Supporting Local Theatre

With all the distractions around, there are too many excuses to not see live theatre.

We give you the reasons you should.

Welcome to PWJW, with information on live drama, comedy, musicals, dance, etc. in and around Indianapolis, Indiana. As in any modest-sized metropolis, there is a surprising amount of activity and talent on numerous stages, from amateur to Equity, from old favorites to avant-garde, with performers and audiences of all ages. If you are seeing this on the Main page, scroll down for the latest reviews. We will also strive to keep the calendar page updated. Thanks for looking in on us!

Click on Pods With John And Wendy in the Menu for our Podcast!

(2022 health update) It’s not quite over; caution is being exercised, so contact the venue you are attending for its requirements. On the other hand, various plagues didn’t stop the Ancient Greeks or Shakespeare, so take whatever measures are necessary and enjoy!

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On THIS PAGE is the linked list of reviews from the 2022 IndyFringe Festival

The 2021 IndyFringe on THIS PAGE.  (No Fringe fest in 2020.)  The 2019 IndyFringe on THIS PAGE.  The 2018 IndyFringe on THIS PAGE. We didn’t see everything, but did get in most of the shows.

Looking back, we don’t have an index page for IndyFringe 2016 or 2017, but HERE is one we did for 2015.

If you place “Bard Fest” or “OnyxFest” in the Search, you can see our coverage of those shows as well.

Bard and Poe

This weekend, get some Shakespeare at Bard Fest in Carmel. The productions include “Timon of Athens” by Casey Ross Productions, comedy “As You Like It” by First Folio and the tragedy of “Othello” by Garfield Shakespeare Company. Get details on the Carmel Theater Company website.

Meanwhile in downtown Indy, Q Artistry‘s “Cabaret Poe” opens at Theatre on the Square on Mass Ave. Since this is the first time for the show away from the usual Irvington digs, there will be a few changes — besides, creator (aside from EAP) Ben Asaykwee likes to keep it fresh. This fall treat runs through Halloween (of course).

We will do our best to keep this site going, but it must be noted that John now has another job, as Associate Editor of The Word. He will also be contributing arts news and reviews to the monthly paper and its website.

Happy October, everyone!

Books and plays

Start this weekend early by seeing comic Bill Scheft, a writer for Late Night With David Letterman, as he signs copies of his book “Shrink Thyself” Thursday starting at 6:30 p.m. at Bookmama’s book store at 9 S. Johnson Ave. in Indy’s Irvington neighborhood.

For theatre, we have three openings:

The Phoenix Theatre presents the British Broadway comedy “One Man, Two Guvnors,” starting Thursday and running through Oct. 18 at 749 N. Park Ave., downtown Indy. This is the show that got James Corden (now the host of The Late Late Show on CBS) his Tony. But since Corden is in L.A., our show is locally cast.

Buck Creek Players present the comedic thriller “Cliffhanger,” opening Friday and running for two weekends, in which murder has rarely been so funny. The playhouse is out on Southeastern Ave. off the Acton Road Exit.

Over at the Hedback, 1847 N. Alabama in Indy, Footlite Musicals presents “Nice Work if You Can Get It,” a feel-good musical loaded with Gershwin numbers. It opens Friday and runs through Oct. 11.

See you in the audience!

Lots to celebrate

Angel Burlesque's ladies look good enough to
Angel Burlesque’s ladies look good enough to “nom-nom-nom” in their Tribute to the Muppets, Friday and Saturday night at the Athenaeum in downtown Indy.

As summer comes to an end, the festivals start piling up in the Indy area.

This weekend features (click links for details):

Meanwhile on stages, shows continue at the Civic Theatre, TOTS, Mud Creek and ATI. The only new feature is the two-day Angel Burlesque Tribute to the Muppets — a show aimed at grown-ups; it ain’t Sesame Street — which looks like it will be fun.

And, if all this wasn’t enough, Saturday is also International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Ahoy!

Have fun!

Big opening weekend

There is a lot happening around Indy this weekend, especially on stages.

Theatre on the Square opens “Enter Love” a new musical with book by local talents Kenny Shepard, Don Seybold and Ty Stover. First curtain is 8 p.m. Friday.

The Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Carmel sees two openings: “Little Women: The Musical” at the Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre on The Tarkington stage, of course, and “The Fantasticks” presented by Actors Theatre of Indiana at The Studio Theater next door.

Meanwhile, the classic “The Odd Couple” opens the Mud Creek Players season in the Mud Creek Barn on east 86th Street near Geist.

For two shows only, Friday and Saturday, Indiana Performing Arts Centre presents “A Night on the Town With the ‘Rat Pack'” at the Athenaeum, 401 E. Michigan St. in downtown Indy.

See you in the audience!

Back to the routine

Now that IndyFringe is done and September is here, we’ll resume the weekly look-aheads.

This weekend we have just one stage opening: the two-weekend run of “The Prince and the Pauper” by Center Stage Productions at Southport Presbyterian Church.

There is also an encore performance of an IndyFringe favorite, “Jason Adams is a God Damn Mind Reader,” 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the IndyFringe Theatre, 719 E. St. Clair St. in downtown Indy, by the intersection of Mass Ave., St. Clair and College Ave. If you didn’t see one of the sold-out Fringe performances, and are not offended at the show’s title, then by all means go see this wild mix of comedy and mental magic.

This weekend is also Labor Day, and you can wear your white shoes one more time to Indy LaborFest Saturday in the heart of Downtown Indianapolis for free, all-ages fun.

However you do it, enjoy your weekend!

Fringe, Fair and Fava Beans

The IndyFringe festival gets under way with the free preview today (Wednesday) and lots and lots of excellent little performances Thursday through Aug. 23. Watch this site, our Facebook page and our Twitters (@PenGwenity and @IndyBeldar) for reviews through at least the first weekend.

