Go & Do: Your Arts Weekend Awaits You 

Ryan Artzberger stars as Scrooge in the IRTs production of A Christmas Carol.
  • Julie Curry
  • Ryan Artzberger stars as Scrooge in the IRT's production of "A Christmas Carol."

The long-awaited Wicked is here, and you can check out my review Saturday morning as I’m seeing it Friday night, but there are plenty of other wicked things going on, despite — and because of — the holiday season.

First off, on stage at the Indiana Repertory Theatre is their annual production of A Christmas Carol, but this year there are plenty of significant changes in the show.

Richard J. Roberts is directing, since Priscilla Lindsay has left town, and he cast a new actor, Ryan Artzberger in the pivotal role of Scrooge. Well, there’s nothing new about Arzberger as he’s been entertaining area audiences for years, but for our reviewer Josefa Beyer, points out he’s “an actor who usually reminds me more of a young Ray Liotta than old Alistair Sim.

Fortunately, she notes in her 4 star review of the show, “the same edge that made Artzberger a great Mercutio last season can be tucked into a waistcoat and top hat (here with shaved head) to conjure a hardened old businessman who bristles at helping the poor yet trembles like jelly when confronted with his past.” Roberts scores bigtime here, too, as he “finds the right balance between Victorian dignity, Gothic moodiness and a playful stage physicality that proves to us the redemptive qualities of ghosts, boiled pudding and theater.

Also this weekend, we’ve got a couple “Nutcracker” performances, both by esteemed companies, featuring some of the best dancers in the area.

The Indianapolis School of Ballet presents Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker at the Scottish Rite Cathedral Theater, 650 N. Meridian St., which, if you’ve never been, is an amazingly beautiful venue. Here, Artistic Director Victoria Lyras collaborates with master scenic artist C. David Higgins, using replicas of Indianapolis’ historic Morris-Butler House as a backdrop, with choreography by Fiona Fuerstner. Friday’s performance begins at 7 p.m., while Saturday and Sunday are both 3 p.m. matinees. Tickets: $20 for adults, $15 for kids and $10 general admission balcony seats available 1 hour before the shows; student and senior discounts available.

The Indiana Ballet Conservatory (IBC), a pre-professional company, presents Russian choreographer Vasily Vainonen’s version of The Nutcracker at the Madame Walker Theatre. First staged in 1934, Vainonen’s version was a part of Russia’s Kirov Ballet’s repertoire for decades. Each IBC performance features a hot-as-fire dancer, the Boston Ballet’s Lasha Khozashvili. Showtimes are December 17 at 7:00 p.m., December 18 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., and December 19 at 2:00 p.m.

What with all the holiday-related dance and theater going on, you might have fallen behind on your visual art activities. Here are some gallery visits we recommend:

Indianapolis Art Center, Basile Exhibition Corridor.
ARTIFACTS — Winners from Art from the Heartland 2010
Reviewer Susan Watt Grade gives this show a whopping four stars features the works of Indiana’s Amy Brier, Chicago area artists Connie Noyes and Vera Scekic, Ohio-based artists Jim Shire

Cultural Arts Gallery @ IUPUI
Unsettled Spaces: Artwork by Emily Janowiak
Reviewer Dan Grossman gave this show 3.5 stars, and says you’ll relate to this mixed-media-on-map exhibit, “particularly if you’ve spent your undergrad years instate shuttling back and forth between college and home.

You’ve got friends and family in town, of course, and if you want to show off some of the museums in town, you don’t want to miss:

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
Polar Bears to Penguins
Yours truly saw this show, mostly because I’m an acolyte of the apocalypse. I’ll quote from myself to emphasize that it’s “not hard to put the pieces of this Pole puzzle together: oil and gas exploration of either Pole is a bad idea; the ecosystem in the Arctic is ‘definitely in trouble’ and pollution, created worldwide, ends up bio-accumulating up the food chain and into polar bears.” Once scientist in the exhibit, Dr. Nick Lunn, says “he feels more like ‘a polar bear historian than a polar bear researcher.

Indianapolis Museum of Art
Andy Warhol Enterprises
David Hoppe gave this show 5 stars, the most you can get! And says: “The great virtue of curator Sarah Urist Green's approach is to insist on seeing Warhol whole, from his beginnings as a stylishly mannered commercial illustrator, through the enfant terrible days in the '60s when he became a household word, into the celebrity decadence of disco and, finally, his Autumnal period as multi-media brand.

There are other essential exhibits out there, including galleries not open on the weekends.

We strongly suggest you see the current Gallery No. 2 exhibit at the Harrison Center for the Arts, "Music the Way We See It,"a collaboration between Michael Graves & Justin Cooper which reviewer Grossman says “has the kind of creative tension that you see in fine jazz performances.” 4 stars.

Dan also gives 4 stars to Toys at Gallery 924, curated by nonprofit arts organization Primary Colors. This is always a great show, full of frivolity and fun, and this year, for the first time you can view and purchase the works of these 20 artists past opening night. Grossman says: “A great show ,all in all, giving you toys you can play with as well as toys that play with your imagination. Bring some new or gently used art supplies when you visit, to benefit VSA arts of Indiana.

Still want more options? Head on over to our A&E Events Calendar and browse for yourself. Then, you know, Go & Do something.

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About The Author

Jim Poyser

Jim Poyser

Jim Poyser is Executive Director of Earth Charter Indiana, a statewide organization that was one of over two dozen nonprofit partners in Greening the Statehouse. A former managing editor of NUVO, he won HEC’s Environmentalist of the Year Award in 2013.

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