“Singin in the Rain” gave us an enjoyable evening at Beef & Boards in Indianapolis

A live version of the MGM movie Singin in the Rain is on stage now at the Indianapolis Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre. Sher and I enjoyed the first Saturday evening performance of this classic romantic comedy.

Don Lockwood (Timothy Ford), doesn’t mind the downpour as he’s “Singin’ in the Rain” (photo courtesy B&B media)

Singin in the Rain is based on the 1952 MGM feature starring Gene Kelly. The B&B version has a dynamic and talented cast that recreates the famous numbers from the movie. An outstanding performance is given by Hoosier native Buddy Reeder  as Cosmo Brown. Timothy Ford has the lead as Don Lockwood, Kimberly Dorren Burns is cast oppposite him in the role of Kathy Selden. We laughed out loud at B&B favorite Sarah Hund as she nailed the character of Lina Lamont, a ditsy blonde with an amazingly obnoxious voice. Eddie Curry has great comedic timing as the movie director, and Beef & Boards Executive Director Doug Stark once again enjoys being on stage, this time as the movie studio producer.

Cosmo Brown (Buddy Reeder), left, and Don Lockwood (Timothy Ford), right, tap dance while singing “Moses Supposes” to the diction teacher (Michael Shelton) Photo courtesy B&B media

The orchestra is excellent as usual, conducted by Terry Woods who also plays keyboard. Additional musicians included Rick Hajduk on trumpet, Dorthy McDonald on woodwinds, Kristy Templet on keyboard and Cameron Bailey on percussion. You can’t believe how much sound this orchestra can deliver!

Kathy Selden (Kimberly Doreen Burns), center front, pops out of a cake and sings “All I Do is Dream of You” with more dancers during a celebration for Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont at Monumental Picture

We are always impressed with the quality of the lighting and sets at this intimate theater. A couple of technical problems at the beginning of Act 1 were handled with true professionalism. It is fun to see the wide variety of stage effects they can get out of this rather small but very versatile stage.

Ron Morgan’s choreography is true to the flavor of the original. Reeder and Ford display tap dancing perfection in the hilarious number “Moses Supposes”. Those two guys really know how to make those tap shoes talk. And yes, Ford’s rendition of the title song takes place during a real rain shower on stage! Front row tables may even get a few drops of rain during the number.

Kathy Selden (Kimberly Doreen Burns), onstage center in white, performs during the lavish “Beautiful Girl” number on the Monumental Pictures soundstage

Speaking of songs, get ready to hear the songs that made the original movie such a hit. Listen for “Good Morning”, “All I Do is Dream of You”, “You are My Lucky Star” and of course “Singin in the Rain”. I got nostalgic when Reeder sang “Make ‘Em Laugh”. I’ve always liked that song from the first time I heard it at the movie.

Our evening at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre gave us an opportunity to have a relaxing evening of great food and professional entertainment. Our evening began when we were escorted to our table. Drinks are ordered, and then you are invited to the all you care to eat buffet. I always go back for a second slice of the signature roast beef.  Our waiter made sure our drink glasses were always filled. Get a cup of coffee after supper. The coffee is terrific. Deserts are available and Sher and I always  choose to enjoy ours at intermission. (Even though we are supposed to watch our sugar intake, we both went for the Chicago cheesecake with blueberry and strawberry toppings.)

Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre’s production of Singin’ in the Rain is on stage through May 26th.  For tickets, call the box office at 317.872.9664. For complete show schedule, visit the Beef & Boards website.

“Singin in the Rain” will make a splash at Beef and Boards

In 1952 famed movie company MGM produced a musical directed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen. “Singin in the Rain” took the industry and movie goers by storm. Indy’s beloved Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre brings the stage version to its intimate facility for 50 performances through May 26th. Sher and I are really looking forward to seeing this production!

Don Lockwood (Timothy Ford), doesn’t mind the downpour as he’s “Singin’ in the Rain” (photo courtesy B&B media)

The title song made Kelly famous for his dancing in the rain. Somehow the B&B technical crew is going to make it rain on stage during that famous number. Can’t wait to see that inside rain storm. We’ll report on what we thought of the show after we’ve seen it. Get ticket info at Beef & Boards website.

 

Indiana Grand Casino offers half price buffet to seniors

The Indiana Grand Racing Casino is 20 minutes from downtown Indianapolis in the center of the state. When you get your Caesars Entertainment Total Rewards players card and are 50 and over you are tagged a “Golden Gamer”. Mondays are the best days for seniors at this popular casino.

