Posts Tagged ‘Phoenix Theatre’

“How to Use a Knife” at the Phoenix Theatre, Jan. 19-Feb. 12, 2017

December 27, 2016 Leave a comment

Phoenix Theatre in Indianapolis, Indiana. staff photo, (c) 2015, all rights reserved.

By Olivia Hinkel
Phoenix Theatre

Phoenix Theatre of Indianapolis announces the National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere of How to Use a Knife opening January 19, 2017 on the Frank and Katrina Basile Stage. This production runs through February 12, 2017, with Bryan Fonseca serving as director.


Amidst the chaos of a New York City kitchen, Chef George is trying to turn his life around. As he struggles to stay sober, he must also contend with two spirited Guatemalan line-cooks, a pot-smoking busboy, an eerily quiet African dishwasher, and, of course, the lunch hour. But now immigration authorities are knocking at the door and it becomes apparent to George that his own life isn’t the only one he holds in his hands.


For 33 years, Bryan Fonseca has served as the Producing Director of the Phoenix Theatre. He previously worked in Indianapolis as the Producing Director of the Broad Ripple Playhouse and the assistant to the Producing Director at the Civic Theatre of Indianapolis. He was a founder and first Artistic Director of The Company Players in his hometown of Gary, Indiana. Bryan has directed for the MFA Playwrights Workshop at the Kennedy Center, The Human Race Theatre, Indiana University, Ball State University, and the Civic Theatre of Indianapolis. Over the years, he has transferred six Phoenix shows to Chicago. Bryan has received an Achievement and Service award from the Indiana Theatre Association, two Artist Fellowship awards from the Indiana State Arts Commission and two Creative Renewal Fellowships from the Arts Council of Indianapolis/Lilly Endowment. He is the first recipient of the Transformational Impact Fellowship from the Arts Council of Indianapolis, with the generous funding support of Lilly Endowment Inc. In addition to his work at the Phoenix, he is an adjunct professor at IUPUI and lectures frequently at Butler University and the University of Indianapolis. He has served on the board of the National New Play Network and developed and served as the first president of the League of Indianapolis Theaters.


Will Snider was born and raised in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. His play How to Use a Knife will receive a National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere this season through Capital Stage (Sacramento, CA), Phoenix Theatre (Indianapolis, IN), Unicorn Theatre (Kansas City, MO), and InterAct Theatre (Philadelphia, PA). Other plays include The Big Man (EST’s Marathon of One-Act Plays), Strange Men, and Death of a Driver. His work has been developed at MCC, NNPN National Showcase of New Plays, The Kennedy Center, SPACE on Ryder Farm, Great Plains Theatre Conference, #serials@theflea, the claque, and MAKEHOUSE. He is a member of Youngblood, recipient of an EST/Soan Grant and The Kennedy Center’s Paula Vogel Playwriting Award, and spent three years working in agricultural development in East Africa. He is pursuing an MFA at UCSD under Naomi Iizuka.


How to Use a Knife features Chelsea Anderson as Kim, Ryan Artzberger as George, Josh Castaneda as Miguel, Rob Johansen as Michael, Tommy Lewey as Jack, Carlos Medina Maldonado as Carlos, and Ansley Valentine as Steve.

Chelsea Anderson has worked with Indiana Repertory Theatre, Phoenix Theatre, Forward Theater, Great River Shakespeare Festival, Heartland Actors Repertory Theatre, among others. She was most recently seen on the Phoenix stage in One Man, Two Guvnors.

Ryan Artzberger is returning to the Phoenix Theatre after having appeared in This and Reasons to be Pretty. In addition to being a regular at IRT and a company member of HART, Ryan has performed in theaters across the country, including Berkeley Rep, The Shakespeare Theatre Company in D.C., The Studio Theatre, The Lookingglass Theatre and The Goodman Theatre. Ryan is a graduate of The Juilliard School and Ohio University.

Rob Johansen will appear in this NNPN Rolling World Premiere directly following his appearance in Dogs of Rwanda. Previously, he was most recently seen at the Phoenix in the NNPN Rolling World Premiere of On Clover Road.

Ansley Valentine’s performance credits include several seasons with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra’s A Yuletide Celebration as puppet master and “Scrooge.” He recently joined the theatre faculty of Indiana University. His last appearance at The Phoenix Theatre was in Joe Turner’s Come and Gone.


