Des Moines Playhouse

  • James and the Giant Peach

    33ec41c2 0930 4adc 84a9 1f922ca7a063The stories of Roald Dahl have delighted brave children and their loving families for over half a century, and many of those stories have been made into stage plays and musicals. In addition to DM Playhouse productions of Willy Wonka and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang presented a few years ago, and the upcoming Matilda this summer, the Kate Goldman theatre now presents the non-musical version of Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach, opening this Friday.

    Told with whimsical style and just a bit of dark comedy, James and the Giant Peach concerns the journeys of young James Trotter (played by Carson Klein). After the unfortunate demise of his parents, James must live with his Aunt Sponge (Kristina Linnane) and Aunt Spiker (Kerrie Lee), who are horrible caretakers. Through a series of somewhat magical encounters, he meets a number of friendly insects inside a Giant Peach, who accompany him on adventures through land, sea, and air. James discovers his own strengths, and thanks to his friends finds a world far beyond what he ever knew.


    Continue reading

  • A Christmas Story - the Musical

    Ce729960 5ede 42cf 97fc 5a5f396032abIt’s holiday time, and we all have fond (and occasionally not so fond) memories of family gatherings. Sometimes it is about gifts we give or gifts we want, other times dealing with those we’d rather avoid. But no matter what, Christmas brings out events both thrilling and memorable, the type of thing that is celebrated in A Christmas Story - the Musical, opening next week and running for the month of December at the DM Playhouse.


    Based on the stories of author Jean Shepherd (which were turned into the beloved holiday movie A Christmas Story), this stage version now also adds a delightful Tony-nominated score and songs by the acclaimed team of Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. Presented as a series of short memory vignettes, all the well-known moments from the movie are here, just as so many of us remember them.


    Continue reading

  • DM Playhouse 100th Birthday Bash

    0a4a687f 35b3 40c3 998f 9ce3164bb108It’s a party! (Actually, two of them!!) The Des Moines Playhouse is delighted to invite everyone to help celebrate their 100th Birthday Bash, with a two-evening event. Next Friday, November 8th, is The Ultimate Cast Party, while on Saturday the 9th will be their blowout Celebration of the Century. Executive Director of the Playhouse David Kilpatrick and his staff have been working towards these evenings for quite a while, to honor and to remember their past and look forward to their future.


    Continue reading

  • Freaky Friday

    F829b6dd 9b49 4c06 8163 808b17e549afThe grass is always greener… or is it? That’s what a mother and daughter learn in Disney’s Freaky Friday, the next production coming up at the Des Moines Playhouse starting (appropriately) next Friday, October 18. This magical musical about being forced to live someone else’s life is even switching places with its location, moving from the Kate Goldman Children’s Theatre to the Mainstage at the Playhouse (due to the upcoming Century Celebration utilizing the Goldman space).


    Mother Katherine and daughter Ellie are played by Chelsea Haaland and Anastasia Deace (at least, to start!) In Freaky Friday, the characters spend a crazy day and night when they magically exchange bodies and lives, with Mom now in Ellie’s body having to deal with high school problems and social terrors, and daughter now in grown-up Katherine’s body trying to work through everything from parenting to planning a wedding. Directed by Megan Helmers, Freaky Friday is a classic “switching places” show, with fun tunes and production numbers gleefully added to the mix.


    Continue reading

  • A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

    832a6784 3b41 4c0e a8b5 34645cdee912In the delightfully comic A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder (opening September 6 at the DM Playhouse), we meet Monty Navarro, played by Zachary Smith. Born into poverty, Monty discovers after his mother dies that he’s actually a member of royalty, albeit distantly. He’s the ninth in line for an Earldom and the wealth it would provide. If only he didn’t have to wait for eight other people to die before he could become rich....

    If only.


    Continue reading

  • Disney’s Newsies!

    8b180a38 c288 4e98 bba3 919bfc4aa3caDid you hear the news? The Des Moines Playhouse opens their production of Disney’s Newsies! beginning this Friday, July 12. With a huge cast and some show-stopping dance numbers, Newsies is sure to be a treat for everyone! It’s been a world-wide whirlwind to put this all together, so read all about it!


    Disney’s Newsies! is based on the 1992 movie of the same name, and was turned into a stage musical in 2011. Originally only supposed to run for a limited time, the show became a huge hit on Broadway, ran for more than 1,000 performances, and spawned a filmed stage production/video release and beloved cast album. Many of the current members of the Playhouse cast are very familiar with the show through this exposure, and it even led one to audition from half a world away.


