Phoenix's '08-'09 Season Presents A Mock Opera And More

The Phoenix Theatre of Indianapolis will begin its 2008-2009 season with political plays featuring ripped-from-the-headlines content, and will continue the season with the first Indianapolis production of a work by popular Irish playwright Conor McPherson, a world premiere "mock operetta" by Jack O'Hara, and a Spanish-language production as well as the regional premieres of a number of plays.

The Phoenix Theatre was founded in 1983 by a group of Indianapolis theatre artists who wanted to produce contemporary plays as well as to pay the theatre's artists, a goal that was achieved a few years down the road. In 1983, the Phoenix fulfilled a unique niche in the city's theatre environment: producing exclusively current plays. The theatre's mission has not changed since 1983, and Bryan Fonseca, the theatre's Producing Director, retains his original position. The Phoenix mission statement reads: "The Phoenix Theatre entertains by presenting the best of professional, contemporary theatre in an intimate setting. Engaging our community, patrons and staff with issue-oriented plays, the Phoenix enlightens audiences about social concerns while challenging them to re-examine their roles in society." Since 1988, the Phoenix has been housed in the Mass Ave Theatre and Gallery District in a 1907 former church building. The theatre's two venues are the proscenium 130-seat Mainstage and the cabaret-style 75-seat Frank & Katrina Basile (buh-SEAL) Theatre.

Community Outreach
The 2008-2009 season continues the Phoenix Theatre tradition of responding to the needs of the Indianapolis community: For the third year, the theatre will offer a production alternately in Spanish and English. The theatre will also produce a play (Octopus) that addresses the alarming rise in HIV/AIDS cases in the younger gay male population. In addition, the Phoenix will continue to offer AfterWords, its series of post-play discussions with subject matter experts who can illuminate issues raised on stage.

Ticket Prices
The Phoenix will continue to offer single tickets at $25.00 ($15 for those 24 and under). For groups of 15 or more, tickets are available at $22.00 per person. Groups may also "buy out" the entire theatre at a 30 percent discount and re-sell the tickets at any price point desired for fundraisers or group outings. A season-long FlexPass for $120.00 gives the patron six vouchers that can be traded in on any combination of tickets for any of the 2008-2009 productions. FlexPasses will be sold from August 1, 2008, through May 2, 2009. The Phoenix will continue its CheapSeats initiative with a twist: Every Thursday of the 2008-2009 season, all tickets are just $15.00 (no additional discounts). All seating is general admission on a first-come, first-served basis. Performances are Thursdays at 7:00 pm; Fridays at 8:00 p.m., and Saturdays at 8:00 pm. There will be no regularly scheduled Sunday performances. Doors open ½ hour prior to curtain for seating. The Phoenix Pub, located inside the theatre, offers beer, wine, soft drinks, coffee, and bottled water, as well as treats, and all refreshments may be taken into either theatre and consumed during the performance.

For more information about any Phoenix programs or to purchase tickets, call the Phoenix Theatre box office at 317.635.PLAY(7529). The theatre's website is

Information on each of the 2008-2009 productions:

November, by David Mamet
September 11-October 11
A corrupt, dim-witted President desperately seeking a second term despite four years of deadbeat leadership (and poll numbers lower than Gandhi's cholesterol). His miracle come-from-behind victory may hinge on same-sex marriage, Native American rights...and pardons for Thanksgiving turkeys. David Mamet's November is diabolically funny, politically incorrect, and a funhouse of pre-election comedy.

Drunk Enough to Say I Love You?, by Caryl Churchill
October 16-November 15
Basile Theatre
Imagine a love affair ending miserably - and then recovering under the most unlikely of circumstances (such as military diplomacy, regime change, rigged elections and a little imperialism). That's the story of (Union) Jack and (Uncle) Sam, whose love story mirrors that of Great Britain and the United States from Vietnam to today. Caryl Churchill uses a gay affair to represent Britain's submissiveness to America's foreign policy. Drunk Enough to Say I Love You? is harsh, witty, paranoid and brilliant - plus an intoxicating theatrical experience.
June 8, 1968, by Anna Theresa Cascio
Bedra is a precocious 15-year-old "Mafia princess" and electronics geek. Her father may have helped engineer Robert Kennedy's assassination, and she has arranged to meet a reporter to give him the secret home tapes she has made of a phone call detailing the plot. On the railroad tracks near Secaucus, New Jersey, Bedra meets Cookie, a faded early 1960's pop star and Vietnam veteran who has reinvented himself as a CIA operative. Cookie and his boss, Twitchell, have tracked Bedra and plan to kill her and take possession of the tapes. An unlikely flirtation between Bedra and Cookie, both outcasts and idealists, threatens to derail the CIA's plan. Part romance, part conspiracy theory, and part mystery, June 8, 1968 is all heart, and a thought-provoking exploration of the idealism of the 1960s.

