Summer Stock Stage’s Eclipse: Thoroughly Modern Millie
Forget about the boy when a small town girl searches for a new life in the bright lights of 1920s New York City. The winner of six Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Thoroughly Modern Millie is based on the 1967 Academy Award-winning film. Thoroughly Modern Millie takes you back to the height of the Jazz Age in New York City, when “moderns,” including a flapper named Millie Dillmount, were bobbing their hair, raising their hemlines, entering the workforce and rewriting the rules of love. This high-spirited musical romp is a delightful valentine to the long-standing spirit of New York City and the people who seek to discover themselves there. Set in New York City in 1922, Thoroughly Modern Millie tells the story of young Millie Dillmount from Kansas, who comes to New York in search of a new life for herself. Her grand plan is to find a job as a secretary for a wealthy man and then marry him. However, her plan goes completely awry. The owner of her dingy hotel kidnaps young girls to sell to the Far East, her wealthy boss is slow in proposing marriage, and the man she actually falls in love with doesn’t have a dime to his name … or so he tells her.
Friday-Saturday, June 28-29, 7 p.m. and Sunday, June 30, 2 p.m.
They say history repeats itself and that it runs in the family. Evelyn has never had a perfect life and neither have Hansel and Gretel. Together they enter the world of temptations, but can it be that easy to escape your addictions and more importantly your past? Join them on this extravagant tale set in a 1920s speakeasy during prohibition. *Note: loud noises, gunshots, sensitive subject material, strong language, and strong aromas are used in this production. Each adult ticket comes with a signature cocktail created by 8th Day Distillery and light snacks. Student tickets come with a soft drink and light snacks.
Friday-Saturday, June 28-29, 8 p.m. and Sunday, June 30, 4 p.m.
Featuring the music of Elvis, Blondie, Peter Cincotti, Michael Leonard, and others, Not Exactly Paris is an evening of jazz and storytelling. Described as “funny and touching” by the DC Cabaret Network, the audience is guided on a personal yet universal journey of love and loss. Originally from Indianapolis, he is a classically-trained singer and for the last 30 years has performed with orchestras and chorales in concert halls across North America, notably Carnegie Hall (Mozart Requiem) and Davies Symphony Hall (Britten’s War Requiem).
I never realized that Aragorn has a butt-chin. Now, that’s all I see when I look at Viggo Mortensen.
Fly You Fools is a shot-by-shot parody of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings. As with the other LAFFShows, Hold on to Your Butts and Golden Girls: The Lost Episodes, it helps tremulously if you have a sound grip of the source material. Thankfully, I can almost recite it myself, so when there was an intentional deviation for effect, I got it.
Unfortunately, not a lot of comedic opportunities were gleaned from LOTR. It takes quite a while for the actual parodying to get started beyond the physical representations of Middle Earth history and hobbits, but THE EYE is mimed brilliantly.
Jim Banta, Pat Mullen, Christian Condra, and foley artist Olivia Schaperjohn are all-in even if the jokes aren’t. There are, of course, some laugh-worthy nuggets though, such as Arwyn’s raging river represented by a squirt bottle and Galadriel’s fear of becoming Beyonce. And why didn’t they all just fly to Mordor on Eagles anyway? Huh.
Alas, of the LAFF trio, this one falls short a few, comparatively.
Through June 8, 8 and 10 p.m. every Friday and Saturday
The new IndyFringe series LAFFShows aims to spoof. First, there was Hold on to Your Butts, which took Jurassic Park to task. Now, it’s The Golden Girls: The Lost Episodes.
There’s a reason these episodes are lost, as Sophia pulling dildos out of her purse or Blanche’s beau popping out of the bedroom wearing a mesh onesie and giant codpiece would not make it onto TV — even cable — in the late ’80s and early ’90s.
There are two episodes split by an audience participation spot of “Guess that Girl,” where two people are chosen to vie for Golden Girls prizes. Brush up on your trivia — these aren’t throwaway questions. The skits are anchored in dick jokes, and some of it seems a little forced, but when it’s funny, it’s outrageous stuff.
