My name is Melissa Hall and I've been reviewing theater in the Midwest since 2006. I live in Indianapolis, Indiana and enjoy our city's thriving local arts scene. When I'm not at the theatre I can usually be found at home with my husband, daughter and dog. I love to travel and read and by day I'm the director of communications for a state association. I am a member of the American Theatre Critics Association. I love having the chance to let people know about the shows that are currently being produced around town. I believe a night out at the theatre is always a unique experience, whether you love Shakespeare or My Fair Lady.
'The middle takes guts. The middle is where you go to sit down with monsters.' The Indiana Repertory Theatre's current Upperstage production, The Originalist, explores that middle, introducing us to a fictional relationship between Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and a liberal law clerk. The play is about the absolutely essential nature of debate. Having the freedom to openly discuss political issues is something we often take for granted in our country as we get lost in the fight. We forget that the person you disagree with doesn't have to be the enemy.BWW Review: CABARET POE at Q Artistry October 16, 2017
The Indiana Repertory Theatre opened its season with The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. It's a murder mystery, but not in the traditional sense. The murdered party is a dog and the 'detective' is a teenage boy named Christopher, whose developmental disabilities allow him to see the world through a unique lens. The show is at once emotionally exhausting and energetic. There's humor strategically placed in almost every scene to help break the tension.BWW Review: THREE SISTERS at American Players Theatre August 16, 2017
Humans yearn for what we do not have. It is the trademark of our species. We seem to never be satisfied, always longing for more, better, bigger. Though this play is set a century ago in Russia, it could not be more relevant to our current culture.BWW Review: Original Musical J. EYRE Packs a Power Punch July 24, 2017
The infamous 'Man in Black' certainly has the legions of fans that merit a musical about his life, but you don't have to be a big Johnny Cash fan to love Ring of Fire. The show, onstage now at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre, walks audiences through his life song by song; starting with his childhood in Arkansas all the way through the Grand Ole Opry days and then his struggle with substance abuse.BWW Review: Matt Anderson Slays as RICHARD III at IndyFringe Theatre July 5, 2017
From the moment Matt Anderson takes the stage, his seething and scheming Richard III demands your full attention. It's a role that would be easy to over act, but instead Anderson's portrayal is raw and visceral. He has frequently popped up in supporting roles over the years, but this play gives him a chance to stretch his wings and show what he can do. He is mesmerizing as the simpering villain.BWW Review: THE GOLEM OF HAVANA at Phoenix Theatre June 27, 2017
The Golem of Havana is set in the 1950s as the people of Cuba waver on the brink of the revolution. A young Jewish girl named Rebecca is growing up in her father's tailor shop, oblivious to the turmoil around her. She writes stories of a superhero, the golem; the fabled protector she's grown up hearing stories of from her European mother. When their maid's son, a rebel fighter, turns up the family must make a decision that will determine their future in this volatile world.BWW Review: THE GREAT BIKE RACE at Theatre On The Square June 13, 2017
And they're off! The 2014 IndyFringe Festival favorite is back in a full-length format. The Great Bike Race tells the store of the second running of the Tour de France in the most hilarious way possible. It was vicious, with cyclist cheating their way to the finish line, willing to sabotage anyone who crossed their path.BWW Review: Touring KINKY BOOTS Charms at Clowes Memorial Hall May 17, 2017
Kinky Boots is the story of Charlie, a young man who inherits his father's failing shoe factory in England. In a last ditch effort to keep the business going, he joins forces with a drag queen named Lola to create a line of high-heeled boots. The story, based on real events, is fun but it also carries a serious message about accepting those who are different.BWW Review: DIAL 'M' FOR MURDER is a Slow Burning Thriller at the IRT May 10, 2017
It has been 20 years since Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre last produced My Fair Lady. The classic musical is back and on stage now until May 14th. It's the story of Eliza Doolittle, a young woman with little money and less class. She becomes the student of a phonetician who is convinced he can turn her into a lady.BWW Review: MIRANDA Thrills at Indiana Repertory Theatre April 27, 2017
Miranda is a CIA operative working in Yemen in the current upperstage production at the Indiana Repertory Theatre. Written by IRT's playwright-in-residence James Still, the show is the third play in a trilogy he created. The first play, The House that Jack Built premiered at the IRT in 2012. The second play, Appoggiatura, is part of the theatre's 2017/18 season. Each play works as a stand alone, but they deal with a single family and a tragedy that has shaped their lives.BWW Review: BOEING BOEING at Indiana Repertory Theatre March 13, 2017
One man, three fiances, one Paris apartment; what could possibly go wrong? The Indiana Repertory Theatre presents Boeing Boeing, a farce set in the 1960s and complete with all the hallmarks of the genre. The three women are all flight attendants from different countries.BWW Review: THE LITTLE MERMAID at Old National Center February 9, 2017
Like so many others, I grew up watching Disney's The Little Mermaid. The lyrics of those songs are ingrained on my brain to this day. So seeing Broadway Across America's current production of the story is bittersweet. It was fun to revisit the characters, but it was impossible not to compare the musical with the movie as I watched.