Sunday, December 2

Theater Review: Beef and Boards: ELF the Musical

Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre continues on the path toward reinventing itself by switching its typical variety-style holiday production with a modern holiday classic: ELF the Musical.

The musical (and well known film, ELF (2003), starring Will Ferrell, Bob Newhart and Zooey Deschanel), retraces the life of an orphan human named Buddy, portrayed brilliantly by Dan Bob Higgins, who is raised by elves at the North Pole.

Walter Hobbs, Buddy's birth father, is given top-notch treatment as an insensitive and stressed out corporate executive by Mark Epperson.

Bringing an (at first) subdued-but-increasing exuberance match to the holiday-happy personality of Higgins' Buddy, is Lanene Charters as Hobb's personal secretary Deb. She and the elf are kindred spirits and Charters shines as Buddy allows her to show Christmas spirit once again. Jonathan Fluck is spectacular in his explosive, and too short, appearances as Hobbs' angry boss Mr. Greenway.

Love interest Jovie, a young woman who has stopped believing in anything happy or Christmas-y, is played by Emily Grace Tucker. Tucker knocks it out of the ballpark with her solo, "Never Fall in Love."

A few differences from film to stage include Santa (Doug  E. Stark), rather than the top elf, shares Buddy's tale. Also ... there isn't an angry elf racing across the boardroom table to throttle Buddy. Disappointing certainly, however Peter Dinklage is committed elsewhere these days (Game of Thrones, anyone?).

This zany and delightful production runs through December 31 at the north-side venue. However, if you plan on getting a table, buy tickets immediately. At last check there are verrrry few tickets left.

There's definitely a transformation this season at B&B. New talent, new shows and a new direction aimed at retaining its core audience while attracting the younger demographic. 
Check out the 2019 season lineup by clicking here.

Bottom Line: Beef and Boards' Elf: The Musical is the perfect family show to capture the holiday spirit. Don't miss it.

Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a fine-living, travel, features, food and wine writer, travel and food photographer, performing arts, wine and restaurant critic. She also is a radio and television guest and host. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Sunday, October 21

Theater Review: Beef and Boards: Man from La Mancha

Beef and Boards, Indianapolis, steps out of its goody-two-shoe image to bring the dark comedic production of Man of La Mancha to the north-side stage. Also taking things up a notch the powers that be brought in Disney film talent Richard White. 

White grabs the audience's attention as soon as he steps onto the stage and doesn't let go. Smoothly doubling as both Miguel de Cervantes, author of Don Quijote de la Mancha, awaiting his fate in the depths of a castle prison, and Alonso Quijano, slipping from the book's pages into the dismal prison. Set during the Spanish Inquisition, Cervantes acts out the story of Quijano, whose greatest desire is to be knighted as Don Quixote, rescue lovely maidens and provide chivalrous services. Unfortunately, he has so become immersed in the life he wishes to lead, his grasp on reality has slipped more than a little. White's soothing baritone brings joy to "The Impossible Dream (The Quest)," providing goosebumps to more than one person, I am certain.

Sidekick and faithful servant, Sancho Panza, is portrayed delightfully by Eddie Curry, bringing comedic relief to the tale. In fact, this story line and character remind me of another Curry role many years ago ~ Shipwrecked ~ (read review here).

Bar wench/prostitute/rape victim Aldonza/Dulcinea is brought to life by Erica Hanrahan-Ball. As Quixote's love interest, Hanrahan-Ball tries too hard in the beginning, seeming to try to outdo her male counterpart, bringing a sharpness and unnecessary volume to early songs.
She shines brightest when she shares a softer side to the character, allowing her vocals and acting chops to complement the others on stage, rather than compete.

Portraying Innkeeper, and reluctant knight-bestower, Chuck Caruso brings a droll humor to the role, drawing the audience into his angst of being forced to play along with the delusions of White's Quixote. The pair were absolutely harmonious with their interactions.

Special Note: Costumes by Jill Kelly and set design by Michael Layton are to be applauded as well as the cast of talented performers.

Bottom Line: Beef and Boards breaks its own barriers with the production style and level of talent in its version of Man of la Mancha ~ well done.

Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a fine-living, travel, features, food and wine writer, travel and food photographer, performing arts, wine and restaurant critic. She also is a radio and television guest and host. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Monday, September 10

Broadway in Indianapolis: 2018-2019 Season

Far off lands, dancing in numerous locations and learning to live the life you want, are all included in the Broadway in Indianapolis: 2018-2019 Season.

Lions, Mormons, and waitresses find love, life and lasting friendships with strangers and loved ones. I am truly liking the diversity in this year's lineup. We have classics (The King and I), children-friendly (Lion King, Grinch), new to Indy (School of Rock, Waitress), and fan favorites (Mormon).

Broadway in Indianapolis: 2018-2019 Season

Old National Centre
September 12-29, 2018
Winner of six Tony Awards®, including Best Musical, THE LION KING brings together one of the most imaginative creative teams on Broadway. Tony Award®-winning director Julie Taymor brings to life a story filled with hope and adventure set against an amazing backdrop of stunning visuals.  THE LION KING also features some of Broadway’s most recognizable music, crafted by Tony Award®-winning artists Elton John and Tim Rice.

Old National Centre
November 27-December 2
 Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical is the record-setting Broadway holiday sensation which features the hit songs, “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch” and “Welcome Christmas” from the original animated special. Max the Dog narrates as the mean and scheming Grinch, whose heart is “two sizes too small,” decides to steal Christmas away from the holiday-loving Whos. Magnificent sets and costumes inspired by Dr. Seuss’ original illustrations help transport audiences to the whimsical world of Whoville and remind us of the true meaning of the holiday season.

Clowes Memorial Hall
December 18-23
This outrageous musical comedy follows the misadventures of a mismatched pair of missionaries, sent halfway across the world to spread the Good Word. Now with standing room only productions in London, on Broadway, and across North America, THE BOOK OF MORMON has truly become an international sensation. Contains explicit language.

Clowes Memorial Hall
January 29-February 3, 2019
Based on the hit film, this hilarious new musical follows Dewey Finn, a wannabe rock star posing as a substitute teacher who turns a class of straight-A students into a guitar-shredding, bass-slapping, mind-blowing rock band. This high-octane smash features 14 new songs from Andrew LLoyd Webber, all the original songs from the movie and musical theater’s first-ever kids rock band playing their instruments live on stage.

Rodgers & Hammerstein’s THE KING AND I
Clowes Memorial Hall
March 5-10, 2019
Two worlds collide in this musical, set in 1860’s Bangkok. The musical tells the story of the unconventional and tempestuous relationship that develops between the King of Siam and Anna Leonowens, a British schoolteacher whom the modernist king, in an imperialistic world, brings to Siam to teach his many wives and children. One of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s finest works, THE KING AND I boasts a score that features such beloved classics as “Getting To Know You,” “Hello Young Lovers,” and “Shall We Dance."

Old National Centre
April 23-28, 2019
 Inspired by Adrienne Shelly's beloved film, WAITRESS tells the story of Jenna - a waitress and expert pie maker, Jenna dreams of a way out of her small town and loveless marriage.  A baking
contest in a nearby county and the town's new doctor may offer her a chance at a fresh start, while her fellow waitresses offer their own recipes for happiness. But Jenna must summon the strength and courage to rebuild her own life.

Season tickets for the 2018-19 Broadway in Indianapolis Season are on sale with three convenient ways to purchase season tickets:

1. Select your seats in person at the Broadway in Indianapolis Box Office in the Old National         Centre at 502 N New Jersey Street, Monday – Friday, 9:30am-5:00pm

2. Order online 7 days a week/24 hours a day at

3. Call the Broadway Across America toll-free Indianapolis Season Ticket Hotline at 800-793-7469. The Hotline hours are Monday – Friday, 9am-5pm.

Photos/Broadway in Indianapolis

Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a travel, features, food and wine writer, travel and food photographer, and performing arts and restaurant critic. Catch her as a radio and television guest and host. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Sunday, September 9

Theater Review: Cirque du Soleil: Corteo

Theater review, Cirque du Soleil, Corteo, 2018, indy, indianapolis, All good things must come to an end at some point. Even life. Mauro the clown has passed on and his friends and family gather to celebrate his life and career.

Cirque du Soleil: Corteo reveals what goes through the mind of a parade clown when his time has come. Will he go to Heaven and receive wings to become an official angel, or slide down into the hotter location?

