Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story rocks Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre

Everyone received a pair of Holly’s signature glasses in their program. Group photos followed

Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story received a standing ovation after last night’s show. Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre audiences rarely give a standing ovation.  I could stop my review right now. However the show is so great that I want to share more details. This musical is filled with over 20 of Buddy Holly’s greatest hits as well as other numbers from Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper. The show tells the true story of Holly’s phenomenal rise to fame after his first hit “That’ll Be The Day” hit radio in 1957.

Holly is played by Kyle Jurassic, making his debut at Indy’s immensely popular dinner theater venue. Jurassic is no stranger to this role as he has held the title role prior to this production. He has devoted much time to learning about what kind of man Holly was, and this ads a flavor of authenticity to his portrayal of the man with the glasses.

Among  Holly’s greatest hits featured were  “That’ll Be The Day,” “Peggy Sue,” “Everyday,” “Oh Boy,” “Not Fade Away,” “Rave On,” and “Raining In My Heart”.  In addition  Ritchie Valens’ signature song “La Bamba” and the Big Bopper’s trademark song “Chantilly Lace” are also included in the show.

Chuck Caruso plays the Big Bopper and Edward LaCardo is Richie Valens. Both do a great job portraying the characteristics of these iconic performers. Josh McLemore is outstanding as drummer Joe Maudlin. James Daley shows you things you never thought were possible when playing the bass as Jerry Allison. Beef and Boards favorite Sarah Hund shows off not only her voice but her fiddle playing as well. All supporting actors and musicians add to the incredible talent offered to the audience in the show.

Kyle Jurassic plays the iconic title role in Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre’s production of Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story Photo courtesy B&B Media

Of special note is the immensely powerful voice of Tara Conner Jones as Mama Pearl, lead signer at the Apollo Theater in New York. Her electrifying version of “Shout” brings the house down.

There is of course a touch of grief as you know what happens. Holly, the Big Bopper, Richie Valens and pilot Roger Peterson were killed  in a tragic plane crash shortly after the Iowa concert. The news is given on stage with gravity and sadness. However, more music follows leading to a grand grand finale.

Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story is on stage at B&B through August 18th. For tickets, which include the dinner buffet, call the box office at 317.872.9664. For show details, including performance schedule, visit Beef & Boards website here.

 

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Love the dancing of 42nd Street at Beef & Boards

If you love classic musicals live on stage get to Beef & Boards during the current run of 42nd Street. This Tony Award winning show has all of the elements that make Broadway musicals so entertaining: song, dance, romance, and did I say dance?

“We’re In The Money” is one of the highlights of the show

This production features newcomers to B&B as well as some of your favorites from past shows. Dan Bob Higgins plays Billy Lawlor along side of Mark Epperson playing the show manager. Sarah Hund is Dorthy Brock, an egotistical veteran actress. Kaylee Verble makes her B&B debut as the lead part of Peggy Sawyer, an aspiring gal from Allentown, Pennsylvania hoping to make it on Broadway.

You will recognize several of the songs in 42nd Street. “You’re Getting To Be A Habit With Me,” “Dames,” “We’re In the Money,” and “Shuffle Off to Buffalo” will get your feet tapping to the tunes. The dancing can be described as superb. The precision tap dances are some of the best I’ve seen.  “We’re In The Money” brought down the house. It was the best number I have  seen during years of enjoying Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre.

Ron Morgan’s choreography brings out the best in his dancers. Jill Kelly Howe’s costumes are stunning to see and Kristy Templet continues to amaze with the marvelous music from the small live orchestra. Hats off to the direction of Eddie Curry that brings it all together. 42nd Street is a joyful toe tapping treat!

42nd Street is on stage for through May 19. 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.

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.

 

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

“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.