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5 reasons to love Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre

Confession: I am a theatre geek.

It started in high school when I was cast in a handful of school plays. It continued through college when we could get cheap last-minute tickets to performances that hadn’t sold out. As an adult, I’m still drawn to the theatre. I love the storytelling, the music, the costumes. And as a mother, I am happily raising my own theatre geeks.

Family of actors at Civic Theatre

The Bush family made performing at the Tarkington a family affair when they were all cast in “Willy Wonka.”

But tickets to professional theatre can be expensive (upwards of $100 a ticket) and not all theatre is appropriate for kids, which is why I feel very lucky to have the Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre in my community. Located across from the behemoth Palladium in Carmel, the Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre might be easy to overlook. But please do yourself a favor and pay attention to it.

My family has seen a number of shows at the Tarkington — Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, The Woman in Black, Willy Wonka, and Steel Magnolias. We’ve enjoyed every single one of them. While live theatre costs more than a night at the movies, the entertainment just doesn’t compare.

5 reasons why my family enjoys the Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre

1. Great seats. Seriously, there is not a bad seat in the house.

2. Snacks allowed. Like most theatres, the Tarkington sells snacks and drinks outside the theatre. Unlike most theatres, you don’t have to gulp them down before the show starts. Snack snd drinks are allowed in the theatre (but please be polite and don’t rustle your M&M bags during the show).

3. Actor access. After the show, patrons can gather in the lobby and wait for the actors to come out to congratulate them. Kids think it’s a big deal to have the actors autograph their programs.

4. Special needs performances. For families with children who have special needs, the Civic often provides a special performance that takes into account the sensory issues (light and sounds) that make theatre-going otherwise difficult.

Post-show pic at Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre

My daughter congratulating one of her friends who played the part of one of the brothers in “Joseph.”

5. Community theatre. Did I mention the Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre is a community theatre? That means the actors are all unpaid community members, theatre geeks, if you will. For that reason, several of the shows we’ve been to have had actors that we know, including our friends Tim and Cheri Bush and their sons Noah and Eli, pictured above.

If you want to give the Tarkington a try, upcoming shows include Les Miserables, Pinocchio Jr., and Footloose.