Indy’s Beef & Boards final Christmas variety show

Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre is presenting for the 25th and final year the beloved A Beef & Boards Christmas variety show running now through December 23rd. Once again the immensely popular Indianapolis dinner theater presents for its audience a lively and spirited production that is guaranteed to bring you and yours into the Christmas spirit.

Both acts of the show feature favorite numbers.  Ron Morgan, director and choreographer and artistic director Eddie Curry have put together a vibrant and enthusiastic treat of both sight and sound. The choreography is superb, the music awesome, and the costuming is breathtaking.

Rocking Around The Christmas Tree

“Rocking around the Christmas Tree” with Kenny and Renée, center, flanked by the B&B Quartet

Doug Stark’s version of Santa frankly steals the show whenever he is on stage. He is the owner of Beef & Boards, and is having way too much fun during the B&B Christmas show. His Santa will bring a smile to your face as well as make you laugh out loud to rim shot worthy humor. Santa also greets children for selfies at intermission!

Santa and dancers

Santa and dancers

Renée Jackson, fresh from her starring role in the B&B show Ghost, The Musical, is the featured singer. Kenny Shepard has been in the past 24 productions and hosts this years show. The B&B Quartet is comprised of past favorites Kyle Durbin, Betsy Norton, and Peter Scharbroug as well as Marisa Rivera who starred in West Side Story.

Chipmunks

The Chipmunks (Alvin still wants a hula-hoop)

Once again the B&B orchestra showcases the range of the talent shared by this remarkable group of musicians. Conductor Kristy Templet and her collegues both accompany the singers but also perform several instrumental numbers throughout the production.

Grinch

You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch

The easiest way to tell you about the 2017 version of A Beef and Boards Christmas would be to simply state “Don’t miss your chance to see this fabulous Christmas variety show”. I’ll ad the great singing, dancing, and music. Also, you for sure want to see Alvin, Simon and Theodore and of course Rudolph flying across the stage. (Yes, he really flies!) And don’t forget that mean ‘ol Grinch. Oh, and Chef Odell’s holiday buffet is one of, if not the best he has ever put together.Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Now for the details: for reservations, call the Beef & Boards box office at 317.872.9664 anytime between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays. For complete show schedule and other pertinent information, visit the B&B website.

 

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Devils Tower: the first U.S. National Monument

Northeast Wyoming is home to one of the most remarkable landscape features in the United States. The towering mass of volcanic rock known as Devils Tower has long been the destination of curious travelers and is the source of several Native American legends describing the origin of the rock formation. We made a short detour on our way from Indiana to Seattle to see this striking and beautiful gift from Earth.

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Seen from a distance, this “tower” is one of the most striking features in Wyoming

One of the legends of the origin of the tower tells the story of girls who were pursued by a huge bear. The girls prayers were answered when the Great Spirit caused the rock to raise from the ground with the girls safely on top. The bear attempted to climb the smooth sides of the rock, and his claws made the distinctive shapes we see today.

Geologists tell us that the tower was made when volcanic intrusions of lava pushed up into thick layers of sandstone, now eroded away after millions of years. The rock, an igneous basalt type, took on the shapes of columns when it cooled. Called a columnar formation, this shape is not uncommon and can be found in rocks all over the world.

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Close up shot of the columnar structure. Each “column” is about 8 feet across!

The Devils Tower was the first designated US National Monument, so declared by President Teddy Roosevelt in 1906. The first Caucasians saw the tower in the 1850’s. It was the site of the famous finish of the film Close Encounters of the Third Kind. 

We loved our time at The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort

Sher and I loved our time with our family members who had converged on Disney World recently. While our kids and grand-kids stayed at Disney hotel resorts, we were able to get a campsite at Disney’s RV/Cabin/Tent park, named The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness.

Our site was a “full hook-up” accommodation. It had a large paved pad that would have held a large motor home. Our 24′ rig fit with plenty of room. Backing in was very easy, but I could see that parking a large class A or a fiver could be a challenge. There was a large area behind the pavement designed for a large tent. Many of the sites in our “loop” had both a motor home/trailer and a tent.

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Our campsite, #1705, was close to the bus stop.

Fort Wilderness is huge, to say the least. There are designated areas for tent camping, primitive camping and hundreds of cabins as well. The Settlement area houses four eateries, including a special Mickey’s BBQ and a musical review dinner show. There is also large gift shop and store.

