Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre opens their 49th Season with "Shear Madness," running December 28, 2021-Feb. 5, 2022. "An audience favorite from our 2017 Season, Shear Madness is the hilarious "whodunit" play featuring audience participation to determine the killer in this murder mystery! Nearly the entire original cast is returning."

It's also the closing act for Master Chef Odell Ward, reported Patricia Rettig, director of marketing and media relations. She offered a snapshot of his long-running gig.

"Chef Odell came to Beef & Boards in 1983 where he was an assistant to our chef at that time, Richard Kolic. Prior to applying for the position at Beef & Boards, Odell had done some cooking "off and on" while serving in the U.S. Air Force. A few years later, when Chef Kolic left, Odell was asked if he wanted to take over, and he said yes. "I thanked Doug (Stark) the other day for that opportunity," Chef Odell said.

Here's a quick email Q/A with Master Chef Odell Ward:

Kohn: What has been most joyful [and challenging] across the years for creating menus?

Chef Odell Ward: Trying to keep the buffet interesting and fresh for 38 years, and the joyful part was knowing most customers enjoyed it!

Kohn: And then came COVID-19; what creativity did you and your staff have to tap into?

Chef Odell Ward: After COVID-19, we had to adjust to a la carte plated service to open back up. The logistics of that was challenging – none of my staff had ever had to do that kind of service at the theatre, but they took my lead and did a great job executing the plan.

Kohn: Share the segue for a smooth continuum as you prepared Beef & Boards, carrying on its sterling culinary expertise on your way to retiring?

Chef Odell Ward: The foundation has been laid for Beef & Boards and its operation. The Starks have a certain expectation of what they want and what their clientele wants. I think with a new chef they will see some new, fresh ideas. Thirty-eight years is a long time for one person!

Kohn: Going forward, what's on your 'retirement' horizon?

Chef Odell Ward: Lots of fishing, I hope!

"Chef is going to be sorely missed, added Rettig. "Everybody loves him. He's a generous and kind person who's always had a beaming smile, a cheery word, and a warm hug for everyone. We do wish him well in his retirement and hope to see his smiling face here again when he can enjoy the theatre without having to cook for everyone."

B&B founder Doug Stark wrapped up Chef Ward's tenure; "I never had to worry about the kitchen. We could concentrate on the shows because Odell was always there – he did everything, [including the every day maintenance challenges] plumbing, electrical, etc., to keep things running smoothly in the kitchen. He will be greatly missed."

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Hurry over to the IRT, invites the Indy Arts Council because "There's a new Scrooge in town. And while this is Rob Johansen's first time in the iconic role at Indiana Repertory Theatre, the well-known actor is not new to A Christmas Carol: It's his 14th year in the play and his 50th production at the IRT.

"There is no better way to celebrate 50 shows at IRT than playing Scrooge," says Johansen in the email, citing his side-gig as a dog trainer at the Humane Society of Indianapolis as a flip to his on-stage character. "Imagine The Ghost of Christmas Present is sprinkling magic on you every time you are feeling stress," said Johansen. "When I come in for my holiday shifts at the Humane Society, I am so happy to be working with other folks who have taken time to make caring for other beings a part of their holiday celebration."

Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol runs through December 26 at Indiana Repertory Theatre: ticket info here.

 

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The Children's Museum created a new, live Lilly Theater production that follows St. Nick on an epic quest to the North Pole. He faces trials and tests on his way – including a candy cane battle – he must pass to gain magic powers and become Santa Claus, bringing joy to all. The presentation is offered on various dates through January 2 and is included with regular admission. 

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"I wanted to spread good cheer, love, and light, so I'm sharing this link to the Asante City Wide Holiday Celebration with you," emailed Deborah Asante. "I hope it makes you laugh and appreciate your blessings. Subscribe to our YouTube channel. It's a place to go when you want to smile. You may also download a Watch Party Kit for the celebration on our Facebook page. It has recipes and activities to enhance your holiday: Asante Art Institute of Indianapolis YouTube Channel

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"We have a lot to celebrate at The District Theatre," emailed Pauline Moffat. "The District received a $20,000 Resilience Grant from Lilly Endowment and built a stage outback of the District loading door on an overgrown lot beside the alley that runs between the two buildings. The OutBack 

Outdoor Stage opened in May and closed in October for its inaugural 2021 season. It was a great hit with artists and audiences."

