Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Another show...another set of reviews

Cardinal Stage opened its holiday family musical A Year with Frog and Toad last Friday night. The Herald-Times' declared that the Buskirk-Chumley Theater was "thoroughly invaded by giddy, laughing adults and their children" and WFIU called Cardinals' Frog and Toad "a magically realized production."
In his Herald-Times review, Glenn Kaufmann has more to say:
Hard on the heels of its acclaimed production of Unveiling, Cardinal Stage has once again shown its ability to mindfully produce thought-provoking, visually inventive, yet universally appealing theater. From the minute you enter the lobby, where children are presented with frog beanbags, you can't help but get caught up in the kid-friendly ambiance. And once you enter the already enchanting Buskirk-Chumley Theater, Gordon Strain's nuanced and deliciously textured sets spirit you away. Alexandra Morphet's clever costumes manage to keep children giggling and parents laughing.

WFIU's George Walker agrees, calling the set "eye catching" and the costumes "colorful and imaginative." Mr. Walker goes on to add that Esther Widlandski's "lively choreography" was "just the right mix of simplicity and cleverness."

Both reviewers also weigh in on the acting. Mr. Kaufmann notes that, "Mike Price (Frog) and Chris Aruffo (Toad) do a fantastic job of portraying their parts, but more important, have chemistry that makes their friendship seem a living, breathing entity all its own — almost a third character on stage." Mr. Walker adds that, "Mike Price was a totally engaging as Frog and was equally matched by his slightly shyer but still outgoing friend Toad played by Chris Aruffo." Walker adds that, "Anjanette Armstrong, Phoebe Spier and Alex Shotts made up the trio of birds who dramatically and tunefully set the seasons of the year," and "Shotts had the repeat comic turns of the night as the slow moving, but dedicated 'snail with the mail.'"

Mr. Kauffmann adds that A Year with Frog and Toad has "a very tight ensemble that is capable of simultaneously entertaining the children and imparting just the right measure of seriousness when the moment calls for it." Kaufmann concludes by saying that, "in the end, White and his team have done a remarkable job creating a "children's" play that is a visual treat, teaches children (and adults) a number of life lessons, and is just plain fun to watch. ?
While the kids in the audience were the focus of the evening, Mr. Walker concludes his glowing review by noting that, "it was the greyer heads that started the standing ovation at the curtain call." Cardinal Stage's production of A Year with Frog and Toad is definitely for all ages!
A Year with Frog and Toad plays the Buskirk-Chumley this Friday at 7:30pm and Saturday at 2pm and 7:30pm. Tickets are available at the Sunrise Box Office (812 323 3020), bloomingtonarts.info, and at Bloomingfoods East.

Friday, December 1, 2006


For some reason I was reminded of this little incident today - and I thought that I would share it with my loyal readers. That way - when I get published - you can say you knew me when...

I was headed to Canada to see some plays at the Stratford festival. We were hoping to make good time on the way, so we decided to eat fast food on the way up - rather then stopping for food that we might actually enjoy.

We were some where in Northern Indiana - I really don't know where - but it was up there. We saw a McDonalds - and a gas station - so we decided the fates were with us and we stopped for a double fill.

My friend Leslie and I jumped in line while our friend Dathan headed to the restroom. For those of you reading, that may sound like a normal McDonalds trip. Well, this is where it got weird...or at least we thought it got weird. By the time Dathan returned from the can, well over a dozen Amish people had come in.

Before I go any further I should note - I have NOTHING against Amish people. On the contrary, I think they are great - I am just not accustomed to seeing so many - and especially in McDonalds.

Mind you, nobody in the joint batted an eye at this freakishly normal occurence. Friday night = Sundae night for the Amish at the ole Golden Arches. We thought it was odd - but we had to maintain our composure. We were severely out numbered, not just by the Amish - but the Amish supporters.

I got to the front of the line and placed my order. Being a vegetarian I typically order a #2 with no meat. That is 2 cheeseburgers. Some McD's have put vegetarian things on the menu, but Indy (the whole state) is not part of that list - so I make do.

So, my order is placed, and I am casually waiting for my food. The Amish make their way up and order their ice cream - it is really an astounding thing to witness (get it, witness?). The next thing you know, my food is there - but instead of just having it handed to me, the lady shouts...

"Two cheeseburgers...NO MEAT!!!"

There are a fucking dozen Amish people ordering Sundaes and I am the odd one. Everybody turned and looked at me. Music stopped. Glasses hit the floor. Kids were crying - mothers were fainting. Everybody in the entire place was looking at me.

COULD THEY NOT SEE THE AMISH PEOPLE? Sure - there was no meat on my food - but the Amish!!! Hello?!?!?! They arrived in buggies - with horses!!!

Well - needless to say - we ate quickly and left before there was a riot or a lynching - or worse.