Tuesday, December 27

The Cabaret at The Columbia Club: 2012 Season


THE CABARET AT THE COLUMBIA CLUB: 2012 SEASON 
*Press Release* 
Sam Harris
The Cabaret at The Columbia Club, located in the Crystal Terrace on the third floor of The Columbia Club,  opens its 2012 season Jan. 13 & 14. Tickets are on sale now for all 2012 performances and are open to the public.
Patrons should be advised to order tickets in advance, as The Cabaret sold to 93 percent capacity on average in 2011, with more than half of the shows selling out far in advance. Tickets may be purchased at TheCabaret.org or by calling 317-275-1169.
                         
*Sam Harris: Broadway, Ballads & Blues
January 13 & 14, 8:00 PM
Since first amazing audiences as Star Search Grand Champion with his signature rendition of “Over the Rainbow,” SamHarris has become a Tony-nominated Broadway star (The Life, Grease, The Producers, Cabaret, Pippin, Jesus Christ Superstar, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat), a multi-million selling recording artist with nine albums to his credit, and an international concert “sellout” from New York's Carnegie Hall to London's West End. Harris brings his singular interpretation and inimitable style to an eclectic collection of Broadway and Pop Classics from Hammerstein to Sondheim and U2 to Lennon. 
 Price: $45, $55, $65

** Steven Stolen: Isn’t It Romantic?
February 14, 8:00 PM            
“Indy’s favorite tenor,” Steven Stolen, performs a show sure to please the Valentine in everyone. Whether it’s a date with “A Fine Romance” or a witty “I Hate You Darling” come “Dream a Little Dream” and share a “Stolen Moment” with one of Indy’s favorite personalities and that casual elegance that has made him popular with audiences from coast to coast. (Singles welcome)
Price: $25, $35, $45

*Janis Siegel: New York Standard Time
February 24 & 25, 8:00 PM
Ever since Janis Siegel co-founded The Manhattan Transfer over three decades ago, listeners, fellow musicians and critics have marveled at her inventive phrasing and richly expressive voice. A ten-time Grammy winner, Siegel has sung lead vocals for some of the Transfer’s biggest hits, including “Operator,” “Birdland,” and “The Boy from N.Y.C.” Siegel has also sustained a solo career that has spawned more than a half dozen finely-crafted solo albums and numerous collaborative projects, amassed a large international fan base and garnered consistently high critical praise. In an age when buyers and sellers are quick to jam music and musicians into convenient boxes, Siegel has built a career on defying preconceptions and stereotypes. 
Price: $35, $45, $55

*The Puppini Sisters!
March 9 & 10, 8:00 PM 
With a unique blend of retro style, pop kitsch, and stunningly crisp vocals, UK-based vocal trio The Puppini Sisters bring ‘Andrews Sisters’ style three-part harmony into the modern age with show-stopping interpretations of everything from “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” to “I Will Survive” to Blondie’s “Heart of Glass.”  They have four albums, two of which have landed in the Top Five albums on the U.S. Jazz Charts. Their recent Christmas album, Christmas With The Puppinis, earned them a spot on NBC’s “A Michael Bublé Christmas.” With TV appearances and tours worldwide, the group has developed a large and dedicated fan base throughout Europe and in North America. **Prizes will be awarded to the best 40’s attire!
Price: $45, $55, $65
**Cynthia Layne: The Back Room, A Night at the Speakeasy
March 24, 8:00 PM

Don your flapper dress or raccoon coat and join us as we transform The Cabaret into a 1920’s speakeasy. In celebration of women’s history month, Cynthia Layne celebrates the music of prohibition’s “Jazz Age” when women got the right to vote and “flappers” flooded the speakeasies, daring to drink cocktails and dance to hot Jazz. Don’t let the law keep you from coming! The evening will include prohibition-era cocktails served in teacups and prizes for the best costumes. Don’t forget: the password “hooch” will get you in the door.
Price: $25, $35, $45