Pat Mullen really takes the ubiquitous cheesecake in this show, vamping up the Southern belle Blanche. Donning Golden Girl drag alongside him are Jim Banta as Rose and Dave Ruark as Dorothy, with Olivia Schaperjohn as Sophia and Christian Condra as a very revealing, very enthusiastic multipurpose male.
Next up in the LAFF series is Fly You Fools!, a Lord of the Rings rip-off, May 3-25.
Before I say anything else, you need to know that in order to get the most out of the show, you have to be a fan of Jurassic Park (the first one). If you aren’t, most of what’s happening onstage will leap right over your head. That being said, I am a dino-sized fan of all the films (and books), to the point that I can recite right along with the actors the chunks of dialogue lifted from the film for this show.
The parody takes Jurassic Park and condenses it into a one-hour marathon with two actors (Jim Banta and Pat Mullen) and a sound artist (foley Olivia Schaperjohn). Banta and Mullen take on all the characters, including the dinosaurs and even props, and you haven’t seen prehistoric comedy until you’ve seen a strap-on traffic cone used as a T. rex tail. The use of an umbrella to represent a Dilophosaurus is also brilliantly apropos. And the actors run (often literally) with it.
Over-the-top impressions, crazy props, and the frenetic pace make for a show as deadpan as a living dinosaur. Best of the best are impressions of the intense park keeper Muldoon and the skeevy Ian Malcolm, who sounds like a high Dory. (Why WAS Malcolm’s shirt undone like some ‘70s gigolo?) Banta and Mullen look like a couple of nutters up there, and it’s awesome.
Using a foley artist was cool at first, but after a while, it gets grating, like those creaky doors opening and closing. Personally, I would cut back on that. Not that it subtracted from this fangirl’s fun. As Samuel Jackson says in the movie, “Hold on to your butts.” This is going to be an unpredictable ride.
This is the first troupe to perform the show since Recent Cutbacks premiered it. It’s also part of the LAFFShows series, which includes The Golden Girls: The Lost Episodes and Fly You Fools, a Lord of the Rings parody.
Fridays and Saturdays through March 30; $15 at 8 p.m. and $10 for 10 p.m. Buy all three shows in the LAFF series for $40
This plushly scored piece by brothers Joseph and David Zellnik is an unabashed throwback to the golden era of Broadway, in which the creators have attempted to imagine “the show that Rodgers and Hammerstein never wrote.” Indeed, it’s the show that no classic Broadway team could possibly have written, as it deals with the subject of gay men in the US army at a time when the penalty was three years in military prison.
Once in modern San Francisco a young man found a diary of 60 years old in a junk shop. Having read it, he discovered that it were the personal notes made by a soldier in 1943. When the young farmer Stu, living in the Midwest, was 18 years old, he received a summons to the army. In training camp, located in the Texas, young recruits learnt martial weapons that they had to know during the military service in the battles in the Pacific. For Stu, it was very hard to stay in colleagues’ circle, as he hid from them his homosexuality. For a young man, it became even more difficult to stay in the camp, when he had the urge to brave Mitch. Falling in love with a comrade, Stu did not know how to tell him about his feelings. Mitch also realized his awakened sexual desire for men, but he resisted, remembering girlfriends back home.
When recruits fulfilled training military skills, they were put on a train and sent to the west coast of the country. Taking advantage of the moment, Stu confessed Mitch of his feelings and kissed him. Soon it turned out that a colleague was experiencing response cravings to this young man. Caught in the midst of battle, many soldiers lost their hearts. The same emotion came to Stu, who was terrified after seeing the massacre. Soon the young man met with a reporter-gay from Yank Magazine. Artie got the young man assigned to him as a photographer. Getting rid Stu of the nightmare of fighting and fear of death, he also alienated him from partner Mitch. Under the guidance of an experienced homosexual, young man discovered the secret gay world, which existed in the army. Stu trusted all new experiences to his diary. Only after many months, he was able to be reunited with a former lover. When a young man’s notebook with personal records fell into the wrong hands, it has caused detrimental effects for the pair. Stu had to endure not only the battle with the enemies of his country, but also with colleagues.
March 1-24, Thursdays-Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 4 p.m.
