On Stage This Week(end): June 29 – July 2

It’s a very light weekend for theater most likely because is it the weekend before Independence Day. However, I highly suggest that in between the cookouts and fireworks you check out Bella Bravo’s play As Bad As They. I recently did a piece for the Limestone Post about the play, and I personally can’t wait to see it on Friday. Get more information below.

~Jen

As Bad As They

Written by Bella Bravo

In As Bad As They, Jordan Ternin tries to decipher the fine line between her impulses to help and control after her brother Caleb decides to quit using. This play is set in present-day Bloomington, Indiana—in the midst of the Midwest’s opioid-heroin epidemic. The play begins with the estranged lives of Caleb and Jordan. The siblings are reunited on the most dangerous day for an addict, the day he’s released from state custody. On this day the dosage that Caleb handled comfortably two weeks before could cause his death.

Presented by Monster House at the Blockhouse on July 3o. Tickets are $5 and an addition $5 donation is encouraged. All proceeds go to Courage for Change, peer-run, sober-living, and low-barrier halfway house in Bloomington.

Get Tickets Here!

On Stage This Week: April 10-16

Hello all,

Despite a super busy schedule, I’m trying to make Bravo, Bloomington a bit more active. For this reason, I am starting “On Stage This Week.” On Monday or Tuesday of each week, I will post a list of the shows being performed during that week. As of now, I am focusing mainly on theatrical performances, but I am more than happy to promote any and all local performances and productions here on the site. If you want your event added to the list, please feel free to message me or comment here.

Are you a fan of musicals, then this is the week for you to go to the theater! This week is musicals week in Bloomington, or so it seems. Check out the listings below, go see a show, and sing along to some fun musicals. It’s the perfect cure for whatever ails you.

Enjoy,

Jen

Calling all Kates

Book by Emily Goodson
Music & Lyrics by Jeremy Schonfeld

Marc gets dumped by his fiancé, Kate McBride, right before their wedding and honeymoon around the world. He’s now single and left to travel the globe alone since his plane tickets are non-transferrable and non-refundable. In an act of desperation, Marc posts an ad online for the only companion who could legally join him… someone with the exact same name as his ex-fiancé. Set loose in a bunch of different foreign countries, strangers Marc and Kate must get to know one another and learn to get along in the wake of Marc’s heartbreak. Will they fall in love? Probably not. Will they have a heck of a good time? Definitely. (musical)

Produced by the Bloomington Playwrights Project on Thurs 4/13-Sat 4/15

Buy Tickets Here!

 

The Drowsy Chaperone

Book by Bob Martin and Don McKellar
Music & Lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison

Gangsters-turned-pastry-chefs, seductive Spaniards, and a well-oiled chaperone will have you roaring like the 20s! In this “musical within a musical”, IU Theatre icon George Pinney takes the stage to share his talent one last time, as the melancholy “Man in Chair”. As he listens to his favorite record, his drab apartment gives way to the sparkling sets and lavish costumes of The Drowsy Chaperone. (musical)

Produced by the Indiana University Department of Theatre, Drama, and Contemporary Dance on Fri 4/14 – Sun 4/16

Buy Tickets Here!

Flower and Sword

By: Ma Sen

Flower and Sword is the story of a Child returning home to visit her father’s grave. The Child is met in sequence by their Mother, Father, and Father’s Friend. A deadly love triangle is revealed as masks drop and characters merge into each other. Is the Child doomed to the same deadly fate as their parents? Taiwanese playwright Ma Sen’s one act play questions the boundaries between love, family, fate, and gender. (play)

Performed as part of the China Remixed festival Mon 4/10 – 4/12

This is a FREE event. Find out more information here!

 

The Music Man

By Meredith Wilson

One of the most joyous family musicals ever! Professor Harold Hill’s a slick but charming con man who’s got the perfect get-rich-quick scheme. First, get the folks of Iowa’s River City to invest in a marching band for the kids, complete with instruments and uniforms. Then, take the cash and skip town before anyone figures out that he doesn’t know a note! But figure him out they do—especially lovely Marian the librarian and the hard-nosed mayor. Does tragedy ensue? Of course not, because the flimflam man turns out to have a heart, romance blossoms, and that mythical band turns out to be real after all! (musical)

Produced by the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music on Fri 4/14 and Sat 4/15

Buy Tickets Here!

 

Long Live Cardinal’s King Charles III

Who knew Shakespeare was still writing plays? He is currently using the pseudonym Mike Bartlett. Either that or Mike Bartlett is a reincarnation of Shakespeare. I jest, but yet how else would he be able to create a modern history play that is so perfectly Shakespearean? Bartlett’s King Charles III is a wonderful piece of theater that bring Shakespearean language, historicity, and archetypes to the world of modern politics. Cardinal’s modern, clean production of the play just adds to the play’s power and impact.

King Charles III is a fictional history of the English Royal Family that begins with the announcement that Queen Elizabeth II has just died. Like the funeral scene at the beginning of Shakespeare’s King Henry VI, the family, ministers, lords, and ladies gather to honor a well-loved monarch. The play constantly remembers Queen Elizabeth II as a strong leader who helped her country survive some very turbulent times. Read more

No Escaping the Fun at BPP

Last night, my husband, my best friend, and I embarked upon a puzzle-filled adventure that I’m sure we will be talking about for weeks to come. The Bloomington Playwrights Project has created Bloomington’s first ever escape room experience!

