Comedy filled murder mystery dinner show

We had a fun and different evening for last night’s entertainment. Our son and daughter-in-law from Columbus, Ohio came over to Indianapolis and treated us to an evening at the Indy version of The Dinner Detective murder mystery dinner show.

Where the body was found!

The show was held in a decent sized conference room at the Sheraton Hotel in the Keystone Mall on the north side of Indianapolis. Our party had seven, including three of our adult grandkids. The table sat 10, so another couple was seated, and before the show started another fellow sat down. We all wondered if this fellow was in fact part of the show.

Interaction between cast and audience

All attendees had made up “aliases” for name tags. Sher was Nancy Drew. The crowd was encouraged to question as many other guests as possible, and begin to make a suspect list. Soon after we began eating the murder victim made his appearance with a mortal wound and died on the floor.  Thus the mystery commenced.

The detective hovering over the victim’s body

Two “Police Detectives” soon came out and began the investigation. They interviewed and interacted with many of the audience. There was constant funny patter, including some hilarious one liners and great improvisation. The lack of an obvious script was a bonus.

This was the “Curtain Call” for the cast

Clues were discovered, some under some of the plates on the tables, some from printed pages giving background information for the plot. The flow of the acting was pretty much constant. The two police detectives did a great job keeping the storyline on track. The plot was quite complicated and only one person got all the details correctly.

Vegetarian Farro Risotto

Chicken Marsala

The rich dessert

All of this action took place while we were enjoying the very nice multi course meal. It started with Caesar salad. Entrees offered were Chicken Marsala, Pan Seared Tilapia, and vegetarian Farro Risotto, all topped off with a decadent rich chocolate cake. There was also a full service bar that was open the entire time. The meal was good, however the table service left a lot to be desired. That was really our only disappointment of the evening.

The company logo

We had a great time being immersed in this murder mystery. The Dinner Detective has over 80 locations in cities all over the country. Check to see if there is one near you.

 

Bivouac Of The Dead by Theodore O’Hara

O’Hara’s quatrain posted at one of two National Cemeteries in Crown Hill Cemetery, Indianapolis

Theodore O’Hara (1820 – 1867) was a poet, lawyer, soldier and adventurer from Kentucky. He penned a haunting poem honoring the dead from Kentucky killed in the Mexican War of 1847. At the end of the Civil War it became a memorial to Confederate dead, however the second quatrain of the first stanza has become an honor to any soldier killed in battle. That quatrain can be found in cemeteries across the nation and even the gateway to Arlington National Cemetery bears an inscription from O’Hara’s most noted poem.

Following is the complete poem, 12 stanzas with two quatrains per stanza. It is worth a complete read.

 

“BIVOUAC OF THE DEAD”

The muffled drum’s sad roll has beat
The soldier’s last tattoo;
No more on life’s parade shall meet
That brave and fallen few.
On Fame’s eternal camping-ground
Their silent tents are spread,
And Glory guards, with solemn round,
The bivouac of the dead.

No rumor of the foe’s advance
Now swells upon the wind;
Nor troubled thought at midnight haunts
Of loved ones left behind;
No vision of the morrow’s strife
The warrior’s dream alarms;
No braying horn nor screaming fife
At dawn shall call to arms.

Their shriveled swords are red with rust,
Their plumed heads are bowed,
Their haughty banner, trailed in dust,
Is now their martial shroud.
And plenteous funeral tears have washed
The red stains from each brow,
And the proud forms, by battle gashed
Are free from anguish now.

The neighing troop, the flashing blade,
The bugle’s stirring blast,
The charge, the dreadful cannonade,
The din and shout, are past;
Nor war’s wild note nor glory’s peal
Shall thrill with fierce delight
Those breasts that nevermore may feel
The rapture of the fight.

Like the fierce northern hurricane
That sweeps the great plateau,
Flushed with the triumph yet to gain,
Came down the serried foe,
Who heard the thunder of the fray
Break o’er the field beneath,
Knew well the watchword of that day
Was “Victory or death!”

Long had the doubtful conflict raged
O’er all that stricken plain,
For never fiercer fight had waged
The vengeful blood of Spain;
And still the storm of battle blew,
Still swelled the gory tide;
Not long, our stout old chieftain knew,
Such odds his strength could bide.

Twas in that hour his stern command
Called to a martyr’s grave
The flower of his beloved land,
The nation’s flag to save.
By rivers of their father’s gore
His first-born laurels grew,
And well he deemed the sons would pour
Their lives for glory too.