$25 general admission; $20 seniors & students; $15 for active & retired military (with ID)
This show is faithfully adapted by Broadway legends Betty Comden and Adolph Green from their original award-winning screenplay. The must-see classic musical is filled with every memorable moment from the film, including extraordinary dance numbers, a downpour of unforgettable songs, and a real rain shower.
March 1-17, Thursdays-Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m.
A gruesome murder, a fatal accident, and a missing infant—anything can happen at Hotel Nepenthe, a locale straight out of the film noir of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Four actors portray nineteen characters in this poignant dark comedy that oscillates between absurdity and deeply emotional honesty. Warning: This show has strong adult content and situations.
Through March 24, Thursdays-Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m.
BOLT (Be Out Loud Theatre): and Tell Sad Stories of the Death of Queens by Tennessee Williams
Williams’ play, written in 1955, was ahead of its time. Transgender, aging, homophobia, and survival are all themes in this poetic, at times, brutal play. The script was not produced in Williams’ lifetime, due to his blatant treatment of a subject matter that was not spoken of in the decades before now. Candy Delaney is a successful New Orleans interior decorator and also a drag queen approaching “her” 35th birthday. On the rebound from a 17-year relationship, Candy has picked up a rough sailor, Karl, on whom she lavishes money. On the day of the dreaded birthday, Karl walks out and it’s left to the two queens who live upstairs, Alvin and Jerry, to comfort Candy.
Jan. 4-20, Fridays-Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. Opening night reception Jan. 4. Talkbacks on consecutive Fridays.
$25; $20 seniors; $5 discount at door for Indy Pride members with proof of membership.
A bold new play based on works by the prolific Russian playwright, poet, and author Anton Chekhov. The ensemble is made up of Butler University Theatre students and alumni, many of whom also studied at the prestigious Moscow Art Theatre School, where Anton Chekhov famously served as playwright in residence. Through years of previous projects, this ensemble has developed a unique technique of theater-making, blending Stanislavski’s psychological realism with the newly translated breakthrough theories of Mikhail Butkevich. Now, the company aims to innovate and break ground on new forms of theater-making and presentation.
(Ed. note: One of my all-time favorite Fringe experiences!)Back by popular demand, Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet … just over an hour … under the influence! More Shakespeare! More drinking! Almost 30% new cast! Brought to you by the not-at-all-serious drunkards of ETC featuring the tipsy talents of Frankie Bolda, Bradford Reilly, Paige Scott, Evan Wallace, Kelsey Van Voorst, Ryan Ruckman, and Marcy Dodson.
Matlack is a veterinarian turned academic whose hobby is creating and telling stories. Thanks to the Frank Basile Emerging Stories fellowship funded by generous arts patrons Frank and Katrina Basile, Matlack developed The Stories in Our Stones about his life-long obsession with the fossils from Indiana limestone. Matlack grew up near the Whitewater Formation in Richmond, Indiana, which is world famous for its fossils. It was one of the first natural exposures from the Ordovician period to be discovered and studied in this country. This geological period and system is 450 million years old! Matack is quick to point out he’s not a paleontologist, so there will be just enough science to understand the historical importance of the Whitewater Formation in paleontology, but mostly, his story is a nostalgic one about childhood obsessions, growing up in Indiana, and the great teachers he had along the way.
Saturday, Nov. 3, 7 p.m.
$15; $20 at the door
Eugene & Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center
Spirit & Place Festival: Sally Perkins presents “A Dance of Wisdom Tales and Tunes”
The festival theme this year is “Intersection,” allowing you to explore unique and even radical collaborative opportunities. Perkins will weave tales from various faiths and cultures with music specifically chosen for each one. It promises to be a multi-sensory experience.
The evening will include musical entertainment, drinks, hors d’oeuvres, a group dance lesson, a silent auction, and more, all in the beautiful setting of McGowan Hall, a historic building a few blocks away from the theater.
Epilogue Players, a community theater, has been serving Indianapolis audiences for over 40 years. Its current home, 1849 N. Alabama St. in the historic Herron-Morton Place neighborhood, is in need of repairs and improvements to maintain the comfort and safety of the actors and audience members, who share in the experience of five productions each year. All of the actors, crew and board of directors are unpaid volunteers.
