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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Circle of Lights 2018 is Indy’s premier holiday display

Saturday morning, November 10th, saw union members of IBEW local 481 braving brutally cold temperatures and wind to install the long strands of LED lights on the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in the center of downtown Indianapolis. This is the traditional start of the Circle of Lights celebration.

Working hard to get the lights up

Putting on the finishing touches

 

 

 

 

 

 

This year the lights will be turned on on November 23rd. One lucky kid will be picked to flip the switch and turn on the lights! (The contest is going on right now: a coloring contest.) 2018 will be the 56th year of this beloved Indy tradition. The lights come on at 7:30 that evening after a delightful variety show with local talent. Oh, and a huge fireworks show will follow the festivities.

All the strands are up

Close up of the top

Be amazed at The Mind Tripping Show

You check in at a table in the lobby of the Hilton in downtown Indianapolis. The show is 90 minutes, no late seating allowed. Hop the elevator and head to the 15th floor. There you are seated group by group in a small and intimate room by Katarina, one half of the performing couple.

Christian pops out from behind the curtain with a dab of background information. He and Katalina are both Army vets, have been performing for decades, now live in Indy, etc. etc. He then starts the actual performance. What a great patter he continues throughout the show! Interaction with and including the audience is an important part of this romp into “miraculous” and “amazing” tricks of mind reading and, as the title suggests, mind tripping.

L to R: Katrina, Sher, Maj, Christian after the show

Katrina and Christian make a terrific team. Their timing is flawless as Katarina performs the classic “take a card, don’t show me, I’ll tell you what it is”. Same goes with the color of the Crayola crayons. You’ll chuckle as five folks from the audience draw body parts. The fact that anyone can be involved brings a sense of comradeship to those in the crowd. You do begin to know your fellow  patrons.

All in all this is a fun and funny evening’s entertainment. Christian brings clean humor to the performance. Katalina makes you feel at home and does some amazing things.  They are a wonderful husband and wife Comedy Mind Reading act. Ticket prices are reasonable with nice discounts for Seniors and Military.  Details and show dates and times are available at the Mind Tripping Show website.

Night scenes in Indy

Indianapolis on a Saturday night in early November can be quite pretty and full of activity. Landmark structures are well lit, and the street horse drawn carriages are already offering cozy rides to couples and families alike.

Soldiers and Sailors Monument

State Capital

Downtown Indy’s Hilton hosts a great restaurant

McCormick and Schmick’s Steak and Seafood restaurant is located in downtown Indianapolis on west Market street between Monument Circle and the Capital Building. Housed in the Hilton Hotel, this restaurant  offers fine dining in a comfortable and elegant facility.

Entrance to the restaurant

Sher and I decided to have our dinner there as we waited for a show in the hotel later that Saturday night. The restaurant can be entered either from the lobby or from West Street. We were seated immediately and our waiter, Andrew, came to our table right away. He provided excellent service during our entire dining experience.

Our cocktails and menu

Crab and Shrimp Stuffed Salmon

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our cocktails were delivered quickly, along with warm bread and butter. We ordered the Lump Crab cake for our appetizer. It was delicious. Sher had ordered the Blackened Chicken Fettuccine without the chicken. I had the Crab and Shrimp Stuffed Salmon. We were both delighted with our choices from the menu. Pricing was definitely in the $$$$ range, but we both felt that the price was worth it.

“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.

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.