Tickets for How to Use a Knife are on sale now. Tickets are $27.00 per person on Thursdays and Sundays, $33.00 per person on Fridays and Saturdays, and $20.00 for anyone 21 & under. Tickets for How to Use a Knife may be purchased by calling the box office at 317-635-7529 or visiting Curtain times for the production are: Thursdays at 7 pm, Fridays at 8 pm, Saturdays at 8 pm, and Sundays at 2 pm.

Phoenix Theatre Brew-Ha-Ha, June 18, 2016


Phoenix Theatre in Indianapolis, Indiana. staff photo, (c) 2015, all rights reserved.

By Olivia Hinkel
Phoenix Theatre

The Phoenix Theatre will hold its 21st annual craft beer festival, Brew-Ha-Ha, on Saturday, June 18, 2016, 3:00-7:00 PM. The event is open to individuals ages 21 and older.

Sample the region’s finest microbrews and craft beers, enjoy live music all afternoon long, and indulge in great food at Indy’s original beer sampling event.

Proceeds from Brew-Ha-Ha support the Phoenix Theatre. Corporate sponsors for this year’s event are The Doug Dilling Team at Unite Real Estate and Williams Creek Consulting.

Brew-Ha-Ha provides an outdoor block party atmosphere in the 700 block of North Park Avenue between Massachusetts Avenue and East St. Clair Street in downtown Indianapolis’ historic Chatham Arch neighborhood, with the street traffic rerouted for the event. Live entertainment is provided all afternoon by local bands The Underhills, Jon Strahl Band, and Monkey Fightin’ Snakes. Brew-Ha-Ha is held rain or shine.

Brew-Ha-Ha attracts the area’s finest microbrewers and craft beer distributors each year. This year, dozens of breweries from all over Indiana have been confirmed, including some new to the festival. For a full list of the brewers in attendance, visit the “News and Events” page of

Participating food vendors this year include King David Dogs, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, and Punch Burger.


The Underhills

Weaving together guitars, banjo, fiddle, mandolin, and electric bass, The Underhills evoke the folk music traditions of Appalachia, while experimenting with motifs and grooves that draw influence from The Grateful Dead, The Beatles, Bob Marley, D’Angelo, John Hartford, Bach, and Vivaldi. Inspired by the wooded hills of southern Indiana, this seven-piece outfit uses intricate string arrangements, rich vocal harmonies, and modern songwriting styles to create a sound that is uniquely their own.

Jon Strahl Band

Jon Strahl Band is an Indianapolis, IN based Blues, Rock, and Soul act, which over the past few years has built a grass roots following in the Central Indiana region. With the release of their first full-length album, The Ladder, and on the strength of their crowd-pleasing live shows, their reputation continues to grow in leaps and bounds. The band takes a no-frills approach to their music, focusing on musicianship and soulfulness to get their point across. Taking cues from the Chicago, Mississippi , and Texas Blues traditions, and the Soul influence of Stax Records and Muscle Shoals, they have blended the old-school and the modern to create a sound all their own.

Monkey Fightin’ Snakes

In 2009, Stupid Nasty Angry Knights of the Evil Science (S.N.A.K.E.S.) began their conquest to consume the world with obnoxious conformity. They infiltrated the music business, embedding clandestine messages in the ‘out-tune’ vocals and repetitive beats of popular music. Thus, Mankind’s Only Non-Knights of Evil Yuck (M.O.N.K.E.Y.) was formed to fight SNAKES at its core: with straightforward, in-your-face rock and roll. One six string, one four string, one kit and one voice combine to stamp out the evil yuck. Over the years, fighters have been lost in battle, but Totin’ Todd (six string) and Marauding Mike (four string) have managed to survive. This summer, they are joined by recent recruits Raucous Rachelle on vocals and Rambunctious Rod on the kit. To protect its Monkey fightin’ members from Snake harm, they have periodically been forced to operate under pseudonym. Nevertheless, for seven straight years, Monkey Fightin’ Snakes has bombarded Brew-Ha-Ha with its electric attack on obnoxious conformity.

Tickets for Brew-Ha-Ha are on sale now. Tickets are $30 per person if purchased before the day of the event and will be $40 on the day of the event.

VIP tickets are on sale now and are $50. VIP admission starts at 2:00 PM, an hour before regular admission. VIP tickets are only available before the day of the events and are limited in quantity. Tickets for Designated Drivers are $10.

