The Fall Dozen for 2018

95c3fe5e 4193 4c3d 9ae5 fc6ba2585347It’s time for another preview of the coming fall theatre season in the area. Here’s some of the fantastic productions you might want to check out coming soon! With everything from farce to  mystery to award-winning musical and drama, you’ll find it here at the Guide. Go enjoy it all!!!

Here’s what’s happening locally in the next few months:

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12 – Noises Off!

When performed correctly, Noises Off is one of the funniest farces ever put on a stage. Most community theatres have a rough time with it, simply because it requires such precise timing and an elaborate set. Newton Community Theatre has taken advantage of some of the set built for last year’s production in Pella, giving them a head start on the show. You can enjoy the results (and the laughter) beginning October 12 in Nevada.


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11 – Ghost Bike

A relatively recent work that mixes ancient mythology and modern street life, Ghost Bike is a co-production of DMACC Ankeny and Grand View University, with productions at both locations. Performances at Grand View’s Viking Theatre run October 25-28, and then move to the Black Box Theatre at DMACC Ankeny from October 31-November 4.


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10 – Clue – the Musical

All the suspects, characters, and rooms from the classic board game Clue are here, in a singing and dancing show where the ending is determined by the audience! The performers have to prepare for over 300 different possible solutions. Be a part of ACTORS season up in Ames when Clue – the Musical premieres November 25. It would be criminal to miss it!


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9 – Frankenstein

The classic tale by Mary Shelly is retold by Ankeny Community Theatre. Revisit the terror of Dr. Frankenstein and his creation, as the Monster comes back from the dead. This lively adaptation is presented (appropriately) a bit before Halloween, beginning October 5.


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8 – Mary Poppins, Jr.

She’s practically perfect in every way. Sing along with CAP-Theatre as their production of Mary Poppins Jr. flies into Altoona. It’s a Supercalifragilisticexpialidocus day when you can welcome the most well-known and loved nanny ever. It opens on November 2 and runs for three weekends.



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7 – The Foreigner

Tallgrass Theatre Company opens their season with this comedy about young Charlie, who is so shy that people believe he’s from a different country and speaks no English. But while Charlie may not say very much, he hears everything that’s going on, and understands far more than the locals think. Performances at the Rex Mathes Auditorium in West Des Moines run from October 26 through November 11.


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6 – The Rocky Horror Show

It just wouldn’t be Halloween season if Kata Klysmic didn’t grace us with their annual extravaganza and floor show of Rocky Horror. Presented in the newly revamped theatre space at The Garden Nightclub on the east side of downtown, it’s just a jump to the left and a step to the right to go enjoy the Time Warp again! You can be part of the party October 19 through 28.


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5 – Billy Elliot

With the first mainstage production of their 100th season, and the re-opening after their remodeling project of the summer, the DM Playhouse production of Billy Elliot dances into our hearts beginning October 5. Winner of multiple Tony awards on Broadway and with music by Elton John, this heartfelt story of a boy who just wants to dance is terrific for everyone. All you have to do is smile….


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4 – Triple Espresso

The Des Moines favorite returns to the Temple for Performing Arts again this fall, running through the holiday season. Opening November 16, the story of three performers who came so very close to stardom, and their hysterical fortune and failure, will leave you wanting more. There’s a reason this show is so beloved and popular, so have a cup of Triple Espresso!


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3 – Legally Blonde Jr.

Ohmigod, you guys! Des Moines Young Artists’ Theatre is presenting Legally Blonde Jr. at the Stoner Studio Theatre! It starts October 26 and runs through November 4! Based on the Broadway musical and the original motion picture, DMYAT has another high-energy hit on its hands! With great songs, a positive message, and lots of color, this is a show that never goes out of style!


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2 – Nice Work if You Can Get It

The Drake University musical every fall is always one worth seeking out. This year’s production is Nice Work if You Can Get It, directed by Erin Horst. Set in the 1920’s, it’s a tale of bootlegging, dancing, and hijinks galore. It’s only presented for one weekend (November 15-18), so make sure you make time for this exciting and fun-filled show!


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1 – Fun Home

Winner of the Tony award for Best Musical, Fun Home tells the story of Alison and her attempts to understand both her own life and those of her family, especially her father. Growing up in a funeral home, discovering her identity as she grows up, and trying to relate to her father who is dealing with his own personal issues, Alison’s journey through her memories is both unique and relevant to all of us who are just trying to understand who we are and what forces created us. Directed by Cloris Award winner Katy Merriman, Fun Home opens at the Kum & Go Theatre on September 28. 


Bonus – Improv Comedy, and early holiday favorites!

And an extra shout out to all the talented theatre people heavily involved in various improvisation groups across the area. It’s important to note their existence as part of the DM “theatre” community.

66f72184 c388 40d7 ae92 f245289f6534Specifically, Kitten Bomb Comedy typically performs on the second Saturday of each month at the 4th Street Theatre next to Java Joes downtown, but they’re having a special show at the Kum & Go on November 2nd. Entitled Off Script – Improvised Theatre, it is a fully improvised two-act show (with lights and music), where crucial plot points are decided by the audience. The show starts at 8pm, and tickets are available online here or can be purchased at the door.


8554ef2b 1a70 4d6a 82e8 5f778671fcb5Another improvised show at the Kum & Go (specifically at the Basement Bar downstairs) will be The Tixis Claymore Massacre, presented by the Des Moines & Dragons podcast group. For anyone familiar with streamed shows like Critical Role or Adventure Zone, this is Des Moines’ Halloween themed take on a tabletop re-imaging of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The audience will choose the fate of the party, helping or hindering the cast in their adventure. Oh, and it’s FREE, October 12 at 8pm.

Other groups have regularly scheduled shows, including Comedy Experiment (CXP) at the Stoner; and the Last Laugh Comedy Theatre even has classes in Improvisation for those who wish to try their hand. 


It’s a busy next few months, with lots of great variety and superb talent. Plus, there are going to be plenty of holiday shows to catch just before the official end of fall. Seasonal shows coming up between Thanksgiving and the end of the year include the DM Playhouse productions of Elf-the Musical and The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Winterset’s Scrooge-the Musical, Iowa Stage’s annual production of A Christmas Carol, and a special holiday themed Late-Nite Cabaret at Noce for December. It’s going to be an exciting fall season for Central Iowa theatre, and you can find out all about it here at the Gentle Guide!