These theatre companies represent a wide variety of viewpoints, each organization with different missions and different tastes. Together they show just how eclectic and amazing local theatre in the Des Moines area can be. As specific time and venue information become available, we'll put it here on the Guide, but for now, here's what to look forward to in 2017 and beyond.
Kicking things off at the beginning of the month, Pyramid Theatre Company announced their two shows for the summer of 2017. Pyramid currently presents one "classic" show and one modern, newer show each year, both chosen to represent their core mission of illuminating the presence of Black artists in the theatre canon and providing a means of artistic expression to emerging Black voices.
This season's "classic" production is The Amen Corner by James Baldwin. This story of family, faith, and living with the choices of the past will be presented from July 21 to August 6. Presented almost concurrently (July 27 through August 6) will be the newer show, Mississippi, by Jonathan Norton. Set in Jackson, Mississippi in 1963, the play examines the tensions amongst family and friends during the events leading up to the brutal assassination of civil rights activist Medgar Evers.
More information will be listed on the Guide as it becomes available.
Kata Klysmic Productions is one of the newer organizations presenting theatre here in the city, but what they lack in history they make up in nerve and passion. The group whose last season included The Rocky Horror Show and Refeer Madness-the Musical is back again with another season that's not for the conservative theatre patron. All their events will be held at The Garden Nightclub, located near the East Village area of downtown.
Before their season even starts out, they'll be holding a benefit full of entertainment and show "sneak peeks" on Saturday February 25th at The Garden. After that, their season will consist of two musicals and one play.
First off will be a musical production of The Wizard of Oz, but fair warning... while you may be familiar with the story of Dorothy's trip to the Emerald City and the classic songs from the movie, this presentation will definitely not be for the children out there. Expect a lot more sass, verve, and a bit more innuendo (and beyond) for this production, running from July 7-16.
The non-musical play is a presentation of The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler. Originally premiering in 1996, the show is a series of evolving solo pieces performed by a number of different actresses. Some funny, some dramatic, each one is a commentary on the lives and challenges facing women in our society. Kata Klysmic's dates for The Vagina Monologues are August 17-20.
The final show in the season is a return engagement for The Rocky Horror Show. Kata Klysmic has secured the rights for Rocky Horror to become an annual Halloween event here in Des Moines, and anyone who saw last year's production knows how wild and exciting the experience can be. So let's do the time warp again, October 20-29.
Comfortable and Challenging
Ankeny Community Theatre enters its 36th season with 2 different series in store for their patrons. On their Mainstage Series for 2017-18 will be 6 productions, running the gamut from musicals and a holiday show to romantic comedy and courtroom drama.
The Mainstage season starts off in October with The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. This popular musical mixes laughter and song with the trials of the contestants all striving to become winners, whether the competition is in spelling or life.
December brings the annual holiday show for Ankeny. This season it is A Christmas Chaos by Michael Wehrli. Think of a combination of the traditional tale of Ebenezer Scrooge mixed with the madcap backstage antics of Noises Off. A rag-tag group of theatre people try their best to pull off their own Christmas miracle -- making it to the curtain call.
One of the most performed shows in the country makes its way to the Ankeny stage early in 2017 with the February presentation of Almost, Maine. A series of short stories and scenes feature the whimsical residents of the small northeastern town, alongside their big laughs and even bigger hearts.
We move from whimsy in February to drama in April with A Few Good Men. This portrayal of a military courtroom conflict is sure to be an intense experience, especially in the intimate space of the Ankeny Community Theatre.
Next summer brings a terrific show for young people with the presentation of Honk! This reselling of the the ugly duckling story is a musical perfectly suited for families and theatre-goers of all ages.
The final show for the Ankeny Mainstage season is the August production of Over the River and Through the Woods. Written by Tony winner Joe DiPietro, audiences are invited to the weekly gatherings of the boisterous Gianelli family, where the tug-of-war between a possible dream job and over-zealous relatives leads to scheming and laughter.
Ankeny is also presenting their first Studio Series, a set of one-act plays presented during the off-months of their Mainstage shows. In November is the drama The God Committee, about a group of people at a hospital who are forced to decide which dying patients might get a last chance to live again. In January is the family classic The Velveteen Rabbit. And finally in April is Doubt-a Parable, the Pulitzer-prize winning play about belief, assumption, and suspicion.
Again, specific dates, times, and other information will be up on the Guide as soon as available. Next week, the Guide will present the soon-to-be-announced seasons for Class Act Productions in Altoona, and both the Mainstage and Children's seasons for the Des Moines Playhouse!!