The best of autumn music, theater and dance

Arts organizations in central Indiana are going bold this fall. With beloved classics, tributes to iconic national artists, and art focused on major historical moments, audiences will make an impact.

“Tick, Tick… Boom!” from the Phoenix Theater Cultural Center will come on the heels of the popular Netflix film, and Indiana Repertory Theater will produce a play that focuses on Chinese history in the United States with the story of Afong Moy. Star musicians, including Indiana’s own fiddler Joshua Bell and soprano Angela Brown, are among the performers.

Here are 12 must-see concerts, plays and more.

Balancing actions

September 23-25 ​​at Toby at Newfields, 4000 Michigan Road. $35 to $55.

Artistic Director Victoria Lyras carried the legacy of famed choreographer George Balanchine to Indianapolis Ballet. The company has received permission from the George Balanchine Trust to stage selected works, and this performance will show some of its most iconic and thought-provoking works.

Joshua Bell

September 29 at the Palladium, 1 Carter Green in Carmel. Tickets start at $45 and are available at

Bloomington native and Indiana University graduate Joshua Bell will return to Indiana for a concert alongside pianist and NPR “From the Top” host Peter Dugan. The Grammy winner has released more than 40 albums over a 30-year career.

‘Tick, tick… Boom!’

Sept. 30-Oct. 30. Phoenix Theater Cultural Center, 705 N. Illinois St. $25-$45.

The recent Netflix movie has raised the profile of Jonathan Larson’s musical, who is best known as the creative mind behind “Rent.” “Tick, tick… Boom!” is an autobiographical story about a composer who faces challenges in his personal and professional life as he tries to fulfill his dream of writing America’s next great musical.

“The Bodyguard: The Musical”

October 1-2 at the Basile Theater of the Athenaeum, 401 E. Michigan St. From $30.

A singing superstar hires a former Secret Service bodyguard to protect her, and love and a battle of wills ensue. It’s all set to a soundtrack with hits like “Run to You”, “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” and “I Will Always Love You”. Indiana Performing Arts Theater will produce the show and KaidyDid Productions will direct.

Indie Jazz Festival

October 1-2 at the MacAllister Amphitheater in Garfield Park. Tickets range from $50 to $200 and are available at

The city’s signature jazz concert returns, with Robert Glasper, Tank and the Bangas, Lalah Hathaway, Norman Brown and more headlining. The festivities will also include additional performances on September 30 at the Jazz Kitchen.

Santino Fontana

Oct. 7-8 at Cabaret, 924 N. Pennsylvania St., $65-$105.

The Tony winner, who is known for starring in “Tootsie” as well as roles in The CW’s “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” and NBC’s “Shades of Blue,” will perform.

“The Chinese Lady”

Oct. 11-Nov. 6 at the Indiana Repertory Theater, 140 W. Washington St. Season passes are available and watch for single ticket sales.

Indianapolis-area playwright Lloyd Suh wrote this work based on the true story of teenager Afong Moy. She was recognized as the first Chinese woman to come to America, and she was considered exotic for her customs and bound feet. The story of the play tells of the discovery of identity – both of the young woman and of the young American nation.

“Pictures at an Exhibition” by Brahms and Mussorgsky

October 14 and 15 at the Hilbert Circle Theatre, 45 Monument Circle. $16 to $93.

Two of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra’s finest – Concertmaster Kevin Lin and Principal Cello Austin Huntington – will perform Johannes Brahms’ famous Concerto for Violin, Cello and Orchestra in A Minor, Op. 102. Also on the program, the Overture to Ruslan and Lyudmila by Mikhail Glinka, “Fate Now Conquers” by Carlos Simon and “Pictures at an Exhibition” by Modeste Moussorgski. Student tickets are available for $10.

“People listen to him”: What Makes ISO Kevin Lin’s Concertmaster So Extraordinary

Epic Playlist

October 15 at the Schrott Center for the Arts at Butler University. Season passes are on sale, and check out for single tickets.

Jessie Montgomery’s “Banner” draws on the music of the national anthem to explore many different American experiences of the 21st century. And Kenny Broberg, winner of the 2021 Indianapolis-based American Pianists Awards, will perform Robert Schumann’s Piano Concerto, Op. 54 in A minor.

‘Carmine Burana’

October 20-23 at the Indiana Repertory Theater, 140 W. Washington St. Subscriptions are available now and individual tickets go on sale September 26.

The classic has become one of Dance Kaleidoscope’s best-known works thanks to the vision of artistic director David Hochoy. It will return in two acts – “The Day” and “The Night” – which include a mythical wheel of fortune, a wedding, a birth, a war, witchcraft and a tribute to the victims of the AIDS epidemic.


From November 3 to 6 and from November 10 to 12. IndyFringe Basil Theater, 719 E. St. Clair St., and IUPUI Campus Center Theater, 420 University Blvd. Watch for tickets to go on sale on

The festival that celebrates black playwrights is back with six shows this fall. Plots include a suburban woman who encounters strange noises in her family’s home, homelessness, a school shooting, divorce, and an exploration of poet Mari Evans.


Nov. 11-13 at the Tarkington Theatre, 3 Carter Green in Carmel. Look at for tickets.

Indy’s own soprano, Angela Brown, will star in the classic opera about a woman and her lover threatened by the police chief during a political investigation.

Contact IndyStar arts reporter Domenica Bongiovanni at 317-444-7339 or Follow her on Facebook, instagram or Twitter: @domenicareports.

Contact IndyStar pop culture reporter Rory Appleton at 317-552-9044 and, or follow him on Twitter at @RoryDoesPhonics.

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