Friday, July 24

Theater review: Theatre on the Square: (TOTS): Love, Loss and What I Wore


The entire last year before my mother passed away she was 100 percent blind. She insisted, however, on someone taking her out to purchase one last Christmas gift she hand selected: a full-length black leather coat. I like to think her arms are around me holding me close as she did so many times as a child.


To this day, even though it has been more than 15 years, that coat is pulled out and cherished each winter. Friends and family have remarked on its worn appearance, but I wear it nonetheless.


Theatre on the Square: (TOTS) presents Love, Loss and What I Wore by Nora Ephron,  and her sister Delia Ephron. Based on the book by Iline Beckermen, it's a casual setting of five women recalling the most cherished memories of their lives through laughter, tears and eye rolling. Scarves, dresses and hats are a time-machine of tender moments, anger and sorrow.

The all-female cast includes, Cindy Phillips, Miki Mathioudakis, Adrienne Reiswerg, Bridgette Schlebecker and Rhoda Ludy, and is directed by Gari Williams.

There is perhaps no play more satisfying to watch than one in which the actors are so obviously enjoying it themselves. The talented cast members sit facing the audience and interchangeably play various characters throughout eras of attire, mishaps and memories.
Shared are poignant life-changing events, remembering Mom's horrendous taste in cool clothing, and even how sisters and lovers can share the best and worst of times through shopping for a dress or purse. Much laughter, nods and tears are shared between audience members as they recall their own trysts, trials and triumphs.

Clothing, like few other items in our lives, will instantly bring back memories of where we were, who we were, and conjures up every emotion imaginable. This show can almost be likened to a non-musical version of Menopause: The Musical in that it is a perfect portal to laugh, open up about, and cherish what life is ~ and isn't ~ as a woman.


Bottom Line: TOTS' Love, Loss and What I Wore is THE show to watch with gal pals, sisters, mothers and anyone wanting to understand your curious obsession to particular items of clothing.

The production is a fundraiser for the Mass Ave. theater, with a silent auction, and plays through August 1.



Images: Furnished by TOTS

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, wine and food photographer, and performing arts, wine and restaurant critic. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Tuesday, July 14

Indiana Brewer's Cup 2015 Winner Announced

Over the weekend, the Indiana State Fair Indiana Brewers’ Cup Competition 2015 was held at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.

Although there were nearly 1,300 entries at the 17th annual event, the most in competition history, three honors were scooped up by one brewery. Having recently tried out their wares, including beer and food, it is not difficult at all to see why they rocked the competition.

Chilly Water Brewing Company, 719 Virginia Ave., Indianapolis, blew by its competition, earning Professional Best of Show, Indiana Brewery of the Year, and Grand Champion Brewery of the Year.

Home Brewing saw a similar fete with Tim Palmer of Foam Blowers of Indiana (FBI) also winning across the board, taking the titles of Home Brew Best of Show and Home Brewer of the Year. FBI was also awarded Home Brew Club of the Year and the Bill Friday Home Brew Club Award.

This was the first time the Brewers’ Cup was open to the general public, including a tasting and awards ceremony reception. Entries were expanded to include ciders and meads, showcasing a vast variety of top home brewers and professional brewers. As one of the nation’s largest competitions, entries were received from across the country, including: Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Texas, South Dakota and Oklahoma.

Brewers’ Cup Champion, Chilly Water Brewing Company will be featured every day at the Beer & Wine exhibit in Grand Hall during this year’s Indiana State Fair, August 7-23.

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 and consultant 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, 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.