Tuesday, September 29

Phoenix Theatre 2015 - 2016 Season Includes a Merman, a Butler and a Hunter

The Phoenix Theatre, 749 Park Ave., Indianapolis, opens its doors for the 32rd season with a British farce set in the 1960s. Also included in this year's offerings are Ethel Merman, dolphins and the traditional holiday presentation of short skits and loud laughter from the audience.                                                                              Check back here for theater reviews.

Phoenix Theatre 2015 - 2016 Season

One Man, Two Guvnors
September 24 – October 18
Welcome to 1960’s England. Francis Henshall finds himself trapped into working for two bosses who are connected to each other in wildly improbable ways. He just has to keep them from discovering each other. Easy, right? One Man, Two Guvnors will have you falling out of your seats in hysteria, as Francis leads you through this topsy-turvy farce of love triangles and mistaken identities. His quest for love, a sandwich and keeping his two guvnors happy swept both London’s West End and Broadway with its hilarity and campy wit.

The Nether
October 22 - November 22
Welcome to The Nether, a virtual paradise of total sensory immersion. Just log in, choose an identity and indulge your every whim. When a young detective uncovers a disturbing realm within this virtual world filled with outcasts and criminals of society, she wonders on what level fantasy meets reality. Are some private dreams too dark and disturbing? Should people be free from consequences in their own imagination? Immerse yourself in this sci-fi thriller about a battle over technology and human desire.

A Very Phoenix Xmas X: Oh, Come Let Us Adore Us
November 27 - December 20
It’s year 10 of A Very Phoenix Xmas, and this year will be X-tra special! We’re back with another round of all new sketches, songs and dances, and in honor of this anniversary year, we may even bring back a few favorites. We’ve got everything on your list: traditional holiday music, madcap comedy skits, and some very talented people to help you celebrate this most joyful—and stressful—time of year.

January 7 – February 7, 2016
It’s the beginning of the Civil War, and lawyer Benjamin Franklin Butler has just been promoted to Union General at Fort Monroe, a Union hold-out in the state of Virginia. He soon finds himself face to face with Shepard Mallory, an escaped slave seeking asylum at the fort for himself and other slaves. Sworn to uphold the law, Butler prepares to return the slaves, until Mallory forces him to question whether what is legal is actually moral. Inspired by real events, Butler is part comedy, part historical drama.

February 11 – March 6, 2016
In 1930’s Los Angeles, washed-up Private Investigator Frank Ellery takes on the strangest case of his life. A noted literary agent has been gruesomely murdered, and the four suspects are his remaining clients, all writers for different pulp magazines. Frank dives into the mystery, and his world turns upside down as life begins to imitate literature. In this new comedy, science fiction, romance, adventure and horror combine with one down-on-his-luck gumshoe who’s about to learn what really lurks between the lines.

On Clover Road
by Steve Dietz
March 10 – April 10, 2016
Kate Hunter has been searching for her daughter for more than four years. Now that she’s been located, Kate must carefully extract her from a cult by trusting a complete stranger to de-program her daughter at an abandoned motel on Clover Road. Will mother and daughter happily reunite? Or will the shadow of a memory she’s held on to for the past four years be all that Kate has left of the daughter she once knew?

April 14 – May 1, 2016
Spanish for “legend,” Leyenda is a live adaptation of Latino folk tales, based on interviews with members of the Indianapolis Latino community, with performances in English and Spanish. Leyenda includes traditional music and dancing, and explores explanations of happenings in nature, life and mythology. The original play is part of the Phoenix Theatre’s Heritage Series, which explores the history, mythology and cultural inheritance of people of different races and cultural backgrounds, and is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts-Art Works.

Book of Merman
May 12 – June 12, 2016
The hit Broadway musical, The Book of Mormon, meets the First Lady of Broadway in this new comedy. When two Mormon missionaries ring Ethel Merman’s doorbell, they have no idea of the surprise awaiting them. With some dazzling parody music and Schwartz’s original songs, laughter ensues throughout The Book of Merman, catapulting you to places you didn’t know you wanted to go. Learn how to “Be a Merman” in this parody musical that will leave you smiling for weeks to come.

June 16 – July 17, 2016
Every season, we’ve got our eyes and ears on Broadway, with a mission of bringing the nation’s biggest hits to Indianapolis. Sometimes those plays win big awards - ahem, Tony’s - extending their run on Broadway, and delaying our negotiations. As soon as we have the rights, you’ll be the first to know.

Acid Dolphin Experiment
July 14 – August 14, 2016
Acid Dolphin Experiment tackles the life of Dr. John C. Lilly, a mid-century American neuro-scientist famous for exploring the nature of consciousness, and using isolation tanks, dolphin communication and psychedelic drugs … sometimes in combination … and frequently experimenting on himself. As a scientist, he risks his career, relationships and sanity, to decipher the subjective experiences often dismissed as “mere hallucinations.”

Ticket prices for 2015-2016 season
$20 Cheap Seats weekend (opening weekend)
$27 Thursdays and Sundays for remainder of run
$33 Fridays and Saturdays for remainder of run

A Very Phoenix Xmas X:
Oh, Come Let Us Adore Us ticket prices:
$22 Cheap Seats weekend (opening weekend)
$30 Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays for remainder of run
$35 Fridays and Saturdays for remainder of run

Wednesday and Thursday performances begin at 7 p.m.
Friday and Saturday performances begin at 8 p.m.
Sunday performances begin at 2 p.m.

