A Summer in Iowa

Lauridsen AmpitheatreIt’s time again for another seasonal list of shows that are coming up in the Central Iowa area. Summer is a great time for huge family musicals, Shakespeare, and the yearly offerings of the DM Metro Opera, not to mention our own annual celebration of theatre with the Cloris Awards. So here’s what to be on the lookout for in the next few months locally.

10 - Renee Elise Goldsberry

Renee Elise GoldsberryHamilton star Renee Elise Goldsberry is the featured attraction for the DM Symphony Pops Concert this summer. The series is now located at the brand new Lauridsen Ampitheatre at the DM Water Works Park, and will be held Sunday July 16. And best of all, it’s a FREE show!!!

9 - Much Ado About Nothing

658d56a4 5772 433a 8b15 5850ee0afce4Summer for Class Act Productions in Altoona brings their Shakespeare in the Park production in Haines Park as part of the annual Altoona Days. This year is Much Ado About Nothing, with the usual love, misunderstandings, and deception upon which so many great Shakespeare comedies are built. Performances are one weekend only, starting July 25.

8 - A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and MurderOpening just after Labor Day (which comes early this year) is the first show of the DM Playhouse 2019/20 season. A Tony-winner for Best Musical a few years back, this is the story of a gentleman moving up in the world (and right past his rapidly dying relatives) to gain his inheritance. Funny mayhem and a tour-de-force for the players make this a must-see show.

7 - A Midsummers Night’s Dream

A Midsummer Night’s DreamAnother entry in the Summer of Shakespeare (there have been 4 different Shakespeare shows locally between June and August). This one comes from Ankeny Community Theatre, and they’ve continually challenged themselves with better and better material, and you can’t get much better than the Bard. The Dream opens August 2.

6 - The Hunchback of Notre Dame

HunchbackThis Disney musical uses the animated movie as its source, but the drama is much more human and real on the stage. Gone are the cartoony elements, and instead there are rich, textured songs and soaring themes. Carousel Theatre in Indianola performs The Hunchback of Notre Dame at the Indianola High School Auditorium for two weekends beginning July 26.

5 - Annie

AnnieThe sun will come out Tomorrow, and also later this summer when Urbandale Summer Theatre comes to the Franklin Jr. High stage with Annie. Making extensive use of the giant screen onstage, audiences will be transported into the comic world of Annie, where It’s a Hard Knock Life in NYC. Shows begin July 19.

4 - 13 the Musical

13 the MusicalDM Young Artists’ Theatre revisits one of their most successful shows, when they present Jason Robert Brown’s 13-the Musical. With the entire cast and most of the musicians and production staff composed of teens, this rollicking show is a treat.  You don’t want to miss this one, opening July 26 at the Stoner Studio in the Civic Center.

3 - DM Metro Opera Season

DM Metro Opera logoWe have a world-caliber opera company available locally, as the DM Metro Opera performs their summer season in repertory. The classic La Boheme, musical theatre’s Candide, and the modern opera Wozzeck are presented on an irregular schedule at the Blank Performing Arts Center on the Simpson campus in Indianola, beginning June 28.

2 - Newsies!

Newsies!There’s a reason I use the phrase “Seize the Play” as my slogan on the Gentle Guide site. It’s adapted from one of the best songs in this great show. The DM Playhouse presents their summer musical, Disney’s Newsies! beginning July 12, full of amazing dance numbers. Seize the day, and seize the play!!

1 - The Cloris Awards

972d8b19 3763 4b02 bde0 aec0bcf60b3eCelebrate the best in area theatre with the annual Cloris Awards! Named in honor of Iowa native Cloris Leachman, nominations will be announced on August 8, with the gala presentation of the awards on Sunday August 25 at the Hoyt Sherman Auditorium.


Enjoy your Summer in Iowa, full of adventure, music, and drama. Some new venues, new organizations, and plenty of opportunity to see something new or revisit an old favorite, so get out there and see a show!!