“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.

“Church Basement Ladies” gives a light hearted evening of fun

The cast of Church Basement Ladies

The cast of Church Basement Ladies

Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre brings back to the stage the original version of the popular Church Basement Ladies series this summer. Set in the basement of a  rural Minnesota Lutheran church in 1964, four ladies of various ages bring a mix of nostalgia, cooking, planning and hilarity to this fun story.

Beef & Boards favorite Eddie Curry is featured as the hapless pastor of this church. His interaction with the basement ladies rings so true to anyone who has experience in a local church of any denomination. Licia Watson is fabulous as the matriarch of the basement kitchen, Vivian Snustad. Vivian is struggling with changes within the church, including a recent change from black to red hymnals. The unforgettable Mavis Gilmerson is played by Karen Pappas, reprising her original role. Newcomer to B&B is Dawn Trautman (an authentic Minnesota Lutheran) playing Karin Engleson and Lindsay Sutton is featured as Karin’s daughter, Signe.

"Mavis" in a typical wacky scene

“Mavis” in a typical wacky scene

You will laugh 'til you cry

You will laugh ’til you cry

 

 

 

The story follows the problems the ladies face as they prepare for the typical series of events that most church kitchens have: Christmas dinner, a funeral bereavement meal, the Easter celebration and even a wedding. The antics of the ladies as they compare recipes, reduce the possibilities of disasters and keep the pastor in line will have you laughing until you cry.

Don’t miss this funny and poignant production at the popular Indy northside venue. Church Basement Ladies is on stage through August 21st. Tickets include the famous all you care to eat buffet from Chef Odell Ward. Free parking is close and always available. Call the box office at 317-872-9664 for ticket reservations. You may also visit the Beef & Boards website for all details.

Take the kids to Beef & Boards “Beauty and the Beast”

Photo courtesy Beef & Boards media

Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre has the perfect show now running through July 10 for your kids or grandkids. Beauty and the Beast is of course based on the Disney animated film. This remarkable production fully immerses you into the timeless story of a prince condemed to be cursed until he can find true love. The curse has transformed him into a beastly form.

You know the story: beautiful Belle ends up in the castle of the Beast. The servants in the castle are slowly being transformed into various household items. Time is running out as the rose is losing its petals. When all petals fall the curse becomes permanent.

This production sets the bar very high for overall quality. The talented cast shines as characters are developed. Preston Yates is marvelous in his portrayal of the Beast. He brings his character through the imprressive Beast makeup. Belle (Julia Bonnett) shows her loving feelings and emtions for not only her father but eventually for the Beast as well. A special tip of the hat goes to Jon McHatton for his rendition of Gaston, the egotistical cad who can’t understand why Belle won’t fall for him. Gaston is one you love to hate. And wait until you see Sam McKanney’s take on Gaston’s sidekick LeFou. LeFou is bumbling, clueless and laugh out loud hilarious. Enough said.

Photo courtesy Beef & Boards media

Photo courtesy Beef & Boards media

You will be amazed at the costumes in this show. Mrs. Potts, little Chip and of course Lumière all have striking costumes. How they present Chip is clever, fun and a large part of the overall effectof the production.During the classic “Be Our Guest” number you will be treated to an extravaganza of colorful costumes including forks, salt and pepper shakers and beautiful gold ringed white napkins!

The live orchestra fills the theater with the classic music you know and expect from this show. The stage sets are superb and the lighting constantly sets the mood for each and every scene. The quality of this production cannot be emphasized enough. The chldren in your family will truly be thrilled with this show. Chef Odell Ward presents a family friendly buffet that will please kids of all ages.

Beauty and the Beast is Beef & Boards’ 2016 Season Family Show. $10 discounts for are offered kids ages 3-15. For reservations, call the box office at 317.872.9664. For more information, including show schedule, visit beefandboards.com.

Indy’s Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre presents “Guys and Dolls”

Nathan and Adelaide Photo courtesy Beef & Boards Media

Nathan and Adelaide Photo courtesy Beef & Boards Media

The musical comedy Guys and Dolls is now running at Beef & Boads Dinner Theatre on the northwest side of Indianapolis. This intimate venue, beloved by Indy theater goers for decades, provides a perfect setting for this sometimes madcap story of two couples attempting to sort out their feelings.

The cast is filled with Beef and Boards favorties. Eddie Curry has the role of pro gambler Nathan Detroit. Nathan is in a race to procure a location for the biggest craps game ever seen. Adding to the frivolity is the local cop, played by Daniel Scharbrough, who is constantly breathing down Nathan’s neck in an effort to bust the game. Enter Sky Masterson who will bet on anything. Nathan sees this as a chance to make a sure bet with Masterson in order to get the cash to rent the place for the craps game.

The bet brings in a sweet, innocent Mission worker named Sarah Brown, played by Betsy Norton. The bet is that Masterson can get Sarah to go to Havana, Cuba with him for dinner. Meanwhile Nathan is still wooing Miss Adelaide, played by Deb Wims. Nahan and Adelaide have been “engaged” for 14 years. Both men have different ideas of romance. Both women also have different ideas about their perfect man.

Things get crazy quickly. The floating craps game ends up in a couple of unlikely places. Sky and Sarah go to Havana and return. Nathan and Adelaide plan more than one wedding time. Other gamblers join in the search for the perfect game. The cop keeps trying to bust the game. Laced throughout the cast sings, dances, laughs and just carries on!

This favorite won a Tony for Best Musical when on Broadway. The Beef and Boards version features all of the famous songs including “Luck Be A Lady Tonight” and “Sit Down You’re Rockin’ the Boat”.

Guys and Dolls runs through May15 at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre. You will really love the buffet that Chef Odell Ward prepares for this production.

Call for reservations at the Beef & Boards box office at 317-872-9664 or visit the Beef  & Boards website here.

"The Guys" Photo courtesy Beef & Boards Media

“The Guys” Photo courtesy Beef & Boards Media