    Continue reading

  • Silent Sky

    Silent Sky universeThe year 1900 was a time of discovery. There were still parts of the world that had yet to be seen with human eyes. But other eyes were looking to the vastness of space, and the multitude of stars above. Silent Sky presents young Henrietta Leavitt as she joins a team of women working on cataloging the observations of scientist Charles Pickering at the Harvard College Observatory. As he scanned the skies, the women would record the magnitude and positions of the stars from photographic plates taken from the telescope. After all, in those days, women weren’t even allowed to touch the telescope, let alone actually see the stars!

    But Leavitt and her friends didn’t just do copywork. As she managed the figures, she was able to note differences in stars as they moved through the sky, and discover patterns. With her math and science skills, she discovered a way to determine the actual distance from one star to another, and therefore from Earth to the stars. As she says in the play, “We can skip star to star across deepest space until we know... exactly where we are!”


    Continue reading

  • Ella Enchanted

    Allyson EllaThe story of Cinderella is typically one of the first stories told to children when they’re very young. European versions can date back to The Brothers Grimm and beyond, and many variants have been created up to our present day. One of the newest of these is entitled Ella Enchanted, and the Des Moines Playhouse is presenting this modern musical take on the classic story beginning Friday, April 26.


    Continue reading

  • Catch Me If You Can

    PilotStew Catch MeWe’ve all wished for life to be different at times. Big or small, simple or complex, people often want most what they don’t already have. But what if you figured out how to live that other life? Repeatedly? Would it be enough? That’s part of the journey in the musical Catch Me If You Can, opening March 22 at the Des Moines Playhouse.
    Based on the award-winning movie and book, Catch Me If You Can is the story of Frank Abagnale, Jr. He was famous for successfully (and illegally) impersonating an amazing number of people. He “became” a doctor, an airplane pilot, and numerous other individuals (without training or expertise). He also ended up forging millions of dollars worth of checks and living the high life, before ultimately being caught. He then morphed into an expert for the FBI, to help them catch others who try to get away with the kind of impersonations and crimes he committed.

    Continue reading

  • 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.

    Continue reading

  • 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.”

    Continue reading

  • 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.

    Continue reading

  • 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.

    Continue reading

  • Mamma Mia!

    24fb7863 36b2 4a26 a46e c12f2df7055aTime to take a trip! The Greek island of Kalokairi is the setting for the musical Mamma Mia!, featuring the music of supergroup ABBA. You don’t have to go all the way to Greece, but you do have to travel a bit more than usual to see this Des Moines Playhouse production, opening July 13. While the Playhouse goes through its final stages of remodeling, the show goes on the road to the Staplin Center at Valley West High School in West Des Moines.

    Continue reading

  • The Sound of the Community

    6da86355 c1ba 4dcd 9153 0e6904f05bbcThe musical Ragtime opens April 6 at the Des Moines Community Playhouse. It tells the stories of people from three different cultures all attempting to make a home in New York City at the beginning of the last century, filled with tuneful songs in the diverse styles of those times. And the man who brings it all together for this production of Ragtime is the Playhouse’s longtime Musical Director, Brenton Brown.

    Continue reading

  • The Spring Dozen for 2018

    0f4aa9b6 1b1a 4015 833a 91914c0942d8Warmer weather heralds a new list of productions on the horizon. Typically I feature ten upcoming shows for the season, but there are so many great shows in the next few months that I expanded the list to twelve (and still ended up combining a few!) The hard part is finding time to see them all! Here’s a list of some of the terrific theatre coming your way very soon here in Central Iowa!!

    Continue reading

  • Behind the Curtain

    Bce684c2 ecd5 44c2 a271 e5d9afb14bd9Lots of things going on in the local theatre scene lately, but many of them may not be apparent to the typical patron in the fifth row seat. Most of what is happening is behind the scenes, but it affects what kind of shows you’ll be seeing and where they will happen. So here’s a bunch of different news items that you might want to be aware of.

    Continue reading

  • The Icing on the Sledgehammer

    1aad550a d51c 4357 8c94 40437e3f61d8The suspense-thriller Misery (based on the book by Stephen King and subsequent Oscar-winning movie) is the latest offering by the Des Moines Playhouse. Opening January 26, this stage adaptation features some of the best and most experienced talent in the city, bringing to life a tale of obsession and desperation. Micheal Davenport, Preshia Paulding, and director John Viars combine to create an intense journey into a world of tension and terror.

    Continue reading

  • 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.

    Continue reading

  • 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.

    Continue reading