Elf, The Musical at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre

Santa gives Buddy a snow globe

We had a delightful evening at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre with Elf, the Musical on stage. This is the first time in years for the popular Indy theater to not have a Christmas variety show. The choice of Elf, The Musical, however, gives patrons a wonderful celebration of the season.

Elf, The Musical is of course the story of a human raised by Santa’s North Pole Elves.  Buddy thinks he is an elf. But, when Buddy hears that he is human, Santa decides to send him to New York City to meet his human father. Thus the chaos begins. Dan Bob Higgins gave a remarkably energetic performance as Buddy. His character gushes with joy and happiness.  Higgins’ performance carries the show.

We enjoyed young Aiden Shurr, a 5th grader, who plays Michael Hobbs, Buddy’s younger brother. This young man did an admirable job both in song and line deliverance. Doug Stark both directs and fulfills his favorite role: Santa Claus. Christmas time at B&B would be incomplete without Stark’s Santa!

Jill Kelly Howe has again done an outstanding job on the costumes. She has successfully made gown actors become short elves. Clever, indeed. The lighting and set design works to enhance the production. Kristy Templet’s orchestra shines.

The show is filled with some great humor. We got a kick out of some great lines both traditional and contemporary. The Ron Morgan choreography gave the entire cast the chance to show off their dance talents.

Elf, The Musical runs  through December 31st. For reservations, you can call the 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. Mondays. For a complete show schedule, including information about the New Year’s Eve party, visit the Beef & Boards website.

 

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“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.

 

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.

Indy’s Beef & Boards final Christmas variety show

Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre is presenting for the 25th and final year the beloved A Beef & Boards Christmas variety show running now through December 23rd. Once again the immensely popular Indianapolis dinner theater presents for its audience a lively and spirited production that is guaranteed to bring you and yours into the Christmas spirit.

Both acts of the show feature favorite numbers.  Ron Morgan, director and choreographer and artistic director Eddie Curry have put together a vibrant and enthusiastic treat of both sight and sound. The choreography is superb, the music awesome, and the costuming is breathtaking.

Rocking Around The Christmas Tree

“Rocking around the Christmas Tree” with Kenny and Renée, center, flanked by the B&B Quartet

Doug Stark’s version of Santa frankly steals the show whenever he is on stage. He is the owner of Beef & Boards, and is having way too much fun during the B&B Christmas show. His Santa will bring a smile to your face as well as make you laugh out loud to rim shot worthy humor. Santa also greets children for selfies at intermission!

Santa and dancers

Santa and dancers

Renée Jackson, fresh from her starring role in the B&B show Ghost, The Musical, is the featured singer. Kenny Shepard has been in the past 24 productions and hosts this years show. The B&B Quartet is comprised of past favorites Kyle Durbin, Betsy Norton, and Peter Scharbroug as well as Marisa Rivera who starred in West Side Story.

Chipmunks

The Chipmunks (Alvin still wants a hula-hoop)

Once again the B&B orchestra showcases the range of the talent shared by this remarkable group of musicians. Conductor Kristy Templet and her collegues both accompany the singers but also perform several instrumental numbers throughout the production.

Grinch

You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch

The easiest way to tell you about the 2017 version of A Beef and Boards Christmas would be to simply state “Don’t miss your chance to see this fabulous Christmas variety show”. I’ll ad the great singing, dancing, and music. Also, you for sure want to see Alvin, Simon and Theodore and of course Rudolph flying across the stage. (Yes, he really flies!) And don’t forget that mean ‘ol Grinch. Oh, and Chef Odell’s holiday buffet is one of, if not the best he has ever put together.Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Now for the details: for reservations, call the Beef & Boards 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. Mondays. For complete show schedule and other pertinent information, visit the B&B website.

 

Beef & Boards Ring of Fire is a different kind of musical

Oh Come Angel Band

Photo courtesy B&B media

Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre is currently offering a different kind of musical. Ring of Fire brings the story of Johnny Cash to life by means of his songs via an ensemble made up of eight remarkably talented musicians who also shine as singers and dancers.

The clever script in the first act brings you into the history of the Cash family with the eight players each taking on the “role” of Johnny Cash. By means of narration and appropriate song selection the audience gets a real appreciation of the ancestry of the family of Johnny Cash.

One remarkable aspect of the players is their ability to play virtually any instrument. While most have a primary instrument, all take turns on most all of the instruments. Guitars, 5 string, bass fiddle, accordion and washboard are but a few of the tools that produce the exciting, toe-tapping and emotional music in the show.

