"Laugh Lines!" and "It’s a Wonderful Life" await Topeka theater goers

Topeka Civic Theatre’s improv troupe, “Laugh Lines” has been performing for 25 years. Photo provided.

by Rob Howard
Associate Editor

Laugh Lines! is different every night because the audience drives the performance,” says Topeka Civic Theatre’s CEO Vickie Brokke. “They have been our in-house comedy improve troop for almost 25 years here in Topeka.”

Laugh Line! is one of TCT’s November productions. The other is the Christmas classic, It’s a Wonderful Life. “I’m excited about both of those plays,” said Brokke. “Laugh Lines! is an adult themed improv troupe, with a very reasonably priced ticket for an evening’s entertainment. There is a lot of interaction with the audience, because the director will should out several persons or themes, and whatever the audience suggests, they have to work it into their routine.”

Laugh Lines! Performances are November 11 and 12. Tickets are $13.75.

It’s a Wonderful Life is known to multiple generations as a film starring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed. TCT’s production remains true to the film version. “We’ve opted this time to do the play version. We have families that come to see It’s a Wonderful Life as part of their holiday tradition.

“When our play reading committee looked at the script, we were impressed with how closely it held to the film version.” The original screenplay was by Francis Goodrich, Albert Hackett, Frank Capra and Jo Swerlin.

This faithful, fast-moving stage adaptation, by Doug Rand, of the classic film features fluid scene changes and scores of beefy roles. It's not only a joyful Christmas tale - it's the gorgeous love story of George and Mary Bailey, a vivid portrait of the Greatest Generation, a descent into the darkest hour of a man trapped by circumstance, and a powerful meditation on what makes a meaningful life.

TCT draws its actors from the Northeast Kansas area, including Topeka, Lawrence and Manhattan. “We have very talented volunteer actors; we often have entire families that audition and often get cast. It makes for their holiday tradition,” said Brokke.

They are featuring a guest director for this year’s production. The play will be directed by Doug Goheen, who “retired from one of our local high schools and is an icon in the local theatre community.”

It’s a Wonderful Life opens November 25 and runs Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until December 22. Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for full-time students.

Topeka Civic Theatre has dinner theater seating at its Mainstage Theatre. Dinners are served Friday and Saturdays, and Brunch on Sundays, although purchasing dinner or brunch is not required. Dinners are $19, $17.50 for children 12 and under or seniors over 60. Sunday brunch is $13 for adults and $9 for children.

Brokke says Topeka is a “great arts community.”

TCT along with its sister theatre, the Helen Hocker Theatre, which TCT manages, have productions over 250 nights a year. Tickets can be purchased by phone at (785) 357-5211, and online at www.topekacivictheatre.com.


Copyright 2016 The Gayly - 11/6/2016 @ 7:26 a.m. CDT