**Shannon Forsell: Songs I’ve Never Sung on Broadway 
April 20 & 21, 8:00 PM 

Managing and artistic director of The Cabaret, Shannon Forsell, graces The Cabaret’s stage once again, with “Songs I’ve Never Sung On Broadway.” Through songs from Broadway to cabaret to jazz, this show explores how we choose to live, the choices we make, and how “forks in the road” shape and define who we are.   
Price: $25, $35, $45 

*Maureen O’Flynn: At the Crossroads, In Partnership with the Indianapolis Opera
April 27, 8:00 PM
Metropolitan Opera leading lady Maureen O’Flynn, makes her Indianapolis cabaret debut with a sumptuous musical feast for the ears. Featuring classics by Kern, Porter, Sondheim, and Weill, Maureen’s versatility shines in this intimate performance. Equally comfortable on the opera stage at La Scala or the musical theater stages at the Berkshires Theatre Festival, Maureen proves to be one of the most thrilling voices to grace the worlds of opera, musical theatre and cabaret. 
Price: $35, $45, $55

*Lainie Kazan: The Chanteuse is Loose! 
May 11 & 12, 8:00 PM
Lainie shares music and stories from her long and varied career on the stage and screen.  From her start as Barbra Streisand’s Broadway understudy in Funny Girl , Lainie went on to sing in the top night clubs and on television, including 26 appearances on The Dean Martin Show, and her own variety special. On screen, she received critical acclaim for her performances in My Favorite Year and the blockbuster comedy My Big Fat Greek Wedding.  On Broadway, she received a Tony nomination for My Favorite Year, and starred in The Government Inspector, The Exonerated, and The Vagina Monologues. Audiences may also recognize her for her television roles on Will & Grace, The Nanny, Ugly Betty, and Desperate Housewives.
Price: $45, $55, $65

*Stacey Kent: Dreamer

June 7 & 8, 8:00 PM 

Grammy nominated songstress, Stacy Kent ‘s ability to tell a story, capture an emotion, a mood, hone it and share it like a secret with her audience are qualities that make her so special and enable her to sell out concert halls, jazz clubs, and cabarets around the world.  The evening will feature tunes from her recent Blue Note release Dreamer in Concert, along with songs from her critically acclaimed musical career spanning eight best-selling albums.
Price: $35, $45, $55
Linda Eder

*An Intimate Evening with Linda Eder
June 22 & 23, 8:00 PM

June 23, 2:00 PM 

With a career spanning over two decades and accolades as “one of the greatest contemporary solo voices of our time,” vocal sensation Linda Eder brings her one-woman show to The Cabaret for a rare and intimate performance. Linda rose to stardom after an impressive 12-week run on Star Search followed by an award winning Broadway performance in Jekyll and Hyde. Since then, Linda has performed for packed concert venues across the country and recorded nine solo albums. With her extravagant vocal gifts and stage presence, Linda proves she is a vocal force not to miss!
Price: $75, $100, $125

*Tom Wopat: Love Swings
Tom Wopat
July 13 & 14, 8:00 PM
Tom Wopat first came to public attention as Luke Duke on the original TV series The Dukes of Hazard, but it wasn’t long before his classically trained vocals whisked him away from car smashes and corny humor to the bright lights of Broadway (Annie Get Your Gun, Chicago, The Pajama Game, Guys & Dolls, Catch Me if You Can). With an expansive repertoire featuring music from Hollywood to Broadway, the Tony-nominated star’s show will feature musical favorites from Frank Sinatra and The Beatles to Judy Garland.
Price: $45, $55, $65

*Melinda Doolittle: Love 101

July 27 & 28, 8:00 PM

Former “American Idol“ contestant, Melinda Doolittle’s show is sure to be very cabaret, and, with all due respect to Simon Cowell, she’s not about to apologize for it!  After two critically acclaimed runs at Feinstein’s, Melinda brings her show featuring Jazz standards, pop hits, Broadway classics and songs from her recent CD to The Cabaret. She got her start as a backup singer for, to name a few, Michael McDonald, Aretha Franklin, Alabama, Bebe and CeCe Winans and Aaron Neville. Since her time in the spotlight, Melinda has wowed audiences with her ‘big voice’ and ‘soulful’ performances, from the White House to the Kennedy Center to Carnegie Hall.
Price: $35, $45, $55