A Very Phoenix Xmas, by playwrights to be announced
November 20-December 20
Deep-six the sugar plums, kick those Dickens poorhouse kids to the curb, and don't even think of putting on toe shoes: The Phoenix continues its alternative holiday tradition with A Very Phoenix Xmas. The show will feature sketches, audience participation, and music sending up all of the winter holidays, including Christmas, Hanukah, the Winter Solstice, New Year's, and more. Audience Advisory: Not a scrap of traditional holiday fare included. Fruitcake optional. .

Love Person, by Aditi Brennan Kapil
January 8-January 31
Basile Theatre
Presented as a National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere with Mixed Blood Theatre (Minneapolis) and Marin Theatre Company (Mill Valley, CA)
Love Person is a riveting love story about language as a portal and barrier to human connection in which love transcends sexual orientation, physical attraction, and social structure, and rests instead on the ways in which people communicate. It is performed in American Sign Language (ASL), Sanskrit, spoken English, and projected e-mail for a multi-lingual experience.

The Seafarer, by Conor McPherson
February 5-February 28
Indianapolis premiere of hot Irish playwright
Sharky's a down-on-his-luck fisherman who meets some friends, has a few drinks, and plays a game of poker with a mysterious stranger. Sounds simple enough, right? Only the poker game turns into a struggle for Sharky's soul that he'll never forget. Conor McPherson has created a quirky, Faustian, cliff-hanger-of-a-journey to a quaint Irish village that will capture audiences from start to finish.

Mauritius, by Theresa Rebeck
March 5-April 4
Basile Theatre
A woman's death reunites two estranged half-sisters who discover a book of rare stamps while going through their mother's belongings. And the stamp collection just may include a crown jewel for collectors. One sister wants to sell it for profit. The other wants to keep it for sentimental reasons. In this gripping Tony-nominated mystery, a seemingly simple sale becomes dangerous when three seedy, high-stake collectors enter the picture, willing to do most anything to claim the rare find as their own.

References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot, by Jose Rivera
April 9-May 2
Rivera celebrates the confusion that grows out of trying to understand not only the oNe You love but yourself as well. On a moonlit night in Barstow, California, a solitary wife awaiting the reurn of her solder husband experiences a surreal romance in which love, lust, and longing mix in a bittersweet story. Half of the performances will be performed in Spanish (exact dates announced in spring, 2009).

The Zippers of Zoomerville, or 200 Laps and a Lass: A mini-mockeretta by Jack O'Hara
May 7-June 6
Basile Theatre
World premiere
Speed, greed and the dirty deed drive this world premiere musical spoof of fast-track fever, wherein an oval raceway rouses a circular city to revel 'round its maypole. A rite-of-springish, Gilbert and Sullivanesque celebration of flat-out folly and full-throttle love, The Zippers of Zoomerville fancifully celebrates and gently spoofs the Circle City's love affair with the Indianapolis 500.

Octopus, by Steven Yockey
June 11-July 11 (no July 4)
Midwest premiere
After two gay couples get together for an evening of partner-swapping, one of the four men disappears into the ocean, launching a chain of events that eventually lands each man into the deep blue sea. Is it a bizarre coincidence or some kind of cosmic revenge for a night of debauchery? Octopus examines the fallout on two committed relationships. Audience Advisory: Contains adult content, nudity and strong language.

The Dos and Don'ts of Time Travel, by Nick Wardigo
July 16-August 15
Basile Theatre
Midwest premiere
When her girlfriend Claire is diagnosed with cancer, Zoey's past suddenly becomes her future. Hooked on time travel for decades, Zoey wills herself to relive the two most painful years of her life. But her friend Rachel thinks "time travel movies suck" (and she's writing a thesis to prove it). Rachel wants Zoey to stop nursing her ailing lover long enough to change the course of their friendship. In a universe of endless possibilities, they learn no moment can ever be recaptured. It's a tale of love, hate, sacrifice - and physics -- that spins with sensual velocity.

"The Phoenix Theatre has cornered the market on hip new works." -- Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune

The Phoenix Theatre is Indiana's only professional contemporary theatre, and has presented productions to challenge and entertain the Indianapolis community for 26 years. An Equity house, the Theatre presents the Midwest and Indiana premieres of many popular Broadway and Off-Broadway plays, and has presented more than 70 world premieres in its quarter century. The Phoenix operates the 130-seat proscenium Mainstage as well as the 75-seat cabaret-style black box Frank & Katrina Basile (buh-SEAL) Theatre. The Phoenix Pub, located in the Basile Theatre, serves beer, wine, coffee, soft drinks, water, and treats, and patrons may take all refreshments into either theatre. Both venues are housed along with administrative offices in a renovated 1907 church in downtown Indianapolis' historic Chatham Arch neighborhood, part of the Mass Ave Arts & Theatre District. The Phoenix Theatre is a member of the National New Play Network and the League of Indianapolis Theatres, and is supported by the Indiana Arts Commission, the Arts Council of Indianapolis, and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as local corporate and foundation funders and more than 500 individual donors.


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