Climbing ladders into the skies, silk performers, chandeliers and bouncy beds are all brought into the mix as this classic is renewed for today's audiences.

Having seen several Cirque shows, this ranks No. 2 on my list of favorites for the story line and addition of the chandeliers and more multi-performer sets. (No. 1 still is Quidam, about the stranger on the street whom you never notice.)

Although I do not expect perfection, and understand these are skilled gymnasts and acrobatic performers, a few slips and drops in this show made it seem as if a few more rehearsals were needed.

Upcoming shows within the one-tank distance from Indy, include: Evansville and Detroit.

Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a travel, features, food and wine writer, travel and food photographer, and performing arts, hotel and restaurant critic. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Monday, January 1

Broadway in Indianapolis: 2017-2018 Season

Flying children, a boy with his tongue frozen to poles, and a green-faced young girl are just a few of the reasons Broadway in Indianapolis' 2017 - 2018 season is interesting this year.

Returning for a tour is Rent, new shows are a majority of the list, and the musical numbers are well known in more than one show.

Below is the schedule, with ticket information following.

Broadway in Indianapolis
2017-2018 SEASON SHOWS

Finding Neverland
October 17-22, 2017
Clowes Memorial Hall
Finding Neverland tells the incredible
story behind one of the world’s most beloved characters: Peter Pan. Playwright J.M.
Barriestruggles to find inspiration until he meets four young brothers and their beautiful
widowed mother. Spellbound by the boys’ enchanting make-believe adventures, he sets out to write a play that will astound London theatergoers. 

A Christmas Story, The Musical
November 28-December 3, 2017
Old National Centre
A Christmas Story, The Musical chronicles young and bespectacled Ralphie Parker as he
schemes his way toward the holiday gift of his dreams, an official Red Ryder® Carbine-Action
200-Shot Range Model Air Rifle (“You’ll shoot your eye out kid!”).

The Carole King Musical
January 30-February 4, 2018
Clowes Memorial Hall
Long before she was Carole King, chart-topping music legend, she was Carol Klein, Brooklyn girl
with passion and chutzpah. She fought her way into the record business as a teenager and, by
the time she reached her twenties, had the husband of her dreams and a flourishing career
writing hits for the biggest acts in rock ‘n’ roll. It wasn’t until her personal life began to crack
that she finally managed to find her true voice. Beautiful tells the inspiring true story of King’s remarkable rise to stardom, from being part of a hit songwriting team to becoming one of the most successful solo acts in pop music history.

Les Misérables
March 13-18, 2018
Old National Centre
Set against the backdrop of 19th-century France, Les Misérables tells an enthralling story
of broken dreams and unrequited love, passion, sacrifice and redemption – a timeless testament
to the survival of the human spirit. Seen by more
than 70 million people in 44 countries and in 22 languages around the globe, Les Misérables is still the world’s most popular musical, breaking box office records everywhere in its 32nd year.

RENT 20th Anniversary Tour
June 12-17, 2018
Clowes Memorial Hall
In 1996, an original rock musical by a little-known composer opened on Broadway... and forever
changed the landscape of American theatre. Two decades later, Jonathan Larson’s Rent
continues to speak loudly and defiantly to audiences across generations and all over the
world. And now, this Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award®-winning masterpiece returns to the stage
in a vibrant 20th anniversary touring production. A re-imagining of Puccini's La Bohème, RENT
follows an unforgettable year in the lives of seven artists struggling to follow their
dreams without selling out. With its inspiring message of joy and hope in the face of fear,
this timeless celebration of friendship and creativity reminds us to measure our lives with love.

April 25-May 13, 2018
*Old National Centre
Wicked, the Broadway sensation, looks at what happened in the Land of Oz...but from a
different angle. Long before Dorothy arrives, there is another young woman, born with
emerald-green skin—smart, fiery, misunderstood and possessing an extraordinary talent. When
she meets a bubbly blonde who is exceptionally popular, their initial rivalry turns into the
unlikeliest of friendships...until the world calls one “good,” and the other one “wicked.”

Group sales information is now available for all shows. Reservations may be made by calling
Group Sales Manager, Chris Schneider, at 317-632-7469 x 103 or email at For more information visit
Tickets for individual shows typically go on sale to the general
public 4-6 weeks prior to the opening of the show.

Elizabeth J. Musgrave 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.