BWW Reviews: Broadway in Indianapolis 2013/2014 Season
And that concludes another stellar season of Broadway touring shows through Indianapolis. Five exciting, high-energy shows each spent one week in the capital of Indiana, as well as an extended run for a Broadway favorite. Here's a recap of the shows from the 2013/2014 season.
FLASHDANCE: OCTOBER 1-6; CLOWES HALL
Leg warmers were arguably made famous in 1983, thanks to Jennifer Beals' iconic "Maniac" dance in Flashdance. 30 years later, a touring production has hit stages nationwide, as Alex Owens, steel mill wielder by day and a bar dancer by night, dreams of becoming a professional dancer. Although its not destined to become a Broadway juggernaut (and rightfully so), fan favorites "What a Feeling" and "Manhunt" made the Broadway adaptation of Flashdance a fun girl's night out that will have you tapping your feet along to the the timeless classics!
WICKED: NOVEMBER 13-DECEMBER 1; OLD NATIONAL CENTRE
Having season Wicked in the last tour through Indianapolis and in New York City, I was expecting an enjoyable, nothing-more-than-spectacular night with a familiar show. Man, how wrong I was! As a special engagement not included in season memberships, Wicked returned to Indianapolis for the first time in nearly four years. However, leading ladies Jennifer DiNoia (Elphaba) and Hayley Podschun (Glinda) shined in the "untold story of the witches of Oz." Never have I seen an Elphaba slay "Defying Gravity" as DiNoia; she did it with such confidence and effortless but so thrilling to watch. Wicked is a "Wonderful" show for the whole family to enjoy, with show-stopping numbers, comedy, and the truth behind the Wicked Witch of the West.
GHOST: MARCH 4-9; OLD NATIONAL CENTRE
Another classic film adaptation-turned-Broadway musical stopped in Indy. The 1990 Academy Award winner Ghost seemed almost untouchable because the film was such a classic tale of love and heartache with Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, and Whoopi Goldberg. Molly Jensen must deal with the death of her boyfriend, Sam Wheat, being murdered; however, Sam is caught between the real world and the next, so he is trying to warn Molly of the danger she could be in. I was very surprised at how much I enjoyed the stage version of Ghost, considering the film is one of my favorites. I was worried how a full musical would fit into the tragic love story, but Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard's original songs fit right in, as well as the film's unstoppable hit, "Unchained Melody." As in the film, Oda Mae Brown steals the show, played by Carla R. Stewart. She channels her inner-Whoopi by screaming, flailing, and being the comic relief the drama needs.
MEMPHIS: APRIL 1-6; CLOWES HALL
The 2010 Tony Award-winning Best Musical Memphis embarked on its first national tour in 2011 but is in Indianapolis for the first time. Set in the 1950's, a white radio DJ tries to include black music in his mix but causes lots of controversy trying to break the barriers between the races. Joey Elrose and Jasmin Richardson co-star and carry the show, but arguably the best moment occurs in the tragic ending of Act I with "Say a Prayer." Memphis will make you laugh, cry, and rejoice, all in the span of 2 hours and 30 minutes.
THE ADDAMS FAMILY: MAY 13-18; CLOWES HALL
The Broadway production of The Addams Family opened in 2010 to mostly negative reviews, but I really enjoyed the abnormal, ghoulish family. The production is an original story of daughter, Wednesday, bringing her boyfriend and his family over for a nice, peaceful, "normal" dinner with the Addams. Act One was much better than Act Two because of its darker and humorous turn introducing the family, including the opening number, "When You're an Addams." The young Jennifer Fogarty stole the show from her fictional family, with the powerhouse number "Pulled" and features in "One Normal Night." The last stop on the nationwide tour was in Indianapolis, so I can't help but think we got the best of the best performances. The Addams Family succeeds on its comedic, dry humor and through upcoming star, Fogarty.
THE BOOK OF MORMON: JUNE 17-22; OLD NATIONAL CENTRE
The final and most anticipated show of the season was The Book of Mormon. Winner of nine Tony Awards in 2011, including Best Musical, The Book of Mormon is a raunchy, exhilarating, menacing, wonderful (could I use anymore contrasting adjectives?) story of Elder Price and Elder Cunningham being sent to Uganda to spread the word of the Lord. Satirical geniuses Trey Parker and Matt Stone (South Park) joined Robert Lopez in bringing the religious satire to life. While offensive to some, the upheaval of praises certainly outweighs the naysayers. "Hasa Diga Eebowai" has to be one of the funniest, most offensive, and enjoyable musical numbers to ever hit Broadway. While I can't say this would be enjoyable for the whole family, certainly see it when you are able to handle the criticism and foulness because The Book of Mormon is one for the ages.
While I'm still relishing at the fantastic season Broadway in Indianapolis just had, next year's season is fast approaching. Look for Mamma Mia (season option), Elf the Musical, The Illusionists (magic show), Annie, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Beauty and the Beast (season option), and Dirty Dancing. Although I was hoping for other touring shows to come to Indianapolis, such as Pippin, Kinky Boots, or Anything Goes, the 2014/2015 season will be another one not to miss!
Photo Credit: Broadway in Indianapolis