Show goes on

Changes have occurred behind the scenes the Brown County Playhouse Performing Arts Center, but the goal remains the same: Entertain audiences with live plays and music.

The schedule through the end of the year was recently announced, along with management changes.

Suzannah Levett Zody will be the new general manager.

“She has worked tirelessly, first as a volunteer and contractor, running front-of-house, ticketing and marketing services since 2011, so her progression to full-time management is much deserved,” Brown County Playhouse Management Board President Kathy Anderson said in a news release.

Story continues below gallery

As general manager, Zody is responsible for “looking after pretty much everything,” she said. But the Playhouse intends to hire more staff as they go.

The Playhouse Programming Committee also has new responsibilities.

It now will be responsible for negotiating performer and rental contracts.

Committee members include Anderson; Zody; Steve Jessie, owner of the Music and Mayhem music store in Nashville; and new board member Bob Kirlin. Jessie also will work as the Playhouse’s movie technician.

Board members Jeff McCabe, Doug Harden and Andy Szakaly stepped down earlier this year.

New board members are Kirlin, James T. Roberts — replacing Szakaly as legal representation — and Scott Hutchison, the new director of the Brown County Art Guild.

They join existing board members Pam Gould, Ed Wojdyla and Anderson.

Mike Goodin and Kevin Coffman will work front-of-house services, where they will be assisted by more than 150 volunteers and local contractors for facility and technical services, the news release said.

“We feel very solid. We feel very excited about the future,” Zody said.

Other plans include developing a program administrator job and special consultants to continue “to attract diverse, quality entertainment to the venue year-round,” a news release from the Playhouse said.

“The idea is, we want to bring in the best of the best regionally as much as possible. Instead of two permanent people, we will have guest directors. That’s what this whole thing is kind of geared around,” Zody said.

Nora Leahy and Ian McCabe, of Two Pigs Production, had been the artistic directors for the Playhouse. Brown County Playhouse Management announced March 11 that the two were leaving their jobs.

They produced a fall season of plays for the past three years. Their last production was “The Odd Couple,” which wrapped May 16.

“We are very sad to go, but we are very proud of all of the work we’ve done here for the last three years,” Leahy said in May. “We’ve put a lot of ourselves into what we’ve done here, and we’re very proud.”

Now, the Playhouse plans to look outside as well as inside the county for talent.

“We really want to focus as much as possible on regional talent. We feel that helps the local economy,” Zody said.

Fall, winter lineup

The first show of the fall season will be “Rounding Third,” a play by Richard Dresser, Sept. 4 to 12.

The play follows two Little League coaches for an entire season; the audience is the team. The coaches speak directly to the audience about competition, punctuality and wearing the right equipment.

“Rounding Third” will be directed by Brown County resident Casey Kersey, who also directed the Playhouse community theater productions of “Love, Loss and What I Wore” and “Steel Magnolias.”

Kersey is a speech and theater adjunct professor at Vincennes University through Center Grove High School, where she teaches dual-credit classes in the Early College Program.

She also will co-direct the summer youth theater camp this July.

Following “Rounding Third” will be the “Rock N’ Roll Revue Series” presented by One Pulse Entertainment. Eric Brown, who first appeared in Nashville performing and producing at the Palace Theater with Lonely Street Productions, is the co-owner of One Pulse.

Bloomington musician Jenn Cristy co-owns the business with Brown. The two are bringing three live musicals over three weekends, the news release states.

The first show, “Respect: The Women of Rock and Soul,” will be on stage Sept. 18 and Oct. 2. Cristy, who has performed with Indiana musician John Mellencamp, will perform with musicians Brandi Nicole and Hannah Farahan.

“Ross Martinie Eiler and the Hillbilly Cats: The Birth of Rock N’ Roll” will run Sept. 19, 26 and Oct. 3. Eiler performed at the Playhouse last year in “Whole Lotta Shakin’!” and “Good Rockin’ LIVE!” He plays piano in the style of Jerry Lee Lewis.

On Sept. 25, Brown will grace the Playhouse stage again with his band, L Street: Working Class Heroes. It’s a tribute to Bruce Springsteen, Mellencamp, Tom Petty and many more, according to the release.

October’s schedule will feature “Murder at the Howard Johnson’s,” a comedy by Ron Clark and Sam Bobrick. Gerry Pauwels, a Bloomington resident and director at the Bloomington Playwrights Project, will direct.

Pauwels also starred in a variety of B-movies, Zody said.

“He’s just an all-around great guy, great actor,” she said.

Comedian Heywood Banks will perform Nov. 13. Banks has appeared on radio’s “The Bob and Tom Show” and is known for his comedy recordings including “Big Butter Jesus” and “They Had To Taser Her Again.” He has been featured in Rolling Stone and People magazines and has appeared on MTV and HBO.

The Playhouse and Golden Ticket Productions will work together this holiday season to present “Believe: A Brown County Christmas.” This is the eighth year for the variety show, the news release said. This year’s production will be directed by Brad Zumwalt and Russell Moss. Moss also will appear on stage.

Out of the Ordinary restaurant, which houses Golden Ticket Productions, will offer preshow dinner specials on performance nights across the street from the Playhouse, and anyone with tickets to the show will receive a dessert voucher for afterward.

The Playhouse also continues to show movies, many for $5 per ticket.

Special movie events for 2015 include the annual B-Movies Festival Aug. 14 to 16 and “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” on Halloween, presented by Music and Mayhem.

Fall shows at the Brown County Playhouse

“Rounding Third” a live play by Richard Dresser

When: Sept. 4, 5, 11, 12, 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $17.50 for adults, $16.50 for children

“Respect: The Women of Rock and Soul”

When: Sept. 18, Oct. 2, 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $20.50 for adults, $18.50 for children

“Ross Martinie Eiler and the Hillbilly Cats: The Birth of Rock N’ Roll”

When: Sept. 19 and 26, Oct. 3 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $20.50 for adults, $18.50 for children

“Eric Brown and the L Street Band: Working Class Heroes”

When: Sept. 25 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $20.50 for adults, $18.50 for children

“Murder at the Howard Johnson’s” by Ron Clark and Sam Bobrick

When: Oct. 8-10, 15-17, 22-24 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $20.50 for adults, $18.50 for children

Comedian Heywood Banks

When: Nov. 13, 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $25

“Believe: A Brown County Christmas”

When: Nov. 27-29, Dec. 4-6, 11-13, 18-20 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday

Cost: $20.50 for adults, $18.50 for kids

All shows are at the Brown County Playhouse on Van Buren Street.

For tickets, visit or call 812-988-6665.

Author photo
Suzannah Couch grew up in Brown County, reading the Brown County Democrat. A 2013 Franklin College graduate, she covers cops/courts, education and arts/entertainment.