Tuesday, November 24

Theater Review: Broadway Across America: Chicago

B r o a d w a y Across America’s Chicago razzle-dazzled its way into Indianapolis this weekend. Set in Chicago’s late 1920s, the story revolves around murderesses and the celebrity status bestowed upon them via the media.

Tom Wopat portrayed Billy Flynn, the slick-talking attorney who cares only about love…and money.

Bianca Marroquin, as Roxie Hart, stood out, giving a little something extra, with her best musical performance in Me and My Baby.

Terra C. MacLeod brought energy to the stage as Velma Kelly, with her best vocals and dancing during When Velma Takes a Stand

Tom Riis Farrell in the role of Roxie’s husband Amos Hart, brought the audience into the “aah factor” zone. Creating the aah factor is not an easy feat, however Farrell drew sympathy from the women and empathy from the men in the audience, particularly during Mister Cellophane.

D. Micciche, as newspaper reporter Mary Sunshine, surprised the audience by revealing she was, in fact, portrayed by a man. Although it is traditional for a male performer to portray the role, it is always pleasant to see reactions when the surprise is revealed. Adding in his flamboyant energy, the thought was entertained heavily on Micciche’s being more well-suited for the role of Billy Flynn than Wopat, who seemed to lack the devil-may-care attitude and energy required for the flashy lawyer role.

Bottom Line: The snappy, jazzy pace makes Chicago a great choice for first-timers and die-hard fans alike.

Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated columnist, travel writer, performing arts and restaurant critic. Catch her newest column, Infused at GottaGo.us and www.FoodandDrinkDigital.com and as Indy’s Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC. Gotta Go is published on www.Gottago.us, www.BroadwayWorld.com, in M magazine and these newspapers: South Sider Voice, Indiana Weekender, New Palestine Reporter, Pendleton Times Reporter and Fortville-McCordsville Reporter. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Wednesday, November 18

Thanksgiving List

Tradition dictates us to feel thankful at this time of year, and so we do. Everyone looks at you, straight in the eye, and almost demands to know what you are grateful for. Whatever answer you give had better be worthy of the occasion, too; because there will be a silence while all listening will judge and rate your list of counted blessings.

Generally the obligatory answers of health, the troops, our children, etcetera are offered up as sacrificial lambs, as we hope to avoid the ugly glare of disapproval from the others at the dinner table on Thanksgiving.

I am getting a little practice in the week beforehand, this year, so my answer will be ready, polished even. Don’t want to fumble over my answer like last year.

Not in any particular order, or priority, without mentioning the above items, for which I’m naturally appreciative, my thankful list goes something like this:

Shoes
Tall, short, open-toed, pumps, snow boots-you name the style and I have either owned it or wanted to. You knew I was going to say this one, didn’t you?

Indy’s Circle of Lights
Every year I go downtown and walk around the tree of lights, with the snow floating gently down upon my shoulders, hot chocolate in hand, enjoying the carriages and strollers passing by.

Stuffing and Dressing
Why did they both make the list? Aaah, because there is a difference and I enjoy both equally and did not want to show favoritism. Dressing is cooked outside the bird; stuffing, of course, is cooked inside Tom Turkey. Oyster is my first choice, then sage, but don’t fret; cornbread style will not be rejected, I promise.

People
Kind souls who let me go in front of them at the store. I appreciate this one especially at the holidays when most people are frazzled and impatient. If I have only an item or two in my arms,
very nice people allow me to scoot right ahead of them. That makes my whole day brighter, and
makes me smile; so thanks.

Chocolate
White, milk, dark, all of it, and in any combination. It is all good and anything it is poured over, dipped with or surrounded by can slip through on this one, also. Melt it, drizzle it and serve
it up, no one is going to complain, least of all me.

Friends
The ones who allow you to call them just to vent. They don’t try to solve the issue; you’ll do that later. They just listen, or pretend to, while you rant and rave about some insignificant or larger problem such as the guy who can’t drive right or the in-law who annoys everyone.

Bubble Bath
It may seem really trivial, but after a day of salsa dancing, go-karting or working in the yard, it is so nice to slip into a tub of bubbles and float away for a few minutes. You know, before the muscles tighten up and start screaming at you that you are too old to be doing whatever you did.

Truly there are far more pressing issues to count in my blessings, but certainly my family members will cover those for me. Much like the ‘guilt by association’ rule, I shall let their choices
count for me, which leaves me with the fun ones. Don’t you love how I make them do the hard stuff?

If you would like to submit your thankful list to me, e-mail it to commnews@inmotion.net or elizabeth@gottago.us, I promise not to judge. Me, I’ll be right here, figuring out how to dip stuffing into melted chocolate. That won’t be too messy, will it?

--This post was originally published under "Gotta Go" in the West Side Community News in Indianapolis, and the West Indianapolis Community News.

Wednesday, November 11

A Chirstmas Carol

Disney’s A Christmas Carol 3-D opens the holiday season with a timeless classic tale. Jim Carrey tops the list of voices used for this Robert Zemeckis film. Using the same technique as in The Polar Express, A Christmas Carol is a slightly darker, more realistic movie version of the Charles Dickens story than those in recent years.

Ebenezer Scrooge (Carrey) is the penny-pinching, blackhearted soul who must learn the lessons of humanity and kindness through the visits of three ghosts, also portrayed by Carrey. Colin Firth gives voice to Scrooge’s nephew Fred, and Gary Oldman takes the part of Bob Cratchit,
the lowly employee of Scrooge’s counting house.

With slight differences, such as the Ghost of Christmas Present being returned to the original candle apparition, the movie stays along familiar lines. Audience members under the legal age seemed to enjoy it, with a few preschool-age tots a little scared of this version. Nothing a box of Milk Duds couldn’t solve, though.

--This post was originally published under "Gotta Go" in the West Side Community News in Indianapolis, and the West Indianapolis Community News.

Wednesday, November 4

The Indiana Ballet Company: Phantom of the Opera

Phantom of the Opera was performed this past weekend at the Madame Walker Theatre by The Indiana Ballet Company. Converting Phantom to a ballet production was an interesting concept, and accepting the invitation, I was sitting dead center.
The love triangle between Christine (Tuesday Mayhew), Raoul, Ballet Master (Ogulcan Borova) and Phantom (Sergey Sersiev) begins in Act I with only Christine aware of the masked one’s presence. Unable to resist his charm, a spell is cast upon her, causing confusion for Raoul, who cannot understand the power of the Phantom. In a moment of weakness, Phantom allows Christine to remove his mask, horrifying her by the sight of his disfigurement, and she runs.
In Act II, the three principals dance through a Spanish Masquerade Ball, and Phantom declares his love for Christine. Making her decision to stay with the Phantom, the ballerina is left alone as
Phantom vanishes, unable to face his fear of love, leaving behind only his mask and cape.
Powerful and moving are the best descriptors to this switch in the familiar story. Sersiev wraps the Phantom character in his own cape of dark sensuality. Watching him dance is an intense assault of the senses, holding your attention raptly, breathlessly waiting for his next move. Able to sense his vulnerability, fear and desire, the audience members are left feeling awakened in their own frailties.
Alyona Yakovleva, IBC’s founding director, has set a mission for the classically trained company to connect with the Indy community, with each of its artists living and working in Indiana, year round.
Nutcracker will be the next venture for the company on December 11 and 12 at the Madame Walker Theatre.
Photos: Polina Pesherov
This post was originally published under "Gotta Go" in the West Side Community News in Indianapolis, and the West Indianapolis Community News.