While all of the players are very talented and worthy of mention,  I would be remiss if I did not comment specifically on the fiddle playin’ of Melody Allegra Berger. She is the featured performer in the entr’acte offering of “The Orange Blossom Special”. Her rendition makes it clear why she is an award winning fiddler known nation wide.

This is not your typical musical by any means. The Man in Black is never impersonated, but Johnny Cash’s remarkable story is told through his music. Ring of Fire does not have a plot line. Expect instead great music, songs made famous by Johnny Cash and a most enjoyable evening. This unique production is one you will not want to miss. If you think you don’t like the music of this genre, well, that is too bad. You’re missing a terrific show, a great meal and a great time.

Ring of Fire runs through August 13th. For reservations, call the box office at 317.872.9664 anytime between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. For more information visit the Beef & Boards website. This production is sponsored in part by WFMS 95.5 FM and Gaither Family Resources.

Ring of Fire opens at Beef & Boards

Johnny CashThe iconic songs of Johnny Cash will provide a unique entertainment opportunity starting this week at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre on Indy’s northwest side. Ring of Fire is not your typical musical. According to a Beef and Boards press release:

“An icon of American music history, Johnny Cash’s contributions as a singer songwriter are legendary. Ring of Fire brings his story of love and faith, struggle and success, rowdiness and redemption, and home and family to the stage. More than two dozen of his hits, from “I Walk the Line,” to “A Boy Named Sue,” to “Folsom Prison Blues,” and the famous title tune are performed by a multi-talented cast.”

Johnny Cash’s amazing story is told through his music, making Ring of Fire an exhilarating salute to the Man in Black. Of interest is the fact that Cash is never impersonated in the show. Sher and I are really looking forward to attending a performance soon. We will have a full review posted after we go!

There will be 44 performances of Ring of Fire in the intimate atmosphere of Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre. Tickets include Chef Odell Ward’s dinner buffet. For reservations, call the 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. Mondays. For complete show schedule, visit the Beef & Boards website.

My Fair Lady is back at Beef & Boards in Indianapolis

Eliza DoolittleIt has been 20 years since My Fair Lady has been seen at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre. The 2017 version of this classic musical entertained us completely this past Saturday evening. The house appeared to be a sell out and all were treated to a dynamic, exciting and professional show.

The Lerner and Loewe classic My Fair Lady won six Tony Awards including Best Musical during its run on Broadway. The B&B production continues the tradition of excellence. It is the story of Eliza Doolittle, the dirty, street wise cockney flower peddler in Edwardian London. Her accent riles the conceited Professor Henry Higgins to the point where he offers to tutor her. Enter Colonel Pickering who bets Higgins that he can’t turn the brash Eliza into a proper lady. In the wings we find Eliza’s conniving father Alfred P. Doolittle who wants to cash in on his daughter’s relationship with a rich Professor Higgins.

Eddie Curry, center, as Alfred P. Doolitle singing "With a Little Bit of Luck"

Eddie Curry, center, as Alfred P. Doolitle singing “With a Little Bit of Luck”

Higgins, Doolittle and Pickering singing "The Rain in Spain"

Higgins, Doolittle and Pickering singing “The Rain in Spain”

Kimberly Doreen Burns has the lead role of Eliza Doolittle. She has played the part before and has won a Broadway World Award for Best Actress during one of these engagements. Her experience shines through during her fabulous performance. Prof. Higgins is played by David Schmittou, a B&B regular. Mark Goetzinger  portrays Colonel Pickering and Eddie Curry plays Alfred P. Doolittle. Curry also is the Director of the musical. Curry’s talent is showcased not only on stage but as the Director as well.

preview

Eliza, center, as a Lady at the races

The supporting cast is very deep. The choreography is precise and suited for each number.  Jeff Stockberger and Doug King are hilarious in their interactions with Curry as the senior Doolittle. Herb Porter provides striking vocals as the romantic interest in Eliza. The costumes are remarkable, the live music from the orchestra is perfect, and the sets and lighting add to the professional feel of the show.

Have you figured it out yet? We loved the show. My Fair Lady is filled with favorite songs like “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly” and “Get Me to the Church on Time”. It runs through May 14th. Order your tickets now, this show will sell out many times! Go to the Beef & Boards website or call 317-872-9664. For you Twitter folks, see #bbmyfairlady.

