Add another entry to the long list of enticing reasons to visit the Hoosier capital: The Center for the Performing Arts in Indianapolis’ posh northern neighbor, Carmel. The 1,600-seat Palladium concert hall is the clear eye-catcher of the ambitious development, the crown jewel of Carmel’s Center for the Performing Arts, inspired by architect Andrea Palladio’s Villa Capra “La Rotonda” (1566).
In addition to the 154,000-square-foot Palladium, the Center for the Performing Arts includes the Studio Theater, a flexible black box theater that opened last March, and the Tarkington, a 500-seat theater that opened last August.
The performing arts complex is the cornerstone of Carmel City Center, a $300 million mixed-use redevelopment championed by longtime Carmel Mayor James Brainard. City Center is a pedestrian-oriented city-within-a-city designed to offer cultural and civic programming, a center green, residential apartments, office space, a boutique hotel, and numerous restaurant and retail venues.
The Palladium also is the new home of the Feinstein Foundation for the Preservation of the Great American Songbook, making the Foundation’s museum-quality archive of American popular songs available as never before to scholars and the public. (The Great American Songbook is a hypothetical construct representing the best American songs of the 20th century.) With the Indiana roots of legendary songwriters such as Cole Porter and Hoagy Carmichael, as well as the Center’s artistic director Michael Feinstein’s own Midwest roots, the Foundation’s relocation to Carmel is something of a homecoming for this trove of American music.
The inaugural season of the Center for the Performing Arts (January-June 2011) offered 20 concerts representing five distinct series: Classics, Great American Songbook, Jazz Roots, Country, and Dance. Highlights included classical concerts by the Vienna Boys Choir, St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Cleveland Orchestra; the Jazz Roots series’ performance showcasing divas Diane Reeves, Jane Monheit, and Nikki Yanofsky; and a Great American Songbook series with the platinum-selling crooner Michael Feinstein, Broadway legend Marvin Hamlisch, and vocalist Debbie Boone. The Country series brought Vince Gill and Clint Black to the Palladium stage.
My husband and I were completely impressed when we enjoyed a concert by American pop/rock musician Chris Isaak at The Palladium last December. Isaak was equally impressed with the venue, remarking on its grandeur and acoustics during his performance.
The 2012 season lineup can be found at www.thecenterfortheperformingarts.org.
Also consider visiting:
Divvy — Sip, share, and savor before or after a show
Woody’s Library Restaurant — Enjoy familiar lunch, dinner, or Sunday brunch in the pub-like atmosphere created in this former Andrew Carnegie Library.