Phoenix Theatre (Indianapolis)

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The Phoenix Theatre is Indiana's only professional contemporary theatre, and has presented productions to challenge and entertain the Indianapolis community since 1983. An Equity house, the Phoenix presents the Midwest and Indiana premieres of many popular Broadway and Off-Broadway plays, and has presented 94 World Premieres (through the end of the 2014-15 season). The Phoenix operates the 130-seat proscenium Livia and Steve Russell Stage as well as the 75-seat cabaret-style Frank and Katrina Basile Stage at 749 N. Park Avenue near Massachusetts Avenue. It was founded by Bryan D. Fonseca in 1983, initially to perform the three-part (three evening) science fiction play, Warp!. Both venues are housed along with administrative offices in a renovated 1907 church where Jim Jones once preached, a fact that was brought into their production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. The Phoenix Theatre is a member of the National New Play Network and the League of Indianapolis Theatres, and is supported by the Indiana Arts Commission, the Arts Council of Indianapolis, and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as local corporate and foundation funders and more than 400 individual donors.

Mission and Vision[edit]

The leadership of the Indianapolis-based Phoenix Theatre believes that Indianapolis deserves to be emotionally and intellectually engaged in works that contribute to or comment on the national dialogue, that a diversity of voices and viewpoints is vital to the well-being of the city and all who enter the Phoenix Theatre, and that the welcoming, intimate space provides a safe place where risks can be taken and transformative conversations created. The Phoenix is committed to producing only contemporary theatre, so that through their productions they are inviting a dialogue on current affairs to Indianapolis and are helping to create a more enlightened, aware local community.

The Phoenix produces ten shows every season, including multiple World and/or Regional Premieres, with all of their shows being Indiana Premieres. They mostly produce plays written within the previous five years, and rarely produce shows more than one time (exceptions are Avenue Q and The Zippers of Zoomerville). Fare at the Phoenix is always issue-oriented, hoping to incite conversation along with the entertainment. They have often featured plays dealing with sexuality, homosexuality, women's issues, AIDS, African-American issues (they have done all of August Wilson's plays as they became available for regional theatre use), abuse, and mental disorders. The Phoenix is committed to hiring local artists, and almost all of their talent pool of designers and actors comes from Indianapolis or nearby cities.

Bryan Fonseca[edit]

Bryan Fonseca is the founding and current Producing Director of the Phoenix Theatre. He has played a leading role in presenting outstanding contemporary drama in Indianapolis since 1979. Prior to the Phoenix, Bryan served as the Artistic Director for the Broad Ripple Playhouse and developed a short-lived alternative stage at the Indianapolis Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre – Studio C. Bryan has received an Achievement and Service award from the Indiana Theatre Association, two Artist Fellowship awards from the Indiana State Arts Commission and two Creative Renewal Fellowships from the Arts Council of Indianapolis/Lilly Endowment. Over the years, he transferred six Phoenix shows to Chicago including his original concert production, Prine: A Tribute Concert, which was performed at the Viaduct Theatre. The Chicago Sun Times said of the show: “Failed jukebox musicals are many, but Fonseca gets it right! The show is highly recommended.”

A Very Phoenix Xmas[edit]

Since 2005, the Phoenix has produced an annual holiday show called A Very Phoenix Xmas, which has become an Indianapolis favorite and tradition for many. Starting in September each year and changing until the last week of rehearsals, the Phoenix Producing Director, Bryan Fonseca, curates an original two act production filled with new plays, sketch comedy, singing, dancing, and various other special acts (even including an aerial silk act).

Brew-Ha-Ha[edit]

In 1995, the Phoenix founded the original craft beer festival in Indianapolis, Brew-Ha-Ha, in order to provide a fun and non-traditional fundraiser for the theatre. The festival is now a consistent favorite for beer patrons and brewers alike, with many not realizing that it benefits the Phoenix at all. The outdoor block party takes place just outside the Phoenix on the 700 block of N. Park Avenue between Massachusetts Avenue and E. St. Clair Street in the Mass Ave Arts & Theatre District. Patrons enjoy unlimited beer samples from over 50+ of the best local craft breweries and many national brands, live music from local bands, and nosh from local food vendors. The event continues to grow, with the Phoenix capping the number of brewers and patrons in attendance for space reasons.

