Civic Theatre is worth a visit

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Commentary by Kurt Pantzer

We remember days gone by. Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre is ninety-nine and three.

Let me explain. Operating since 1915, Civic Theatre is in its third year at The Center for The Performing Arts. Our next performance, 1940’s Radio Hour, opens Oct. 25.

You should go see it and savor a live radio broadcast from the Hotel Astor’s Algonquin Room in the New York City of 1942. There is something joyful in the banter between characters as well as the sound effects generated on stage for the radio broadcast. It’s a feeling we crave to reminisce.

1940’s Radio Hour exists in a memorable era of the culture industry. Frank Sinatra’s coveted style is emulated by many and matched by none. We still enjoy seeing folks endeavor to turn ideas and emotions into shows. We can see ourselves in theatre. It is an important legacy.

Live theatre involves the audience in the essence of cultural patterns and conveys a sense of the times. Observing is a cultural consequence of the information age, but our heritage is wrapped up in it.

Civic has moved four times in its history. The August issue of the Indianapolis Business Journal lists the largest Indianapolis-area performing arts organizations, ranked by budget, ticket sales and total season attendance. With a budget of $1.8 million, Civic drew an audience of 51,761 and ticket sales of $611,936.

Like all the other listed performing arts organizations, Civic Theatre counts on donors, grantors and government support to serve our growing audience and education and outreach programs.

The list shows that Civic Theatre has benefited from its move. Within those numbers are further stories. Eighty performances staged during the 2012-13 season, education and outreach programs serving 20,034 individuals and 284 workshops and classes offered to students through Jr. Civic, the theatre’s Young Adult Program and Studio Series.

Thirty-nine percent of our audience lives in Marion County and 42 percent in Hamilton County. Clearly, Civic Theatre has not forgotten its roots.

Civic Theatre is a mighty powerful little organization. It strives to make life more interesting and edifying for patrons throughout central Indiana. As managing director, I join our Executive Director, Cheri Dick, in inviting you to visit us. We love to show off new digs.


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