Summer Dozen 2018
- By gentleguide
- On Fri 22 Jun 2018
Here’s our seasonal listing of some of the theatre shows and events to be on the lookout for in the upcoming months. Many of these will get articles here on the Guide as we get closer to their openings. Summer is a great time for big splashy shows and outdoor events, so there should be something for everyone on this year’s list. Go out and enjoy!!
12 – Hamilton
Here’s the 800-lb gorilla in the auditorium, so let’s get it out of the way right from the start. The national touring production of Hamilton is coming through the Des Moines Civic Center for three weeks beginning June 27. Kudos for whomever got it scheduled for Independence Day here in Des Moines. If you don’t already have your tickets, there’s still a chance. You can enter a lottery for each performance, with details at the Civic Center website.
11 – Cloris Awards
A celebration of Central Iowa community theatre, the fourth annual Cloris Awards will be held at the Hoyt Sherman Auditorium on August 26th. The nomination party will be held at the Basement at the Des Moines Social Club on August 9th. There are 20 different categories being recognized and over 40 eligible productions this year from a dozen different organizations. Theatre is alive and well here in Des Moines, and this is the party to prove it!
10 – Tempest Tossed Tales
The Iowa Shakespeare Company brings another free festival of work inspired by the Bard to Des Moines on July 1. Three performances in three different downtown locations will present their take on how different worldly cultures might look at some of Shakespeare’s ideas, and how some interpretations might be wildly unique. All Des Moines’ a stage with performances at Mainframe Studios, the Kum&Go Theatre, and the Courtyard at the Social Club.
9 – Kiss Me Kate
For those willing to venture down to Pella, the Union Street Players are presenting their summer musical. Kiss Me Kate is a retelling of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew, but with wonderful Cole Porter tunes and colorful song and dance. If you’ve never been down that way for a production, I highly encourage you to make the trip and see this classic show.
8 – Over the River and Through the Woods
The only pure comedy on the list, Ankeny Community Theatre presents this laugh-fest about a young man devoted to his grandparents… and the lengths they would go to in order to keep him in their lives. Presented from August 3 - 12, this comedy written by Tony winner Joe DiPietro is a sure winner.
7 – 7-11 Theatre Festival
At the end of summer is one of my favorite theatre events here in town, the 7-11 Theatre Festival. Held at the Viking Theatre at Grand View University, various theatre groups challenge themselves to create, within one week, a 7 to 11 minute play. Entered groups draw their style from a hat, and get their first look at the surprise set build a week before they perform. It’s also the only juried competition of its kind, with prizes for the best performances. A great time, with reveal night on Sept. 14 and performances Sept. 21-23.
6 – Six-On-Six
For anyone who grew up in Iowa back in the days of six-on-six girls basketball, this is a musical version of that history. At one time, Iowa’s high school girls basketball was a national phenomenon, and this is the story of that prominence and how the game finally changed as the world did. Urbandale Community Theatre and Epic Stage Productions tip-off this production August 3 at the Staplin Center.
5 – Gilligan’s Island – the Musical
The Iowa Premiere of this off-broadway hit is the season’s offering from Carousel Theatre in Indianola. Sit right back and hear a tale of seven funny castaways, set to music and with familiar characters from the classic television series. The voyage sets sail at the Indianola First United Methodist Church starting July 13.
4 – Hamlet
Class Act Productions brings the Shakespearean classic to their outdoor summer venue at Haines Park in Altoona, this year as part of the Altoona 150 town celebration. Presented with a combination of adult and youth performers, this summer experience is a great time for those who want to explore the world of Shakespeare in a comfortable park setting. Shows are July 26 – 29.
3 – Intimate Apparel
Pyramid Theatre Company is becoming a nationally known organization, showcasing both new works and pieces of lasting importance. With Intimate Apparel, director Tiffany Johnson once again digs into strong material with a stellar cast and brings Des Moines a theatre experience unique not just to the area, but one causing others elsewhere to sit up and take notice. Pyramid’s home at the Stoner Studio Theatre will feature this drama beginning August 15.
2 – Mamma Mia!
Road Trip! While the Des Moines Playhouse is undergoing the final stages of its remodeling for its Centennial season this fall, the summer show is being held at the Staplin Center for Performing Arts at Valley High School. Opening June 13, this festival of ABBA music and colorful characters is sure to have you singing along with all the well-known songs. And it is just in time to get ready for the film sequel arriving in movie theaters in August.
1 – Bring It On! – the Musical
We mentioned Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton at the start of this list. Here’s the musical he worked on before Hamilton. Presented by Des Moines Young Artists’ Theatre and directed by Megan Helmers, it’s a high-energy modern musical with plenty of great songs and incredible choreography, featuring the battle between two rival high school cheer squads and their personal hopes and dreams. At the Stoner starting July 27, this is going to be amazing….
Bonus – I have to mention the terrific Late-Nite lineup at Noce for the musical theatre lover out there. One of my favorite nights on the calendar is their monthly Broadway Karaoke evening, where some of the best theatre voices in Des Moines (and me!) get up and sing their hearts out with all sorts of showtunes. Plus, on various Saturdays Noce features some of those theatre people in a Late-Nite Cabaret. No cover charge, cash bar, and wonderful theatre and cabaret shows. A great way to cool down after a hot summer day.... Check it out!