Fall Dozen for 2019

Yes, I know it’s a little early for my fall list of what’s coming up in DM area theatre. But looking at what my upcoming schedule is for writing articles and such, I want to get the information out there. Plus, there are a couple of things happening THIS COMING WEEKEND that I want to make certain people know about, so I’m going to start the list right off with those... so here’s some of the great stuff coming up in this fall!!!


#12 - The LAST Broadway Karaoke

Noce is ending their monthly regularly scheduled Late-Nite Broadway Karaoke evenings, so this Saturday August 24 is your LAST chance to come be a part of what has been my favorite night of every month. Bring music, or choose from the many songbooks on hand, and then let the amazing Francine Griffith play the piano while you belt out a showtune! No cover, cash bar, and some of the most fun you’ll have, whether you sing or not. PLUS, the Gentle Guide is sponsoring THE CAST PARTY, right before the Late-Nite Karaoke at The Walnut bar/restaurant just west of Noce. Cast Party at 8, Karaoke at 10:30, time to celebrate, reminisce, and just have fun.



And the next day, on Sunday August 25, is the annual CLORIS Awards ceremony at Hoyt Sherman Place. Social hour starts at 5:30 and the show begins at 6:30. Hosted by Tiffany Johnson and Katy Merriman, it’s a celebration of area theatre, with many awards and musical  performances. (And, just as aside, I’m proud and humbled to be receiving an award this year for the Gentle Guide. So happy to be a part of this, and of the wonderful theatre community here in Des Moines.)


#10 - A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

Come September is the opener of the DM Playhouse season, a wickedly funny musical about murdering your way to the top. Winner of the Tony award for Best Musical a few years ago, this show has some great musical numbers, inventive performances, and a story to die for... literally. (It’s also one of the reasons this website is called “A Gentle Guide”, as the touring production of it was one of the shows that led me to developing the calendar!) And the cast for this production is amazing, I highly recommend this one!!


#9 - Lost Girl

One of the first productions of this script anywhere comes from DM Young Artists’ Theatre, this time at the auditorium at Franklin Jr. High. Lost Girl is the story of Wendy Darling after her adventures with Peter Pan, and her search to move on after the time spent in Neverland. This time, it’s her story, and an important one for children of all ages. Lost Girl opens September 20 and flies for two weekends.


#8 - A Doll’s House 1 & 2

Produced in repertory by Iowa Stage, A Doll’s House brings to life the original play by Henrik Ibsen, as well as the modern sequel by award-winning playwright Lucas Hnath. The story of Nora and her life changing decisions in the original play are then turned on their head in the sequel, making the two shows a beautiful and haunting counterpoint to one another. Performances are at the Stoner Theatre (Iowa Stage’s new home this season) starting September 27th.


#7 - A Night of Lovecraft

Journey up to Ames if you dare, for an evening of otherworldly horror. Vagrant Fear Productions presents four one-act plays from the master of unspeakable dread, author H.P Lovecraft. Shows are at the Reliable Street building in northeast Ames for two nights only, October 4 and 5.


#6 - The Rocky Horror Show

Kata Klysmic does it again! In what has become a Halloween tradition, The Rocky Horror Show comes back to the stage at The Garden, this time for THREE weekends of shows. Join Brad, Janet, Frank, and all the rest for a truly stimulating time over at the Frankenstein place. Warm up your dancing shoes, prepare your lines and your props, and come join in the fun. It’s just a jump to the left....


#5 - Wait Until Dark

The spooky mood continues, although this is more about suspense than scares. Tallgrass Theatre opens their season with this classic drama about a blind woman and her struggles to foil a robbery of her home. With a taut, atmospheric script and clever presentation, this is a great show that consistently surprises. Shows begin at the Rex Mathes Auditorium in West Des Moines on October 25.


#4 - Souvenir 

Noce remounts their successful production from two years ago, again with Gina Gedler and Max Wellman. Gedler recreates her role as the “tonally challenged” Florence Foster Jenkins and Wellman as her accompanist Cosme. Based on a true story, this production will likely sell out again, so get your tickets to one of the six performances ASAP. It begins Saturday October 12.


#3 - ‘night Mother

Ankeny Community Theatre presents this two-hander as part of their Studio Series. Running for only one weekend and beginning October 31, it portrays a complicated relationship between a mother who’s trying to connect with the daughter she’s never understood, and the daughter who is tired of fighting. It’s a heavy drama, but carries a powerful message.


#2 - I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change

This is one of my favorite musicals, and I’m so glad that ACTORS up in Ames put it on their schedule this season. A cast of four play multiple parts in this look at the many stages of love, from first meeting and dating pitfalls, through marriage, family life, and love in the more mature years. With book and music from Tony winner Joe DiPietro, everyone will recognize a part of their own life in this show. Performances start November 14.


#1 - Pippin

Drake University’s fall musical is Pippin. Ostensibly the story of King Charlemagne’s son, it’s really an allegory about searching for meaning in life, and all the many ways we try (and fail) to achieve it. The Stephen Schwartz score is as bright and wonderful as it was when the show premiered fifty years ago, and the message is just as timeless. Add in the youthful exuberance of the talented Drake theatre squad, and you’ve got Magic to Do!!


Bonus - My own CLORIS additions:

I know we’re going to celebrate the Cloris Awards this weekend, but I wanted to give nods to a few more people whose performances I personally really enjoyed this past season. You can find this year’s nominees at the CLORIS Awards site here. Unfortunately, only so many can get nominated, but that doesn’t mean I can’t recognize some of the others. And I’m not constrained by a certain number. So, in addition to the terrific performances of the nominees, here’s some more people that impressed me with their work in the last year:


Closer, Open Door Rep

Proof, Ankeny Community Theatre

Too Heavy for Your Pocket, Pyramid Theatre

The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Carousel Theatre of Indianola


Individual Performers:

Brett Spahr, The Foreigner, Tallgrass Theatre

Riley Devick, Passing Notes, Ankeny Community Theatre

Lauren Malcomson, Elf-the Musical, DM Playhouse

Sydney Allen, Ordinary Days, Tallgrass Theatre

Noah Hackbart, Dog Sees God, DM Young Artists’ Theatre

Deb Hade, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Carousel Theatre of Indianola

Connor Ripperger, Catch Me If You Can, DM Playhouse

Jess Richter, Catch Me If You Can, DM Playhouse

Alison Buechler, Kiss Me Kate, Ankeny Community Theatre

Heidi Mason, Disgraced, Iowa Stage Theatre

Shelby Jensen, Silent Sky, DM Playhouse

John Audlehelm, The Diary of Anne Frank, Ankeny Community Theatre

Heidi Bibler, Private Passage, Iowa Stage Theatre


And a special shout-out to the wonderful Stage Managers we have working in our theatre community, especially Lauren Dursky and Korey Williams who run so many of the great shows in the area!!


Lastly, I’d love to thank everyone in DM Theatre Community and their appreciation of all the work I do here on the Gentle Guide. As the recipient of a special CLORIS Award this year, I’m grateful to be a part of this wonderful group of people, and I can honestly say that the last three years I’ve been creating this website have been the absolute best of my life. I love and appreciate you all.


Cloris Awards Fall Dozen nominations