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.

Sunday, October 19

Colts vs. Jaguars 9th Annual Tailgate Event 2014 for Gleaners Food Bank Nov 23

How about a little spring cleaning for the autumn? How about doing that fall cleaning in your pantry and kitchen cabinets? Perhaps you could find a can (or four) of items you thought the family would like, but didn't. Or maybe you've gone on a diet and won't eat that diet-unfriendly item.

I have an idea.

Tuck them into your Colts hoodie pockets or a grocery bag and swing by this event on the way to the game. Indianapolis home-played Colts vs. Jaguars game on November 23, a food-raising will take place at the 9th Annual Tailgate event sponsored by Goelzer Investment Management for Gleaners Food Bank.

I will be in attendance, sweatshirt on, as they accept canned food from folks wanting to help even a little. With so many of our community hurting, I was pleased to accept this invitation, which will be held 11 am - 1 pm, at the Hurst Bean Field parking lot, located directly across from Lucas Oil Stadium.

To contribute to the food donation to Gleaners, Colts fans are invited to stop by Hurst Bean Field prior to the Colts game to drop off canned food. Drop boxes will be located at the entrance areas of the Hurst Bean Field parking lot as well.

Goelzer will donate skids of beans for the cause to go along with the canned foods. Why beans? They wanted to give food that is high in complex carbohydrates, protein and dietary fiber, helping to satisfy hunger because it is absorbed slowly. Beans are also high in calcium, iron, folate, and potassium.

About Gleaners
Since its inception, Gleaners has distributed over 320 million pounds of food and critical grocery products to more than 250 hunger relief agencies serving needy Hoosiers. In addition to food distribution to hunger relief agencies, Gleaners serves our most vulnerable populations, children and seniors, through specialty programs such as BackSacks: Weekend Food for Kids, School-Based Food Pantries, the Summer Meals for Kids Program and the Commodity Supplemental Food Program. In Gleaners’ 21-county service area, more than 260,000 struggle with hunger and food insecurity—and 107,000 of them are children. To learn more, log onto Gleaners.org.

About Goelzer
For more than 45 years Goelzer Investment Management has been actively involved in the Indianapolis community and with various charities while growing to become one of the leading investment firms in Indiana. As an independent, fee-based firm, Goelzer provides comprehensive investment planning, advice and portfolio management services.

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, October 3

Movie Review: Gone Girl

“Gone Girl’’ opens with as much hype as only Hollywood can throw at a movie they hope will make a gazillion dollars but aren't sure it will. The flick is based on the book of the same name written by Gillian Flynn, and stars Ben Affleck as the shallow, philandering husband, Nick Dunne, who is top suspect in the disappearance of his pretty blond wife, Amy, portrayed brilliantly by Rosamund Pike. Many twists and turns, and what-the-hecks fill the screen from this bestselling novel.

Where to start with this movie?

Okay, first ~ you will probably hate the ending. And, I don't mean hate like you hate cooked spinach. I mean absolutely loathe the way you probably (or should have) hated the ending in Cast Away with Tom Hanks. Without giving it away in a spoiler, it is an unsatisfying ending that surpasses the long list of improbable straws and breaks the impossible-to-believe camel's back. It will leave you walking away coming up with your own ideas on how it should have ended. Never a good sign.

However, the cast is stellar. And ... I will be the first to admit at being more than a little pleasantly surprised at Affleck's performance. I have always thought of him as the "pretty" one of the Matt Damon/Ben Affleck duo, with Damon being the much more "talented" one, particularly in "The Talented Mr. Ripley."

Shame on me.

I am delighted to see that Affleck has become an actor worth watching for more than his square jaw and ruggedly handsome looks. He steps into the frustrated, but clueless, role well not realizing his every comment and move are tightening the legal noose around his neck. Giving in to his self-centered carnal needs, he even goes so far as to having a sleepover at his sister's house with his very young, sexy student, played by Emily Ratajkowski.

When a novelist's work is picked up and made into a film, celebrations are held ~ the big time has been reached. If the film flops, the author can always fall back on the fact the screenwriter misinterpreted their work. But if the screenplay is written by the original author, there is nowhere to hide; no one else to blame.

Which is where we are with this confused work. Is it a thriller? A satire? A statement piece of the horrors of the writers (both main characters and the mother) who cannot find work and fall into poverty after the collapse of the publishing world? Many writers are able to blend more than one genre successfully, this one doesn't quite reach that seamless goal, going in too many directions with too many half-done story lines.

The directing of David Fincher, know for works such as “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," is tight and flows well. How much responsibility holds the director, however, in putting out a movie without correcting gaping holes in the plot? I don't know if he is allowed to ask for rewrites, but will assume as the top guy that he is allowed to, and should have with this one.

