"The real star of Spotlight is the community that comes out, comes together to support AIDS/HIV education, prevention and cure," commented David Hochoy during a conversation following the 20th anniversary of the Deborah J. Simon and Wayne P. Zink Spotlight 2014, held May 19 at Clowes Memorial Hall.
The night's take was $352,000, and donations are still welcome by texting "KNOW" to 20222 or at The Health Foundation of Greater Indianapolis; go to THFGI.org.
From the stage, Hochoy underscored that over the past two decades, five million dollars of Showcase donations have gone directly to HIV testing, treatment, and prevention programs. He noted that the performers, all the technicians and stagehands, including the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees of Local 30 and the American Federal of Musician's - Local #3 donate their time and talent for the event. Efroymson Family Fund, a CICF Fund, is also a presenting sponsor.
The Bridge Collective and FAB Crew created on-the-spot works of art during the preshow VIP reception held at The Schrott. Patrons bid on the canvases.
Also at the reception, exquisite fashions created by Alpha Blackburn and one-of-a-kind headpieces by Herron High School students were modeled. In place of the usual auction of donated items, patrons purchased donated bottles of wine to carry home after the show. The Jazz Kitchen and Sam's Club also contributed to the reception.
At Clowes, audience members witnessed a showcase of 16 performance artists streamlined to an hour and a half-no-intermission program, shortening it from previous years than ran to 2 ½ hours.
New to the on-stage lineup were:
Q Artistry, presenting an excerpt from their 2013 sellout ZirkusGrimm, which returns to their Irvington stage throughout July;
No Exit Performance with "The Sermon," a scene from their rendition of Swan Lake, running June 13-21 at the Wheeler Arts Center;
Motus Dance Theatre, wearing wigs of blue, red, gold and festooned with matching elastic ribbons, moving through a provocative Displaced, with choreography by Ashley Benninghoff; see them June 14 in Pairings at White Rabbit Cabaret;
actor John Michael Goodson of The Children's Museum of Indianapolis, presenting a monologue from the 1977 play Shadow Box by Michael Cristofer;
and a corps of nine from the Indianapolis School of Ballet, owning the stage in the lyrically beautiful World Premiere of Diamanté, featuring choreography by Victoria Lyras set to Palladio for String Orchestra: Allegretto by Karl Jenkins (and dedicated to the life and memory of dancer, ballet master and stage director Robert Rodham).
Bringing their usual verve were the following returning presenters:
Brenda Williams, featuring the Pride of Indy Jazz Ensemble (conducted by Chris Forsythe), opened the program with a jazzy "Seven Day Fool."
Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre showcased Gepetto and The Cricket Duet from PINOCCHIO, winsomely performed by wheelchair-bound Martin Casanova and the sprightly Abbie Lessaris.
The Fourth Wall, with flutist/dancer Hilary Abigaña and vibraphonist Greg Jukes, brought forward a shimmering, transcendent "Little Match Girl" by Brett Abigaña.
BobDirex performed a rousing ensemble number, "Aquarius" from Hair, directed b Bob Harbin, with musical direction by Trevor Fanning and choreography by Kenny Shepard. (Hair runs July 5-20 at the Athenaeum Theatre.)
Tasha Jones challenged us with her statuesque delivery and attitude-centric poetry in "Dear God."
Indianapolis Men's Chorus, directed by Greg Sanders, brought humor and wink-wink/nod-nod to the stage with "Turn it Off" from The Book of Mormon. (See IMC May 22-23 at Cabaret at Columbia Club and June 8 at the Athenaeum Theatre.)
Kenyettá Dance Company and Nicholas Owens Dance Company performed Owens' choreography to Messing Around, with music by Ray Charles, showcasing three couples strutting their stuff.
David Murray, Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra bassist, transported us from pensive to agitated to a brusque finale with "Capriccio #2" composed by David Anderson.
And Doug Dilling performed a memorable, poignant, "Bring Him Home" from Les Misérables.
Asia LaBouche from The Ladies of Legends at Talbott Street closed the evening with a sassy "Wings" by Little Mix, underscoring the overall theme of thinking about the importance of living and giving, building and sharing within the moment, knowing that dying is a certainty, but how we use the time between birth and death defines our legacy.
Hochoy announced at the close, "Dance Kaleidoscope, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Phoenix Theatre, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Indianapolis Children's Choir, and more are already on tap for the next installment on May 11, 2015."