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.

 

Million Dollar Quartet rocks the Beef & Boards stage

Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre is presenting the Tony Award winning musical Million Dollar Quartet . We were able to catch this show recently, and boy were we glad we did! The story tells how Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash ended up together in the studios of Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee in December, 1956.

Jamming in Sun Records Studio Photo courtesy B&B Media

We were absolutely amazed at the amount of talent on stage. Each cast member gives an amazing and energetic performance. I wanted to dance in the aisles! Get ready to enjoy  “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Fever,” “Walk the Line,” “Sixteen Tons,” “Who Do You Love?,” “Great Balls of Fire,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” “Hound Dog,” and other classic hits.

We thought that Edward La Cardo nailed Elvis both in voice and in the gyrations of his presentation. Justin Figueroa is near perfect Johnny Cash when he “Walks the Line”. Brian Michael Henry, as Jerry Lee Lewis, redefines the phrase “tickle the ivories”.  His fingers just fly across the keys.  And I am sure that Carl Perkins is looking down on Christopher Wren and taps his feet in approval of Wren’s handling of the guitar. Yep, he’s that good. Dave Perry (Brother Jay) is a superb bass player, and Nathan Shew (Fluke) is outstanding on the drums. Rounding out the cast are Beef & Boards regulars Eddie Curry as Sam Phillips and Jill Kelly Howe as Dyanne.

We had a  very special evening at Million Dollar Quartet at Beef  & Boards Dinner Theatre. The music was iconic and professionally performed. We even got a history lesson as well. The sometimes dirty dealings of the record industry back then are shown. And in addition to the show, Chef Odell Ward’s buffet even adds  Southern inspiration to his scrumptious food. If you are in the Indy area we highly recommend MDQ. This is one not to miss.  For reservations, call the box office at 317.872.9664. For more information or complete show schedule through August 26th, visit Beef & Boards website.

 

“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.

 

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.