Let's talk about the elephant in the room ~ the bed-room to be exact. How necessary is it to see on a giant screen a man performing cunnilingus on a woman, or the frontal shot of a man after receiving pleasure from a woman? Or the close up of a woman's breasts several times? It adds zero to this particular plot, detracts from the flow of the movie actually, and, even though it is Affleck for the 'V' shot and Harris' full view, it makes for uncomfortable moments with audience members.

The Plausibility Factor
We go to the movies for escape, to broaden our knowledge and to test our boundaries and give a lot of creative licensing to the writer in order to achieve those goals. When the first inaccuracy comes along, we shrug it off. When they continue, they add up and the filmgoer leaves the theater feeling rather cheated at the blatant mistakes.

If the Dunnes were wracked with money issues, and the trust fund was gouged by Amy's parents and the last of it was used to by The Bar, how could they afford to lease a mega mansion in a tiny, dried up town with no income except the barely-making it tavern? And the expensive furnishings, cars and lifestyle they have? Okay, we'll get past that for the sake of the story.

But ... every FBI agent in the country will roll their eyes at how utterly stupid the film makes these guys look. Standing around the "kidnapped" victim, hanging on her every word without questioning anything and believing every syllable that drops from her lips? Chastising the one local yokel cop (Kim Dickens), who dares to bring up an inconsistency ~ seriously? A multi millionaire is killed and left in a bloodbath, in his bed, by a nobody from a hick town in Missouri and no one checks her story?

Which brings us to the next implausible point.
How did Amy slash, perfectly connecting with, the jugular vein of her old/new boyfriend, portrayed by America's darling Neil Patrick Harris with the tip of a boxcutter? And why did Flynn feel a need to make him rather creepy also? How many psychotics does one story need? Nick tries to bring up the fact his wife was able to get a box cutter while allegedly tied up but no one else thinks of it (like the FBI or cops) and tells him to shut up.

And, glaringly ~ if every single inch of the lake house is hooked up to security cameras recording every single second, every single day, as NPH states clearly, there would be evidence contradicting Amy's story completely and she would have been fried, electrocuted or lethally injected without doubt ~ reasonable or otherwise.

Turning in a fabulous performance as the charming attorney Tanner Bolt is Tyler Perry. His bigger-than-life personality and polished schmoozing lit up the screen leaving you wanting more about this lawyer for those in the legal limelight. Perhaps a film about his exploits should be forthcoming. Every role's actor was selected carefully, no matter how small, including television journalists, performed by (Missi Pyle) and (Sela Ward) demonstrating the top-notch skill of Laray Mayfield, the casting director for this film.

If I were the 'stars' type reviewer, I would give it one star for writing, five for acting, rounding out to three overall. See it, but don't blow your budget on it. What could have been an intelligent thriller turned into an insult to those looking for one, but will score high in the fun film category. Likely it will do well at the box office and frustrate nit pickers like me.

Bottom Line: Gone Girl is entertaining, but implausible, with outstanding performances by the entire cast going too many directions to give full attention to any of the numerous story lines.

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.

Saturday, September 20

Theater Review: IRT: The Two Gentlemen of Verona

Indiana Repertory Theatre (IRT), breaks its pattern of opening with an edge-of-the-seat drama and opens the 2014-2015 season with a comedy. Last year the downtown theater started its season with The Crucible, in 2012 it was the stark (and fantastic) Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,  the sensually dark Dracula in 2011 had everyone talking and Holes opened the historic theatre in 2010.

This year's offering for Indy ~ Shakespeare's, The Two Gentlemen of Verona ~  is one of the Bard's earliest works and tells of two friends who become opponents in the game of love.

If you have been loathe to sample, or reacquaint yourself with, Shakespeare, this comedy is good one to try. Friends go on their individual life's journeys and reunite only to fight over the affection of a woman. While Proteus, portrayed by Chris Bresky, and Valentine, played by Charles Pasternak, search for the loves of their lives, they find their own character and flaws.

Ryan Artzberger portrays the comedic servant, Launce, with Crab, his faithful canine sidekick (who received oohs and aahs throughout the show). Female love interests were: Lee Stark as Julia and Ashley Wickett as Silvia.

The laugh-a-minute comedy is a great addition to the LORT theatre's list. Solid performances by the entire cast are enjoyable to watch and highlighted most by Pasternak's smooth portrayal of the play's morally just character.

I must admit, however, that although this is a play worth seeing for any stage fan, it lacks the wow factor of opening shows in years past. When one sets the bar as high as IRT has done with its season starters for so long, to open with a comedy is ~ anticlimactic.

Much better to continue with grabbing potential theatre-goers and current subscribers with another by-the-throat drama. This one could easily have been set to stage somewhere in the middle of the season. Perhaps they will return next year to a schedule with an anticipated play such as one by Tennessee Williams (my hope) and set the standard high once more.

Bottom Line: Charles Pasternak turns in a flawless performance in IRT's season opener comedy, The Two Gentlemen of Verona.

Images: provided

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.