Now if you are like I was 48 hours ago and have no idea what an escape room is, I will give you the explanation my teenage son gave me. Escape rooms are a new form of interactive performance that puts a small group of people in a situation they have to escape from in a certain amount of time. Sometimes there is a fear factor aspect to it. For example, Chris Evans (Captain America) created one where Red Skull threatened to kill those that did not escape. The ones trapped in the room can escape by solving a series of puzzles that lead to more clues and more puzzles, but they must do so in the allotted amount of time, or they fail.

I was asked to come test out the escape room with a small group of friends. I knew that the BPP was using an IU basketball theme for their escape room, but I had no idea what to expect. My son’s description had me envisioning Bobby Knight coming after me with a chair if I didn’t solve the puzzles in time. It was a humorous if not slightly disturbing image to say the least. Plus, I don’t know anything about basketball. I am a theater, literature, gaming nerd. I only know the basics about sports because my family is full of sports fans. But on sports days, I would do my best to hide in my room with a fantasy novel while they indulged in the sportsball. I hoped my lack of sports knowledge wouldn’t impede my ability to escape nor my enjoyment of the event. Read more

Plenty of Blood: IU’s Duchess of Malfi

John Webster. When I hear that name I automatically think of the 1998 movie Shakespeare in Love. In one of my favorite scenes, we meet Webster outside of the playhouse where Shakespeare’s troupe is rehearsing Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare (played by Joseph Fiennes) comes out of the playhouse and sees a filthy young boy (Joe Roberts) sitting in the mud playing with several mice.

Boy: “I was in a play. They cut my head off in Titus Andronicus. When I write plays, they’ll be like Titus.”

Shakespeare: “You admire it?”

Boy: “I liked it when they cut heads off, and the daughter mutilated with knives.”

Shakespeare: “What’s your name?”

Boy: “John Webster, here kitty kitty.” (Goes to feed one of the mice to a black cat that has come up to him) “Plenty of blood. That’s the only writing.”

We know little about Webster’s life, but there is little doubt that this funny yet disturbing depiction is the brainchild of Tom Stoppard. This is his Webster, and since seeing this movie almost a decade ago, it’s also mine. It fits the bloodiness of his plays, and the dark twisted mind of a playwright whose predilection for horror and the supernatural seems more akin to Shyamalan than to Shakespeare. Every confrontation I have with a Webster play is colored by this depiction, for better for worse. I want to see that twisted, masochistic little boy in the creations that bear his name.

Read more

I Am Busy. Oh, So Busy…

Hello Bravo, Bloomington! readers. I have been quiet ever since the holidays, but I assure you it is not because I have been idle. In fact, I have been insanely busy working on that which I love most, writing about theater. I have several projects in the works. BPP, Cardinal, and IU theater are all opening new shows in the next few weeks. I have plans to attend and review all three of these shows. I am super excited about all of them because they hit some major nerd loves of mine. The BPP is putting on Row after Row, a new play about Civil War historical re-enactment, which is a type of performance that has always intrigued me on an intellectual level. As a huge fan of anything drag, Cardinal’s The Legend of Georgia McBride, about an Elvis impersonator turned drag queen, makes me giddy with excitement. The Renaissance nerd in me is also very excited for IU’s production of The Duchess of Malfi, a gruesome tragedy featuring a female protagonist and her evil brothers. In addition, I will be attending a play reading by the Faculty Drama Reading Club in the next few weeks. So much theater, and so little time.

In other big news, this blog has attracted the attention of a local publication for whom I am working on a writing project. I will post more about this later, but let’s just say it’s already been a great experience, and I’m so excited to share that with you soon.

If I wasn’t busy enough, my husband and I just bought our first house, and we are moving during this next week. If I survive all of this and my regular day job, I will reward myself with at least a few days of nothing but binge watching Star Trek and napping.

But until then, stay tuned. There is a lot coming your way!

The Benefits of Play: Why Bloomington Needs MCCT

This fall, the Monroe County Civic Theater celebrates their 30th anniversary of providing fun amateur entertainment and creating an inclusive space for people to try their hand at acting, directing, and writing plays. I had the pleasure of recently speaking to Yolanda Valdivia, the President of MCCT, about the organization, its past 30 years, and its plans for the future. During that discussion, I became very aware of why we need groups like MCCT.

Despite their longevity, the MCCT seems to typically hide just under the radar of those drawn to theater and performance arts. As Valdivia admits, “Even though MCCT has been around for 30 years, we are not really known.” They are a small, volunteer-run organization with a shoestring budget, so it is not too surprising that they are overshadowed by professional organizations like Cardinal, BPP, and IU Theater. Read more

My Cubicle; My Castle: A Review of the BPP’s 30-Day Mourning Period

Friday night, I saw the Bloomington Playwrights Project performance of 30-day Mourning Period: or the Revolution that Occurred When Mr. Clybourne Killed Himself and Thus was Unable to Come into Work Thursday Morning written by Hank Greene and directed by Joshua Carroll. I must admit that I am having a little difficulty writing about this play. Not because it is a bad play; I actually enjoyed it a lot. It’s also not because the play is too intellectually difficult. In many ways, it’s quite an easy play to understand. No, the difficulty lies in the very obvious ways we process the entertainment we see. The majority of theater goers, myself included, process their theater experience through their own personal history and emotions. For me, this play hits a lot of sensitive areas, but let’s deal with that in a moment.

First a little bit about the performance. The play takes place in the Minneapolis office of the Hamilton Media Company, a sales heavy, internet advertising agency. Read more

2016 – 2017 Season Preview

Despite the humidity and heat outside, the start of fall is almost upon us. The public school kids are back in classes, and the IU students fill our streets once more. The start of another academic year is exciting, but nowhere near as exciting as the year of entertainment Bloomington can expect in 2016-2017 season! The offerings put up by the university and the local organizations have me practically skipping with excitement. Read more