Archive for February, 2012

Things to do in Indianapolis, Feb. 26 to Mar. 4, 2012

February 26, 2012 Leave a comment

Livia and Steve Russell Theatre at the Phoenix Theatre

February 25, 2012 Leave a comment
Phoenix Theatre

Phoenix Theatre. staff photo.

By Lori Raffel
Phoenix Theatre

The Phoenix Theatre of Indianapolis recently announced the renaming of the Phoenix Theatre Mainstage to the Livia and Steve Russell Theatre.

Steve Russell, founder and CEO of Celadon, and Livia Klain Russell, retired florist/retired realtor, have been supporters of the Phoenix Theatre since 2003. The Russells keep an apartment in New York City; when they are there on business, they are attracted to the off-Broadway shows and to emerging and experimental playwrights. They often come back from a Big Apple trip with suggestions for the Phoenix Theatre.

Livia and Steve both serve on the theatre’s board and its fundraising committee, and they have been extraordinarily generous with their ideas and their financial support. They are true believers in helping those who help themselves.

In recognition of the Russells’ long-term commitment to the Phoenix Theatre, the Phoenix renamed its Mainstage “The Livia and Steve Russell Theatre” on Friday, February 17, 2012. The brief naming ceremony included remarks by Brian Payne, President of the Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF), and by Bryan Fonseca, Producing Director of the Phoenix Theatre.

Both the Russell Theatre and the Frank and Katrina Basile Theatre are housed along with administrative offices and a scene shop in a 1907 former church building at 749 North Park Avenue in Indianapolis’ Mass Ave Theatre and Gallery Cultural District. The building received an Adaptive Use Award from Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana (now Indiana Landmarks).

About the Building

In 1987, Indianapolis philanthropist J. Scott Keller purchased an abandoned, turn-of-the-twentieth-century church in Indianapolis’ historic Chatham Arch neighborhood and donated the building to the theatre. The renovated complex received an Adaptive Use Award from Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana. The facility houses a 130-seat Mainstage and the newly renovated cabaret-style 75-seat Frank & Katrina Basile Theatre, as well as administrative offices, a scene shop, and costume and prop storage. The Phoenix Theatre has played a leadership role in the revitalization of downtown and is one of only a handful of professional theatres in Indianapolis, and the only professional theatre in the state dedicated to contemporary work.

“The Phoenix Theatre has cornered the market on hip new works.” — Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune

The Phoenix Theatre is Indiana’s only professional contemporary theatre, and has presented productions to challenge and entertain the Indianapolis community for 29 years. An Equity house, the Theatre presents the Midwest and Indiana premieres of many popular Broadway and Off-Broadway plays, and has presented more than 83 world premieres in its quarter century. The Phoenix operates the 130-seat proscenium Livia and Steve Russell Theatre as well as the 75-seat cabaret-style black box Frank & Katrina Basile Theatre. The Phoenix Pub, located in the Basile Theatre, serves beer, wine, coffee, soft drinks, water, and treats, and patrons may take all refreshments into either theatre. Both venues are housed along with administrative offices in a renovated 1907 church in downtown Indianapolis’ historic Chatham Arch neighborhood, part of the Mass Ave Arts & Theatre District. The Phoenix Theatre is a member of the National New Play Network and the League of Indianapolis Theatres, and is supported by the Indiana Arts Commission, the Arts Council of Indianapolis, and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as local corporate and foundation funders and more than 400 individual donors.

Indy Magic Monthly at TOTS, Mar. 6

February 24, 2012 Leave a comment
Nathan Kranzo at Indy Magic Monthly, Mar. 6.

Nathan Kranzo at Indy Magic Monthly, Mar. 6. Image provided by Indy Magic Monthly and used with written permission.

By Taylor Martin
Indy Magic Monthly

What:  Taylor Martin’s Indy Magic Monthly presents “Monsters Attack!” (show #47)

When: Tuesday, March 6, 2012 at 7:30 p.m.; doors open at 7:15.

Where: Theatre On The Square Mainstage, 627  Massachusetts Ave., Indianapolis, Indiana

What: We end our fourth year of magic shows with a spectacular duo and a lecture. Taylor Martin’s Indy Magic Monthly will welcome two monsters of magic.

From Los Angeles comes Ron Saylor and Company. An illusionist of national stature and magician to the stars, Ron will present his first show ever in Indianapolis. Levitation, transformation, and a snappy presentation highlights his performance at Theatre On The Square.

