by Justin Brady
Warning: these aren't your mother's musicals. The Phoenix Theatre stays true to its mission of contemporary issue-oriented theatre by starting the New Year with Next To Normal, a look into the depths of depression that comes from loss of a child. It just happens to have a rock score. The national tour of this 2009 Tony award nominated musical skipped Indianapolis, thinking there was no audience for this show in conservative Indiana. My bet is on the Phoenix audiences proving them wrong.
Meanwhile, Broadway Across America takes the rock musical to the next level with American Idiot, the musical version of Green Day's celebrated record and Theatre on the Square bares it all on stage, literally, with Naked Boys Singing. For a more traditional but bold pick, Indianapolis Repertory Theatre opens the new year with A Little Night Music, a rarely performed Sondheim work that will feature Grammy Award Winner Sylvia McNair.
Quirky and Kooky
My next set of picks took even myself by surprise. The Palladium built to replicate the grandest concert palaces in the world, just happens to also be providing the Indianapolis area with some of its most unusual performances. In February, international vocal theatre group Voca People performs combining a-cappella singing with the art of modern beat box. Then in March MOMIX takes to the stage with its unique blend of physical theatre, circus, athleticism and comedy.
For a reliable outlet of fun and unusual performances, head to White Rabbit Cabaret in Fountain Square where any night of the week you can stumble upon burlesque, indie music or comedy. While there, enjoy a drink from one of Indy's best beer and wine lists. Also noteworthy for a trip off the beaten path is Q Artistryin Irvington.Once summer rolls around, its fest season with something fun to do every weekend. You definitely want to mark your calendars now for the 10th Annual Indy Film Fest, July 18-28 and 9th Annual Indy Fringe Festival, August 15-25. These 20 days guarantee an overwhelming amount of unexpected experiences that offer something for everyone.
For those with a love for the classics, a few of Indy's best arts organizations will be taking your favorite works and putting their own spin on them in 2013. Last year NoExit took the classic Thebes trilogy into every nook and cranny of the IMA grounds, then ramped it up with sex and betrayals that rival any soap opera. Few details are available for their June performance of Macbeth, but with young and upcoming director Michael Burke attached, you can expect it to be a magical and inventive night at the theatre.
In March, Dance Kaleidoscope, always a must-see, presents Piaf Plus, an expansion of their deservedly sold out 2010 Fringe Festival show. And those of you swept away by last year's Academy Award winner, The Artist, won't want to miss ICO Goes Silent - a rare opportunity to see a classic silent film accompanied by the terrific Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra. Buy tickets in advance as this one night annual event sells fast!