Brew-Ha-Ha: A Beer Lover’s Benefit

Somehow, beer tastes better when bought locally. Maybe its our Hoosier pride in the twenty eight breweries peppered throughout the state, or our instincts to buy local in a effort to lead a more sustainable life style, but Indiana breweries are flourishing, largely in thanks of Indiana patrons who support this Indianapolis businesses. Saturday, June 26 the Phoenix Theatre hosts Brew-Ha-Ha a celebration of microbreweries in Indiana and a fundraiser for a provocative Indianapolis theatre. For only $25.00 ($20.00 in advance) Indianapolis people are given unlimited tastes of more than fifty beers, as they roam the 700 block of the Chatham Arch Neighborhood. The fun starts at 3:00 pm and goes until 7:00 pm.

Brew-Ha-Ha is not only a great time, but also a smart idea for a fundraiser. But why should you support the Phoenix Theatre? After attending their entire season of plays (save their upcoming Reasons To Be Pretty, which has yet to open) and having attended nearly every other Indianapolis theatre event for the past year, I feel safe in ranking the Phoenix Theatre as number one when it comes to producing entertaining and challenging theatre. A memory trip through their season begins with The Most Damaging Wound, a comedy about guy friends and growing old that swept me off my feet.

Shipwrecked! An Entertainment took audiences on one man’s fantastical journey with a stunning talented ensemble of three. A Very Phoenix X-Mas 4 offered an alternative to the usual holiday theatre fare, with original scripts, skits and songs that celebrated all aspects of the holiday season. The Housewives of Mannheim, my favorite show of their season, explored the tension between two housewives at home during World War II as one tests the boundaries of love.

The political thriller Sunlight shed light on family tensions as conflicting political ideologies duke it out on stage. Yankee Tavern shared a ghost story of mammoth proportions, following the lives of those inextricably linked to September 11. And finally, Speech and Debate delved into the comic lives of high school students exposing scandal at their school.

Each show has been beautifully acted and beautifully directed, in a theatre that pulls largely from a local base of community actors. In addition, each successive show in their season added to the Phoenix Theatre’s on going dialogue with the audience about the nature of the world we face beyond the theatre doors. In my mind, this conversation, which Phoenix Theatre elicit from and enhances for its audiences is what sets them apart from other Indianapolis theatres. Not once have I felt pandered to. The Phoenix Theatre views its audience as intelligent and therefore is interested in asking us to think, along with them, about big picture ideas of the world.

The Phoenix Theatre knows and appreciate its audience, attempting (successfully) time again to connect with our minds and hearts. It’s no wonder that this Indianapolis nonprofit organization’s annual fundraiser, Brew-Ha-Ha, would align with the interests of its audience. This Indianapolis festival is all about beer, Indiana beer to be specific. Patrons are invited to join the Phoenix Theatre at their annual outdoor festival and to sample as many beers as they can.

This twenty one and up Indianapolis event features fifty different beers from some of the most well known microbreweries in Indiana including Bell’s, Broad Ripple Brewpub, Brugge Brasserie, Sun King Brewery, Upland Brewing Company, Rock Bottom and twelve more. The price of admission buys unlimited access to these delicious brews. But be sure to bring some spending money for munchies with delicious festival vendors on standby to keep your stomach open for more beer. Plus, the Phoenix Theatre has even scheduled live music all day long from Indianapolis bands including Tim Brickley and the Bleeding Hearts, Monkey Fightin’ Snakes and The Elect.

Support this Indianapolis performing arts organization in what maybe the most fun way possible. After enjoying a season’s worth of work, I already have my tickets to this year’s Brew-Ha-Ha, in the hopes that the 2010-11 season will be just as enlightening as the 2009-10 season. Get your tickets early for only $20.00 or pay $25.00 at the door. Either price is worth the knowledge that you can help support Indianapolis arts just by knocking back a couple of cold ones.

Located in the Indianapolis cultural district, Mass Ave, the Phoenix Theatre is in a hub of Indianapolis theatre including Theatre on the Square, the indyFringe Theatre and the Old National Theatre (formerly Murat Theatre). When Brew-Ha-Ha shuts down at 7:00 pm, stick around for a performance of the Phoenix Theatre’s Speech and Debate. Or head to Mass Ave to take advantage of the Indianapolis restaurants or Indianapolis bars there.

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Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Phoenix Theatre
749 North Park Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46202