All proceeds will go to fund the materials needed for these upgrades and repairs. On the list of items needed are improvements to the exterior of the facility, installation of ADA restroom for audience and cast and crew, upgrades to the auditorium lighting system, and more. Funds will be raised through admission to the event and through a silent auction of items donated by various companies and individuals.
The Improbable Fiction Theatre Company: Comedy of Errors
The Comedy of Errors is a fast-paced farce involving mistaken identities, backhanded business, and even more mistaken identities. Shakespeare’s shortest play is full of laughter, clever lines, and outrageous characters.
Nov. 2-10, Fridays-Saturdays at 8 and Sunday, Nov. 11 at 2 p.m.
Khaos Theatre Company: Emerging Artists Theatre New Play Festival
Along with a local artists’ bazaar, Khaos will have two performances of its annual New Play Festival (formally Dionysia New Play Festival), a collection of excerpts from international and local playwrights voted on by you, the audience. The winner will be produced in full in Khaos’s next season. The evening will culminate in the only performance of Yellow Heat, a new play by Allan Bates.
IndyFringe: The Inaugural Indiana High School Festival
This weekend you can see eight high schools from across Indiana compete for $1,000 in cash awards in a brand new performance opportunity for high school theater artists. All schools will share 50% of the box office.
Merrillville High School: Drift
Among the shadows of the bright lights of New York City’s theater district, nine homeless people search for hope and meaning. They’re not movers and shakers; they just get moved and shaken. In a world that’s been turned upside down, they find poetry and pain, with no pity and no shame. Nov. 2, 6 p.m.; Nov. 3, 3 p.m.; Nov, 4, 2 p.m.
Lawrence Central High School: Interrupting Vanessa
Vanessa lives with her mother, who is too busy to listen to her, so she spends a lot of time in her room. There is one treasure she keeps there: her father. Vanessa’s father died last year, but she is unable to let him go and imagined him back to life. Vanessa gets carried away with her imagination by telling her father elaborate stories. Then Mom does the unthinkable: she invites Timmy Fibbins over. No one at school talks to Timmy! Her imaginary father reminds her that no one talks to her either. Once Timmy arrives, things aren’t so bad. Nov. 3, 2:30 p.m.; Nov. 3, 9 p.m.; Nov. 4, 3:30 p.m.
Shortridge High School: The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Abridged [revised]
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Reduced Shakespeare Company’s classic farce, two of its original writer/performers (Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield) thoroughly revised the show to bring it up to date for 21st century audiences, incorporating some of the funniest material from the numerous amateur and professional productions that have been performed throughout the world. The cultural touchstone that is The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Abridged was born when three inspired, charismatic comics, having honed their pass-the-hat act at Renaissance fairs, premiered their preposterous masterwork at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1987. It quickly became a worldwide phenomenon, earning the title of London’s longest-running comedy after a decade at the Criterion Theatre. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Abridged is one of the world’s most frequently produced plays and has been translated into several dozen languages. Featured are all 37 of Shakespeare’s plays, meant to be performed in 45 minutes, by three actors. Fast paced, witty, and physical, it’s full of laughter for Shakespeare lovers and haters alike. Nov. 2, 6 p.m.; Nov. 3, 1 p.m.; Nov. 3, 7:30 p.m.;
Castle Hill High School: These Shining Lives
These Shining Lives focuses on the story of Catherine Donohue and some of her female co-workers, known as the Radium Girls, who were lied to by their employers about the health effects of the radium they were using to paint watches in the 1920s and 1930s. Their case helped change laws that would help keep future employees safe from dangers and health issues they would face in the workplace. Nov. 3, 1 p.m.; Nov. 3, 7:30 p.m.
Roncalli High School: Steel Magnolias
Truvy Jones runs a successful beauty shop in Chinquapin, Louisiana, where all the ladies in the neighborhood have a standing Saturday appointment. Shelby’s engagement is the talk of the town, but the joy and excitement of her wedding quickly turns to concern as she faces a risky pregnancy and a myriad of health challenges. Eventually, when Shelby dies from complications related to her diabetes, M’Lynn, her mother, has to deal with life’s most difficult challenge: the loss of one’s child. As the women of Chinquapin make their way over life’s many hurdles together, they find comfort (and a fair amount of verbal ribbing) in one another. Nov. 2, 7:30 p.m.; Nov. 3, 4:30 p.m.; Nov. 4, 12:30 p.m.