On Mondays “Golden Gamers” get the Grand Buffet for half price. This is a great deal, especially for the lunch buffet (open 11 to 4). It is a full buffet with a great variety of foods. Half price makes the meal about $7.00 and includes your drink. You get half price for dinner starting at 4, but it will be about twice the lunch price, but will have more selections of entrees.

You do not have to gamble to get your free Total Rewards players card card. Take advantage of the great buffet discounts on Mondays. Swipe your player’s card at one of the kiosks and get your 1/2 price coupon. Oh, and there is plenty of RV parking, with 24 hour shuttles to and from your rig. For information visit the Indiana Grand Racing and Casino website.

Mamma Mia! takes down the house at Beef and Boards

Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre is celebrating its 45th Anniversary Season. Headlining the season is the beloved Indy venue’s premier of Mamma Mia!  Set on a Greek Island, the musical tells the story of Sophie, who wants her father at her upcoming wedding. The rub is she doesn’t know who he is, leading to three potential dads being invited to the event. The chaos you  might expect soon follows.

The Dynamos, Donna (Amy Bodnar), center, Tanya (Jalynn Steele), left, and Rosie (Lanene Charters) sing “Super Trouper” during a party for the bride-to-be Sophie

All of the 20 + numbers are from the famed Swedish group ABBA. You will love enjoying your favorite ABBA songs as they come to life on stage. You will delight when you hear the intro and realize that Donna, Rosie and Tanya are going to perform their version of the adored “Dancing Queen”. Especially of note is Sam and Donna’s rendition of “SOS”, and just wait for the hilarious presentation of “Take a Chance on Me” by Bill and Rosie.

Rosie (Lanene Charters) implores Bill Austin (Jeff Stockberger) to “Take a Chance on Me”

The energy displayed by this performance is remarkable. Each number showcases the exquisite talent, both in voice and dance, of all of the cast. Hats off to Ron Morgan for the choreography (and the Direction). Costumes, sets, lighting and all other support aspects of the production have reached perfection. The B&B orchestra has proven without a doubt that they are one of, if not the best, live theater orchestra.

Pepper (Leonard D. Harris Jr.), center, shows off with his friends (Gideon Chickos, left, and Ike Wellhausen) demonstrate the incredible energy of this show!

Several actors make their B&B debut during Mamma Mia! They include Amy Bodnar as Donna, mother of the bride. Also making their B&B debuts are Rachelle Rose Clark as Sophie, and Mark Epperson as Sam Carmichael, Will Leonard as Sky, and Jalynn Steele as Tanya. Several B&B regulars also star in the show.

Reuniting after many years, the Dynamos (from left) Tanya (Jalynn Steele), Rosie (Lanene Charters), and Donna (Amy Bodnar) sing “Dancing Queen” together using hair implements as microphones

Mamma Mia! is a production that deserves attending more than one time. This is one you have to see. The ABBA tunes will take you back in time or introduce you to a super group if you have not heard them before. Mamma Mia! runs through April 8th. Go to the Beef & Board website for show schedules, ticket pricing and any other information. But by all means go enjoy this fabulous performance.

Only Washington, D.C. has more war memorials than Indianapolis

The city of Indianapolis has more downtown acres devoted to honoring our servicemen and veterans than any other U.S. city. And yes, as the title states, only Washington, D.C. has more war memorials and monuments than Indy. Start at the Soldiers and Sailor’s Monument and walk north to enjoy the other memorials in the immediate downtown area. You can spend a relaxing and inspirational day taking in the beauty and solitude of these structures and holy grounds honoring those who served so we may be free.

At the center of Monument Circle, the Soldiers and Sailor’s Monument honoring the troops of the Civil War

The Indiana War Memorial honors Hoosiers killed during WWI. It also contains a free museum and records of Indiana servicemen from WWI to the present.

The Obelisk in Veterans Memorial Plaza is centrally located in the 7 block war memorial district listed in the National Register. The flagpoles in the background and another set out of view allow for the flying of all 50 State Flags.

The serenity of the Veterans Memorial Plaza is emphasized on a crisp fall day.

American Legion Mall, with the National and State Legion headquarters on both sides, provide a spacious area for event gatherings. The tomb that is centered between the four columns is the resting place for the first U.S. casualty of WWI, a soldier from Evansville, Indiana. In the distance you can see the Obelisk and the War Memorial building.

Stunning gold eagles atop the columns surrounding the tomb of James Bethal Gresham of Evansville, Indiana, the first U.S. soldier who lost his life in the Great War (WWI).

Looking south on Meridian Street towards Monument Circle. The Veterans Plaza is out of view to the left.

