Monday, June 23, 2014

Summer Arts Road Trips

Posted By on Mon, Jun 23, 2014 at 4:00 AM

For me a road trip is one key to a successful summer. Last month travels to Milwaukee for the city's annual UPAF Ride for the Arts, prompted a stop in Chicago to catch a quirky one-man show that transferred from Broadway. This isn't the first time I popped into Chicago for a show, but it reminded me that I should take advantage of many of the other nearby Midwestern cities for a cultural excursion. Following on the heels of my June recommendations to Symphony on the Prairie and IMA Summer Nights, here are some ideas for outdoor performing-arts events a short drive away. I've arranged them in order of the destination's distance, starting with the nearest/easiest drive and working up to the most adventurous/farthest afield location. All of these venues strongly encourage BYO meals and drinks, so grab your picnic basket and hit the highway.

click to enlarge COURTESY ACTORS' THEATRE OF COLUMBUS
  • Courtesy Actors' Theatre of Columbus

Actors' Theatre of Columbus - Columbus, OH
Drive Time from Indy: 2.5 hours

Just a short drive south, the Actors' Theatre of Columbus presents Shakespeare and other classic plays outdoors from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend at Schiller Park. If you prefer to avoid the heat of the summer, the theater's season will end in September with a production of The Hound of the Baskervilles, featuring Sherlock Holmes at the Columbus Commons. Fans of urban reuse will appreciate that Columbus Commons, a green space located downtown, was created following the demolition of City Center Mall in 2009.

click to enlarge COURTESY RAVINA FESTIVAL
  • Courtesy Ravina Festival

Ravina Festival - Chicago, IL
Drive Time from Indy: 3.5 hours

The Ravina Festival is a bit like merging concerts on The Lawn at White Rive State Park with Symphony on the Prairie. The schedule features a mash-up of popular touring groups and classical concerts featuring the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO). In fact, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra's own Krzysztof Urbański will conduct the CSO's performance of the 'New World Symphony' in July. The CSO selections range from classical standards, movie and musical favorites and an opera doubleheader with the Chicago Symphony Chorus. The eclectic pop artist lineup includes James Taylor, Billy Corgan and Carrie Underwood.

click to enlarge COURTESY THE MUNY
  • Courtesy The Muny

The Muny - St. Louis, MO

Drive Time from Indy:  4.5 hours
One of my favorite summer traditions growing up, and a major entry point into theater fandom, was catching a classic musical under the stars at The Muny. Billed as "America's Oldest and Largest Outdoor Musical Theatre," the amphitheater is nestled in St. Louis' lush Forest Park and always features a mix of Broadway stars and local talent. This summer's season includes the new revival of The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess, the US regional premiere of The Adams Family and Hello Dolly! celebrating the show's 50th anniversary.

click to enlarge COURTESY AMERICAN PLAYERS THEATRE
  • Courtesy American Players Theatre

American Players Theatre - Spring Green, WI

Drive Time from Indy: 6 hours
Year after year I've had a friend rave to me about her visits to American Players Theatre. One of these days I will follow her advice, because it appears to be a magical place. Focused on presenting classic plays at the highest quality, this season features selections by Shakespeare, Chekov, Shaw and Wilde. All plays are performed in repertory, allowing visitors to catch more than one show a weekend. You may not be familiar with Spring Green, but it appears to be over brimming with charming bed-and-breakfasts, campgrounds and caves for the naturalists among us, and for architecture enthusiasts Frank Lloyd Wright's home and the House on the Rock can be part of your getaway's itinerary.


I am sure there are many other great outdoor venues to be discovered in the Midwest, so give me a hint in the comments. If you can't make it out of town this summer, White River State Park will again be home to the Heartland Actors Repertory Theatre's annual Shakespeare in the park production of The Tempest, July 31 - Aug. 2.

  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Speaking of...

  • Best of the Rest: Dec. 12, 2015

    Take a look at the other arts and entertainment stories that made news in and around Indy this week.
    • Dec 12, 2015
  • Hurts So Good

    Indy's cultural attractions help soothe the soul and fuel an active mind and restless body, while injuries mend.
    • Aug 10, 2015
  • Playing For Keeps

    Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra's new principal cellist and youngest member, Austin Huntington, anticipates launching his career while making music and friends in Indy.
    • Aug 4, 2015
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • Well-Endowed Artists

    Jennifer draws Seinfeld-esque parallels to artists' financial challenges with education, but offers easy ways to help.
    • Mar 2, 2016
  • Positive Impressions

    Ben chats with IMA’s artist-in-residence about introducing the process of woodblock printmaking to the masses.
    • Jan 10, 2016

About The Author

Justin Brady

Justin Brady

Bio:
Justin Brady is a nonprofit marketing and fundraising consultant with a passion for the arts. Justin got his start in Indy working with IndyFringe and now seeks out local theatre, film, and dance at every opportunity. He geeks out listening to pop culture podcasts and has an endless Netflix queue.

More by Justin Brady

  • Costume Inspirations

    Justin offers up Halloween costume suggestions inspired by local theatrical productions' wardrobes.
    • Oct 27, 2014
  • Offbeat & Odd

    To seek theater with a side of adventure, Justin recommends veering off the beaten path to find these quirky, one-of-a-kind performances.
    • Oct 13, 2014
  • Theater at the Movies

    Justin provides a rich lineup of NYC and London theatrical productions we'll be able to catch at several of the local cineplexes this fall.
    • Sep 29, 2014
  • More »

Latest in Sky Blue Blog

  • The Nice Things

    Ben has enjoyed his opportunity to give notice to some of Indy’s 'nice things' with Sky Blue Window readers. He hopes you’ll find and share them too.
    • Mar 9, 2016
  • A Gray Sky-onara

    Dan looks back at some of his most memorable blogs at Sky Blue Window.
    • Mar 8, 2016
  • Well-Endowed Artists

    Jennifer draws Seinfeld-esque parallels to artists' financial challenges with education, but offers easy ways to help.
    • Mar 2, 2016
  • More »
© 2017 CICF
Twitter
Facebook
Privacy Policy
Contact Us:
P: 317.634.2423   F: 317.684.0943
info@skybluewindow.org
Central Indiana Community Foundation
615 N. Alabama St. #119
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204-1431
Sky Blue Window is presented by:

Website powered by Foundation