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By Ray Cortopassi

Yellow caution tape. You know how it reads: “CRIME SCENE DO NOT CROSS.”

I’ve been around it plenty in 20 years of covering the news: murders, fires, robberies, you name it. You don’t have to be a journalist to recognize it. That boundary line is there for a reason. Law enforcement and emergency responders don’t want the average Joe wandering into that mess because a) it contaminates the crime scene and b) it’s something you probably don’t want to see; it tends to be on the gruesome side.

This October, Zionsville’s Off-Main Street Players (OMSP) present an on-stage story that you ARE allowed to trudge through. It’s the grittiest of scenes because it involves emotions right there at the surface and those that are buried by years of family drama: jealousy, self-centeredness, infidelity, and yes, even attempted murder. But here’s the thing – it’s all wickedly funny.

It’s Beth Henley’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Crimes of the Heart. It was a great Hollywood movie from a while back, and it will be on stage at Zionsville Town Hall, 1100 W. Oak St., October 4-12.

The black comedy marks the OMSP’s 23rd show since debuting Neil Simon’s Plaza Suite in September 2005. The formation of OMSP is a great story that I won’t get into here except to say that the true talent belongs to co-founder and returning Crimes director Brett Brewer of Zionsville, as well as the many creative volunteers who’ve carried the dramatic mantle in our theatrical productions in the last eight years. They’ve been building sets, selling tickets, gathering concessions and building audiences.

Produced by Zionsville’s Chris Bias, Crimes of the Heart is a play that tells the story of the

Actors Molly Griffin, Amy Lacy and Theresa Koleszar during rehearsal.

Actors Molly Griffin, Amy Lacy and Theresa Koleszar during rehearsal.

MaGrath sisters from Mississippi: Lenny, Meg and Babe. They’re awaiting the pending death of their grandfather while also waiting to learn the fate of Babe, the youngest, who is out of jail on bail after facing a charge of attempted murder.

It’s well written, funny and also touching. I know. I’ve been rehearsing alongside some talented actors who are bringing these amazing characters to life with a southern accent. I play Doc Porter, a guy who had a house fall on him during Hurricane Katrina. His femme fatale is Meg, played by Molly Kincaid, of Zionsville. Her character up and left Doc and her family in Hazelhurst to pursue a singing career in Hollywood.

Lenora (everyone calls her “Lenny”) is played by Amy Lacy of Zionsville. She’s the sister left holding the bag, caring for Granddad and may never find love. Babe is the one who’s in real trouble. She shot her husband, a powerful senator wounded in the heat of one very controversial moment. Babe is brought to life by Theresa Kolesszar of Lebanon. Rich DeCamp of Indianapolis plays Barnette Lloyd, the young lawyer hired to defend her. He may be too young for the job, but he believes he has an ace up his sleeve and a personal vendetta. Stuck in the middle is cousin Chick. She’s on a perpetual mission to show her cousins just how backward they are. Jean Arnold of Indianapolis will tell you that her character really needs to take a long look in the mirror.

Crimes of the Heart is a killer collection of characters that’ll stay with you a long time, and the actors are notable for their affection for the people they’re portraying…yours truly not necessarily withstanding. I’m just happy to be part of an ensemble that isn’t on the news.

I’m sending you a personal invitation to come and be a part of the community theatre experience. You don’t have to do anything except enjoy an evening (or afternoon) of laughs and entertainment. At the very least, it’ll get you away from the drama of the daily newscast. That’s partly why I’m doing it. On a bigger scale, you’ll also be supporting the arts. To turn your back on that? Well that would be the real crime.

Tickets for the show are just $12 each. You can buy them at the box office at (317) 595-3700 or online at offmainstreetplayers.org. Seating is limited. Remaining tickets will be sold the day of the performance, 15 minutes before the curtain. Showtimes are Fridays, October 4 and 11 at 8 pm; Saturdays, October 5 and 12 at 8 pm; and Sunday, October 6 at 2:30 pm.

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