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Spotlight 2014 Showcase Supports AIDS/HIV Education

by Rita Kohn
May 19, 2014
Clowes Memorial Hall of Butler University
4602 Sunset Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46208
317-940-6444
This review was originally published in NUVO Newsweekly, Indianapolis, IN.

Rita Kohn is a member of the Board of the Dance Critics Association.
"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 showcase event.
$316,000, representing 90% of the total of $352,000, raised at the Deborah J. Simon and Wayne P. Zink Spotlight 2014 on May 19 at Clowes Memorial Hall at Butler University now is available for statewide grants. 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 supporter donations have gone directly to HIV testing, treatment, and prevention programs because "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." Efroymson Family Fund, a CICF Fund also is a presenting sponsor.
Joining Hochoy on the Spotlight production team are Rob MacPherson as co-artistic director; David A. Dreyfoos, producing director and production stage manager; Laura E. Glover, lighting designer/technical director; John P. Lucas, first electrician/lights; Ernie Yezzi, second electrician/sound; James Winegard, stage technician/flyman; Jeff Gooch, stage technician/ video; Jeff Edward, stagehand; photographers Freddie Kelvin and Dawn Pearson; and a roster of community volunteers and ushers.

The Bridge Collective and FAB Crew created on-the-spot works of art during the pre show 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 School of Art 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 with their company presenting an excerpt from their 2013 sellout "ZirkusGrimm" [this returns to their Irvington stage throughout July]; No Exit Performance with "The Sermon," a scene from their rendition of Swan Lake [runs June 13-21 at the Wheeler Arts Center]; Motus Dance company, wearing wigs of blue, red, gold and festooned with matching elastic ribbons, moved through a provocative "Displaced", 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 Pulitzer and Tony awards play Shadow Box by Michael Cristopher; A corps of nine from the Indianapolis School of Ballet owning the stage in the lyrically beautiful World Premiere of "Diamanté", choreography by Victoria Lyras set to "Palladio for String Orchestra: Allegretto" by Karl Jenkins; dedicated to the life and memory of dancer, ballet master and stage director Robert Rodham (1940-1980).

Bringing their usual verve were returning presenters: Brenda Williams featuring the Pride of Indy Jazz Ensemble conducted by Chris Forsythe opening the program with a jazzy "Seven Day Fool" by B. Gordy Jr. and Sonny Wilson, arranged by D. Smith;
Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre showcasing Gepetto and The Cricket Duet from "PINOCCHIO," choreography by Gregory Hancock to music by Ludavico Einaudi, winsomely performed by wheelchair-bound Martin Casanova and the sprightly Abbie Lessaris; The Fourth Wall with flutist/dancer Hilary Abigaña and vibraphonist Greg Jukes bringing forward a shimmering, transcendent "Little Match Girl" by Brett Abigaña [based on the Hans Christian Andersen tale].

Bobdirex Productions' rousing ensemble number, "Aquarius" from Hair by James Rado, Gerome Ragni and Galt MacDermot, directed Bob Harbin, musical direction by Trevor Fanning and choreography by Kenny Shepard. [Hair runs July 5-20 at the Athenaeum Theatre.]

I AM TASHA JONES challenging us with her statuesque delivery and attitude-centric poetry in "Dear God".

Indianapolis Men's Chorus, directed by Greg Sanders, bringing 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 with Owens' choreography to Messing Around, music of Ray Charles, showcasing three couples strutting their stuff.

David Murray, Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra Bassist, carrying us from pensive to agitated to a brusque finale with "Capriccio #2" composed by David Anderson, and setting the scene for Goodson's dark humor presentation of the character Brian in Shadow Box by playwright Michael Cristopher; and Doug Dilling's memorable, poignant, "Bring Him Home" from Les Misérables by Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil.

Asia LaBouche of "The Ladies of Legends at Talbott Street" closed the evening with a sassy "Wings" by Little Mix, underscoring the over-all 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, "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."
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