Welcome back. No, the name for these previews isn’t solidified yet. Give it time. It will work out.

As for this week, here’s some A&E that should be on your radar. Remember: Boredom is not an option.

“South Pacific”

Not so long ago, the then-powers-that-be at the Indianapolis Opera were adamant about not crossing the line between opera and musical theater. Well, those days are gone and the new regime has embraced the idea that familiar Broadway titles can sell tickets and (we hope) prove artistically sound. I missed last season’s “Man of La Mancha” and, alas, will have to miss this week’s “South Pacific,” but I’m anxious to hear if the Rodgers & Hammerstein chestnut is given the production it deserves. (For the record, I may be the only person on the planet who wasn’t a fan of Kelli O’Hara’s take on Nellie Forbush for the acclaimed Lincoln Center revival. I loved that Opera-overtonproduction–especially Danny Burstein’s Luther Billis and the wonderful orchestra–but I’m more interested in Nellie when she’s got more hick and less country club in her DNA. ) Indianapolis Opera’s Nellie, Christina Overton, comes from the opera world, but she’s also lent her talents to regional productions of “A Little Night Music” and “Kiss Me, Kate.” March 23-25 at the Schrott

Swearingen and Beedle

Okay, those names don’t ring any bells. Such is the fate of most musicians trying to make names for themselves. The two, though, do manage to get gigs with symphonies around the country. How? By singing the songs of  Simon & Garfunkel. And, more importantly, singing them well. Playing guitar also helps. The duo bring their tribute show to Indy this week for a series of concerts with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. The thought of our musicians playing the crashing climaxes of “The Boxer” should be enough incentive to give this one a listen.  March 23-24 at Hilbert Circle Theatre

“Dear Bobby”

The Kennedy King Memorial Initiative commissioned this piece commemorating the 50th anniversary of Bobby Kennedy’s visit to Indianapolis, which coincided with the day Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated.

The story of Kennedy’s handling of that delicate, tragic day has become a touchstone in Indy, sparking one of the more dramatic Indiana Historical Society You Are There exhibits, inspiring a James Still play at the Indiana Repertory Theatre, and anchoring a book by Ray Boomhower.

Here, it gets a musical treatment courtesy of Ball State University English faculty members Angela Jackson-Brown and Peter Davis. It’s part of OnyxFest, the annual festival of new works dedicated to the work of African-American playwrights. Deborah Asante directs a cast from Asante Children’s Theatre of Indianapolis. March 22-31 at the IndyFringe Building

“The Orville”

I know. I know. There’s more great TV out there now then there has been in history. Mention a show you love and, inevitably, the response will be “Oh, but have you seen _____________.” So I’ll preface this by saying that a) I watch almost no TV anymore, not out of snobbery, just out of prioritizing time. I spend a lot of time writing and attending arts events. When I’m not writing, I like to be face to face with human beings, not looking at a screen. Or sleeping. I have to remember to sleep. b) I was very into original series Star Trek but didn’t watch any of the spin-offs for more than orvillean episode or two. c) I’m okay with the Star Trek movie reboot, although the second film was a major disappointment. d) Every few weeks when I know I need to laugh, I’ll watch an episode or two of “Family Guy.” All that is prelude to stating how much I’ve enjoyed the first season of “The Orville,” Seth MacFarlane’s science fiction series  that embraces the original Star Trek idea of combining contemporary social questions with a comfortable family of characters and telling those stories with senses of both adventure and humor. There were maybe two dud episodes in Season one, which didn’t dampen the delight of the stronger ones and the two or three that deserve Emmy consideration. I’ll leave details out so that you can discover them for yourself. If you go three episodes and aren’t committed, just walk away. I won’t judge.

 

 

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