If you’re looking to change up your family moving night, consider going out. There are some great places close to home with movies, concerts, musicals, and standup comedy on stage or on the big screen. So whether you’re craving extra buttery popcorn or the kids have never seen a live production, get ready. Here are six awesome theaters around Carmel, Indiana, you must visit.

The Center for the Performing Arts

Image via Flickr by Jim, the Photographer Licensed CC BY 2.0

Taking in a live performance is a fun, unique way to introduce the kids to your favorite stories. So, save the latest Netflix release for Monday night, and head to the Center for the Performing Arts on Carter Green. This world-class, three-venue facility is home to the Palladium, the Tarkington, and the Studio Theater.

This non-profit organization hosts groups like the Actors Theatre of Indiana and the Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre. You and the kids can see musicals after school like “The Big Bang,” or make it a date night for mom and dad and catch a juicy mystery such as “The 39 Steps.” Introduce your children to classical music at the Center with the Carmel Symphony Orchestra’s lively rendition of the greats like Beethoven, or put your love of the dramatic arts to good work with a donation at the Center’s annual fundraising gala each September.

Midtown Plaza Carmel

Discover an exciting change of pace from the silver screen at the Midtown Plaza Carmel. Located on Monon Trail in the heart of the city’s entertainment district, It’s a fun space for adults and kids, with outdoor amenities like ping pong, corn hole, and pool tables, plus plenty of covered seating to relax and unwind.

This neighborhood hangout is also the place to catch live music on the Main Stage at midday or catch a flick every Monday, thanks to the Movies at Midtown program. Summer showings are at noon, 3 p.m., and 6 p.m., with a limited schedule during November and December. Past films include kid’s favorites like The Parent Trap and Tom and Jerry and family staples like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

There’s no cost to spread out a blanket on the grass and enjoy the show, or you can join the fun with events like the Midtown’s Got Talent competition. Talented vocalists aged 11 and up can compete for the honors. After the show, take a moment and explore the local breweries and delicious restaurants surrounding this charming community gathering spot.

Helium Comedy Club

The Helium Comedy Club on West Georgia Street is a cozy, contemporary entertainment venue. The scouts at this modest auditorium bring in new talent every week. For a modest ticket price, adults can enjoy live entertainment from nationally accredited acts like John Heffron from “Last Comic Standing” and Andy Woodhull, who appeared on Comedy Central’s “The Half Hour” and “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.”

Most seats at this club are no more than 60 feet from the stage. The show runs for about an hour and 40 minutes and features standup comedy and other performances. In addition, guests can enjoy a wide selection of delicious dishes, from perfectly-portioned appetizers to a full spread of entrees and desserts. There’s plenty to drink, too, whether you want to sip a pint of craft beer or indulge with a homespun cocktail.

Basile Westfield Playhouse

Basile Westfield Playhouse on North Union Street is home to various productions by Radiance Dance Company and Main Street Productions. It hosts six family-friendly shows a year, with a season running between February and December.

This community theater’s stage offers live performances of classics like “Of Mice and Men” and original ballets, such as “Ruth and Boaz: A Story of Honor and Love.” So whether you love horror, like “Dracula” by Steven Dietz, or comedy, such as “Flaming Idiots” by Tom Rooney, you’ll find a fitting presentation here. Maybe you’ll even discover something new by one of your favorite local directors, including:

  • James Williams.
  • Brandi Davis.
  • Andrea Odle.
  • Brian Nichols.
  • Jen Otterman.
  • Tanya Haas.

Carmel High School Film and Theatre

Support the arts at Carmel High School. Its film and theater department offers drama and film courses to students and serves as a launching ground for tomorrow’s top actors. Led by educators Andrew Okerson, Maggie Cassidy, and Jim Peterson, this program produces five shows a year.

Your teens even have access to extraordinary summer camp programs and clubs, like Rising Stars and The CHS Repertory Theatre Troupe. This elite group of passionate students performs two main stage productions, two recitals, and two community outreach performances.

After the curtain call, consider touring Crème de la Crème of Carmel. Our education experts designed the Coconut Theater enrichment program to help your child develop listening and language skills through storytelling, readings, and active participation, all while nurturing social and physical development. Life is a stage, and with dramatic play at our state-of-the-art facility, your child is the star.

The Cat Theatre

Think of The Cat as Carmel’s “Off-Off-Broadway” destination. Located on 1st Avenue Southwest, this alternative performance space and community theater run by Will Wood gives budding local artists a dedicated area to hone their skills. At the same time, it provides residents with an affordable place for top-notch entertainment, artistic events, and classes.

This intimate, 122-seat hall sits in the heart of the Carmel Arts District and offers numerous recitals by performing groups and resident companies. The Ballet INitiative presents festive, seasonal programs like “The Nutcracker With a Twist” and “A Mischievous Midsummer.” If you enjoy mystery thrillers, keep an eye out for tickets to Reciprocal Productions’ “Just the Truth.”

Well, bravo! Let’s close the curtain on Crème de la Crème’s recommendations for the six most awesome theaters around Carmel. Did you like our picks? Did we miss a favorite stage, arena, or performance center of yours — one Indiana locals love? If we did, let us know! Drop us a line so we can add your suggestions to our expanding list.