*Carol Woods: Singin’ the Blues on Broadway
August 10 & 11, 8:00 PM       
Whether singing the Blues, gospel or standards, Broadway star Carol Woods is at home on stages around the world. While Broadway is her musical home (Chicago, One Mo’ Time, Smokey Joe’s Café, Stepping Out, The Goodbye Girl, Grind, Big River, The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas), Carol has also performed at Carnegie Hall with The New York Pops, in the movie The Honeymooners opposite Cedric The Entertainer, on London’s West End (One Mo Time, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Blues In the Night) and in cabaret venues around the world. 
Price: $35, $45, $55

*Karen Mason: Show Queen, A Broadway Songbook
August 24 & 25, 8:00 PM 
Whether she is lighting up the stage in a hit Broadway musical or amazing audiences with her critically-acclaimed cabaret performances and concerts, Karen Mason is a showstopper.  In this performance, Karen shares songs from her vast Broadway career including her starring roles in Mamma Mia, Hairspray, Sunset Boulevard, and Wonderland.  Karen is also a ten-time MAC (Manhattan Association of Cabarets) award winner, winning the Major Female Vocalist of the year for six consecutive years.
Price: $35, $45, $55
  
*Annual Cabaret Fundraiser
Laura Benanti: Let Me Entertain You

September 29, 8:00 PM

Laura Benanti
This irresistible star of Broadway, TV, and film shares a saucy evening with her favorite stories and songs. Laura has taken Broadway by storm, earning the Tony Award for her portrayal of Louise/Gypsy Rose Lee, starring opposite Patti Lupone in Gypsy. Other Broadway credits include Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Swing!, Into the Woods opposite Vanessa Williams, Nine opposite Antonio Banderas, and The Sound of Music. She has performed her cabaret in top venues around the country, including Lincoln Center and The Kennedy Center’s “Spotlight” series, curated by cabaret legend Barbara Cook.  *The evening will include a silent auction, heavy hors d’oeuvres, wine tasting, and a champagne and dessert reception following the performance.
Price: Individual $150, Table Sponsor $1,000, **Corporate Table Sponsorships available 

*Gavin Creel: Live, Out Loud

October 12 & 13, 8:00 PM

Tony nominated Broadway star and singer/songwriter, Gavin Creel has a unique sound that blends his love for both pop and musical theatre. Performing songs from his already vast Broadway career (Hair, La Cage aux Folles, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Mary Poppins) and his contemporary originals, Gavin showcases his extensive musical talent. In tandem with his success as an actor, Creel has garnered an organic mainstream following as a singer/songwriter, playing to sold-out crowds from New York to London. 
 Price: $35, $45, $55

*Todd Murray: Croon
November 2 & 3, 8:00 PM
Before the age of electrified amplification, songs had to be sung loudly in order to be heard.  The introduction of the microphone introduced a new, intimate style of performing which became known as crooning. Todd Murray follows the history of crooning, beginning in the 1920’s through today.  With lush popular ballads, swing, Latin beat, all with lyricists such as Berlin, Porter, Lerner/Lowe, Hal David, and Leonard Cohen, Murray demonstrates that all popular music has its roots in crooning.
Price: $35, $45, $55 

*Victoria Clark: Glorious Days

November 16 & 17, 8:00 PM

A favorite among audiences and critics alike, Tony Award-winning Broadway star Victoria Clark brings her one-woman show to Indianapolis. The show will feature standards from the Great American Songbook alongside material from lesser-known composers and music from her Broadway career (The Light in the Piazza, The Grapes of Wrath, Sister Act: The Musical, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Cabaret, Urinetown, Titanic, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Bye Bye Birdie, Grand Night for Singing). The New York Times says Clark, in her Piazza, role gave “hands down the best musical performance by any actress this season.” This is sure to be one show you won’t want to miss!
Price: $35, $45, $55 
Shannon Forsell
*Martinis & Mistletoe, featuring Everett Greene, Shannon Forsell & The Buselli Wallarab Jazz Orchestra
December 13, 14 & 15, 7:30 PM