Carmel High School: Failure: A Love Story
By the end of 1928, all three Fail sisters will be dead — expiring in reverse order, youngest to oldest, from blunt object to the head, disappearance, and finally consumption. Tuneful songs, and a whimsical chorus follow the story of Nelly, Jenny June, and Gerty as they live out their lives above the family clock repair shop near the Chicago River, before their time unexpectedly runs out. A magical, musical fable where, in the end, the power of love is far greater than any individual’s successes or failures. Nov. 2, 9 p.m.; Nov. 3, 6 p.m.; Nov. 4, 3:30 p.m.
University High School: Alice Through the Rabbit Hole
Alice goes on a steampunk, grunge rock journey through the eyes of five children. Lewis Carroll’s classic novel brought to life in a new era. Nov. 2, 9 p.m.; Nov. 3, 6 p.m.; Nov. 4, 2 p.m.
Westfield High School: The Actor’s Nightmare
This play was inspired by the well known dream that many people in professional and amateur theater have, that they go must perform in a play that they have inexplicably never been to rehearsals for and for which they know neither the lines or the plot. So in this play, George is an accountant who wanders onto an empty stage, not certain where he is or how he got there. The stage manager informs him he’s the understudy and must go on in a few minutes. George doesn’t know his name, doesn’t think he’s an actor (“I think I’m an accountant”), and has no idea what play he’s supposed to do. Nov. 2, 7:30 p.m.; Nov. 3, 4:30 p.m.; Nov. 4, 2 p.m.
$10 or buy a Fiver Pass at the door and see five shows for $30
The District Theater: Coping with Autumn staged reading
Witness the first-ever staged reading of Indy playwright Megan Ann Jacobs’s new play. It unravels the inner workings of the human psyche and challenges the resilience of the human spirit when dealing with anxiety, depression, and abuse. Support the development of this new play and offer feedback through the talkback to immediately follow the reading.
Nov. 6, 8 p.m.
Free; beverages and light snacks will be available to purchase at the theater
Indiana Repertory Theatre: A Super Secret New Play staged reading
Join The New Harmony Project and Indiana Repertory Theatre for a first look at a new play by James Still. Take a glimpse inside the development process and hear this play before it comes to a stage near you! Following his incredibly successful 20th season as IRT’s playwright-in-residence, Still returns to Indianapolis to workshop a script that he began at The New Harmony Project’s 2018 spring conference. This is an incredibly unique opportunity to hear a play in progress and participate in the development of his work. Featuring Jerry Richardson, Jenny McKnight, Jan Lucas, Robert Neal, and Emily Bohn.
Nov. 2, 7:30 p.m.
Free. There will be a brief reception following the reading with a cash bar available.
Nya’s son, Omari, is tormented with rage and in trouble at school. A fractured family navigates a broken system as a mother fights for her son’s future in a world divided by race, class, and money. Compassion and eloquence galvanize this gritty new work by one of America’s most sought-after playwrights, Dominique Morisseau. Note that Pipeline is a modern drama that contains strong language throughout and some adult situations.
Produced by Connie Oates, this is a celebration of women through dance, poetry, and music portrayed through the work of Maya Angelou and Mari Evans. Emerging Indianapolis poets include Mijiza Soyini and the voices of Staci McCrackin and Sharon Rimmer.
From the Emmy-winning writers behind the hit television series Friends comes Rapunzel, a familiar tale with a fantastic new spin. Forced to live alone in a tower, Rapunzel’s 16th birthday has come, meaning that she’ll be able to see the outside world for the first time. Before Rapunzel finds her prince and her inevitable “happily ever after,” she will have to face the wrath of the witch and a few other hilarious obstacles first!
Oct. 20-Nov. 17, Fridays at 10 a.m.; Saturdays at 10 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3:30 p.m.