National New Play Network[edit]

The Phoenix is a Core Member of National New Play Network (NNPN), the country’s alliance of non-profit professional theaters that champions the development, production, and continued life of new plays. Since its founding in 1998, NNPN has commissioned 19 playwrights, provided more than 20 MFA graduates with paid residencies, and supported over 150 productions nationwide through its innovative Continued Life of New Plays Fund, which creates “Rolling World Premieres” of new plays. Hundreds of artists have gained employment through these efforts all over the country where NNPN Member Theatres are located. In addition to The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, NNPN receives support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, the Shubert Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. The Network consists of a relatively small group of 29 Core Members, who pioneer and implement collaborative new play strategies, and a growing group of Associate Members, who disseminate the Network’s programs and strategies nationwide. In April 2015, NNPN received the Washington Post Award for Innovative Leadership at the annual Helen Hayes Award Celebration. Visit www.nnpn.org.

Plays noted with ** below are NNPN Rolling World Premiere productions the Phoenix has produced as part of the NNPN Continued Life of New Plays Fund.

Production history[edit]

(*=world premiere production) (**=NNPN Rolling World Premiere)

1980s[edit]

1983-1984

1984-1985

1985-1986

1986-1987

1987-1988

1988-1989

1989-1990

1990s[edit]

1990-1991

1991-1992

  • Other People's Money by Jerry Sterner
  • Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill by Lanie Robertson
  • Square One by Steve Tesich
  • The Cemetery Club by Ivan Menchell
  • Only Kidding! by Jim Gehoghan
  • 4 AM America by Ping Chong
  • Christmas on Mars by Harry Kondoleon
  • The Heidi Chronicles by Wendy Wasserstein
  • Angry Housewives by A.M. Collins & Chad Henry
  • Joe Turner's Come and Gone by August Wilson
  • The Lisbon Traviata by Terrence McNally
  • Womandingo* by Sterling Houston & Arnold Aprill
  • Objects in the Mirror are Closer than They Appear* by Lester Purley & Mark Cryer
  • hip my heart* by Paulette Licitra

1992-1993

1993-1994

  • The Good Times Are Killing Me by Lynda Barry
  • Six Degrees of Separation by John Guare
  • Su Ours: No E, No H, Noel* by Su Ours & Michael Klass (cabaret)
  • Marvin's Room by Scott McPherson
  • Death & the Maiden by Ariel Dorfman
  • Three Ways Home by Casey Kurtti
  • Mama Drama by Leslie Ayvazian, Christine Farrell, Donna Dailey, Mariana Houston, Rita Nactmann, & Anne O'Sullivan
  • Pretty Girls, Not too Bright* by Dos Fallopia (Peggy Platt & Lisa Koch)
  • Heart Timers* by Stuart Warmflash
  • Veronica's Position* by Rich Orloff

1994-1995

  • Falsettos by William Finn & James Lapine
  • Keely and Du by Jane Martin
  • Five Guys Named Moe by Clarke Peters
  • Conversations With My Father by Herb Gardener
  • All in the Timing by David Ives
  • Jeffrey by Paul Rudnick
  • Bewitched, Bothered & Bananas* by Dos Fallopia (Lisa Koch & Peggy Platt)
  • Points of Deviation* by Scott Sandoe
  • Scotland Road by Jeffery Hatcher

1995-1996

1996-1997

  • Whoop-Dee-Doo! by Howard Crabtree
  • Three Viewings by Jeffery Hatcher
  • The Holiday Survival Game Show* by Peggy Platt, Rick Rankin, & Lisa Koch
  • A Tuna Christmas by Ed Howard, Joe Sears, & Jaston Williams
  • Florida * by Marcia Cebulska
  • Trick the Devil by Bill Harris
  • Sylvia by AR Gurney
  • All I Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten by Ernest Zulia, David Caldwell, & Robert Fulghum
  • Worst of Dos Fallopia* by Dos Fallopia (Peggy Platt & Lisa Koch)
  • Reading the Mind of God * by Pat Gabridge
  • Girl Party * by David Dillion & Virginia Smiley

1997-1998

  • The Old Settler by John Henry Redwood
  • Poor Super Man by Brad Fraser
  • The Holiday Survival Game Show* by Jack O'Hara
  • Summer Games* by James Farrell
  • Taking Sides by Ronald Harwood
  • Durang/Durang by Christopher Durang
  • Company by Stephen Sondheim & George Furth
  • latitude* by Tony McDonald
  • Party by David Dillon
  • Bride of Dos Fallopia* by Dos Fallopia (Peggy Platt & Lisa Koch)
  • Princess Warrior by Julie Goldman

1998-1999

1999-2000

  • Three Days of Rain by Richard Greenberg
  • The Woman in Black by Stephen Mallatratt
  • The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told by Paul Rudnick
  • The Holiday Millennium Game Show* by Jack O'Hara
  • Jackie: An American Life by Gip Hoppe
  • The Beauty Queen of Leenane by Martin McDonagh
  • Wit by Margaret Edson
  • Beautiful Thing by Jonathan Harvey
  • Journal of Ordinary Thought by David Barr
  • Resident Alien by Stuart Spencer