Then, headlining, the Motor City Magic of Nathan Kranzo, The Great Kranzilla. Mentalism and magic, plus drop your pants comedy, will leave the audience wanting more. After the show, Nathan will present a lecture for magicians on some of his world shattering magic.

Opening for both will be Ken Abbott from Louisville. Ken is an award winning magician, voted top conjurer in Louisville for two years running. All hosted by Taylor Martin, recently recognized by the Society Of American Magicians for his keeping magic in the public eye of Indianapolis. Door prizes of tickets to TOTS productions, IMM, and other surprises.

Tickets: $20 adults, $12 seniors, military, and full time students. Family tickets $50 for up to 5, 2 children please. Lecture $10 with show, $15 by itself. For more information: Taylor Martin, 317-431-1320, or call the Box Office at 317-685-8687.

Internet: or

NOTE: Next show, April 3, 2012, and our fourth Anniversary with–from England–Piff, The Magic Dragon.

Review: “Legally Blonde” at Beef & Boards

February 23, 2012 Leave a comment
"Legally Blonde" at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre

"Legally Blonde" at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre. Photo provided by the theatre and used with written permission.

By Elizabeth J. Musgrave
Syndicated Columnist

Legally Blonde, The Musical based on the Reese Witherspoon mega hit film Legally Blonde (2001) opened this week at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre, Indianapolis. The fun, frolicking romp is seen through the eyes of UCLA sorority girl, Elle Woods, dumped by her social-climbing boyfriend, Warner Huntington III. The story changes location as does Elle’s priorities when she enrolls in Harvard Law School to win him back.

Always a difficult task to take a movie, particularly one as popular as this one, and put it on a live stage. B&B utilized set designer extraordinaire Michael Layton to, once again, perform his layout magic. Layton’s revolving set whisks us from courtroom to murder scene to beauty salon with ease.

Read the full review…

About Elizabeth Musgrave

Musgrave is the syndicated columnist of Gotta Go, newspaper and magazine circulation 216,000, as well as a travel writer, public speaker, blogger, freelance feature, copy and content writer. A local theater, music and restaurant critic, Elizabeth can be heard on 93 WIBC’s Saturday Morning News Show as Indy’s entertainment advisor. You can follow her on Twitter @GottaGo and Facebook.

Indiana History Center Posts Attendance Record

February 22, 2012 Leave a comment
Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center

Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center. staff photo.

By Kim Easton
Indiana History Center

Indianapolis— The Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center, home of the Indiana Historical Society, has seen blockbuster increases in attendance and library use as well as higher sales in the Basile History Market. The History Center is located at 450 W. Ohio St. in downtown Indianapolis along the canal.

Ticketed attendance for the Indiana Experience was up 71 percent over 2010, and overall visitors to the building increased 15 percent. Additionally, the William H. Smith Memorial Library served 14 percent more guests. IHS also saw increases in retail sales over 2010: Basile History Market revenue is up 13 percent. January 2012 attendance – up 78 percent over January 2011 – indicates the upward trend is continuing this year.

The Indiana Experience, which opened to the public in March 2010, provides visitors an interactive and high-technology experience – a new way to live history – from the You Are There series featuring historical interpreters to Destination Indiana’s virtual tours of the state using touch-screen technology.

“We are truly connecting people to Indiana’s past,” says IHS President and CEO John A. Herbst. “The attendance numbers are a wonderful indication that we’re on the right track – that the innovative and exciting programs we’re providing are engaging our guests.”

The December 2011 receipt of a $425,000 Challenge Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to support the endowment for the Indiana Experience provided a large boost to a fundraising campaign that is closing in on its goal. The grant will help to leverage significant private funds for the ongoing implementation of the Indiana Experience and is in addition to the more than $1.2 million in grants IHS received in 2011 from the R.B. Annis Educational Foundation, the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Central Indiana Community Foundation, among others. The Campaign for the Indiana Experience ends in December 2012.

The five-year Campaign for the Indiana Experience began in December of 2007 and has steadily progressed since that time, receiving significant support from individuals, corporations and foundations.

For more information on the Indiana Experience and other IHS programs, call 317-232-1882 or visit

About the Indiana Historical Society

Since 1830, the Indiana Historical Society has been Indiana’s Storyteller, connecting people to the past by collecting, preserving, interpreting and sharing the state’s history. A private, nonprofit membership organization, IHS maintains the nation’s premier research library and archives on the history of Indiana and the Old Northwest and presents a unique set of visitor exhibitions called the Indiana Experience. IHS also provides support and assistance to local museums and historical groups; publishes books and periodicals; sponsors teacher workshops; and provides youth, adult and family programming.