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.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat thrills the crowds at Beef & Boards

The cast sings “Go, Go, Go Joseph” Courtesy B&B Media

The cast sings “Go, Go, Go Joseph” Courtesy B&B Media

Beef & Boards is offering the Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice production of  Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat as its first musical of the 2017 season. Prepare to put a smile on your face as you enjoy this delightful presentation at Indy’s beloved dinner theatre that runs through March 26th.

Tim Wessel has the title role. Having been the understudy for the character in the recent National Tour, Wessel brings a life long love of the production to his performance. Based on the Old Testament story of Joseph and his life in Egypt, the show was nominated for seven Tony Awards during its Broadway run. Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat features a wide variety of music including country, rock, pop and even calypso.

All aspects of the production reveal the professionalism and expertise of the Beef & Boards theatre. The costumes designed by Jill Kelly are a visual treat. The stage set is both dynamic and stunning. The orchestra, directed by Kristy Templet, brings an amazing variety of music to the stage. Doug King both directs and choreographs with an eye for an exciting show. The dancing is superb. Hats off to the talented kids in the Children’s Ensembles who show remarkable on stage poise and talent.

Andrea Fleming makes her B&B debut as the Narrator. Douglas E. Stark in his 45th year in the business is delightful in his portrayal of Jacob and Potiphar. Look for hilarious anachronisms that pop up all through the show including Disco, country swing, and of course Elvis.

Andrea Fleming as the Narrator Courtesy B&B Media

Andrea Fleming as the Narrator Courtesy B&B Media

Ryan Neal Green is incredible in his number that has Pharaoh turning into an Egyptian version of Elvis, complete with the hair and gyrating hips. Prepare to tap your feet, smile and think “are they really doing this?” Once again the elaborate costumes add to the splendor of the number. Green’s kibitzing with the crowd adds yet another dimension to the scene.

This production has gone to the top of the list for our favorite shows we have enjoyed at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre. Every aspect of the show is exciting and surprising. The finale of the show has the entire Company in the “Joseph Megamix” featuring a wildly energetic number that acts a a wrap up. You’ll love it. Don’t miss this show.

Check the Beef & Boards website for information. Tickets are available by calling the box office at 317.872.9664 between 10 a.m. & 7 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays. Tickets include Chef Odell Ward’s dinner buffet, fruit & salad bar, and select beverages. Plenty of free parking is available.

A Beef and Boards Christmas celebrates the season

Rudolph really can fly!

Rudolph really can fly!

One of the favorite holiday shows in Indiana is back on stage at Beef & Boards on Indy’s northwest side. This beloved variety show, celebrating a 24 year run, is known for its consistent quality. I think the 2016 version of the show actually raised the bar for the overall quality of the production.

Once again the show is hosted by Deb Wims and Kenny Shepard. This will be the last time you will be able to enjoy the heartwarming performance of this marvelous duo as Deb will soon be relocating with her family out-of-state.

The extremely talented principal singers this year is a quartet including Peter Scharbrough, Kyle Durbin, Betsy Norton and Cara Statham. Returning as the featured vocalist for the show is Kendra Lynn Lucas. Kendra brings an amazingly strong voice to all of her many songs. Music director Kristy Templet leads the B&B Orchestra, placed center stage. Several numbers feature just the orchestra which is a real treat.

Fancy costumes, great dancing and exciting song!

Fancy costumes, great dancing and exciting song!

You will be immersed in the spirit of the season during the show. The costumes are, well, stunning. I am still in awe of the number of costume changes! (Hats off to costume designer Jill Kelly Howe) Director/Choreographer Ron Morgan has put together a fabulous production. The action is nonstop and exciting.

Kendra Lynn Lucas center stage singing "O Holy Night"

Kendra Lynn Lucas center stage singing “O Holy Night”

My favorite numbers? I have to say I loved them all. OK, I loved the Grinch, Alvin and the Chipmunks and flying Rudolph. Each year I cherish Kendra Lynn Lucas belting out “O Holy Night”. Her passion flows out and envelopes the entire house with the Spirit of Christmas.

A Beef & Boards Christmas runs through December 23rd. Chef Odell Ward’s holiday buffet is a true culinary delight and is a great way to start your fun filled and joyous evening at indy’s beloved dinner theatre. For reservations you can call the box office at 317.872.9664 or visit the Beef & Boards website.