There are docks where you can rent both pontoon and fast watercraft. Horseback riding, archery and kayaking is also available for a fee. Many folks bring their own golf cart, and carts are also available for rent at the park. Free things? Of course! There are long hiking/running/bike trails. There is a movie each night with a campfire so you can make s’mores as well as a sing along with Chip and Dale.

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We had three wild turkeys visit our site. They were just wandering through, and could have cared less that I was standing in the door of the RV taking their pictures.

Disney is famous for its internal bus system. Fort Wilderness is served by buses that run from The Settlement to the Outpost, with convenient stops along the way. We only had about a 3 minute walk to our bus stop. Buses run every 20 minutes (or so it is said). The Outpost is where you catch a bus to the theme parks.

We were at Fort Wilderness during Halloween. Let’s say that we did not know you could decorate both a campsite and golf cart to the extent that we saw! It was so much fun seeing all the decorated sites and golf carts. We also really enjoyed taking the boats from the dock. We road the boats to the Contemporary Resort and to Magic Kingdom.

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This boat runs the same times as the buses, and goes from Ft. Wilderness to the Magic Kingdom about every 15 minutes

While of course the parks are fun, we also found that you can really enjoy your time hanging around the Fort Wilderness Resort and enjoying the many activities offered. Make reservations early: It can be hard to book the times you need.

Been searching for this RV park

Recently Sher and I took off for a rendezvous with family at Disney World in Orlando. Never wanting to take the same route to anyplace (in other words we did not want I-75 south again), we headed from Indiana to Orlando by way of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

With the afternoon slipping away, we decided to find a place to stay for the night. Sher spotted an RV park south of Myrtle Beach on US 17. Pirateland Family RV Resort turned out to be the park we have been searching for for a long time. The fellow at the desk informed me that they had a spot right on the beach! A mere 30 feet from our full hook up site was a gap through the sand dune to a beautiful stretch of Atlantic Ocean beach!

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Enjoying the beach. Our campsite is only about 100 feet away!

Pirateland is a huge place with a mixture of RV campsites, tent sites, permanent trailer homes and a series of lakes in addition to the beach area locations. Rates vary according to season. Off season rates are very reasonable for beach area sites.

Security is terrific, with a 24 hour manned gate. All the facilities you would need are available, including seasonal snack bars and BBQ stands.

We ended up staying two nights at this delightful campground. We have looked for a campground on a beach for a long time. Turns out that we happened onto this one by accident. We heartily recommend Pirateland Family Camping Resort. Sher and I will definitely return to this friendly resort.

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Our full hookup campsite complete with a picnic shelter. The beach is behind the sand dune in the background

Beef & Boards Ring of Fire is a different kind of musical

Oh Come Angel Band

Photo courtesy B&B media

Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre is currently offering a different kind of musical. Ring of Fire brings the story of Johnny Cash to life by means of his songs via an ensemble made up of eight remarkably talented musicians who also shine as singers and dancers.

The clever script in the first act brings you into the history of the Cash family with the eight players each taking on the “role” of Johnny Cash. By means of narration and appropriate song selection the audience gets a real appreciation of the ancestry of the family of Johnny Cash.

One remarkable aspect of the players is their ability to play virtually any instrument. While most have a primary instrument, all take turns on most all of the instruments. Guitars, 5 string, bass fiddle, accordion and washboard are but a few of the tools that produce the exciting, toe-tapping and emotional music in the show.

While all of the players are very talented and worthy of mention,  I would be remiss if I did not comment specifically on the fiddle playin’ of Melody Allegra Berger. She is the featured performer in the entr’acte offering of “The Orange Blossom Special”. Her rendition makes it clear why she is an award winning fiddler known nation wide.

This is not your typical musical by any means. The Man in Black is never impersonated, but Johnny Cash’s remarkable story is told through his music. Ring of Fire does not have a plot line. Expect instead great music, songs made famous by Johnny Cash and a most enjoyable evening. This unique production is one you will not want to miss. If you think you don’t like the music of this genre, well, that is too bad. You’re missing a terrific show, a great meal and a great time.

Ring of Fire runs through August 13th. For reservations, call the box office at 317.872.9664 anytime between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. For more information visit the Beef & Boards website. This production is sponsored in part by WFMS 95.5 FM and Gaither Family Resources.

