ACT ONE hits the road


Commentary by Holly Stults Haas, director of education programs at Civic Theatre

In the early morning hours of May 21, musical theater tunes could be heard from a bus full of excited junior performers from Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre. Along with teachers and parents, Jr. Civic’s ACT ONE was heading to share what they do best with the Windy City.

ACT ONE was founded in 2006 by Director of Music and Education, Brent E. Marty, and Director of Education Programs, Holly Stults Haas. ACT ONE participants come from throughout the Indianapolis metropolitan area and are required to be experienced performers before auditioning for the troupe.

Upon arriving, they explored Millennium Park, followed by tours of the Private Bank and the Cadillac Palace Theatres. The tour guide was impressed when one of the kids asked how many lines the theatre had on its fly rail.

The first performance opportunity was at 360 Chicago, 94 floors above the city. The group performed numbers including: “Open a New Window” (from “Mame”); “Broadway Baby” (from “Follies”); “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” (from “Marry Poppins”) and “Chicago, Illinois” (from “Victor/Victoria”). The day concluded with a stunning production of “The King & I” at the Chicago Lyric Opera. The group even got to meet some of the cast members.

Day two took the group to the Shedd Aquarium where their performance went swimmingly. Viewing the aquatics show gave everyone an appreciation for training and rehearsal as they watched the dolphins and whales do choreography. The trip left them exhilarated, empowered and exhausted! Needless to say, the bus ride home was quieter than the trip there.

“This trip is the first of its kind, and one that we hope will become an annual tradition for this group,” Marty said.

ACT ONE’s next performance is the opening ceremonies of the Special Olympics State Games in Terre Haute. Members of ACT ONE can be seen in Jr. Civic’s production of “Trial of Goldilocks,” June 17-22. For information about ACT ONE, Jr. Civic, or to buy tickets for performances, visit