Award winning Hairspray on stage at Beef & Boards

The turbulent 60’s come to life on stage at Indy’s beloved Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre with the presentation of the Broadway musical Hairspray. This Tony Award winning show lights up the B&B stage with a large and very talented cast telling the story of a Baltimore teen who gets a spot on the local TV dance show.

Tracy Turnblad (Adee David) falls for teen idol Link Larkin (Nate Willey) and wants to racially integrate the Corny Collins Show. Standing in her way is the spiteful and prejudiced Amber Von Tussle (Sarah Daniels) who is using Link as her way to fame. The plot thickens and results in jail time after a protest against the segregation policy of the TV show.

The drama aside, the highlight of the production of course is the toe-tapping songs including “Good Morning Baltimore,” “Big, Blonde and Beautiful,” “You Can’t Stop The Beat” and “Welcome to the ‘60s.” Motormouth Maybelle (Tarra Conner Jones) brings down the house with her powerful and poignant version of “I Know Where I’ve Been.” Amber Von Tussle (Sarah Daniels) directs a humorous “Cooties”  at rival Tracy.

A highlight for me was the dance and song duet by Wilbur Turnblad (Eddie Curry) and Edna Turnblad (Daniel Klingler). Their rendition of “You’re Timeless To Me” was one of the funniest and most cleverly choreographed numbers I have seen in a long time. Eddie Curry, by the way, is also the Director of the show.

Every song will have you smiling. The characters will have you rooting for them or loving to hate! The B&B orchestra once again will amaze you with the quality and depth of music it produces. The sets and lighting seamlessly support the production. The costumes are fabulous. Have you figured it out yet? Do not miss Hairspray.

Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre’s production of Hairspray is now on stage through Oct. 6. Tickets include the dinner buffet and are available by calling the box office at 317.872.9664. For more information, including show schedule, visit the Beef & Boards website.

 

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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.

 

“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.

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.

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 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.