Backstage Pass at Civic Theatre :: CityMoms Report

//Backstage Pass at Civic Theatre :: CityMoms Report

Ask any kid what they want to be when they grow up, and you’ll likely hear a mix of vet, teacher, policeman, doctor or athlete. Not me though… I was determined to become a famous actress. Specifically, a stage actress.

I spent years studying theatre, honing the skills of projecting my voice, and learning the difference between ‘upstage’ and ‘downstage.’ It’s probably why to this day I’m not phased by public speaking and why the very thought of the lights going up onstage is thrilling.

And while my dreams of becoming the next great Broadway star were never realized, I have long been a lover of live theatre {is it theater or theatre?! Let’s debate that later!}. But what I love even more is igniting that same love for theater in kids.

Enter a special hidden gem: The Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre Backstage Pass tour.

Civic Theatre Backstage Pass - theCityMoms

The Backstage Pass Tour is a special behind-the-scenes look at the Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre on and off-stage operations. It also teaches kids proper theater etiquette or ‘how to be the best theater visitor.’


THINK THAT’S FUN? Check out our CityMoms Report on the Museum of Miniatures, also located in Carmel.


On this particular Wednesday, our CityMoms and CityKids had gathered in the front lobby ready to indulge in our own, exclusive group tour. The best news? The Backstage Pass Tour is open to all groups! Scouts? Class field trips? Moms groups like theCityMoms? Yes to all of the above. If you have a group, the Civic Theatre would love to host you.

First, our CityMoms met Civic Theatre Education Programs Director “Ms. Holly” in the lobby. She quickly set expectations with our youngest tour-goers about keeping hands to themselves, turning off voices and tuning ears in to listening mode. She was magical at putting our entire tour’s context into special kid-terms they could understand AND follow.

Civic Theatre Backstage Pass - theCityMoms
Civic Theatre Backstage Pass - theCityMoms
The first step in attending show is getting your ticket, right? Here, Ms. Holly explains what the Box Office does.
Civic Theatre Backstage Pass - theCityMoms
Then it was time for CityKids to get their tickets to the ‘show.’ Luckily Ms. Holly had pennies to share with everyone.
Civic Theatre Backstage Pass - theCityMoms
Who WAS Booth Tarkington? Why was he so famous that he deserved to have a theatre named after him? And IS there a dog painted into this portrait? Our CityKids had a lot of questions.

Then it was time to head inside the main theatre. I’ve never gotten over the stoic feel of an empty theatre – it was enough to even hush our chattiest CityKids for a moment or two.

Civic Theatre Backstage Pass - theCityMoms
Once you have your ticket, you have to find your seat, right? Ms. Holly helps our CityKids understand what the letters {the rows} and numbers {your seat number} mean on their tickets.
Civic Theatre Backstage Pass - theCityMoms
Everyone seated? Good.
Civic Theatre Backstage Pass - theCityMoms
Then we were introduced to Mr. Marty, Civic Theatre’s Director of Music and Education. He introduced us to the six things crucial to a play: Actors, scenery, sound, lighting, costumes and props. Mr. Marty made us laugh a LOT.

After learning the steps of being a good audience member at the theatre, Mr. Marty declared it was time to go ON STAGE. This really nudged our excitement levels! We channeled our best Sutton Foster, took a deep breath, and walked up the stairs {careful to place parents so little ones didn’t fall into the orchestra pit of course}.

Civic Theatre Backstage Pass - theCityMoms
Do YOU know the difference between ‘up’stage, ‘down’stage, stage right and stage left? Mr. Marty quickly taught us these important directions – if we’re going to be future actors, you should know that stages used to slope down toward the audience so moving to the front of the stage is called ‘downstage.’
Civic Theatre Backstage Pass - theCityMoms
We were all pretty giddy – the Civic Theatre performance of Mary Poppins was in show so we were walking on the same set as our favorite nanny!
Civic Theatre Backstage Pass - theCityMoms
Probably one of our fave photos from the entire visit – Mr. Marty instructing CityKids where all the lighting and sound techs sit at the back of house.

But there’s so much more to putting on a performance than what’s onstage! So Ms. Holly and Mr. Marty took our group for a literal peek behind the curtain – we headed backstage to see some of the more hidden elements of theatre like lighting, set management, the prop table, dressing rooms, and more.

Civic Theatre Backstage Pass - theCityMoms
This may look like Greek to you, but it’s an important piece of the puzzle – these levers and pulleys all move the various sets onstage.
Civic Theatre Backstage Pass - theCityMoms
Lights. Lights would be good here. {Sorry, Pretty Woman reference – do you know that line? No? Moving on.}
Civic Theatre Backstage Pass - theCityMoms
The prop tables are all labeled according to the performance and scene. This one seemed extra special for Mary Poppins.
Civic Theatre Backstage Pass - theCityMoms
CityKids were fascinated at the amount of wigs needed for Mary Poppins.
Civic Theatre Backstage Pass - theCityMoms
Where all the magic happens – the dressing room!
Civic Theatre Backstage Pass - theCityMoms

Finally our tour was coming to a close, but Ms. Holly wasn’t quite done with us yet. She pulled us into the Civic Theatre practice studio for an impromptu improv class!

Civic Theatre Backstage Pass - theCityMoms
Nobody had fun here. #sarcasm
Nope, nobody at all.

We couldn’t believe how quickly the hour with Ms. Holly flew during our tour and many of our CityMoms left with ideas of enrolling their CityKids in the Jr. Civic program, including me! If your group is searching for a fun winter activity, we cannot recommend this one enough – it’s a hidden gem for sure. Thank you Holly, Mr. Marty and the whole Civic Theatre team for hosting us!

MORE INFO: The Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre is located at 3 Center Green near downtown Carmel. The cost for the Backstage Pass program is $5/pp. For a full list of shows or for additional details on programs like Backstage Pass, visit civictheatre.org or call {317} 843-3800.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jeanine Bobenmoyer headshot - theCityMoms

Jeanine Bobenmoyer – like many moms – wears numerous hats including wife, mother of 2, trail runner, yoga-addict, Michigan native, die-hard Wolverines fan, Thai food enthusiast and avid reader. After years spent in the world of advertising agencies, she now curbs her Mad Men tendencies as a freelance communications and marketing consultant. 

Jeanine is also the Chief Mom Officer and Founder of theCityMoms. Find Jeanine on TwitterInstagram and in the sale section at Anthropologie.

2019-01-07T14:19:35+00:00January 2nd, 2019|
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