This year for my wife’s birthday I took her to see The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre on the north side of Indianapolis. Over the years we’ve seen a number of shows at Beef and Boards, but usually we stick to the family shows where we can take the kids. Even this we only do when there’s a show we really want to see. Taking six people to anything with an admission price adds up quickly. Musicals are clearly no exception.
My wife has the great privilege of having a sister with Broadway season tickets and a need for a seat mate. Although she had already seen Spelling Bee on the Broadway tour, she told me how much she’d enjoyed the show and wished I’d been able to see it too. That sounded like a good idea to me. Given the occasion and the mature nature of the show this one was just the two of us. For example, Act II opens with last year’s winner, Chip, who is the first one out at this year’s bee, walking around among the audience, forced to sell fund-raising candy. He does this while angrily singing about the real reason he really lost the bee. Quite honestly, this number is hysterically funny, but it’s not for children. At least in my opinion.
The theatre itself is smallish venue, but quite professional. It seats around 450. So it’s not small, but it’s also no overwhelming. Plus, we had great seats! The food was okay, fancy-looking with excellent service, but the quality wasn’t as good as I was expecting for the price. The show, however, more than made up for the food. Performances at Beef and Boards feature many talented performers along with a few occasionally who are not quite so great. Even with a cast as large as Spelling Bee’s we weren’t disappointed. Every one of the performers was a delight!
The only bad news was that my wife said with this birthday I set the bar pretty high for next year. I’m not so sure about that. But you can bet I’ll be looking ahead to see what’s on next year’s Beef and Boards January schedule. Just in case.