  

The overall stats: 

5,975 audience members attended shows in 2021, including 1,700 for IndyFringe Festival and Indianapolis Ballet New Works.

84% of artists on stage in 2021 were BIPOC or LGBTQ+.

360 Artists participated in shows on the Outback stage and indoors forward from October.

 The Timeless Music project presented 14 concerts and 29 unique musicians.

"Most notably, 2021 saw two world-class jazz bands from NYC come through The District Theatre AND the inauguration of the Young Guns of the Great American Songbook ending with two fully sold-out concerts. We demonstrated the viability and positioning of the Foyer at The District as yet another performance spot for The District Theatre with FREE jazz concerts," summarized Moffat. "February's major work will take place on the Mainstage to install new curtains and tracking."

 

The District Theatre 2022 Programming update covers the range of comedy, cabaret, concerts, dance, drama and new works.

JANUARY

  14-16:Comedy Bootcamp is the only stand-up comedy class in the country designed by military veterans for military veterans. They offer a six-week class free to twelve vets three times each year. "We are honored to host the Indianapolis Comedy Bootcamp graduation and class sessions."

  21-23: 'Mr. Yunioshi' Written, Performed & Directed by J. Elijah Cho exploring Mickey Rooney's infamous performance as Mr. Yunioshi in Breakfast at Tiffany's

  29: one night only: David Vass Solo show.

FEBRUARY

 24 -27 and Mar 3-6: The Fowl – A Musical by Ben Asaykwee

Twenty singers and dancers peck their way through this two-act funny/macabre parody of Hitchcock's 'The Birds'. 

MARCH

 18-20; 24-25, HEDY! The Life & Inventions of Hedy Lamarr 

"Hedy Lamarr, glamorous siren of the silver screen, was more than 'The Most Beautiful Woman in the World'. She invented Frequency-Hopping Spread Spectrum Technology that makes the world of wireless communication tick. From Austria to Hollywood, WWII, torpedoes, ecstasy, and intrigue to the very cell phone in your pocket, she was there!" 

 Heather Massie marries her loves of art and science in the person of Hedy Lamarr along with portraying 36 characters.

APRIL

  8-10: The Fourth Wall Ensemble blends music, theatre, dance, and acrobatics into a new hybrid art form. 

  21-30 What is This Place by playwright Jan White

 

MAY

  5-6: Freedom Dance – West African Dance performance

 

JUNE

 10-11: Timeless Music Project presents Adrian Cunningham Concert with James Chirrillo – guitar 

 17-26: Every Brilliant Thing, Stage Door Productions in collaboration with Q Artistry, explores depression and hope, uncertainty and change, confusion and joy, heartbreak and anger, relationships and solitude, risk and resistance, guilt and forgiveness. 

JULY

  1-3;8-10: Bed Play, a new play by Shar Steinman

  11-31: 9 to 5 The Musical, with music and lyrics by Dolly Parton and book by Patricia Resnick

 AUGUST &

  15-31: IndyFringe Festival

 

SEPTEMBER

   1-5: IndyFringe Festival

   16-18: Timeless Music Project presents Falu – American Patchwork Quartet on a mission to reclaim the immigrant soul of American Roots Music. 

OCTOBER

   3-9: OnyxFest – Black Writer's Festival

   14-24: American Lives Theatre presents New Play Festival 

 NOVEMBER

   1-6: Indianapolis Ballet "New Works"

   11-13: Freedom Dance

DECEMBER

 Holiday shows

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Continuing a season that explores Connection & Contradiction, American Lives Theatre (ALT) opens the Joshua Harmon comedy-drama "Admissions" at IndyFringe Basile Theatre January 14-30: All evening performances are at 7:30 p.m. The Sunday matinee is at 3:00 p.m.

Combining the red-hot topics of race in America with college admissions, along with a heaping dose of humor, ALT is thrilled to be the first company in Indianapolis to produce the play The New York Times calls "astonishing and daring. An extraordinary satire." 

Now, tickets are on sale at AmericanLivesTheatre.org and at the door, 719 E St. Clair St., Indianapolis.

The Cabaret sent this notice: Ticket sales begin on January 28: visit THECABARET.ORG/SHOWS

Ali Stroker opens Feb. 25-26, followed by Eden Espinosa, March 11-12; Alan Cumming and Art Shapiro, April 8-9; Meow Meow, April 22-23; Lasana Kazembe May 14; and Lisa Fisher with Grand Baton, June 3-4.

