Posts by gentleguide

  • Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery

    Baskerville castCertain staples of literature are so well known, a single name is all you need to conjure up images and ideas. So when the Des Moines Playhouse went looking for a non-musical show for this season, Sherlock Holmes was an easy selling point. But Baskerville (opening January 25) is a little bit different from what Sir Arthur Conan Doyle may have envisioned when he first wrote the classic mystery novel.

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  • Ordinary Days

    Ordinary Days PosterWhenever anyone over the last few months has asked me what “can’t miss” show is coming up, my reply has been “You HAVE to see Ordinary Days!” This year’s Dream Project production from Tallgrass Theatre Company is one of the best musicals most people have never heard of. And with a stellar cast and production team, there’s absolutely nothing ordinary about Ordinary Days.

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  • IHSSA Speech Contest

    IHSSA SpeechEvery year, thousands of Iowa students take part in the Iowa High School Speech Association (IHSSA) Individual and Large Group speech contests. Beginning in January, these events challenge the best of the best performers in various disciplines, many related to theatrical pursuits. One of the veterans of this process is Stacy Hansen, currently in charge of the Speech and Drama departments at Valley High School in West Des Moines, and also a “Coach-at-Large” for the IHSSA.

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  • The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

    Edward Tulane castThe first show of the new year is from the Des Moines Playhouse, specifically part of the Family series at the Kate Goldman Theatre. Opening Friday January 4 is The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. Based on the novel by Kate DiCamillo, this wondrous story has a cast of four playing over 30 characters, all of whom interact with a small toy china rabbit named Edward.

    Four EdwardsEdward really is a toy rabbit in this show, and DM Playhouse costume designer Angela Lampe has built multiple copies of Edward from scratch for use in the play. “He is adorable, and we’re all quite taken with him!” says the narrator of the piece, Laura Sparks. “While the rest of us play multiple parts, the actor playing the Musician (Craig Petersen) is solely the voice of Edward. Music communicates directly to people’s hearts without the need for any words. And Edward communicates heart-to-heart with those he encounters.”

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  • HOPE! Drama Troupe

    Hope logoWhether you are religious or not, the holidays are a great time for family, friends, and feeling loved. But unfortunately that’s not true for everyone, even the youngest amongst us. There are children right here in Central Iowa who deal with abuse and violence, even under the guise of love and care. It’s a confusing time to be growing up, and identifying those troublesome situations is hard when you’re actually involved. The HOPE Drama Troupe is bringing a bit more light to a dark world, and a bit more understanding to all.

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  • Jingles & Dragons

    Jingles & Dragons logoOk, here’s an upcoming event that’s a bit different from the usual theatre stuff covered on the Gentle Guide. While there is a story and the outline of a script here, anything can happen when local role-playing game podcasters Des Moines & Dragons presents Jingles & Dragons, live at the Basement Bar on December 21. What you can be sure of is a raucous crowd and audience participation in a wild adventure fit for the yuletide season… with a twist.

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  • Winter Dozen for 2019

    SnowflakeWinter is upon us, and for Iowa that typically means much colder weather. Some people love it, some hate it, and the rest of it just try to get through it. But one of the things that warms my heart is the incredible slate of theatre we all have to look forward to in the coming three months, and the wonderfully satisfying shows opening up where we can settle in, warm up, and enjoy. With that in mind, here’s a dozen shows (and a bonus event) you might want to check out soon.

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  • You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown

    Charlie Brown book reportGood Grief!! Ankeny Community Theatre is presenting the musical You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown beginning Friday, December 7. All the familiar characters are here, singing and dancing their way through their eternally young and innocent world. Whether it’s Snoopy extolling the virtues of Suppertime or Schroeder spreading the word about Beethoven Day, everyone can find Happiness with the Peanuts gang.

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  • Elf - the Musical

    Bad468b2 42b5 4685 a1a0 902ab973a9a6The Des Moines Playhouse opens their holiday family-friendly mainstage musical next Friday, and this year they’re going all in on the yuletide merriment. Elf - the Musical opens Friday November 30, and runs weekends up until the day before Christmas Eve. The story of Buddy the Elf and his discovery of the world beyond the North Pole is a great modern tale using familiar traditions to show all of us how wonderful holiday spirit can be.