Ring of Fire opens at Beef & Boards

Johnny CashThe iconic songs of Johnny Cash will provide a unique entertainment opportunity starting this week at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre on Indy’s northwest side. Ring of Fire is not your typical musical. According to a Beef and Boards press release:

“An icon of American music history, Johnny Cash’s contributions as a singer songwriter are legendary. Ring of Fire brings his story of love and faith, struggle and success, rowdiness and redemption, and home and family to the stage. More than two dozen of his hits, from “I Walk the Line,” to “A Boy Named Sue,” to “Folsom Prison Blues,” and the famous title tune are performed by a multi-talented cast.”

Johnny Cash’s amazing story is told through his music, making Ring of Fire an exhilarating salute to the Man in Black. Of interest is the fact that Cash is never impersonated in the show. Sher and I are really looking forward to attending a performance soon. We will have a full review posted after we go!

There will be 44 performances of Ring of Fire in the intimate atmosphere of Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre. Tickets include Chef Odell Ward’s dinner buffet. For reservations, call the box office at 317.872.9664 anytime between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays. For complete show schedule, visit the Beef & Boards website.

Hellas Greek Restaurant at Florida’s Tarpon Springs

Hellas Restaurant and Bakery storefronts

Hellas Restaurant and Bakery storefronts

Tarpon Springs, Florida is known for its Greek community founded in both the sponge diving business and restaurants and shops. One of the best restaurants is Hellas Restaurant and the joining Hellas Bakery. The businesses are on the main commercial street in the town, Dodecanese Boulevard.

We really enjoyed our meal at the restaurant. The “flamed” cheese was a real treat, and yes it was served in flames! I had a beef gyro, Sher had a Veggie Pita, and we both shared a huge Greek salad. This restaurant was very comfortable and the staff was delightful. We were there early afternoon when there were few other patrons.

After our meal we went next door to the Hellas Bakery. There were a lot of people in the bakery, but the line moved fairly quickly. Yes, we indulged and picked up some sweet bakery goods for an evening snack back at the RV park.

Delicious Greek Salad

Delicious Greek Salad

Hellas interior

Hellas interior

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We would highly recommend stopping for a meal at the Hellas Restaurant. Tarpon Springs is about 45 minutes north of St. Petersburg, and is home to the highest percentage population of Greeks in the country. After you eat at Hellas, be sure to check out the Sponge Docks and local Fish Shoppes.

My Fair Lady is back at Beef & Boards in Indianapolis

Eliza DoolittleIt has been 20 years since My Fair Lady has been seen at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre. The 2017 version of this classic musical entertained us completely this past Saturday evening. The house appeared to be a sell out and all were treated to a dynamic, exciting and professional show.

The Lerner and Loewe classic My Fair Lady won six Tony Awards including Best Musical during its run on Broadway. The B&B production continues the tradition of excellence. It is the story of Eliza Doolittle, the dirty, street wise cockney flower peddler in Edwardian London. Her accent riles the conceited Professor Henry Higgins to the point where he offers to tutor her. Enter Colonel Pickering who bets Higgins that he can’t turn the brash Eliza into a proper lady. In the wings we find Eliza’s conniving father Alfred P. Doolittle who wants to cash in on his daughter’s relationship with a rich Professor Higgins.

Eddie Curry, center, as Alfred P. Doolitle singing "With a Little Bit of Luck"

Eddie Curry, center, as Alfred P. Doolitle singing “With a Little Bit of Luck”

Higgins, Doolittle and Pickering singing "The Rain in Spain"

Higgins, Doolittle and Pickering singing “The Rain in Spain”

Kimberly Doreen Burns has the lead role of Eliza Doolittle. She has played the part before and has won a Broadway World Award for Best Actress during one of these engagements. Her experience shines through during her fabulous performance. Prof. Higgins is played by David Schmittou, a B&B regular. Mark Goetzinger  portrays Colonel Pickering and Eddie Curry plays Alfred P. Doolittle. Curry also is the Director of the musical. Curry’s talent is showcased not only on stage but as the Director as well.

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Eliza, center, as a Lady at the races

The supporting cast is very deep. The choreography is precise and suited for each number.  Jeff Stockberger and Doug King are hilarious in their interactions with Curry as the senior Doolittle. Herb Porter provides striking vocals as the romantic interest in Eliza. The costumes are remarkable, the live music from the orchestra is perfect, and the sets and lighting add to the professional feel of the show.

Have you figured it out yet? We loved the show. My Fair Lady is filled with favorite songs like “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly” and “Get Me to the Church on Time”. It runs through May 14th. Order your tickets now, this show will sell out many times! Go to the Beef & Boards website or call 317-872-9664. For you Twitter folks, see #bbmyfairlady.