ATI Drive-In Theatre features music of Indiana composing legends


Actors Theatre of Indiana co-founder Don Farrell figures Cole Porter and Hoagy Carmichael are a winning combination on any stage.

“We’re thrilled with highlighting and honoring two of Indiana’s great composers and lyricists,” Farrell said. “You can’t go wrong with their music.”

The ATI Drive-In Theatre show, “Cole with a side of Hoagy,” is set for 7 to 9 p.m. Oct. 23 at the Monon Square Shopping Center in Carmel.

Farrell will be joined by fellow ATI co-founders Cynthia Collins and Judy Fitzgerald.

The show will feature timeless classics, including Porter’s “You’re the Top” to Carmichael’s “Stardust.”

“For me, ‘Night and Day’ is one of my favorite Cole Porter tunes,” Farrell said. “There are so many to choose from. He’s very witty. There were so many of Hoagy Carmichael’s songs that were great, too, like ‘Stardust,’ which is one of his most famous. That will be in the show. The show works well with the Great American Songbook and Indiana Pride.”

Collins said one of her favorite songs is Carmichael’s “I Walk With Music.”

This will be the second ATI Drive-In Theatre. The first was Sept. 18, with the ATI trio paying tribute to songs from movies.

“The first concert we felt was a huge success,” Farrell said of the Sept. 18 event. “We had responses from patrons that have been overwhelmingly positive. The only criticism was someone in their vehicle wasn’t able to hear. I don’t think we did a good enough job of informing them we had a frequency people could listen on the radio in the safety of their own vehicles. We are going to have some additional signage and make it clear what radio station they can turn their frequency to hear a mix.

“We had a mix from our PA system that was going on and for those that wanted to stay in the car, we had a special audio mix on the radio. We are going to do a better job getting that message across.”

Farrell said they also are working with the projection screens to help those parked farther away see better.

“There are always challenges when we take on something new,” Collins said. “But we are fortunate to have some very talented designers who make our job as performers easier. The drive-in concept worked well for us. Our patrons had a ball. Everyone was happy to be out safely enjoying a live performance. There is nothing like performing live.”

Farrell said the production was smooth for a first time.

“It went without a hitch,” he said. “It was a true joy to see people following the protocol, safety and wearing the masks and staying within vicinity of their vehicles. Everybody was doing a great job of looking out for each other and themselves by doing that. It was the same thing with our production staff and artists.

“We didn’t take off our masks until we actually hit the stage and (were) in our own socially distanced space.”

Farrell said sales are strong for the second show.

“Last time, we were at 85 percent paid capacity for what we had to offer,” Farrell said.

Randy Sorrell will serve as emcee. Terry Woods and his band will perform with the ATI trio. A third Drive-In Theatre performance is set for Nov. 27 at Monon Square Shopping Center.

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