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  • Theatre Thanksgiving

    Turkey on stageThe annual celebration of Thanksgiving is next week, and as is typical there is no new theatre opening up that weekend. People are too busy with families, or shopping for their holiday gifts, or just sleeping off their overeating from Thursday. But it is also typical at this time for each of us to at least examine, just a little bit, the things we are thankful for during the last year. With that in mind, here are some theatre gifts I’m grateful for over the past months.

     

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  • Nice Work If You Can Get It

    Nice Work logoThe magical tunes of George and Ira Gershwin have been staples for years, but it was only in the last decade that they’ve been brought together as the framework for the Broadway musical Nice Work If You Can Get It. Drake produces their fall semester extravaganza beginning next weekend, featuring song and dance galore, and laughs that never go out of style.

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  • Clue - the Musical

    Clue cast promoAlmost everyone grew up with the family board game Clue. Determining the Suspect, Location, and Weapon used in Mr. Boddy’s murder was a delightful introduction to sleuthing and mysteries. Not even the performers know “whodunit” when ACTORS in Ames brings the board game to life in their production of Clue-the Musical opening November 15th.

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  • Mary Poppins Jr.

    Poppins Jr logoThe tale of the practically perfect nanny Mary Poppins comes to Class Act Productions (CAP-Altoona) and their youth theatre beginning November 2. It’s an occasion to be noted, both for the fact that they celebrate the beloved nanny’s birthday (one of the P.L. Travers original stories notes her birthday is November 1), and also commemorates that Mary Poppins Jr. is the 100th production by the Altoona group over its dozen year history.

     

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  • Legally Blonde Jr.

    Legally Blonde Jr.The path to success, let alone love, is sometimes difficult. The trick is to find your own way. Starting October 26, Des Moines Young Artists’ Theatre (DMYAT) presents Legally Blonde Jr. Based on the movie and the hugely successful Broadway show, the path of heroine Elle Woods is both an inspiration and an affirmation for many of the young women involved in the show.

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  • The Rocky Horror Show 2018

    Rocky Horror 2018 Kata KlysmicHow do you reinvent something that subverted expectations in the first place? That’s the goal of Kata Klysmic Productions latest endeavor, their yearly October “tradition” of presenting The Rocky Horror Show. And since I’ve often described Kata Klysmic as “the most subversive theatre group in town”, you can bet there will be some very creative and surprising elements in this year’s presentation.

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  • Noises Off!

    F52cb1ae 5b1b 430b b824 08fe37cbd7d6One of my favorite comedic shows is the “play within a play” Noises Off! Newton Community Theatre is presenting their version of this wonderful romp for two weekends beginning October 12. A classic farce about putting on a show called Nothing On, there are mistaken identities, prop problems, and a set that is almost the star of the show itself. 

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  • Billy Elliot

    2819f03c 7b8e 47a3 839c 81c705df5dbfAfter a summer away from home, the Des Moines Playhouse starts their centennial season with a production of the musical Billy Elliot. It’s about a boy who loves to dance, and how he deals with friends and family who don’t necessarily share his dreams. Opening October 5, it’s the first show in the newly remodeled mainstage space at the Playhouse, which is the culmination of even more dreams.

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  • Fun Home

    Fun Home artworkIowa Stage kicks off their second season next week with a production of Fun Home. Winner of the 2015 Tony Award for Best Musical, it is a surprising show of emotional depth and richness of character. Told as a memory play, it is the true story of author/artist Alison Bechdel and her years growing up. We see her at three different ages, examining her own coming of age and her relationship with her family.

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  • The Fall Dozen for 2018

    95c3fe5e 4193 4c3d 9ae5 fc6ba2585347It’s time for another preview of the coming fall theatre season in the area. Here’s some of the fantastic productions you might want to check out coming soon! With everything from farce to  mystery to award-winning musical and drama, you’ll find it here at the Guide. Go enjoy it all!!!

    Here’s what’s happening locally in the next few months:

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  • 7-11 Theatre Project 2018

    A4b04895 b7f0 4cd1 bbfd c68960c052d1The 7-11 Theatre Project is now over a decade old, and still surprising people. Various groups sign up for the event, and they get a week to create a completely new, original theatre piece on a brand new set they’ve never seen before, performed in competition for prizes and awards.

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