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Fonseca Theatre producing director Jordan Flores Schwartz emailed, "In 2021, we focused on hope and on finding a path forward in this new normal. But now we have to prepare to take that journey.

In this spirit, our 2022 season is focused on healing.

Mud Row by Dominique Morrisou, running March 4-20, "shows us the importance of healing ourselves by honoring and confronting our past, symbolized by the Sankofa in our season announcement," said Swartz. "Fade by Tanya Saracho, May 27- June 12, then leaves us with a difficult question, asking how we heal important relationships once trust is lost. 

"Though there is plenty of humor throughout the story, Mike Lew's Tiger Style! July 29-Aug. 14, offers a sincere exploration of what it means to heal and move forward when you are not quite sure where you belong. And we will be hosting our first ever Boo-La-La: An Indianapolis Spooktacular, set for Oct. 14-30. This spooky season celebration will be entirely fun and lighthearted, but it has roots in Bryan's beloved Christmas show tradition. It is my hope that Boo-La-La will help us build a new tradition now that the waves of change have stilled a bit. Besides, laughter can be the most healing medicine of all.

"I look forward to taking these next steps with you and we greatly appreciate your continued support of FTC. We would not be where we are without you beside us.

Abrazos y mil gracias a ti. We will see you soon!”

Find an overview of The Fonseca Theatre here: https://fonsecatheatre.org/shows/

===Music===

IVCI 2002 tickets: www.violin.org

 February 1, 7:30 p.m. at Indiana Landmarks Center: Dreamers' Circus, 

 March 24, 7:30 p.m. at Indiana History Center: French Soundscapes with IVCI 2018 Bronze Medalist Luke Hsu and 2019 USA International Harp Competition Gold Medalist Melanie Laurent with the Ronen Chamber Ensemble

  April 26, 7:30 p.m., Indiana Landmarks Center: Chien-Kim-Watkins Trio 

  May 17, 7:30 p.m., Indiana History Center: 1986 Gold Medalist Kyoko Takezawa with pianist Chih-Yi Chen

APA Grand Encounter 2002 tickets: americanpianists.org

  March 13, 3:30 p.m.: Olga Kern

  May 15, 3:30 p.m.: Michelle Cann

Indianapolis Symphonic Choir 2002: indychoir.org 

  Feb. 26, 6 p.m., Biltwell Event Center: Gala Bel Canto Paradis, benefiting education and community engagement programming

Second Presbyterian Church Sacred Arts Series 2022: free/non-ticketed at 7700 N. Meridian Street

  Feb. 13, 3 p.m.: A French Organ Extravaganza, John Allegar, organist

  March 20, 4 p.m. Lenten Concert: Loss and Life, Gabriel Faure “Requiem,” Sanctuary Choir and Festival Orchestra

  April 24, 3 p.m.: Handbell Ensemble Concert with Circle City Ringers, St. Luke's United Methodist, Second Presbyterian Church

  May 10, 7 p.m.: Hold Fast to Dreams, Nebraska Wesleyan University Choir,Tom Trenney, conductor

 

===Visual Art====

Newfields, "a place for nature & the arts," has opened "Embodied:Human Figures in Art," on Floor 2. "This exhibition features works from four continents that span nearly 4,000 years, and through themes including power, beauty, identity, gender, and remembrance, [while] examining how representations of people in art allows us to explore what it means to be human," invites the email. It is the first of many reimagined permanent collection displays that will transform how guests experience art inside the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields.  

The daVinci Pursuit is offering "Painting White & Light Watercolor Series for those of us who love the calming aspects of watercolor painting. We will focus on learning to focus on light, washy areas of light and white layers. No experience is necessary. All skill levels welcome." 

The one-hour classes run 6:30-7:30 p.m. on Jan. 5, 12, 19.Learn more and register here:

 https://www.eventbrite.com/e/painting-white-light-watercolor-series-tickets-230799556687

===

And there's a different connotation to 'the play's the thing' with Indy Eleven's announcement of the first hires for their inaugural women's senior team roster: Forwards Katie Soderstrom and Kristina Lynch Midfielder Molly McLaughlin. Paul Dolinsky was named head coach, with Grace Bahr as an assistant coach. Learn more here here and at indyeleven.com.

Photos courtesy of Patricia Rettig

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