Blog

Company Time

Company stairsThe brand new Iowa Stage Theatre Company makes its debut with a stellar production of Stephen Sondheim’s Company, opening September 22 at the Kum & Go Theatre. There’s a lot of hard work that goes into a show like this, and even more when it’s the opening show for a brand new organization. Iowa Stage is making sure their first steps are the right ones.

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Instant Theatre

Img 861A decade ago, the 7-11 Theatre Project began here in Des Moines. Originally produced by the Theatre... For a Change organiztion (TFAC), it is now in the hands of Goldfinch Theatre Company, still in it's original home of the Viking Theatre at Grand View University. The Gentle Guide talked with both Thatcher Williams of TFAC and Kristin Larson of Goldfinch about the history and future of the event.

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What I Did For Love

Img 835Here's the second of two articles on the upcoming production of A Chorus Line, opening next weekend at the Des Moines Playhouse. While the first piece was all about getting the show ready for its journey, now it's time to see how the performers are going to take the voyage. And, like their characters, this incredible cast truly feels theatre is their one true love. And they've worked more than you know.

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Five, Six, Seven, Eight!

Img 0825The Des Moines Playhouse presents the iconic theatre musical A Chorus Line beginning September 8. Groundbreaking when it first premiered, it tells the stories of the aspiring performers hoping to become part of a Broadway show. People who aren't involved in the theatre world have no idea how truly hard it is to become part of such an endeavor. And the road to the local production has its own challenges.

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The Essence of Art

Souvenir_2Art is extremely subjective. Especially performance art, like music and theatre. Is it defined by technical expertise? Interpretation? The experience of the performer or the experience of the audience receiving the art? All these things and more are part of Noce's presentation of Souvenir, the story of Florence Foster Jenkins, a woman who had plenty of enthusiasm for music... and a "creative" sense of tone and expression.

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To Be Seen, Heard, and Respected

Img 0794Starting August 17, Kata Klysmic Productions presents The Vagina Monologues at The Garden Nightclub. Performed in the round, it is a series of intimate and personal scenes relating to the female experience. While it talks about a number of issues that are often socially uncomfortable or unseen, the words and performances are powerful, important, and need to be heard and respected.

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The Gift of Knowledge

Img 791Adolescent Anarchy is one of the more unique theatre groups in the Des Moines area, comprised of all youth. Now under the auspices of Des Moines Young Artists' Theatre, their summer production is The Giver, based upon the best-selling book by Lois Lowrey about a society where knowledge is a precious commodity... much like the knowledge gained by the young artists of Adolescent Anarchy.

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The Greatness of Youth

Img 775For the last four summers, Class Act Productions (CAP) in Altoona has presented their Shakespeare in the Park series. Young people perform a Shakespeare classic outdoors in Haines Park, and get to experience the works of the Bard. For many of them, it's their first exposure to these great plays, and this year CAP is performing Twelfth Night, beginning August 3rd.

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Unnecessary Necessities

Img 0773Starting August 4th, Ankeny Community Theatre has assembled all the elements needed for a night of comedy. Misunderstandings, a set with a multitude of doors, physical pratfalls, clothes that keep being strategically removed, and a completely Unnecessary Farce. The Guide talked to a few of the principals about the science of the art of making people laugh.

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Getting Schooled

Img 0751Sometimes you don’t know exactly how deep the talent pool is here in Des Moines, especially among the youth in the area. But you throw out the net, and you’re pleasantly surprised with what you find. And sometimes, you learn how amazing these kids can be, and you get schooled yourself. That’s been the journey for David VanCleave, director of the new production of School of Rock at the DM Social Club, opening July 21.

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Knowing the Territory

Img 708The Music Man is an American musical theatre staple, set in small-town "River City, Iowa" with memorable songs and iconic characters. Movie and television versions of the Tony-winning Broadway classic have made it part of our cultural heritage since it premiered  on Broadway 60 years ago. And now, the DM Playhouse brings it to their mainstage once more, starting July 14.

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"I don't think we're in Kansas anymore...."

Img 700This weekend sees the premiere of The Wizard of Oz, brought to us by Kata Klysmic Productions. While we're probably all familiar with this classic story, it's going to be told in a whole new way, changing everything you know about this traditional tale, starting this weekend at The Garden Nightclub. But that's what Kata Klysmic does... brings about change.

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Great Big Stuff!!!

Img 0043Hey, it seems like there's no news forever, and then all of a sudden everyone announces everything at the same time. We've got information on this year's Cloris Awards for local community theatre, the annual 7-11 theatre festival, the future of Scriptease, and something you may not be aware of called Pecha Kucha!! Check out all the announcements that came out just this week!!

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The Summer 10

Img 0675Days are longer, warmer, and perhaps not quite as full of theatre, but it's also the time for those groups that do their one big show during the summer months. It's a trade-off that means a few more big-cast musicals, plus some special events that only happen while school's out and schedules are a bit clearer. Here's a list of ten shows coming up in the next few months that you can look forward to.

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Just Add SPARKLE!

FancyNancy1Over the last decade, young kids have discovered a new heroine. With over 70 books, and 30 million copies in print, this heroine has now made it to the stage, in the next musical opening this weekend at the Kate Goldman Children's Theatre at the Des Moines Playhouse. Ooo-la-la! Expect an amazing amount of color, flair, and panache (and other French words!) as you enter the world of Fancy Nancy!  And never forget to SPARKLE!

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Open Door to Enter

LungsComing up for 4 shows on April 28-30 is a new entity in Des Moines, the inaugural presentation for Open Door Rep. Their two-hander play is called Lungs, a story of a young couple deciding if they should bring a baby into this volatile existence. And new life and new ways of thinking are what Open Door Rep is all about. Welcome to their new world, and see what awaits....

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Leading the Charge

Img 0516For the next two weekends there will be a one-person show up in Boone, celebrating one of the great men of American history. Bully - An Adventure with Teddy Roosevelt presents the life and times of the former President and his escapades. John Hoffman portrays TR, the only character seen in the show. But there's plenty of people involved in ultimately charging up San Juan Hill... and putting on a one-man show.

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Easter Eggs

Img 500Theatre is traditionally slow during the week of Easter. Too many other family and religious obligations make seeing a show difficult, let alone trying to co-ordinate the schedules of the people theatre companies need to actually mount productions for audiences. But the Gentle Guide has found a couple of things going on at Drake... just like finding hidden Easter Eggs. Check out these events happening Friday and Saturday.

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Conceived Notions

WomenPlayingHamletWhen you mention Shakespeare, almost everyone has a specific concept of what you're talking about. But the works of the Bard are both magnificent and flexible, leading us to Women Playing Hamlet. Tallgrass Theatre presents this comedy about expectations and new interpretations, opening this weekend.

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ONE Shot to push GO!

Img 0440An event heralded as ONE might, you would think, be a solitary thing. And yet, the truth is that for the past five years, One Actor One Writer One Week has been the result of the creative efforts of many, many people. Actors are paired with writers, and then, only a week later, they present their creative efforts for all to see... for one night only. Hear from organizer Karen Swanson about this "singular" event.

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