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.

Saturday, March 7

Theatre Review: Beef and Boards: Crazy for You

In what can be considered the time of resurgence for the old-school
 musicals, the king of the movement is easily playwright Ken Ludwig. Ludwig's Crazy for you, opens to a packed house as Beef and Boards, Indianapolis, continues its 2015 season.

For the remaining shows' schedule, click here.

Based on Girl Crazy, with lyrics and music by Ira and George Gershwin, this production brings to stage the over-the-top antics, dancing and songs enjoyed for generations.

Heavy hitters Erin Cohenour, Jeff Stockberger, Eddie Curry, Blake Spellacy (even John Vessels makes a brief appearance)  are brought on board to match the needed talent and quality of choreography by Ron Morgan and classic musical numbers such as, "I've Got Rhythm," and "You Can't Take That Away From Me."

When Bobby Child (Spellacy) a wannabe performer is turned away by Bela Zangler (Curry) and is forced by his aristocratic mother to travel to Nevada to foreclose on a theater, things become farcical and fabulous as only a musical can.

Love ensues, is rejected and all twists and turns in an "I Love Lucy" way that is compounded by the dancing which is nailed beautifully by the principals as well as the ensemble dancers. Easily it is the best representation of dancing I have witnessed on the B&B stage in the past eight years of reviewing.

When you, as an audience member, are unable to picture anyone else portraying a character, you know the actor has performed to a gold level. Such is the case with Spellacy's Child, Curry's Zangler and Cohenour's femme fatale role of Irene Roth.

Spellacy and Curry hit a home run with the mirrored-image scene and Cohenour as a high-maintenance diva turned vixen is pure joy to watch.

Stockberger's Lank Hawkins theater owner is as lovable a curmudgeon as one could hope for and John Vessels is delightful as travel writer Eugene Fudor.


This is one of those difficult situations for a reviewer. All cannot be mentioned that should be, however, please keep in mind Doug King, Kenny Shepard and Bob Payne as talent to also be noted.

Bottom Line: Beef and Boards' Crazy for You dances away the winter blahs with a high-stepping, high-energy frolicking musical perfect for the entire family.

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, February 11

Celebrities and Schedule for Inaugural Wizard World Comic Con Indianapolis, February 13-15, 2015

Look out Indy, looks like GenCon has competition for our affection in the form of Wizard World Comic Con this weekend, beginning Friday and running through Sunday afternoon.

Downtown Indianapolis will, once again, pay host to convention attendees dressed in cool costumes, celebrities of television and films, and those who share a passion for all things comic book, super hero and out of this world. Yes, that includes (be still my heart) William Shatner from Star Trek, Harry Potter series actors, The Hulk, and others from the world of mystic and marvel.

 It is the first trip to Indianapolis for Wizard World, Inc. (OTCBB: WIZD) and the fourth event on the 2015 Wizard World Comic Con calendar.

Although I do not see local comic book artist Gavin Smith on the list, other major comic artists to attend, include: John Tyler Christopher ("Amazing Spider-Man," "Avenger"), Neal Adams("Batman," "X-Men"), James O'Barr ("The Crow") and Michael Golden ("Daredevil," "Hulk"). Wizard World Comic Con Indianapolis, February 13-15, 2015 will be held at the Indianapolis Convention Center.

Others in Artist Alley include: Dr. Travis Langley (“Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knight”), Renee Witterstaetter (“She Hulk,” “Avengers”), Troy Brownfield ("Grimm Fairy Tales"), Jeremiah Lambert ("Transformers," "Tonka Truck") and C.S. Marks ("Elfhunter," "Ravenshade").

Full-price Wizard World Comic Con Indianapolis attendees will receive a limited edition exclusive variant cover “The Walking Dead” comic, drawn by a top Wizard World artist. Comics will be issued at registration while supplies last and VIP attendees will receive an additional black & white sketch version.

Celebrities attending include William Shatner (“Star Trek,” “Boston Legal”), Liam McIntyre (“Spartacus”), Katie Cassidy ("Arrow," “Gossip Girl”), James and Oliver Phelps (“Harry Potter”), Michael Cudlitz (“The Walking Dead," "Southland"), WWE® Divas The Bella Twins™, Sonequa Martin-Green (“The Walking Dead,” “Once Upon a Time”), Emily Kinney (“The Walking Dead") and many others.

Wizard World 2015 schedule available at: http://wizd.me/PRSchedule2015.

Wizard World Comic Con events bring together thousands of fans of all ages to celebrate the best in pop-fi, pop culture, movies, graphic novels, cosplay, comics, television, sci-fi, toys, video gaming, gaming, original art, collectibles, contests and more. Wizard World Comic Con Indianapolis show hours are Friday, February 13, 3-8 p.m.; Saturday, February 14, 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Sunday, February 15, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.


2015 Wizard World Indianapolis Comic Con info: http://wizd.me/IndianapolisPR.

About Wizard World
Wizard World (OTCBB: WIZD) produces Comic Cons and pop culture conventions across North America that celebrate the best in pop-fi, pop culture, movies, television, cosplay, comics, graphic novels, toys, video gaming, sci-fi, gaming, original art, collectibles, contests and more. A first-class lineup of topical programming takes place at each event, with celebrity Q&A's, the Wizard World Film Festival, comics-themed sessions, costume contests, movie screenings, evening parties and more. Wizard World also produces socialcon featuring social media stars and will be launching ConTV, a digital media channel in partnership with leading independent content distributor Cinedigm™ (NASDAQ: CIDM).

Elizabeth J. Musgrave writes the fine-living blog Gotta Go, 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 FOX 59 Morning News Show. She also is a speaker for hospitality, travel and luxury businesses, P.R., and tourism groups, as well as a radio and television guest. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.

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.