$16.50 (includes juice and snack)
Performances are one hour long with no intermission
Sometimes, there is brilliance—an idea that is truly groundbreaking, pushing and challenging fellow artists to the next level. Let’s use Les Miserables as an example. When it premiered, it was considered a musical masterpiece. Now, 30-odd years later, if I ever have to sit through another production of Les Mis, I am going to throw myself on that barricade in the hope that a stray kitchen chair takes me out. As declared in another over-produced piece of music (part of a current Broadway production—because originality is dead), Let it go.
For those of us who can’t take another rendition of that lazy Susan musical, as well as other musicals that have descended into the tedious (or just WTF, ahem, SpongeBob), there is Forbidden Broadway.
The inaugural production at the District Theatre, formerly Theatre on the Square, is a (literally) nose-snubbing show presented by Actors Theatre of Indiana. The cachinnating-worthy performance parodies and bullies musical theater in ways that go beyond irreverent and into territory that some mainstream musical-lovers would find blasphemous. And it’s divine.
Granted, this means that a working knowledge of musical theater history and present trends is a necessity to cachinnate at—or even “get”—this show. Various popular show tunes have been re-lyriced to indulge in how hokey and/or hackney their sources really are.
Since its inception in 1982, Forbidden Broadway has continued to evolve. As new musicals/actors/producers hit the stage, many ripe with potential parody material, they have been incorporated into the show. Hence, we have the unbelievably hilarious Lion King with a demented Rafiki and neck-braced actors forced into costumes the Inquisition would have envied. There are some classics in there too, rehashes that won’t die, making the “saucy Fosse” number hysterical in its truth.
Director Billy Kimmel is the mad Hatter to this insanity. With the fab-u-lous Brent Marty on piano, Don Farrell, Logan Moore, Cynthia Collins, and Judy Fitzgerald outdo themselves in their sheer glee of the devastatingly ludicrous. Special goof awards do need to go out to Farrell and Moore for the foolishness that so often falls to them. Donning those Mamma Mia costumes is a tame example, but they take to them like cats to chlorinated swim trunks. Farrell also belts out some awesome notes, and Moore was born for this kind of show (see my review of Edwin Drood, which contains many of the same descriptors I use here).
And Terry Woods’ costuming is absolutely brilliant. These are not merely costumes—they are a fifth actor, as essential as the cast wearing them. Some are infected with details a keen eye will appreciate. And while props are sparse, the itty-bitty baby chandelier for the Phantom is adorable.
This is an excellent opening for the District Theatre. A standing ovation to ATI for making it so.
Through July 29; dates and times vary
$30 general admission / $25 seniors (65 and over) / $20 students
In this play written by Mark Twain and adapted by David Ives, Jean-Francois Millet, a young painter of genius, is in love with Marie Leroux but in debt to a villainous picture-dealer, Bastien Andre. Andre forecloses on Millet and threatens debtor’s prison unless Marie marries him. Millet realizes that the only way he can pay his debts and keep Marie from marrying Andre is to die, as it is only dead painters who achieve fame and fortune. Millet fakes his death and prospers, all while passing himself off as his own sister. Now a rich “widow,” he must find a way to get out of a dress, return to life, and marry Marie.
June 8-24, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., Sundays at 2:30 p.m.
$16; $14 for seniors (62+) and students
Studio 37 inside Ji-Eun Lee Music Academy, 10029 E. 126th St., Fishers
This is a devised piece of theater that explores the smothering — or perhaps amusing — expectations placed upon all of us: expectations that we have for ourselves, expectations others have for us, and expectations placed on us by society. Emma Rund, Cooper Pell, Gwyneth Clare, and Layke Fowler in collaboration with director Kelsey Price have devised a summation of pieces that will bring you laughter, empowerment, and a damn good time. Please note that this show does contain heavy language and mature themes and may not be suitable for all audiences.
The District Theatre Open House during Pride Parade
Theatre on teh Square is now the District Theatre. Walk through this new-and-improved space and grab a refreshment.
June 9, 8 a.m.-1 p.m.
627 Mass Ave.
Footlite Musicals: Awards Night
The annual end of season celebration. A cocktail hour and dessert bar are followed by a preview of the upcoming 2018/2019 season and awards for the 2017/2018 season. Bring cash to vote for your favorite show of the past season to receive the Fan Favorite Award. Dress is cocktail attire.