The Indiana State Fair continues, also through the 23rd.

Note that the Phoenix Theatre will not be participating in the Fringe this year. Instead, they open “Silence: The Musical.” This silly satire of “Silence of the Lambs” runs through Sept. 13.

– See you in the audience!

Alive with the sounds of…

Cast members of "The Sound of Music," presented by Ricks-Weil Theatre Company in downtown Greenfield, engage in a singing lesson while testing the sturdiness of Austrian furniture. -- Photo provided
Cast members of “The Sound of Music,” presented by Ricks-Weil Theatre Company in downtown Greenfield, engage in a singing lesson while testing the sturdiness of Austrian furniture. — Photo provided

Another big summer weekend is upon us.

The Indiana State Fair just opened at the fairgrounds (naturally) at 38th and Fall Creek Road, Indianapolis. Lots of music, exhibits, rides and fried food to be had there, for the next two weeks!

This is the weekend for MotoGP at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which also gives every Easy Rider in the region an excuse to roll out their bikes to cruise downtown — so be sure to watch out for some sweet rides.

And, yes, there’s something on stage, too. The Ricks-Weil Theatre Company has its second and last weekend of a locally produced and cast “The Sound of Music” through Sunday. Get details on their Facebook page.

Starting this next Thursday, IndyFringe — the Indianapolis Theatre Fringe Festival — takes over Mass Ave. downtown. Shows are $15 each this year, so getting a “fiver” ticket, five tickets for $60, is a really great deal.

Fringe fun actually starts Wednesday, with a free preview of the various acts at the Athenaeum (corner of Michigan/Mass/New Jersey) starting at 6 p.m. Each performer or troupe has two minutes to impress us, so things get a little wild.

As the Fringe continues through its first weekend, watch this site, our Facebook page and our Twitters (@PenGwenity and @IndyBeldar) for reports and reviews.

Fun, Fun, fun

If you thought there was trouble in River City before, just wait until this cast gets done with the classic musical when Buck Creek Players' Play-A-Part Fundraiser presents
If you thought there was trouble in River City before, just wait until this cast gets done with the classic musical when Buck Creek Players’ Play-A-Part Fundraiser presents “The Music Man” for one wacky weekend. — BCP photo

Cue music: “It’s the most wonderful time of the year…”

No, it’s not Christmas season already (though watch for decorations at the stores in a month or so), for folks like us who enjoy plays and playing games, August provides a bursting cornucopia of fun.

Yes, theatre friends, IndyFringe is almost upon us, but first…

This week, starting Wednesday (today, if you’re reading this on July 29) is the GenCon Game Fair, the world’s largest convention devoted to games, those who play them and those who make them. More than 60,000 happy nerds will overrun downtown Indianapolis, centering on the Indiana Convention Center, though many activities will be in nearby hotels and Union Station. If you are unfamiliar or don’t have much money to throw at this extravaganza, there is discount admission on Sunday, for Family Day (though the whole event is family-friendly).

Another note: The hallways of the convention center and hotel lobbies are open to the public. So, if you want to see and (respectfully) admire the many costumes attendees will be wearing, that doesn’t have to cost you a thing. However, the eye candy – while it makes good TV footage – is only a small fraction of the scene. If you like board, card, strategy or party games at all, you really need to get into this convention.

As for plays opening this weekend, we highly recommend fun of a different sort: The Buck Creek Players Play-A-Part Fundraiser production of “The Music Man.” The roles were all cast by winning a silent auction, with no requirements of age, gender, experience or even talent. Fortunately, director Scott Robinson levels the playing field by making the show an anything-can-happen live comedy in the tradition of TV’s classic “The Carol Burnett Show.” The result is highly entertaining, and the funds raised help with building improvements at this all-volunteer community theater. There are just four performances, Friday through Sunday, which are likely to sell out. Hit up the website or call 317-862-2270.

Sunday sees the return of the monthly experience that is “Going, Going, Gone” at Theatre on the Square. Co-creator Lou Harry has announced that, in honor of GenCon, the items bid on (which audience members get to win and keep) will be nerd-themed, as will be the cast, led by ubernerd (and Angel Burlesque MC) Jeff Angel. Also, wear a GenCon badge to the show, and get extra play money to bid with. Go, Go, Go, and quick, before the seats are gone!

– See you downtown!

Opening in the wide open spaces of “Oklahoma,” or Noblesville

Nick Gehring (Curly) and Emma Rund (Aunt Eller) in the Young Adults production of "Oklahoma!" at the Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre in Carmel. -- Civic Theatre photo
Nick Gehring (Curly) and Emma Rund (Aunt Eller) in the Young Adults production of “Oklahoma!” at the Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre in Carmel. — Civic Theatre photo

There are two stage openings of note this weekend.

The Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “Oklahoma!” is on the boards at the Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre in The Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Carmel. This is the annual summer production performed mainly by late teen and early 20s actors. Given the youth theatre and high school thespian scene, these “kids” might already have some seasoning, but career- or volunteer-vocation-wise, they are just getting started.

Summer brings out local devotees of the immortal Bard (both on stage and in audience) for Shakespeare in the Park. Thursday through Saturday this weekend and next, a production of the comedy “Twelfth Night” will be presented at Seminary Park, located between 10th and 11th streets, and Division and Hannibal streets in Noblesville. Festivities start at 7:30 p.m. and admission is free.

For something a little different this weekend (for grown-ups only) the Angel Burlesque “Nerdgasm” returns to Theatre on the Square on Mass Ave. in downtown Indy, Friday and Saturday, starting at 10 p.m. Being geeky has never been sexier.

— Go have some fun!