December 15, 2:30 PM

Start with the rich sounds of jazz vocalist Everett Greene (compared by many to Barry White, James Earl Jones and Darth Vader); add the sultry, smooth vocals of local diva, Shannon Forsell; stir in the Buselli Wallarab Jazz Orchestra with their lush, sophisticated arrangements; toss in holiday classics such as “The Christmas Song,” “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” along with a dab of instrumentals from the infamous TV cartoon special A Charlie Brown Christmas; add a few other holiday gems and voilà – the perfect evening to warm you up on a cold winter’s night!

Price: $35, $45, $55

*** Check back at GottaGo.us throughout the season for review of performances ***
  *The Signature Series, features the finest national and international cabaret performers.
**Club Series showcases the wealth of Central Indiana’s seasoned local performers.

Location: The Cabaret at the Columbia Club, 121 Monument Circle, Indianapolis, IN 46204
Parking:   $10 valet parking for cabaret patrons.
ABOUT THE CABARET
The Cabaret is a professional, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The mission of The Cabaret is to elevate the cabaret art form; attract, develop and retain high-quality local performance talent; and provide a unique and important contribution to the city’s artistic and cultural life.



Photos: Furnished by The Cabaret Club


Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated columnist, travel writer, performing arts and restaurant critic. Catch her as Indy’s Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC, and follow her on Twitter @GottaGo and Facebook. Gotta Go is published in M magazine and the following newspapers: South Sider Voice, Indiana Weekender, New Palestine Reporter, Pendleton Times Reporter and Fortville-McCordsville Reporter.

Saturday, December 24

Movie Review: Sherlock Holmes A Game of Shadows

Sequel to blockbuster 2009's film about the perceptive detective and trusty sidekick, "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows," opens in theaters in time for the holiday must-see list.
With Robert Downey, Jr., (Holmes) Jude Law (Watson) and Guy Ritchie (directing) once again, this trio stands to be in each other's company for many years to come as this film franchise shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon. Review of the original is available here.

The fast-paced, more action-packed film takes the moviegoer on a whirlwind jaunt across Europe. Successful action and suspense movies must have a one-liner cracking hero or villain. In this case, most of the characters get in on the witty remarks. Villain of the show, Professor James Moriarty (portrayed superbly by Jared Harris), plays that cold, calculating personality that we so love our villains to be when pitted against the hot blooded, one-liner cracking hero.

Their razor-sharp verbal interchanges represent the intellectual chess-playing enemies in a good vs. evil  game, with precision and, at times, without the chess board.
Easily argued as the best addition to the cast of characters is Stephen Fry as Holmes' brother, Mycroft. The Holmes' genetic disposition of self absorption takes a comical slant with the elder sibling criticizing Sherlock at every turn.
Rachel McAdams returns briefly in this second of what is certain to be a continuing series. Noomi Rapace steps in as Simza Heron for the feminine touch, without being a love interest. This leaves the plot, thankfully, about saving the world.

Much debate weighs which is better, the original installment or this film. Both are an excellent blend of intellect, action and comedy. Why compare? Just sit back, hold on and enjoy.

Bottom Line: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is a great ride when Downey, Law and Ritchie are joined by Fry to save the world as only Holmes and Co. can.
Photo: Warmer Bros.
Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated columnist, 
travel writer, performing arts and restaurant critic. Catch her as Indy’s Arts & Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC, and follow her on Twitter @GottaGo and Facebook. Gotta Go is published in M magazine and the following newspapers: South Sider Voice, Indiana Weekender, New Palestine Reporter, Pendleton Times Reporter and Fortville-McCordsville Reporter.

Sunday, December 18

Book Review: Wise Bear William: A New Beginning by Arthur Wooten

Arthur Wooten ("Birthday Pie," "On Picking Fruit") switches gears in his latest endeavor, taking readers on a gentler ride.

"Wise Bear William: A New Beginning" relates the tender tale of toys tucked away in an attic. Rag Doll Rose, Bean Bag Bunny and Calico Kitty live in harmony among trunks, cracked mirrors and forgotten memories.

