Lobster Palooza co-chairs passionate about Indy Opera


Jordan Steele has a lifelong connection to the Indianapolis Opera.

ND LOBSTER PALOOZA 0618 Steele head shot

“My dad, John Schmid, was the chorus master for Indianapolis Opera for 40 years, so I grew up going to rehearsals and all of the performances,” Steele said. “My dad passed away in 2022 and I wanted to keep his passion for opera alive by getting more involved with IO. The staff is truly amazing and makes IO still feel like home even after my dad’s passing.”

Steele, who lives on the north side of Indianapolis, is co-chair with Rob Ellinger of Lobster Palooza, the 14th annual New England Style Lobster Boil. The fundraiser is set for 6 p.m. July 13 at the Basile Opera Center in Indianapolis. Lobster Palooza serves as the kickoff for Indianapolis Opera’s 50th anniversary season. 

Schmid had retired just a few months before he died in April 2022.

ND LOBSTER PALOOZA 0618 Ellinger head shot

“Lobster Palooza is always a fun event,” said Steele, who was on the event’s board last year. “We’re putting some fun and fresh new spins on the event this year that we think everyone will love.”

Ellinger, a Fishers resident, has been involved with the Indianapolis Opera for five years.

“I believe the arts are very important for a thriving community and individual,” Ellinger said. “Ellinger Riggs Insurance has been a sponsor of the event for five years and we just believe it’s a great event and we enjoy it a lot.”

Besides a lobster or beef tenderloin dinner, there will be an open bar and entertainment by Indy Opera singers and Premium Blend, a jazz ensemble.

For tickets, visit indyopera.org.