 

Christmas at the Zoo is a favorite holiday activity in Indianapolis

The Indianapolis Zoo was the first zoo in the country to decorate during the Christmas season with a holiday lights event. That groundbreaking idea was first accomplished in 1967. Now in its 49th year, Christmas at the Zoo has become a “must do” activity in Indianapolis during December.

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One of the Amur tigers. We saw this magnificent animal before the sun set.

The zoo is open on specific days for the holiday festivities. Refer to the Christmas at the Zoo website for dates and times. It is best if you plan to get to the zoo early in the afternoon while it is still light. This gives you a chance to visit those animals that are hardy and active during December, as well as the indoor displayed critters. Two Dolphin Presentations are offered each evening.

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New this year is the marvelous “Tunnel of Lights”

As dusk approaches and the sun sets the zoo magically turns into a winter wonderland. Thousands and thousands of LED lights begin to shine as the zoo darkens after sunset. Officially starting at 5:00 PM, the Christmas at the Zoo activities offer a variety of things to see and do.

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Plants and animals in lights

New this year is Santa’s Village. This delightful wonderland brings the chance to meet Mrs. Claus in her kitchen and decorate a Christmas cookie. Enjoy the Snowflakery mirror maze, see reindeer and grab a hot drink at the Peppermint Twist beverage hut. And of course you can visit with Santa himself in Santa’s Study. Seeing Santa is free and photo packages are available.

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A very colorful peacock!

This year the zoo has added thousands of additional lights. There are animals, plants and Christmas decorations made out of lights scattered all through the zoo grounds. Be sure to walk through the new “Tunnel of Lights” in the Bicentennial Pavilion. Also of note is the transformation of the Kroger Splash Park into the All-A-Glow Light Show. Watch the lights blink to the Christmas music!

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It seemed like this brown bear was posing for our camera

Check your December calendar and the weather and plan a trip to Christmas at the Zoo, 2017 version. This is a unique opportunity to not only visit with Santa, but to enjoy a beautiful holiday light show and see zoo animals too! Here is the Christmas at the Zoo website.

 

 

A Dino Christmas at the Children’s Museum

The dinosaurs at the Indianapolis Children’s Museum are decked out in their Christmas regalia this year. Stop by and wish them a Merry Christmas!

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Even the dinosaurs are celebrating the holidays at the Indianapolis Children’s Museum

The Indianapolis Children’s Museum is not only the world’s largest but it presents the finest Christmas celebration with a marvelous series of holiday activities sure to please the child in everyone.

Make sure that you visit the Children’s Museum website for all of the details including times open and a list of the activities. There are ticket plans available that will save your family a lot of cash.

 

We enjoyed Sex with Strangers during our first visit to the Phoenix Theatre

20170326_132229Don’t take the headline the wrong way, folks. Sex with Strangers is the play title! Our first visit to this well established Indianapolis theater was most enjoyable. The Phoenix Theatre experience is different from larger venue playhouses. From the lobby we walked to the stage down a somewhat narrow flight of stairs. It seemed like we were headed down into a catacombs. The Basile Stage is outfitted with tables and chairs as well as a couple of rows of theater type seating. The seating is comfortable and intimate.

We really enjoyed Sex with Strangers. The cast has two actors. Brandon Alstott plays Ethan, a 20 something blogger and writer whose questionable morals lead to your questioning his motives. Ethan’s counterpart is a 30 something wanna be writer named Olivia, played by Angela R. Plank. Both players do an excellent job in their character development and delivery.

Thrust together by accident, the play begins with Ethan and Olivia discovering each other’s history, personalities and desires. There is great humor in the first act with references to blogging, the internet, smart phones and social media. Olivia is writing a new book. Ethan is ready to launch a new app. Yes, they do “hook up” to use current terminology. It seems like they can be a couple. But wait! The relationship sours a bit after the intermission.

We really enjoyed the show and are looking forward to attending other productions at this marvelous venue. When you go be sure to purchase one of the pastries offered. I can speak for the brownies: they are as good as your mother used to make.

Be warned, some of the language is right out of the gutter. There are explicit sexual references as well as some serious ‘making out’ on stage. I would give the show an “R’ rating.

A one ton granite ball floats on water

I had to try moving the ball! It rotates with a tiny touch.

I had to try moving the ball! It rotates with a tiny touch.

The 28 inch diameter, 2000 pound granite sphere floats on a cushion of water pumped up from a fountain below. The socket of the granite base is precision carved to allow an 8/1000th inch thick layer of water that the ball rests on. Even a child can rotate the ball!

This marvelous floating granite ball fountain is in front of the Nature Center at Holliday Park in Indianapolis.