For many a mother’s breath has swept
O’er Angostura’s plain —
And long the pitying sky has wept
Above its moldered slain.
The raven’s scream, or eagle’s flight,
Or shepherd’s pensive lay,
Alone awakes each sullen height
That frowned o’er that dread fray.

Sons of the Dark and Bloody Ground
Ye must not slumber there,
Where stranger steps and tongues resound
Along the heedless air.
Your own proud land’s heroic soil
Shall be your fitter grave;
She claims from war his richest spoil —
The ashes of her brave.

Thus ‘neath their parent turf they rest,
Far from the gory field,
Borne to a Spartan mother’s breast
On many a bloody shield;
The sunshine of their native sky
Smiles sadly on them here,
And kindred eyes and hearts watch by
The heroes sepulcher.

Rest on embalmed and sainted dead!
Dear as the blood ye gave;
No impious footstep shall here tread
The herbage of your grave;
Nor shall your glory be forgot
While fame her records keeps,
Or Honor points the hallowed spot
Where Valor proudly sleeps.

Yon marble minstrel’s voiceless stone
In deathless song shall tell,
When many a vanquished ago has flown,
The story how ye fell;
Nor wreck, nor change, nor winter’s blight,
Nor Time’s remorseless doom,
Shall dim one ray of glory’s light
That gilds your deathless tomb.

 

“The Ruins” from a New York City building to Indianapolis

Holliday Park is a city park located in the near north-side of Indianapolis in one of the more higher end neighborhoods. The park is a beautiful setting with hundreds of trees, flowers and wildlife. In addition to the natural features of this inner city recreation site you will find an eclectic display affectionately tagged “The Ruins”.

The centerpiece of this ‘artwork’ is a structure that is the home of three massive sculptures atop a brick and mortar conglomeration of various architectural details. The three statues are called “The Races of Man”, are carved from (fittingly) Indiana limestone and represent Caucasian, Asian and African ethnic groups. Karl Bitter was the sculptor.

View of the whole display

Entrance of structure in 1898 showing the 3 statutes and columns

The original home of the three statues was the St. Paul building in downtown New York. The building was the work of famed architect George B. Post (1837-1913) who was the architect of many of the most important landmarks in New York City, including the New York Stock Exchange.  At the time of the completion of the St. Paul building in 1898 it was 315 feet tall and the tallest in New York City.

The original St. Paul building was torn down in 1958 to make way for a new skyscraper. The building’s owner, Western Electric, held a contest among US cities for the rights to have the sculptures. Long story short, Indianapolis won the competition. It took two decades and tons of money to bring “The Ruins” to a condition suitable for public use. For a while Western Electric considered retrieving the statues. Then Mayor of Indianapolis Richard Lugar pushed the completion of the project, which included the three  original entrance columns, in the mid 1970’s.

Detail of one of the statues

When we visited the park we frankly were amazed. What a beautiful setting! The Ruins were fascinating to see. It was fun walking the grounds and touring the extensive nature center as well. Note that there was adequate parking for RV’s and buses, making access very easy.

 

The Addams Family at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre

Indy’s Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre has published a general invitation to “meet The Addams Family” during October and most of November this year. We took them up on that invitation, and thoroughly enjoyed the performance Saturday night.

(snap snap) When you’re an Addams theme song

A B&B press release sets the stage: “Few things frighten the eerie Addams clan. But Gomez Addams faces a nightmare when his daughter, Wednesday, falls in love. What’s worse, she loves a boy Gomez has never met – who is from a respectable family. To complicate matters even more, Wednesday pleads with him not to tell her mother, Morticia, and Gomez must do something he’s never dared – keep a secret from his wife. Everything changes forever for the famously frightening family when they are put to the test hosting a dinner for the “normal” boyfriend Lucas and his parents.”

The (family) Ancestors and Uncle Fester (Kurt Perry)

That said, it should be noted that all of the cast were on point with the quality of their performances. Eddie Curry and Jill Kelly Howe portray Gomez and Morticia Addams with skills that successfully define their characters. The show begins with Uncle Fester “dancing on the graves” of ghostly Ancestors, who provide dancing choreography throughout the performance.

Jeff Stockberger as Lurch

Amanda Butterbaugh as Grandma

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shelbi Berry plays Wednesday Addams,  while Ray Gleaves plays her “normal” boyfriend Lucas. John Vessels and Sarah Hund play Mal and Alice Beineke, the ridiculously normal parents of Lucas. Mal and Alice have a hard time adjusting to the Addams macabre way of like, their house in a Park in New York, and just about anything Addams!