The dolls are guided lovingly by the knowledgeable bear after overhearing that children shall perform a traditional visit to the attic to retrieve once-loved toys left by other generations. The lucky chosen few shall regain the longed-for life of a cherished toy.

The cluttered attic’s inhabitants worry, sacrifice and learn to cherish each other, and themselves, while helping one another get ready for the children’s visit. Finding flowers, buttons and other objects for sprucing up their appearance, they realize that it is their love inside that makes them truly beautiful.
As the stuffed toys aid each other and the children arrive to scoop up their new friends, readers enjoy a journey of warmth, friendship and anticipation. Who will be chosen? Who will be left behind?

Blanket Bear
Bud Santora’s deep, rich illustrations of tattered dresses, floppy ears and button eyes enhance the warmth of the characters without overpowering the content’s message. Santora's background as an Emmy Award winner, costume and holiday designer, serves him well to create almost-touchable images throughout the must-read again book.
What was the inspiration for the lovable teddy bear and company? I asked Wooten in a recent telephone interview.

“It came from a bear I had as a child, Blanket Bear. My grandfather, John Reid, who I called Papa, came from Scotland. As a teenager, he went into WWI, and was on the front lines fighting. He brought home his army blanket and my grandmother turned it into a teddy bear for me. I still have Blanket Bear.”


Bottom line: I dare anyone to read this timeless treasure and not feel an immediate and strong connection with “Wise Bear William: A New Beginning.” Wooten has struck a chord with this book which touches all ages and it will be found sitting, with edges well worn, upon children's bookshelves around the globe.

Wise Bear William: A New Beginning is available as a soft cover, hard cover and ebook at Galaxais Productions

Find Arthur Wooten on Facebook by clicking: Facebook/ArthurWooten
FInd Arthur Wooten on Twitter by clicking: Twitter/ArthurWooten
Photo credits: Galaxais Production

Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated columnist, travel writer, performing arts and restaurant critic. Catch her as Indy’s Arts & Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC, and follow her on Twitter @GottaGo and Facebook. Gotta Go is published in M magazine and the following newspapers: South Sider Voice, Indiana Weekender, New Palestine Reporter, Pendleton Times Reporter and Fortville-McCordsville Reporter.

Friday, December 16

6 Best Spots to Take Kids During Holiday Break 2011 Indy

Every year parents, grandparents and fun-loving adults ask for my opinion of places to go in the Indy-metro area with kids over holiday break from school. Here are the Top 6 Best Spots.
Jingle Rails at Eiteljorg through Jan. 8. Image/RRImages
  1. Jingle Rails: Where: Eiteljorg Museum. What it is: Thirteen overhead walk-under bridges, replicas of downtown Indianapolis, The Great West and national treasures as seen via seven trains traveling throughout the display. When:  The "coolest exhibit I've ever seen," according to one child at the exhibit, is open through Jan 8. Website: Eiteljorg.com
  2. Willy Wonka: Where: Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre. What it is: Roald Dahl's classic children's story. When: This is a great way to introduce kids to live theater through Jan. 7. Website: CivicTheatre.org.
      Willy Wonka                     Image/BTCivicTheatre
  3. Jolly Days: Where: Children's Museum: What it is: Listed consistently as a national must-see museum, Jolly Days is still fun after Christmas with activities for children of all ages, including a play castle, "ice skating" and theater. When: Through Jan. 8. Website: ChildrensMuseum.org.
  4. Hearthside Suppers: Where: Conner Prairie. What it is: Enjoy helping prepare an early 1800s dinner and eating it by candlelight. When: Starts Jan. 6. Website: ConnerPrairie.org.
  5. Conservatory Crossing: Where: Garfield Park Conserrvatory. What it is: Running train models, and a train village in partnership with The Indiana Railroad Company. When: Through Jan. 8. Website: GarfieldGardensConservatory.org.
  6. Ice skating: Where: Indiana State Fairgrounds. What it is: A great way to introduce kids to a new sport or keep active during the winter. When: Through April. Website: In.gov/StateFair
Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated columnist, travel writer, performing arts and restaurant critic. Catch her as Indy’s Arts & Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC, and follow her on Twitter @GottaGo and Facebook. Gotta Go is published in M magazine and the following newspapers: SouthSider Voice, Indiana Weekender, New Palestine Reporter, Pendleton Times Reporter and Fortville-McCordsville Reporter.