Tickets are available online at or by calling the Box Office at 317-635-7529.

‘Typhoid Mary’ at the Phoenix Theatre, Apr. 30 to May 24, 2015

April 16, 2015 Leave a comment
Phoenix Theatre

Phoenix Theatre. staff photo, (c) 2015, all rights reserved.

By Ben Rose
Phoenix Theatre

Phoenix Theatre of Indianapolis announces the World Premiere production of Typhoid Mary opening April 30, 2015 on the Frank and Katrina Basile Stage. This production runs through May 24, 2015, with Bill Simmons serving as director.

Tom Horan wrote Typhoid Mary in 2013 during his first season as the Phoenix Theatre’s Playwright-in-Residence.

The play was part of a staged reading at The Lark Theatre in New York in the spring of 2014. Producing Director, Bryan Fonseca, then selected the play as part of the Phoenix Theatre’s 32nd season.

The play was also subsequently selected for a staged reading at the National New Play Network’s National Showcase of New Plays in November of 2014.

“If I’m getting national attention, it’s because this play, and my work in general, was fostered by the theater community here in Indianapolis.” –Tom Horan, Playwright


You’ve probably heard of “Typhoid Mary,” but most of us are unfamiliar with Mary Mallon, the cook behind the name.

In this World Premiere production, Mary—this feisty, vulgar, yet deeply religious Irish-immigrant—meets a host of peculiar people, including bumbling policemen, unsympathetic nurses, a female doctor, a mass of unsettling judges, and a doctor who wishes he was a detective.

This quirky, anachronistic telling of the discovery of Mary’s peculiar disease, as well as her forced quarantine, unfolds in front of a backdrop of changing notions of medicine, morality and cleanliness– Did she willfully infect others? Was she a victim of a misguided medical authority? Or is the truth even stranger?

“In my recent plays, I like to say that I’m taking odd stories from history books and then doodling in the margins. What initially drew me to Typhoid Mary is the strange story.

“Typhoid Mary takes place in the early 1900s, when notions of health and morality – which had been associated with religious cleanliness – were challenged by new scientific understanding of germs.

“I’m fascinated by this moment, where Mary’s disease is so new and different, that there aren’t easy answers, and people are forced to make difficult decisions about the rights of individuals vs. the good of the group …and then live with the consequences.” –Playwright, Tom Horan


Bill Simmons’ relationship with Bryan Fonseca and the Phoenix Theatre began with Durang/Durang in 1998. Since then, he’s acted in or directed more than 20 Phoenix productions including The Action Against Sol Schumann, A Number, End Days, The Most Damaging Wound, Sunlight, My Name is Asher Lev, August: Osage County, Seminar, Clybourne Park, 4000 Miles and North of the Boulevard. As Bogie once said, “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”


Lauren Briggeman plays the title character, Mary. Her Phoenix credits include Seminar, In the Next Room or the Vibrator Play, and The Housewives of Mannheim. Most recently, she had the pleasure of working alongside Ben Asaykwee in Cabaret Poe with Q Artistry, and last summer she played Hamlet in Acting Up Productions’ Hamlet.

Jolene Moffatt plays Dr. Sara Josephine Baker—the female doctor who twice tracked down Mary Mallon—along with various other roles throughout. Jolene was most recently seen in the new Indy Eleven Theatre at the iNDYfRINGE Building as part of DivaFest 2015. Before that, as Carrie Nation in The Useful Woman as part of iNDYfRINGE 2014. Audiences have seen Jolene on both stages at Phoenix Theatre, The IRT, ShadowApe Theatre Company, The Jewish Theatre of Bloomington, Booth Tarkington Civic, TOTS, and The Edyvean Repertory Theatre.

Ben Asaykwee plays George Soper—the man who discovers that Mary Mallon is an asymptomatic carrier of typhoid—along with several other characters throughout the play. Ben is an actor, director, composer and playwright living in Indianapolis. He is also the Artistic Director of original works organization Q Artistry. His work has been heard and/or seen throughout the midwest at many lovely places, including The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis Lilly Theatre, Bailiwick Repertory (Chicago), the University of Indianapolis, Light Opera Works Chicago, and Indy Fringe.