The Beinekes and Lurch

Wednesday challenges Lucas with a crossbow and apple on head

Wednesday sings while torturing Pugsley (Eli Neal)

 

 

 

 

 

 

The conflicts that arise between the Addams family members, Beineke family members, and each others set the tone for the hilarious interactions seen in Act to Act to Act. Gomez and Morticia clash over his lying about the engagement of Wednesday and Lucas. Mal and Alice had tough time with their marriage. Pugsley was worried about Wednesday leaving him so no more torture.

Gomez reacts to the news of the engagement ring

The humor in this production is constant and hilarious. Some scenes border on slapstick, others are filled with subtle references to current political issues. Uncle Fester is in love with the Moon. Yes, the moon that orbits Earth. His featured Act “The Moon and Me” will have you rolling in the aisle. Lurch greets the Beineke family with the classic “You rang?” line. He later gives a mime explaining his death (yes, Lurch is neither dead or alive) involving a motorcycle and a bunny.

Portrait of Gomez and Morticia Addams

The set, lighting and special effects for The Addams Family are very impressive and set the tone of the production. Costumes reach a level of creepiness that is , frankly, creepy. Eddie Curry’s artistic direction is spot on, and coupled with the music rounds out a delightful production. You will be perfectly and hilariously creeped out when you meet The Addams Family. Reserve your seats early! The theater was sold out when we attended. This is a great Halloween season show.

To purchase tickets online, visit beefandboards.com. Tickets are also available by calling the Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre Box Office at 317.872.9664 anytime between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays. A discount of $6 off per ticket is available to children ages 3-15. The Addams Family is rated PG-13 for some language, innuendo, and dark references.

Stockberger and Curry together in Beef and Boards “The Addams Family”

This is our Review of The Addams Family posted after we enjoyed the show!

Sher and I have been enjoying Beef & Boards shows for years now. Among our favorite performers are Jeff Stockberger and Eddie Curry. These two talented actors and directors always bring a spark to whatever production they are part of. And they really shine when they are on stage together. (Remember The Odd Couple performance a while back?) Their timing is perfect and they put you in mind of classic comedy duos like Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis or Abbott and Costello.

The Addams Family cast

Jeff Stockberger as Lurch

This October we’re excited to see that Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre is presenting the spooky-ooky macabre musical comedy The Addams Family  starring Stockberger and Curry, among other B&B veterans of the stage. The show opens tonight, October 6th. We’re going to the show Saturday night.

To purchase tickets online, visit beefandboards.com.  A discount of $6 off per ticket is available to children ages 3-15. Also check out VIP memberships for next year’s 50th Anniversary Season. There are some great ticket deals available for some awesome shows.

Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre presents “The Addams Family”

Back in 2015 Beef & Boards presented a production of The Addams Family. We missed that production but to our delight we will have a chance soon to see the same Tony Award nominated macabre musical comedy. Traditionally referred to as a show that is “creepy, kooky, mysterious, spooky and altogether ooky” the 2022 cast is packed with B&B favorites as well as many of our favorite cast members.

Based on the cartoon characters created by Charles Addams that later inspired a television series in the 1960s and several films, The Addams Family opened on Broadway in 2010. The Beef & Boards production stars Eddie Curry, who reprises his role from our 2015 production as Gomez Addams, and Jill Kelly Howe (Million Dollar
Quartet, Ring of Fire, Lend Me A Tenor) as Morticia. Shelbi Berry (Honky Tonk Angels, Hello, Dolly!, Phantom) plays the role of Wednesday Addams, while Ray Gleaves (Escape to Margaritaville, Kinky Boots, Newsies) plays her boyfriend, Lucas. Also returning to reprise their 2015 roles are Jeff Stockberger as Lurch, Amanda Butterbaugh as Grandma, and John Vessels and Sarah Hund as Mal and Alice Beineke, Lucas’
parents. Eli Neal and Kurt Perry makes their Beef & Boards debuts in the role of Pugsley and Uncle Fester, respectively.

 

The Addams Family opens on October 6th and runs through November 20th. Pick your dates, reserve your favorite table and get tickets at the B&B’s website. Tickets are also available by calling the Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre Box Office at 317.872.9664 anytime between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays. Tickets include the dinner buffet , and don’t forget parking is always free.

Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre celebrates 50 years of entertainment excellence.

The year was 1973. Those three massive eye catching  Pyramids had just been constructed on the then far northwest side of Indianapolis. A new music and theater venue named Beef & Boards had just opened. It offered a delicious meal prior to the entertainment show of the evening. Thus began a wildly successful run that continues today, 50 years later.