2000s[edit]

2000-2001

  • Snakebit by David Marshall Grant
  • The Gathering by Will Power
  • Tongue of a Bird by Ellen McLaughlin
  • The Santaland Diaries by David Sedaris
  • Uh, Oh - Here Comes Christmas by Ernie Zulia, David Caldwell
  • Bluff by Jeffrey Sweet
  • The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler
  • Fuddy Meers by David Lindsey Abaire
  • Another American: Asking and Telling by Marc Wolf
  • Bodies and Hearts in the Face of the Monster* by Toni Press-Coffman
  • Woody and Me* by Brad Erickson
  • Seven Guitars by August Wilson

2001-2002

  • The Laramie Project by Moisés Kaufman
  • Two Trains Running by August Wilson
  • Ham for the Holidays by Dos Fallopia (Lisa Koch & Peggy Platt)
  • Dirty Blonde by Claudia Shear
  • This is our Youth by Kenneth Lonergan
  • True to Scale* by Wendy Beldon
  • savant* by Tony McDonald
  • Goats* by Alan Berks
  • Born to Goof* by Kevin Burke
  • Lunching by Alan Gross
  • Bat Boy: The Musical by Keythe Farley, Brian Flemming, & Laurence O'Keefe
  • The Action Against Sol Schumann by Jeffrey Sweet

2002 - 2003

  • Proof by David Auburn
  • Flow by Will Power
  • Hedwig and the Angry Inch by Stephen Trask & John Cameron Mitchell - starring Blaine Hogan, Jessica Benge, Jimmy Sizemore, Royston Lloyd, Steve Hayes and Ryan
  • Over the Tavern by Tom Dudzick
  • Praying for Rain by Robert Lewis Vaughan
  • Stones in his Pockets by Marie Jones
  • The Washington-Sarajevo Talks by Carla Seaquist
  • The Home Team* by Kim Carney
  • La Sangre Llama* by Toni Press-Coffman & Tony Artis
  • Phideas8* by Mike Whistler
  • Spain by Jim Knable
  • The Handler by Robert Schenkkan

2003-2004

2004-2005

2005-2006

  • Urinetown: the Musical by Greg Kotis & Mark Hollmann
  • I Am My Own Wife by Doug Wright
  • Every Christmas Story Ever Told!! by Michael Carleton, John Alvarez, & Jim Fitzgerald
  • A Number by Caryl Churchill
  • From My Hometown conceived by Lee Summers and written by Lee Summers, Ty Stephens, & Herbert Rawlings, Jr.
  • The Marijuana-logues by Arj Barker, Doug Benson, & Tony Camin
  • Orson's Shadow by Austin Pendleton
  • The Pillowman by Martin McDonagh
  • The Sugar Bean Sisters by Nathan Sanders
  • The Ice-Breaker** by David Rambo

2006-2007

  • The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!) by Eric Rockwell & Joanne Bogart
  • Nijinsky's Last Dance by Norman Allen
  • The Parenting Project: Callie's Tally by Betsy Howie & The Hoosier Dads by Kevin Burke, Dave Dugan, & Brad Tassell
  • A Very Phoenix Xmas* by Various Artists
  • Ten Percent of Molly Snyder (Marta Solano) by Richard Strand
  • tempOdyssey** by Dan Dietz
  • Miss Witherspoon by Christopher Durang
  • Rhythms by Chris White (hosted... presented by DePauw University)
  • And Her Hair Went With Her** by Zina Camblin
  • Fat Pig by Neil LaBute
  • The Little Dog Laughed by Douglas Carter Beane
  • Dos Fallopia: Desperate Spuddwives by Lisa Koch and Peggy Platt

2007-2008

  • Altar Boyz Music, lyrics and vocal arrangements by Gary Adler and Michael Patrick Walker, book by Kevin Del Aguila - based on an idea by Ken Davenport and Marc Kessler
  • Stuff Happens by David Hare
  • A Very Phoenix Xmas* by Various Artists
  • End Days** by Deborah Zoe Laufer
  • The Lieutenant of Inishmore by Martin McDonagh
  • Well by Lisa Kron
  • Black Gold** by Seth Rozin
  • Our Dad Is In Atlantis by Javier Malpica
  • Some Men by Terrence McNally
  • Murderers by Jeffrey Hatcher

2008-2009

  • November by David Mamet
  • Drunk Enough to Say I Love You? by Caryl Churchill
  • June 8, 1968 by Anna Theresa Cascio
  • On Thin Ice: A Very Phoenix Xmas 3* by Various Artists
  • Love Person** by Aditi Brennan Kapil
  • The Seafarer by Conor McPherson
  • Mauritius by Theresa Rebeck
  • References to Salvador Dalí Make Me Hot by José Rivera
  • The Zippers of Zoomerville - or 200 Laps and a Lass* by Jack O'Hara with music by Jack O'Hara and Tim Brickley
  • Octopus by Steven Yockey
  • The Dos and Don'ts of Time Travel by Nicholas Wardigo

2009-2010

  • The Most Damaging Wound by Blair Singer
  • Shipwrecked! An Entertainment by Donald Margulies
  • A Very Phoenix Xmas 4:Our Stockings Are Stuffed* by Various Artists
  • The Housewives of Mannheim by Alan Brody
  • Call Me Boricua!* by Ricardo Melendez
  • Sunlight** by Sharr White
  • Yankee Tavern by Steven Dietz
  • Speech and Debate by Stephen Karam
  • Reasons to Be Pretty by Neil LaBute

2010s[edit]

2010-2011

  • In the Next Room - Or the Vibrator Play by Sarah Ruhl
  • My Name Is Asher Lev by Aaron Posner, adapted from the novel by Chaim Potok
  • A Very Phoenix Xmas 5: Regifted* by Various Artists
  • Norway by Samuel D. Hunter
  • Goldie, Max, and Milk by Karen Hartman
  • The Storytelling Ability of a Boy by Carter W. Lewis
  • This by Melissa James Gibson
  • The Zippers of Zoomerville by Jack O'Hara with music by Jack O'Hara and Tim Brickley
  • Avenue Q Music, lyrics and original concept by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx, book by Jeff Whitty
  • With a Bang by Pete McElliott

2011 - 2012

  • Spring Awakening Music by Duncan Sheik, lyrics and book by Steven Sater
  • Jericho** by Jack Canfora
  • A Very Phoenix Xmas 6: Our Goose Is Cooked* by various artists
  • Current Economic Conditions* by Don Zolidis
  • August: Osage County by Tracy Letts
  • Freud's Last Session by Mark St. Germain
  • Baktun 13 by Danel Malan
  • Forever Sung* by Bryan Fonseca and Tim Brickley
  • Next Fall by Geoffrey Nauffts
  • With a Whimper by Pete McElligott

2012-2013

  • Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson Music and lyrics written by Michael Friedman, Book by Alex Timbers
  • Seminar by Theresa Rebeck
  • A Very Phoenix Xmas 7: Getting Figgy with It* by Various Artists
  • Guapa** by Caridad Svich
  • Next to Normal Book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey, Music by Tom Kitt
  • The Lyons by Nicky Silver
  • Clybourne Park by Bruce Norris
  • 4000 Miles by Amy Herzog
  • Dos Fallopia* by Lisa Koch and Peggy Platt
  • Love, Loss, and What I Wore by Nora and Delia Ephron, based on the book by Ilene Beckerman

2013-2014

  • Vanya, Sonia, Masha, and Spike by Christopher Durang
  • Rancho Mirage** by Stephen Dietz
  • A Very Phoenix Xmas 8: Angels We Have Heard While High* by Various Artists
  • Tribes by Nina Raine
  • North of the Boulevard by Bruce Graham
  • I and You** by Lauren Gunderson
  • Spun by Emily Goodson
  • Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya
  • Cock by Mike Bartlett
  • Miles and Ellie by Don Zolidis

2014-2015

  • Clark Gable Slept Here by Michael McKeever
  • Old Jews Telling Jokes by Peter Gethers and David Okrent
  • A Very Phoenix Xmas 9: Flashing Through the Snow* by Various Artists
  • River City** by Diana Grisanti
  • The Cripple of Inishmaan by Martin McDonagh
  • Buyer and Cellar by Jonathan Tolins
  • Dontrell, Who Kissed the Sea** by Nathan Alan Davis
  • Typhoid Mary* by Tom Horan
  • American Idiot Lyrics by Billie Joe Armstrong, book by Billie Joe Armstrong and Michael Mayer
  • Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play by Anne Washburn

2015-2016

  • One Man, Two Guvnors by Richard Bean
  • The Nether by Jennifer Haley
  • A Very Phoenix Xmas X: Oh, Come Let Us Adore Us* by Various Artists
  • Butler by Richard Strand
  • Pulp** by Joe Zettelmaier
  • On Clover Road** by Steven Dietz
  • Leyenda* by Playwright-in-Residence Tom Horan and Bryan Fonseca
  • Book of Merman by Leo Schwartz
  • Acid Dolphin Experiment* by Playwright-in-Residence Tom Horan

External links[edit]