Monday, December 12

Theater Review: Mystery Cafe of Indianapolis: Ho Ho Homicide

Robert Kingery and Melissa Gutierrez    Image/IzzyEvans
Evidence suggests that Murder Mystery dinners gained popularity in the 1980s as a culmination of Hollywood's '40s mystery movies, radio Whodunnits in the '40s and '50s, theaters-in-the-round and dinner theaters which were predominant in the '60s and '70s. As is with most things, what once was old is new again, and this is true with audience-participation performances.

The Mystery Cafe, originating in '88 in Canton MA., is the original, and longest running, mystery theater company in the nation.

Mystery Café of Indianapolis was founded in ’92. The currently running performance, “Ho Ho Homicide” is performed at Milano Inn, 231 S. College St., Indianapolis. Alternate locations are available for various performances.

The play, written by Nita Hardy, is a zany, over the-top spoof of whodunnits. The plot finds southern belle, Miss Charlotte O’Tara, portrayed by Melissa Gutierrez, about to be murdered. When the dirty deed occurs, her relative from Ireland sings they are “Cousins, Identical Cousins” (think The Patty Duke Show's theme song here) Maureen O’Tara, also Gutierrez. Maureen puts on her sleuthing cap and hires Nick Saint, private detective.
Saint, a droll, Humphrey-Bogart caricature, portrayed by Robert Kingery, paces the floor while piecing together clues.

Gutierrez and Kingery whip through several characters each, switching accents, costumes and mannerisms without missing a beat. The duo shines brightest while verbally sparring with each other and both show genuine enjoyment in their roles. While this play is performed well enough to be on stage, the fun is found with the interaction between the characters and the audience.

The meal is served between acts as four courses, giving ample time to jot down clues, discuss possible suspects with other diners (seating is family style) and enjoy the food at a leisurely pace. Dinner consists of soup, salad, entrée choice of four traditional Italian dishes, and dessert of Spumoni ice cream.

Audience participation is cornerstone to the success and enjoyment of the evening (Translation: leave the curmudgeon at home). The more you get into the mood, the more fun it is. I was given the role of the Jamaican psychic "Madam Cleo" and sat near audience characters "Red Butler" and "Blondie Bloomwood" (who was a suspect). Awards are given out to the audience members: one for best actor and one for correctly guessing the murderer. Photo opportunities are available after the show. Ticket price covers the performance, meal (with coffee or tea) and good-natured fun. Adult beverages and gratuity are not included in the price.

Bottom Line: Mystery Cafe's outlandish groaners, over-the-top impersonations and slight innuendos make "Ho Ho Homicide" an absolutely delightful whodunnit and a refreshing alternative for an evening out.

For tickets, schedule and information, visit TheMysteryCafeIndy.com
For menu, hours and location of restaurant, visit MilanoInn.com

Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated columnist, travel writer, performing arts and restaurant critic. Catch her as Indy’s Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC, and follow her on Twitter @GottaGo and Facebook. Gotta Go is published in M magazine and the following newspapers: South Sider Voice, Indiana Weekender, New Palestine Reporter, Pendleton Times Reporter and Fortville-McCordsville Reporter.

Tuesday, December 6

Theater Review: Phoenix Theatre: A Very Phoenix Xmas6: Our Goose is Cooked.

Wilcher, Gillan & Kincannon
The Phoenix Theatre continues its journey to the musical side of the street with more singing and dancing in this year's holiday offering: A Very Phoenix Xmas 6: Our Goose is Cooked!
Local Indy theater favorite Charles Goad (Shipwrecked!) was welcomed back to the stage after a brief hiatus to delve into other creative ventures. Claire Wilcher, Jason Gloye, Gayle Steigerwald, Scott Greenwell, Carly Kincannon and Abby Gillan join Goad in the limelight.

Gloye, Gillan, Goad & Steigerwald
This not-for-children program tackles issues of prejudice, unrequited love and ungrateful offspring through sketches, songs and storytelling. Balancing out the heavy subjects are several lighter moments of love, Santa and dancing. Yes, I said dancing...at The Phoenix Theatre. Choreographed by Dance Kaleidoscope dancer and choreographer, Mariel Greenlee, the dance numbers provide a positive, fresh look for the edgy theater.

Goad and Greenwell
In a more traditional moment, Kincannon, Gillan and Wilcher present a spectacular, ethereal rendition of "Hallelujah Chorus" (Handel).
Goad's much-anticipated return did not disappoint proving he has not lost an ounce of talent while absent. Whether the tender, "The Student," the humorous, "Santa-Tude," or playful, "Outsourcing Santa," Goad's personal brand of talent is well demonstrated.

Rocking into the Gotta Go spotlight this week is Gayle Steigerwald in "How I Met Your Santa," the tale of her first meeting with Saint Nick. The delightful tale is all the more sentimental because of Steigerwald's tender storytelling ability. You will find yourself believing every word of the future Mrs. Claus' account of the Christmas she encountered the jolly elf in her childhood home.
Steigerwald, Wilcher, Kincannon & Gillan
It is no surprise that this piece earns the Gotta Go "favorite of the evening" award once I realized afterward that it had been written by Daniel Guyton. You'll remember Guyton receiving my "favorite of the evening" in 2009 during Phoenix Theatre's A Very Phoenix Xmas 4: Our Stockings are Stuffed with "Death of a Snowman." Guyton brings tender, real moments to the stage without slipping down the too-much slope.
Bottom Line: A Very Phoenix Theatre 6: Our Goose is Cooked! fulfills its mission to educate, challenge and entertain in this unexpectedly lighter performance.
Photo Credit: ZachRosing.com
Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated columnist, travel writer, performing arts and restaurant critic. Catch her as Indy’s Arts & Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC, and follow her on Twitter @GottaGo and Facebook. Gotta Go is published in M magazine and the following newspapers: South Sider Voice, Indiana Weekender, New Palestine Reporter, Pendleton Times Reporter and Fortville-McCordsville Reporter.

Sunday, November 27

Theater Review: Beef and Boards: Beef and Boards Christmas 2011

Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre's annual holiday offering, "A Beef & Boards Christmas" opens this year with 10 new performers, including two pint-size ones: Ethan Halford Holder and Olivia McKenna.

Toning down the show from the flying reindeer of last year, this go round is a quieter holiday sing along and dance rendition of the Indy tradition. The north side venue brought in audience favorites Sarah Hund, John Vessels and Jayson Elliott (Indiana native) from out of town. You'll remember them best from the "Smoke on the Mountain" trilogy. Also on hand to co-host are returning B&B darlings Kenny Shepard and Deb Wims.

Shining brightest are the Holidaires, made up of Vessels, Hund and Elliott in "The Challenge" between Elliott and Hund, with each outdoing the other on numerous stringed instruments and Vessels popping in for his well-loved humorous touches. And, for a little taste of country, Elliott and Hund also team up for "Tennessee Christmas," while Vessels filled the air with the audience's laughter while performing, "All I want for Christmas."


Holder and McKenna also create a memorable moment with their mini version of "Baby, It's Cold Outside," and act as smaller hosts with Shepard and Wims.
The hosting adult couple performed their "Marshmallow World" Raggedy Ann and Andy dance with usual enthusiasm, always a favorite with the young and old (and this critic).

Bottom Line: "A Beef & Boards Christmas" is a heart-warming holiday show with something for everyone from ages 2 to 92.

For schedule, tickets and details, visit BeefandBoards.com
Photo Credit: JulieCurryPhotography.com


Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated columnist, travel writer, performing arts and restaurant critic. Catch her as Indy’s Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC, and follow her on Twitter @GottaGo and Facebook. Gotta Go is published in M magazine and the following newspapers: South Sider Voice, Indiana Weekender, New Palestine Reporter, Pendleton Times Reporter and Fortville-McCordsville Reporter.