Come celebrate with the Stark family

Fort Wayne native Douglas E. Stark patronized the opening show, Tom Jones, and was mesmerized by the venue. His dream came true in 1980 when Stark bought Beef & Boards with a business partner, Bob Zehr. Stark recently observed “At the time it offered the most stability that I could have as an actor and director to fulfill my artistic need-and at the same time provide the stability that’s necessary for raising a family.” That family is now, with Douglas, operating Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre.

The 2023 season will celebrate 50 years of excellence in the theater business. The lineup of shows is quite frankly remarkable. It opens with the classic board game mystery Clue, one of three debuts this season. Wonderful musicals, clever comedies and theater classics make for a must see season.

The Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre 50th Anniversary season lineup

Clue                                                               Dec. 28, 2022 – Feb. 5, 2023 (Beef & Boards Debut)
Footloose                                                   Feb. 9 – March 26
An American in Paris                           March 31 – May 15 (Beef & Boards Debut)
Disney’s Beauty and the Beast      May 18 – July 9
Sophisticated Ladies                           July 13 – Aug. 20
Grumpy Old Men The Musical      Aug. 24 – Oct. 1 (Beef & Boards Debut)
Joseph -Dreamcoat                             Oct. 5 – Nov. 19
White Christmas                                   Nov. 24 – Dec. 31

The show that brought more people through its doors than any other: Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat from Oct. 5 through Nov. 19, 2023.

The year long celebration of 50 years at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre will be an event that you should become a part of. Each and every show has appeal to all and provides an immense variety of entertainment options. Do not miss any of these fabulous performances. Bring your desire for a filling dinner and hunger for professional entertainment. You won’t be disappointed. All the information you need is at the Beef & Boards website.

“Escape to Margaritaville” at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre

Miguel in Island Wear

As soon as you walk into the Beef & Boards lobby for Jimmy Buffett’s Escape to Margaritaville you can feel the excitement. There is a large photo op banner waiting for you to capture that perfect memory shot. The B&B staff waiting to greet you and escort you to your table are all decked out in island wear. You know, those wild flowered/palm tree printed shirts. Even House Manager Miguel Jardon greeted us sporting a marvelous island print suit. Pre-show island music also adds to the anticipation of an entertainment filled evening of music and hilarity. Escape to Margaritaville is truly a slice of musical paradise and a great way to end the summer.

Tully on the island bar (photo B&B media)

Both long time and new Jimmy Buffett fans aka “Parrot Heads” will love this energetic production. From a B&B press release: “This show is a musical comedy featuring both original songs and your most-loved Jimmy Buffett classics including “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” “Margaritaville,” “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere,” “Fins,” “Volcano,” and many more.” Also listed are the book authors Greg Garcia and Mike O’Malley.

Brick and Tammy in a rousing version of “Cheeseburger in Paradise”

The story takes place on an unnamed Caribbean island. The well worn resort hosts week long tour groups and the resort staff, well, tries to put up with their guests. Fireworks erupt when two gals from Cincinnati show up, one planning to be married in a week, the other an all work no play environmentalist. The bartender Brick (Brett Mutter), likes the soon to be married Tammy (Hannah Elizabeth Boswell), and singer/songwriter Tully (Kyle Southern)  sets his sights on Rachel (Amanda Tong) the environmentalist.

Tully and Brick sing “Five O’Clock Somewhere”

The set design is the mastermind of Michael Layton, including the wonderful backscreen that displays both rhythmic ocean waves and fiery volcano lava. Terry Woods directs the orchestra, Travis Grant designs wigs and costumes. Ron Morgan’s choreography is stunning, and Douglas E. Stark directs with a flair for professional theater quality often missing in some venues.

Tully teaches Rachel how to play the guitar via the song “Three Chords”

The cast of Margaritaville work together seamlessly. Kyle Southern and Amanda Tong realistically develop their chemistry as the show progresses. You have to enjoy Brett Mutter and Hannah Elizabeth Boswell as they work through her impending marriage standing in the way of their growing attraction. Her fiancé makes it very easy for you to love to hate him. Logan Moore plays Chad as a jerk flawlessly. Ray Gleaves successfully plays two roles.

“Why Don’t We Get Drunk and Screw” J.D. sings while trying to woo Marley

Jamal singing “Volcano”

Rachael Bibbs makes her debut at B&B playing the part of Marley, the manager of the resort. In addition to her managerial duties, she has to act in somewhat of a den mother role for guests and staff. B&B veteran and one of this venue’s favorites, Jeff Stockberger fills the role of local drunk J.D.  Always seen with a longneck in his hand, Stockberger shines as usual. His grasp of comedy including perfect comedic timing makes his performance a key part of the success of this show.

To purchase tickets online, visit beefandboards.com. Tickets are also available by calling the Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre Box Office at 317.872.9664 anytime between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays.