Indiana Repertory Theatre
A Christmas Carol at Indiana Repertory Theatre
Photos from the 2010 production of A Christmas Carol at Indiana Repertory Theatre. Photos by Julie Curry. Music by Andrew Hopson.
Indiana Repertory Theatre, frequently abbreviated IRT, is a theatre in Indianapolis, Indiana that began as a genuine repertory theatre with its casts performing in multiple shows at once. It has subsequently become a regional theatre and a member of the League of Resident Theatres. A standard season typically consists of nine or ten plays on two different stage (with at least two selected especially although not exclusively for student audiences, one of which is often a Shakespeare play) and the bulk of its season (including a holiday show, usually Charles Dickens‘s A Christmas Carol) performed on the OneAmerica Stage.
The theatre company has history in two theatre buildings. It began in 1972 in The Athenaeum which now holds the American Cabaret Theatre. In 1980, the IRT moved to its current home, The Indiana Theatre, a former Paramount Pictures Publix Theatre on 140 West Washington Street, built in 1927 and converted from a movie theater for IRT’s use.
Past Actors and Productions
Among the better known actors that have performed multiple times at the theatre are Priscilla Lindsay, former Assistant Artistic Director, Scott Wentworth, a founding member, and John Henry Redwood, who would later pass away when touring a one-man show he premiered in 2001 at Indiana Repertory. This show, Looking Over the President’s Shoulder, was commissioned by James Still (playwright), the IRT’s Playwright in Residence. This play is the true story of Alonzo Fields, who served as a butler to three presidents of the United States. Another playwright who has written works on IRT commissions is Charles Smith, including Les Trois Dumas and Sister Carrie, and last season’s Gospel According to James. Another actor, Johnny Lee Davenport played Deputy Marshal Henry in The Fugitive and U.S. Marshals, as well as playing the title character in Othello. Tim Grimm makes regular appearances in the theatre, often, but not always, as a rural sort of character.
The theatre is well known in the state for their production of Charles Dickens‘s A Christmas Carol as adapted by Tom Haas, a late IRT artistic director/member of the former repertory company. It is a chamber theatre production modeled on David Edgar‘s The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, that retains many of the story’s darkest elements, such as the scene featuring Want and Ignorance that Dickens himself considered its heart, but is often omitted.
For the most part, the theatre stopped doing musicals in the 1990s however the IRT did produce the world premiere musicalCaptive Heart: The Frances Slocum Story (1999), by Jeff Hooper (book) and Bob Lucas (music and lyrics). This musical is based on the story of Maconaquah, which is part of the standard history curriculum in Indiana, and an Indiana premiere of a musical with a book by Wentworth, Enter the Guardsman, based on the Ferenc Molnár play, The Guardsman, with music by Craig Bohmler and lyrics by Marion Adler. The IRT has done more recent productions of Crowns (Regina Taylor) and The Fantasticks (Harvey Schmidt and Tom Jones).
The theatre sponsors The Waldo M. and Grace C. Bonderman Playwriting For Youth National Symposium and an Indiana playwriting competition for middle and high school aged writers, Young Playwrights in Process, funding in part by a gift from Robert and Margot Eccles.