A few years back, I read Chandler Hubbard’s play “Animal Control” and was so impressed that I talked it up whenever I could.
Last weekend, a production was staged — in the same building I was working in and with some friends of mine in the cast.
And I didn’t get to it.
Eventually, I want to have seen every Shakespeare play on stage. I didn’t think I’d ever get to see “King John,” though. It just doesn’t get done very often.
A very talented local director took it on though — about two miles from my house.
And I didn’t get to it.
And there are others.
So what’s my point?
The sad reality is that even those of us passionate interested in the arts who also have the means for access can’t see and do everything we want. But it still sucks when you miss seeing work you were really looking forward. And that’s compounded by the knowledge that attention deserved to be paid.
Given my own challenges getting to the work I want to see, I totally understand when friends, acquaintances, and others can’t get to my work. I, too, had a play that just closed. I was thrilled to see many friends in the audiences, but others weren’t there.
And that’s okay. As John Prine sang: “You forgive us/we’ll forgive you/we’ll forgive each other ’til we both turn blue.”
(Side note: A number of those folks who couldn’t make it asked if we recorded the show. We didn’t. As much as I’d love to have bottled and preserved this production of “Rita From Across the Street,” the best we could have done is a one-camera reference video. And that wouldn’t be something I’d want to share. I love pro-shot theater productions. I eat up the taped offerings from the Globe Theatre, Stratford, Theatre CloseUp, and more. But there’s too much missing in those one-camera recordings to make them remotely satisfying to me … although I will occasionally watch a B’way bootleg of a show I missed — just to see how things were staged. That’s not a criticism of those who choose to do a one-camera shot and make it available. More power to you. It just doesn’t feel right for my work. Now, if someone wants to actually make a film of one of my plays, that’s another story…)
That’s a long preamble to what follows: a list of theater productions I’m most looking forward to seeing in Central Indiana this season — with the caveat that I may miss half of them.
Here we go, in no particular order:
The Rocky Horror Show
Zach & Zak, Oct. 21-29,
Because Tim Hunt as Frank N. Furter. Because nobody produces high energy edginess like Z&Z. Because I want it to be so successful that the team producers more.
Actors Theatre of Indiana Oct. 28-Nov. 13
Because it’s got a terrific Jeanine Tesori score (I prefer the original cast recording with Lauren Ward to the revival with Sutton Foster). Because I’m always interested in the new faces ATI brings to local stages. Because I want more character-driven musicals staged locally (I’m not holding my breath for a local production of “The Band’s Visit” but I’m still holding out hope for a regional company to secure the rights to “Once” or “A Catered Affair.”)
Heroes of the Fourth Turning
American Lives Theatre, Jan 13-28
Why? First, some disclosure. American Lives Theatre produced my play “Rita From Across the Street” as part of its fall festival. Because long before the “Rita,” production, I was telling everyone I could that ALT was steadily hitting the long ball both in play selection and execution. Because I’ve wanted to see this play since it premiered and have deliberately avoided reading any details beyond the basic setup. Because we could use more theater likely to cause discussion and debate on the ride home — even if you went solo.
Men on Boats
Butler University Theatre, Feb. 15-19
Because university theaters have more leeway to make non-commercial choices. Because there’s enormous room in this one for creative design (how exactly will the Grand Canyon be featured?). Because I’m fascinated by the ways savvy theater artists are trying to combine history and today.
Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812
IU Theatre, Nov. 3-12
Because where else am I going to see a full production of “Natasha.”)?
Two Mile Hollow
Phoenix Theatre March 31-April 30
Because I want to see what its BIPOC cast does when cast as a very white family. Because I follow Leah Nanako Winkler but have yet to see one of her plays staged.
IU Opera, April 14-22
Because it has one of musical theater’s greatest overtures and IU Opera is one of the only places to hear musicals with more than a few instruments. Because “Make Our Garden Grow” with a full chorus makes me weep.
Angels in America
May 19-June 11, Bard Fest, Theatre at the Fort
Because I’ve only seen part one.
TJ Loves Sally 4Ever
Fonseca Theatre, July 21-Aug. 6
Because James ijames is one of the most exciting playwrights working steadily on American stages.
Whatever Summit Performance decides to do
Because I’m patient and trusting and Summit has done terrific work in the past.
What’s on your wanna see list?