Posts by gentleguide

  • Still Lives in Motion

    86c93abb 2428 48eb b24f 565cec3b5639Although you don’t think about it when you are watching a movie, a strip of film is just a bunch of still pictures projected in series, and the apparent “motion” is what our brain sees when these slightly different snapshots are shown at speed. Life is like that too, as a series of discrete moments connected by our experiences into a (hopefully) cohesive whole.

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  • Little Christmas on the Prairie

    A99a36e6 f0e8 457a a924 a81d723b4fcbThe holidays are coming, and the Kate Goldman Children’s Theatre has the first seasonal production of the year premiering next weekend. A Little House Christmas is based on various holiday stories taken from the beloved book series about a family living on the prairie, focusing on young daughter Laura and her life growing up. Family, friends, and the importance of loving each other are the saving graces in a time that was more difficult, but still full of laughter and joy.

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  • Golden Times

    C15b2c05 974b 4be2 af9b d2793dbeaa71Tallgrass Theatre Company opens its season next Friday with On Golden Pond. While most know the Oscar-winning movie with Henry and Jane Fonda and Katherine Hepburn, On Golden Pond was originally a play on Broadway. Director Micheal Davenport and his cast bring this play to the Rex Mathes Auditorium beginning Friday October 27th.

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  • Creatures of the Night

    3cbf196c 1487 4b4b 858e e86a9e0459e8When you’re known as the group that will put on the wildest shows in town, an annual theatre presentation of The Rocky Horror Show would be considered almost a necessity. And that’s exactly what Kata Klysmic Productions is doing, starting October 20th and going through October 29th. Halloween weekend.... how fitting! I’m shivering with antici...... pation!

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  • The Most Talented Kids in Town

    05f0a67f 7907 4218 9ad8 900dd02d617eHairspray Jr. is the inaugural production for Des Moines Young Artists’ Theatre (DMYAT) in their new performance home at the Stoner Studio Theatre in the Civic Center. While the huge cast is excited about playing there, it’s really about the fun and joy of Hairspray Jr., the family they’ve all created, and the show’s message of equality and acceptance that’s more important than ever.

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  • Creating Choices

    A2679eab 2e85 46c0 968f 9bd939ced4cdKaren Schaeffer is well known in the area as an actress, with starring roles in Calendar Girls at Tallgrass and Steel Magnolias at the Playhouse just within the last year. But quality roles for certain actresses aren't always available, so Schaeffer made a choice to create the kind of parts she’d want to see. The latest result of her playwriting efforts has its world premiere next week at the DM Playhouse, with the appropriately titled comedy, Choices.

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  • Casting a Spell-ing Bee

    Img 0883Ankeny Community Theatre presents The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee beginning October 6. This popular musical features quirky characters and delightful songs, and lets its cast be truly offbeat and memorable. The characters try to be letter-perfect, but their portrayals call for anything but serious and staid performances.

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  • The Fall 10

    Img 0879As the leaves start to turn and the weather changes, local stages start to heat up. Lots of theatre companies love to kick off their new seasons in the fall, meaning lots of terrific offerings to grab your attention. Here are some of the spotlight productions this fall you'll want to see!

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  • 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 its 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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