the evening progresses, the story of their relationship becomes wilder (and stranger) as we learn that Henry – among his many shortcomings – comes equipped with a prosthetic penis, the result of carnivorous fish nibbling off his penis after he drunkenly fell overboard during a gay cruise that he and Clark took together. It is all very outrageous and over-the-top (with Doyle playing multiple characters), when suddenly the mood changes …
In a spotlighted soliloquy, we learn that Clark loves Henry because Henry accepts himself for who he is, while Clark spends countless hours mercilessly judging others – including Henry and, especially, himself. Clark wishes he were more like Henry and, tonight, intends to ask Henry to marry him (if only he hadn't kept pushing Henry away).

Without giving away too much, the play has a happy ending. It’s all very touching … but because so little time has been spent drawing realistic characters placed in realistic situations (in an effort to earn big laughs), it doesn't feel earned. In fact, it feels tacked on.

Dear Henry is often funny and touching where and when it needs to be. And there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just that in 2015, in a trendy theater in the heart of New York City … you expect a little more.

Dear Henry continues Sun., May 3 at 7 pm, and Sat., May 9 at 7 pm at The Duplex, located at 61 Christopher Street at 7th Avenue.
Details and tickets: (212) 255-543, ASDMedia.co/dear-henry.html

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 radio and television guest and host. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Thursday, March 26

2015 Symphony on the Prairie Schedule Includes Blues Traveler, Ol' Blue Eyes and Boogie Nights

Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra’s 34th annual Symphony on the Prairie season includes Blues Traveler, Ol' Blue Eyes and Boogie Nights.

Beginning June 19 and running through Sept. 6. This year the orchestra performs the first six weekends and brings in their musical guests for the remaining shows of the popular summer series.

Located at Conner Prairie, the outdoor music series is perfect for families, friends and company outings. Grassy areas are available for those wishing to bring a blanket or lawn chair. Tables for 10 are available at an additional cost. Food, alcohol and candles are allowed also.

2015 Symphony on the Prairie Schedule

June 19-20
College & Alumni Night, Friday, June 19
70s: Disco Days & Boogie Nights
Jack Everly, Conductor
Opening weekend at Marsh Symphony on the Prairie puts the 1970s front and center. No matter what crowd you ran with during that era, Jack Everly’s got the music to match—from disco anthems like “I Will Survive” and monster rock hits like “Bohemian Rhapsody” to the singer-songwriter tunes like “American Pie.”

June 26-27
Pictures at an Exhibition
Fawzi Haimor, Conductor
Nareh Arghamanyan, Piano
Experience the soaring music of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 and Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition performed by the ISO under Fawzi Haimor, resident conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

July 2-4
Salute to America’s Military – all three nights!
Star Spangled Symphony
Alfred Savia, Conductor
Celebrate America’s birthday with the ISO’s annual patriotic performance and salute to our military service members. All the traditional favorites return, including a spectacular fireworks show to cap off each concert.

July 10-11
Police and Firefighter's Night – Friday, July 10
The Music of Journey
Brent Havens, Conductor
Guest conductor Brent Havens is back with a symphonic rock tribute to the band Journey. The ISO will have you swaying to some of classic rock’s greatest hits like “Open Arms,” “Don’t Stop Believin,’” and “Any Way You Want It.”

July 17-18
Teacher's Night – Friday, July 17
Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons
Daniel Meyer, Conductor
Anne Akiko Meyers, Violin
While enjoying the evening sunset, travel through the idyllic sounds of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, one of the best known and most beloved of the composer’s works.

July 24-25
Scout's Night – Friday, July 24
Music of John Williams
Stuart Chafetz, Conductor
The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra performs all the hits by the maestro of cinema, John Williams. Williams wrote and composed music for more than 80 films including such classics as Jaws, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial,Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and the original Star Wars trilogy.

*July 31-Aug. 1
Nurse's Night – Friday, July 31
The Music of Genesis Starring Daryl Stuermer
Daryl Stuermer, guitarist for both Genesis and the Phil Collins Band, performs some of both groups’ biggest hits in this concert with his own live band. Relive the music of the late 70s, 80s and 90s, including “I Can’t Dance” and “Throwing it All Away.”

*Aug 7-8
Classical Mystery Tour: Music of the Beatles
The Classical Mystery Tour is back with their annual Marsh Symphony on the Prairie tribute to the band that changed rock and roll forever. Be sure to make your way to the stage to dance and sing along to your favorite Beatles classics.

