(Deb) OK, another present I would really love are season tickets to Topeka Civic Theatre. So, if you could work on that for me Frank, I would appreciate it. (Frank) Oh OK. Now, this was eons ago, but the first show I did for Civic Theatre was “Here’s Love” which was kind of a Christmassy show. In fact it was done in the Woman’s Club which is right across from the Capitol as well. (Deb) Oh ya. (Frank) And by the Dillon House. And in “Here’s Love” there’s this big parade and the stage at the Woman’s Club was kind of limited, so the people that were in the parade actually had to be outside and come across the stage and go back out and the whole thing. But anyway, Civic Theatre did many seasons at the Woman’s Club. (Deb) I didn’t realize that. (Frank) And rehearsals were in an old church and I can’t even remember now, it’s been so long ago, where that was. And we would rehearse there and then come down, of course, and do the dress rehearsal in the auditorium at the Woman’s Club. So, it was a great time. Dale Easton was the Artistic Director at the time and of course, then he started “The Drunkard” and the whole nine yards. But Topeka Civic Theatre now is so much more. It has so many opportunities for children to get involved with theatre. They have several shows going on at the same time in their current facility. And it’s just absolutely fantastic. (Deb) When they did “Les Miserables” talk about the great, they had the revolving stage. (Frank) Yea. (Deb) That was amazing and so it looked like people streaming by and it was just the revolving stage. Oh, they’re amazing. Shannon Reilly is just one of my favorite people. (Frank) And of course, I hope you get the opportunity to see “A Christmas Carol.” It’s a fantastic production and so I’m sure tickets are available but you need to check. So anyway….(Deb) Let’s take a look.
(Frank) Founded in 1936, Topeka Civil Theater and Academy is the oldest continuously running community dinner theater in the country. The Topeka Civic’s productions have remained consistent through decades of staff and venue changes. In July 1999, Topeka Civic completed construction of its new home in the former Gage Elementary School. The school was built around 1929 and is rich in architecture and design. It also affords two stages, the main stage for larger productions and the Oldfather’s Theatre, which is a more intimate setting. Over the years, Topeka Civic has been the recipient of many awards and honors. Shannon Reilly has been creative director for more than two decades. He has brought enthusiasm as well as vision to the post. Topeka Civil offers after school programs and workshops that encourage children to become involved in the theater, an opportunity that has bloomed into a lifelong relationship for many of them. In 2013, Topeka Civic began a partnership with Shawnee County to manage the Helen Hocker Theater in Gage Park, enabling this community landmark to continue and thrive. The 2016 schedule includes the musical Memphis as well as the Aristocat Kids.