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 and restaurant critic. Catch her as the Travel & Leisure Adviser on FOX59 Morning News Show. She also is a speaker and media trainer. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Wednesday, September 23

Indiana Repertory Theatre (IRT) 2015-2016 Season Includes a Gatsby, a Mockingbird and a Mousetrap

Downtown Indianapolis' Indiana Repertory Theatre (IRT) opensits 44th season with a flourish ~ as always. Known for opening annually with a dramatic production, this year will be no different.

The remainder of the season, which ends May 22, 2016, offers the glitz of the 1920s, the confusion of the '60s, the depression of the '30s and the opportunities of the '50s.

The Great Gatsby
September 30 – October 25
A theatrical adaptation of what some consider the Greatest American Novel, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Opulent parties, romantic affairs, jealousy and murder come to life in this powerful and vivid tale of American bravado, lost love and war recovery in the Roaring Twenties.

April 4, 1968
October 20 – November 15
IRT’s playwright-in-residence shares an intimate look at one Indianapolis family and their personal experience surrounding the events of April 4, 1968, which include Bobby Kennedy’s history-making speech on the night of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination.

A Christmas Carol
November 14 – December 26
Indy’s favorite holiday tradition comes to life again for its 25th year on the Mainstage. A Christmas Carol celebrates the universal story of redemption as literature’s most infamous “Scrooge” learns to love after a walk through Christmas past, present and future.

Peter Rabbit and Me
The Cabaret
November 21 – December 20
In this classic tale,13-year-old Beatrix Potter creates her own exciting world as she invents such beloved characters as Peter Rabbit, Flopsy, Mopsy & Cottontail and their playful adventures in Mr. McGregor’s garden.

The Mystery of Irma Vep
January 12-February 14
A hilarious mash-up of chilling Gothic horror story and passionate Victorian bodice-ripper. Two actors play a mysterious archeologist, a flighty new bride, a saucy housekeeper, a loveable werewolf and an Egyptian mummy, in a dizzying quick-change marathon.

To Kill a Mockingbird
January 29 – February 28
The story of how two siblings, Scout and Jem Finch, and their father, Atticus, changed the way many American’s perceived race and prejudice in the country. Coming of age in a small Depression-era community in the mid-30’s, the Finch siblings learn about social injustice as their lawyer father defends a man wrongly accused of a heinous crime.

March 9 – April 3
Winner of both the Pulitzer Prize and the Tony Award for Best Play, Fences is the most widely acclaimed play from August Wilson’s towering 20th Century Cycle. A former Negro League baseball player, thwarted in his dreams of a Major League career, struggles to provide for his family and break free from the boundaries imposed upon him. Set in 1957, at the intersection of old prejudices and changing opportunities.

Bridge and Tunnel
March 29 - May 1
An open-mic poetry night becomes a celebration of American diversity in the Tony Award–winning Bridge and Tunnel. One woman plays more than a dozen characters of both sexes, many races and all ages, as life stories are shared and dreams are dared.

The Mousetrap
By Agatha Christie
April 26 – May 22
The Mousetrap is the world’s longest running stage play, celebrating its 64th birthday in 2016. It is the classic Agatha Christie mystery thriller, with a houseful of strangers trapped by a blizzard and stalked by an unknown murderer. Part drawing room comedy and part murder mystery, this timeless chiller is a double-barreled whodunit full of twists and surprises.

Contact the ticket office at 317-635-5252 or visit irtlive.org.

All performances are at the Indiana Repertory Theatre building located at 140 W. Washington Street in Downtown Indianapolis.

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, September 18

Theater Review: Theatre on the Square (TOTS): Enter Love

Theatre on the Square (TOTS) opens its 2015-2016 season with "Enter Love: the Airport Musical," a musical directed and choreographed by Kenny Shepard.

Although the story is set in an international airport, it bears no other likeness to the 1963 film "The V.I.P.s." Starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, the classic film had passengers interacting in an airport 's exclusive lounge amid personal crises brought about due to the plane's delay.

Enter Love is a musical, with music and lyrics by Lynn Lupold and Kenny Shepard, centering on everyday people struggling to find answers to life's romantic questions.
Josiah McCruiston brings the audience to laughter portraying Harold, Fern (Harold's wife) and Joe Bob for varying levels of humour. McCruiston surprises you when he sashays across the stage wearing a dress and wig, only to appear moments later in his husband-ish attire. The student at Marian University is quite the quick change artist as well as vocal and comedic talent.

Danny Kingston is delicious in any role he plays, and Austin, Chip and Wayne are no exceptions. Taking on three characters, the Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre regular performer transforms himself into each seamlessly. Whether a flight attendant greeting and helping you find a seat, tucked between two other rednecks, or wondering about his significant other and young son, Kingston shines.

As the various trials and tribulations are worked out to some degree, the characters share their more vulnerable side to the audience and each other. Some laughs, some tears and some reality checks brings this story into the "truth be told" category. Be prepared as this production runs long, with an intermission. 

Bottom Line: Enter Love: the Airport Musical shares life, laughter and love in personal relationships of all types.

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