*Aug. 14-15
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
They’re back! Big Bad Voodoo Daddy returns and brings its high-voltage sound and feel-good energy to the stage. You are guaranteed a show that blends jazz, swing, Dixieland and big band into a night to remember for the whole family.

*Aug 21-22
Steve Lippia’s Centennial Celebration:
A Frank Sinatra Tribute
Steve Lippia, Vocalist
Nothing says classy and cool like the songs of Frank Sinatra. Join crooner Steve Lippia for an evening of magical “Ol’ Blue Eyes” hits, including “Strangers in the Night,” “Summer Wind” and “My Way.”

*Aug. 28-30
Blues Traveler
The chart-topping blues/folk/southern rock band Blues Traveler makes its debut at the Conner Prairie Amphitheatre. Look for the Grammy Award-winning group to present a mix of favorites from their 25-year career, including “Run Around” and “Hook,” and songs from their newest album, Blow Up the Moon, – all led by the signature harmonica playing of lead singer John Popper.

*Sept. 3-4
The Hit Men:
Studio Legends of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons
Back by popular demand, the former performing and recording members of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons take audiences on a walk down memory lane to the 60s, 70s and 80s with mega hits “Oh What a Night (Dec. ’63),” “Sherry,” “Bad Bad Leroy Brown,” “You’re so Vain,” “Mony Mony” and many more.

*Sept. 5-6
The King: A Tribute to Elvis
Elvis Presley changed American music forever, and this tribute concert honors that legacy. These are no Elvis impersonators, but four singers dedicated to honoring the entire range of Elvis’ music with new arrangements of iconic rock ‘n’ roll classics.

*The ISO does not perform in these concerts.
Single tickets go on sale Monday, April 20 the following ways:

• Marsh Stores: Discount adult tickets may be purchased at all Indiana Marsh locations for $24, with a Marsh Fresh Idea Card.
• Online at IndianapolisSymphony.org $25/adults $12/children
• Conner Prairie Amphitheater Gate: $29/adults, $14/children
Single tables: $69

Single tickets for premium concert weekends
For the Star Spangled Symphony and Classical Mystery Tour: Music of the Beatles concert weekends, advance single tickets can be purchased at Marsh and the ISO Box ~ $31/adults, $12/children. Premium gate: $35/adults, $14/children
Premium tables: $89 

For more information on all Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra indoor and outdoor presentations, contact Hilbert Circle Theatre at (317) 639-4300 or at IndianapolisSymphony.org.

Images: provided by ISO

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

Sunday, March 22

Rum Review: Papa's Pilar Blonde and Dark Rum

We all knew it would eventually come to this. Once the craft and quality of bourbon, whiskey and tequila was embraced by the consumer, rum had to be next.

Thank goodness.

Rum has long been on the back of the bar humiliated by its forage into umbrella-ed drinks, cruise-line frozen concoctions and as a diet coke additive. Not known as worthy of sipping and discussing its subtle nuances, its popularity diminished alongside the more masculine spirits.

Ernest Hemingway stated, "Before an attack who can say anything that gives you the momentary well-being that rum does?"

What indeed?

And to have it arrive in a wood box, as these two bottles of Papa's Pilar rum did for review, makes life even more pleasant. The small crate was stamped with Republica Dominicana 14 Nov 2012. The aroma of the wood, the straw-like packing material and the two bottles gave me a flash of the style.

The Hemingway Estate sanctioned this rum, named after Ernest "Papa" Hemingway the Pulitzer Prize-winning author and Pilar, the writer's beloved boat in which he had numerous adventures. With the rum's bold spices and a canteen-designed bottle, it's easy to tell the respect (and knowledge of) of the late veteran and outdoorsman by all involved.

Rums from  the Caribbean, Central America and the United States were pot- and column-distilled. They were then aged in bourbon and port barrels then finished off in sherry casks and blended in Kentucky. See Solera aging for the full process.

Swirling the amber liquid in a glass, aromas of caramel, spice and vanilla waft out. Although Hemingway was known for being succinct, the flavors of spice and nuts linger for a nice finish.

Giving the blonde a swirl, I notice notes of citrus on the nose. Slight flavors of vanilla are quickly followed by sheer heat and taper off into citrus.

Both will work well in cocktails, I particularly imagine the dark with mango nectar. However, they will equally satisfy the palate sans mixers.

Although Papa's Pilar rum has been on the market since 2013, it sneaked in stealthily so as not to disturb the bourbon revolution, I suppose. Now, it seems to be making some noise and I applaud it. Hemingway did not go quietly into that dark night and neither shall his namesake rum.

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 a restaurant and performing arts 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.