Friday, November 25

Gotta Go Ultimate Gift Guide 2011

Image/ChocolatefortheSpirit
It's time for the fourth annual Gotta Go Ultimate Gift Guide 2011, giving you ideas accumulated through personal experience, referrals and submissions. The handy list (in no particular order) is wrapped with links and recipient suggestions making it easier to find a perfect gift for just about everyone.

This year's Ultimate Gift Guide has a new item: the Judges' Favorite Award. The judges were unanimous in their enthusiasm of the inaugural distinction.

Without further ado...

JUDGES' FAVORITE AWARD
Chocolate for the Spirit
What: Gourmet hand-crafted chocolates
Who: Chocolate lovers, hostess gift, monthly club, stocking stuffer
Image/Burton'sMaplewoodFarms

Burton's Maplewood Farms
What: Rum-infused maple syrup, pure maple syrup
Who: Foodies, gourmet cooks, pancake and waffle lovers
Where: BurtonsMaplewoodFarms

Christy Beaver and Morgan Greenseth
What: Mini pies cookbook
Who: Stocking stuffer, Children, gift exchange, baker

Image/CookingGreek
Cooking Greek Indy
What: Baklava cheesecake
Who: Hostess gift, family, individual, cheesecake lovers
Where: CookingGreekIndy

Winnie the Pooh
What: Disney's tale of everyone's lovable bear Cd/Blu-Ray set
Who: Movie buffs, Children
Where: WinniethePooh/Disney

Image/240Sweet

240 Sweet
What: Gourmet marshmallows
Who: Sweet lovers, stocking stuffer, monthly club
Where: 240Sweet

Image/iRenew



iRenew
What: Well-being waterproof bracelet
Who: Elderly, athletes, stocking stuffer
Where: iRenew
Image/LucidAbsinthe






Lucid
What: Absinthe louching gift set with authentic wormwood
Who: Discerning drinker, Absinthe lover,
mixologist
Where: DrinkLucid
Image/SweetTooth



Sweet Tooth Bakery Indy
What: Cake bites/pops
Who: Hostess gift, family, college
students
Where: SweeetToothBakery


CAMUS Cognac
What: Cognac gift set
Who: Discerning drinker, Cognac lover, mixologist
Where: Camus.fr

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Cooking Greek Indy
What: Gift basket of gluten-free brownies and cookies
Who: Gluten-allergy sufferers, hostess gift
Where: CookingGreekIndy


Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
What: Disney tale of Captain Jack Sparrow Cd/Blu-Ray set
Who: Movie buffs, Johnny Depp fans, Children
Where: PiratesoftheCaribbean/Disney

Flying Wish Paper
What: Flying wish paper
Who: Group, family
Where: FlyingWishPaper


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Molly Bakes
What: Crazy for Cake Pops cookbook
Who: Kids, stocking stuffer, hostess gift, bakers
Where: CakePops/UlyssesPress


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Jill Silverman Hough
What: 100 Perfect Pairings Main Dishes; 100 Perfect Pairings Small plates
Who: Novice and expert wine drinkers, foodies, office gift exchanges
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Bauducco Panettone
What: Italian traditional holiday cake with
Hershey's chocolate chips
Who: Hostess gift, family
Where: BauduccoFoods

Holiday World
What: Holiday World public figure Mrs. Koch bobble head
Who: Stocking stuffer, Holiday World lovers


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Valerie Lum, Jenise Addison
What: Ice Cream Happy Hour
Who: 20-somethings, gourmet cooks, hostess gift, stocking stuffer
Where: HappyHour/UlyssesPress


Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated columnist, syndicated blogger, travel writer, performing arts and restaurant critic. Catch her as Indy’s Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC, and follow her on Twitter @GottaGo and Facebook. Gotta Go is published in the following newspapers: South Sider Voice, Indiana Weekender, New Palestine Reporter, Pendleton Times Reporter and Fortville-McCordsville Reporter.