by Justin Brady
Indianapolis has so many talented actresses it was hard to narrow the list down. But these five ladies always seem to seek out interesting parts, no matter how big or small. At this point I basically just assume anything they are in is worth watching.
Claire Wilcher is an improv genius that knows how to belt a show-stopping anthem. She can be seen regularly bringing down the house at Comedy Sportz and stealing the show from the guys in the lewder Three Dollar Bill sketch comedy. Comparisons can easily be made to the comedy genius of Mellisa McCarthy. But Claire may one-up McCarthy with her double threat as a musical actress. While fantastic in wacky roles in Phoenix Theatre productions of Avenue Q and Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson, she shines most as leading lady. Case in point, recent turns in Bobidrex's musical productions of Cabaret and Spamalot.
I first saw Julie Mauro several years ago in a one-woman show she wrote at IndyFringe. It wasn't a big hit of the festival and I can't even remember the name, but I knew I was watching someone special. She since has been carving a place for herself among Indy's emerging theatre scene. This past season gave two superbly different performances. As the lead in No Exit Performance's adaptation of the short story Yellow Wallpaper, she was hauntingly perfect in the eerie drama. In Eclectic Pond's take on the Oscar Wilde classic The Importance of Being Earnest, she hilariously played the droll Lady Bracknell with shades of Downton Abbey's Countess Dowager. I can't begin to predict what kind of role she will take on next, but she has my attention.
I saw Natalie Cruz in one of the first musical productions I attended in Indianapolis and I haven't taken my eyes off her since. In recent years she has made a home at Civic Theatre taking on some of Broadway's most legendary roles. During their last season she gave commanding performances as Diana from Chorus Line and The Witch in Into The Woods. Next up she will be ensuring there is magic to do as the Leading Player in Civic's season opener of Pippin.
Constance Macy seems to always be everywhere. Regardless of whether you see her at the IRT, Phoenix Theatre or with the occasional Shadow Ape Theater Company, you can rest assured the show will be good. Truth be told, she works so often I do actually miss quite a lot of her shows. But she seems to have such solid judgment of quality of shows that just by seeing her name on the cast list gives a production immense credibility.
If you put Carrie Fedor in a comedy, you can rest assured she will do whatever it takes to steal every scene you give her. She is fearless. Yet, when you put her in a drama, she brings graceful ease to the role. Her performance in Civic Theatre's The Elephant Man still resonates with me several years later. And when I watched her in Mame at Buck Creek Players, I thought this woman could anchor a classic sitcom à la Lucille Ball. And as much as I would love that, I would rather just beg directors of Indianapolis to keep her on our stages.
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