Tom Horan is a Writer, Sound Designer and Co-Artistic Director of the Austin-born theater collective The Duplicates, along with Indiana Repertory Theatre’s Associate Artistic Director, Courtney Sale.

Tom co-founded The Duplicates in 2009 and, with them, he served as Script and Sound Designer for over a half a dozen plays, iIncluding a site-specific spectacle about the Dionne quintuplets entitled “The Fictional Life of Historical Oddities,” a love story told with objects entitled “The Man With the Dancing Eyes,” a playful memorial entitled “september play,” and a drive-in puppet theater about Elvis’ car entitled “Elvis Machine.”

Their latest, The Poison Squad, earned six Austin Critics Table nominations, including Sound Design, Drama Production and New Play, winning awards for Lighting and Ensemble.

His solo toy theater play, The King & The Clockmaker, received Best-of-Week and Best-of-Fest honors at FronteraFest (Austin) and a subsequent production with Great Small Works (New York City.)

He developed his looping ghost story, Static, at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, for a workshop production at the University of Texas at Austin, where Tom received his MFA. Also at UT, Tom created an interview driven sound installation entitled Headphone Stories.

Currently, Tom serves as Playwright-in-Residence at the Phoenix Theater in Indianapolis, through a grant from NNPN, and works as Assistant Professor at Earlham College.


Immediately following the performance on Sunday, May 3, there will be a post-show discussion on the ethics of medical quarantine, and other modern-day issues of medical ethics raised within Typhoid Mary.

The panel is co-hosted by the Production Sponsors, Eskenazi Health and the Eskenazi Health Foundation, and will be moderated by Dr. Lisa Harris, CEO of Eskenazi Health.

Other panelists include: Dr. Eric Meslin, Director, Indiana University Center for Bioethics; Tim Stephens, CEO of Managed Emergency Surge for Healthcare Coalition (MESH); Professor Ross Silverman, Professor of Public Health & Law at the IU Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health. IndyStar Reporter Shari Rudavsky will introduce the panelists.


Tickets for Typhoid Mary are on sale now. The entire first weekend are CheapSeats performances, and tickets are just $20.00 per person.

Remaining performances are $27.00 per person on Thursdays and Sundays, $33.00 per person on Fridays and Saturdays, and $20.00 for anyone 21 & under.

Tickets for Typhoid Mary may be purchased by calling the box office at 317-635-7529 or visit Curtain times for the production are: Thursdays – 7 pm; Fridays and Saturdays – 8 pm; Sundays – 2 pm.

Phoenix Theatre Announces 2014-15 Season

August 4, 2014 1 comment
Phoenix Theatre

Phoenix Theatre. staff photo, (c) 2013, all rights reserved.

By Ben Rose
Phoenix Theatre

At the Phoenix, we take comedy seriously.

This season we’ll present the various ways we laugh. We’ve produced 31 seasons of shows that tackled serious issues of the day, and that’s a lot of drama. So we’ve decided to lighten up a bit. Humor is how we manage to get through the tragedies and absurdities of life. And we’ve put together a lineup of stories featuring a rich variety of comedic styles.

From the dark comedy of THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN to the satirical and surreal style of MR. BURNS: A POST ELECTRIC PLAY, we’ll explore what makes us laugh. OLD JEWS TELLING JOKES mixes stand-up with sketch comedy. RIVER CITY and TYPHOID MARY derive their humor from character or situational comedy. CLARK GABLE SLEPT HERE is a modern farce. A VERY PHOENIX XMAS 9 is a postmodern parody of old-fashioned variety shows.

All of these shows have their fair share of substance—it is the Phoenix after all. But we’ve found a perfect balance of humor to go with that drama.  As they say: comedy equals tragedy plus time.  I hope you enjoy the season.

Bryan Fonseca
Producing Director


 Clark Gable Slept Here  by Michael McKeever
September 18 – October 19, 2014

As one of the silver screen’s brightest stars charms his way through the Golden Globe Awards ceremony, his staff tries to figure out what to do with the dead male prostitute in his hotel room at the famed Chateau Marmont. This glamorously dark satire explores the make-believe world of Hollywood, where nothing is ever what it seems and closets are used for so much more than hanging up your tuxedo.

Old Jews Telling Jokes by Peter Gethers and Daniel Okrent
October 23 – November 23, 2014

This Off-Broadway hit comedy pays tribute to and reinvents classic jokes of the past and present. Think you’ve heard them all before? Not this way. If you’ve ever had a mother, visited a doctor or walked into a bar with a priest, a rabbi, and a frog, Old Jews Telling Jokes will sit in the dark, give you a second opinion and ask you where you got that. You’ll laugh ’til you plotz.

A Very Phoenix Xmas 9: Flashing Through the Snow
November 28 – December 21, 2014

Share your holiday with us! We’re back with another round of all-new sketches, songs and dances! We’ve got everything on your list: traditional holiday music, madcap comedy skits, and some very talented people to help you celebrate this most joyful—and stressful—time of year. We turn the holidays on their head with local and national playwrights putting a new spin on all things traditional. An Indy favorite!

River City by Diana Grisanti (an NNPN Rolling World Premiere)
January 8 – February 1, 2015 mention NNPN

Shaken by her father’s death, Mary sets off to uncover three generations’ worth of family secrets buried in the West End of Louisville, Kentucky. Mary’s journey spans four decades and investigates race, memory, and the ghosts that haunt one American city. River City is a fascinating and funny story about how you find your “people” when you check more than one box to define your cultural heritage.

The Cripple of Inishmaan by Martin McDonagh
February 5 – March 1, 2015

When a Hollywood director visits a remote Irish island to cast his latest film, the locals clamor for their once-in-a-lifetime chance at movie stardom. But it’s Billy, a frail young man with the odds stacked against him, who has the biggest Hollywood dream of them all. Direct from a smash-hit run on Broadway, this dark comedy features a cross-eyed look at Irishness and what it means to follow your heart, twisted as it may be.

Buyer and Cellar by Jonathan Tolins
March 5 – April 5, 2015

Alex More has a story to tell. A struggling actor in L.A., Alex takes a job working in the Malibu basement of a beloved megastar, Barbra Streisand. One day, the Lady Herself comes downstairs to play. It feels like real bonding in the basement, but will their relationship ever make it upstairs? This hugely successful Off-Broadway hit is an outrageous one-man comedy about celebrity, the oddest of odd jobs and the pursuit of utopia.

Dontrell, Who Kissed the Sea by Nathan Alan Davis (an NNPN Rolling World Premiere)
April 9 – April 26, 2015

18-year-old Dontrell Jones III decides that it is his duty and destiny to venture into the Atlantic Ocean in search of an ancestor lost during the Middle Passage. But his family is not at all ready to abandon its prized son to the waters of a mysterious and haunting past. Blending poetry, humor, wordplay and ritual, Dontrell, Who Kissed the Sea is a present-day hero’s quest exploring the lengths and depths we must go to redeem history’s wrongs.

Typhoid Mary by Tom Horan ( Phoenix Theatre playwright in residence)
April 30 – May 24, 2015

You’ve probably heard of “Typhoid Mary,” but most of us are unfamiliar with Mary Mallon, the cook behind the name. This quirky, anachronistic telling of the discovery of Mary’s peculiar disease, as well as her forced quarantine, unfolds in front of a backdrop of changing notions of medicine, morality and cleanliness – Did she willfully infect others? Was she a victim of a misguided medical authority? Or is the truth even stranger?

To Be Determined
May 28 – July 5, 2015

We are currently negotiating a contract for a show that has done so well nationally and internationally, the Phoenix would be the first non-touring production of it in the region. We pride ourselves on bringing you the most recent hits, and this time we’ve definitely hit our mark with this fresh and high energy musical. That’s all we can say till spring.

Burns, a Post-Electric Play by Anne Washburn
July 9 – August 9, 2015

What will endure when the cataclysm arrives—when the grid fails, society crumbles and we’re faced with the task of rebuilding? This imaginative dark comedy propels us forward nearly a century, when what begins as a simple reminiscing of foundation a past episode of The Simpsons eventually leads to the development of  the of a new civilization. Mr. Burns is a vibrant exploration of how the pop culture of one era might evolve into the mythology of another.

The Phoenix Theatre is located at 749 North Park Avenue in Indianapolis, Indiana. For more information, visit, or call 317-635-7529.

Basile One-Minute Play Festival, Mar. 22-24

March 18, 2014 Leave a comment
Basile One-Minute Play Festival at Phoenix Theatre

Basile One-Minute Play Festival at Phoenix Theatre.
Image provided by the theatre and used with written permission.