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Interactive Halloween Cabaret The Book of Evil Offers Three Spooky Performances

Darby LeClear is a known talent in the area, on the stage and behind the scenes. With a recent knockout performance in Bright Star at Arena Dinner Theatre, LeClear has recently dedicated some of her talent and energies to the emerging organization, Indiana Musical Theatre Foundation, co-founded by Andrew Sherman, someone LeClear has known since their days at Northwood Middle School. Continuing through North Side High School, well-known for their performing arts programs, LeClear found her voice through theatre, jazz choir, show choir, and speech and debate. It would seem that she must be very gregarious, a ham in search of a stage. Nothing could be further from the truth.

“I came from a musical family, and in middle school I was in a play written by a student’s mom,” LeClear recalled. “I was in show choir, but I had so much stage fright. But I loved it and wanted to do it so I just powered through. I loved the end result of being on the stage so I had to stop being afraid to do it.”

Darby LeClear

She moved on to Purdue Fort Wayne where she majored in musical theatre and found a home with the smaller department and its easy access to directors, professors, and performing opportunities. Although she is busy on the stage, a chance to perform in and direct a cabaret for Indiana Music Theatre Foundation presented itself thanks to her long-time classmate and friend.

“Andrew reached out to me and wanted to get me more involved in the company,” LeClear said. “I absolutely love Indiana Musical Theatre Foundation and their recent shows, Hairspray and America Idiot. It’s a really exciting organization.” Sherman offered her the chance to direct the Halloween cabaret and gave her complete creative control. She took that ball and ran with it, putting together not just a series of Halloween appropriate songs but a narrative that brought it all together. Calling the show The Book of Evil, LeClear, along with Michael Bartkiewicz, found a thread to bring together a series of songs and a cast of 16, which includes LeClear and Bartkiewicz and castmates from high school age to adult. There are three performances – Friday, October 28 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, October 29 at 7:30 p.m. and midnight – and take place at the RKF Studios at 2446 Lake Avenue. LeClear thinks audiences will find something for everyone in the Halloween spirit.

“There’s definitely a nice fear factor, but nothing like jump scares or anything. There are a lot of songs from musical theatre but also pop and rock songs so there’s a nice mix. And the show invites people to be involved, and the show is in the round so everyone can see what’s going on. But if they come to more than one performance, they’ll get a whole different experience because of where they sit. There’s a lot of fun to be had with this show.”

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