Tuesday, August 30

Performing Arts Venues: The Columbia Club

This is the first in a series of articles about the venues which house performing arts groups in Indianapolis. The series was created due to requests by readers regarding the history and information of the various lovely buildings which I frequent as a performing arts critic. I hope you enjoy learning about them also.

Bass Photo Co Collection, Indiana Historical Society
The Columbia Club, initially a private Republican club of Indianapolis' most distinguished residents, originated in 1888, with its clubhouse built in 1889. The objective of the Harrison Marching Society – as the members were known - was to support the election of General Benjamin Harrison as the 23rd president of the United States of America. The current 10-story limestone building overlooking downtown's Monument Circle was erected in 1925 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.

The acceptance of women as members beginning in 1979 ushered in a modern format for the not-for-profit, private club. The current membership consists of all political affiliations and it is widely recognized as a distinguished business and social networking club.
Today, it includes a complete fitness center, 96 guest rooms, three restaurants, and two lounges for its 2200 members.

Celebrities, political figures, and other well known figures have visited, worked at or been a member, including:
·         T.C. Steele
·         Theodore Roosevelt
·         Ronald Reagan
·         Tyne Daly
·         Hoagey Carmichael
Beginning in December of 2009, the club became home to The Cabaret, a swanky and sophisticated upscale music and theater venue. Located in the third floor’s Crystal Terrace, offerings range from New York City cabaret singers to local Blues performers.

The Crystal Terrace              Photo: Mark Lee/Great Exposures
International, national and local performers have graced The Cabaret’s stage, including:
·         Andrea Marcovicci
·         Lauren Cregor
·         Melissa Manchester
·         MichaelFeinstein
·         Jil Aigrot
·         Liz Callaway
·         David Burnham
·         Stephanie J. Block
·         Christine Pedi
·         Amanda McBroom


Compared favorably by critics to NYC cabaret greats like the Oak Room at the Algonquin Hotel and CafĂ© Carlyle, the 120-seat venue sells outs most performances trumpeting in its success at Indianapolis’ prestigious Columbia Club. Complimentary educational music programs, including master classes, have been added to the roster and are open to public.
For more details on membership or its history, visit: The Columbia Club.
For schedule, tickets and information, visit: The Cabaret.
Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated columnist, travel writer, performing arts and restaurant critic. Catch her as Indy’s Arts & Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC, and follow her on Twitter @GottaGo and Facebook. Gotta Go is published in the following newspapers: South Sider Voice, Indiana Weekender, New Palestine Reporter, Pendleton Times Reporter and Fortville-McCordsville Reporter.

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