The Winter 10

Img 0360After a nice holiday break, theatre is back in force in the area. Here's some of the shows the Gentle Guide wants to make sure you take notice of for the rest of the winter months.  Ten shows between now and the beginning of spring (plus one FREE show you shouldn't miss!)
There's no shortage of good theatre ahead, and we want you to be able to know some of the highlights amongst the almost FORTY shows premiering in the area before the first day of Spring.  Here's what's coming:
 
10 -- Playhouse Creatures
Simpson College in Indianola presents the story of change and discovery, set in the Restoration period of England in 1669.  The theatre world is radically different, because women (GASP! WOMEN!) are now being allowed on stage to act publicly.  Challenges, humor, and new frontiers await.  March 17-19.
 
9 -- Akeelah and the Bee
Des Moines Young Artists' Theatre gets to be one of the first companies in the country to present this stage version of the acclaimed 2006 film. Directed by Tiffany Johnson (whose work with the Pyramid Theatre Company has been terrific), this is the story of a young girl's efforts to break out of her ordinary life and become a champion.  February 3-12.
 
8 -- Oleanna
Is truth in the eye of the beholder? This David Mamet two-hander explores how words and actions are not always received as they are expressed... with sometimes terrible and dangerous results. Tallgrass Theatre Company challenges their audiences once again with a thought-provoking and intimate journey through the meaning of intent and action. January 20-February 4.
 
7 -- The Great Gatsby
The winter mainstage show at the Des Moines Playhouse is the classic tale of life and love, and obsession and betrayal, during the Roaring 20's.  Mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby, his "friends", his obsessions, and his manipulations, all are here in this adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's award-winning novel. January 27-February 12.
 
6 -- tick, tick... BOOM!
Noce Jazz-Cabaret is expanding their theatre offerings this year.  This autobiographical musical by RENT composer Jonathan Larson features local favorite Charlie Reese as Jonathan. Trying to come to terms with whether to follow dreams that haven't yet come true, or to find a safer, more traditional route... either way, the clock is ticking.  February 17-25.
 
5 -- No Coast
Here's one you might want to take a chance on.  An original play, written by local Mike Draper (owner of East Village mainstay RayGun), starring the "Iowa Nice Guy" Scott Siepker, and directed by Grand View's Kristin Larson. This premiere production purports to be "the greatest play ever written about T-shirts, beards, bank fraud, and midwestern culture".  Goldfinch Theatre Company presents No Coast at the Grand View University's Viking Theatre.  February 10-19.
 
4 -- Clybourne Park
While this show has been performed in the area previously (StageWest did a great production a few years ago), this Grand View University production is being directed by local favorite Aaron Smith.  Winner of a Cloris award last year for his work in A Raisin in the Sun, Aaron gets to stretch his directing muscles and bring his own vision to this remarkable Tony-winning play.  March 9-12.
 
3 -- The Fantasticks
Thatcher Williams and Ankeny Community Theatre present the world's longest running musical (off-Broadway for 42 YEARS!) Williams directs the story of two families and the efforts to bring them together, and the lessons learned in the process. February 3-19.
 
2 -- The Normal Heart
The first show of Noce's expanded season, this exploration of the burgeoning AIDS crisis in the 1980's is still relevant today, especially with the changing political climate we presently face.  Ironically going up at Noce on Inauguration Day, this show is a strong reminder of how we need to take care of each other, and the different ways we need to continually address the harsh realities of people who are far too easily ignored or marginalized.  January 18-28.
 
1 -- August:  Osage County
This joint production by StageWest and Repertory Theatre of Iowa might turn into one of the highlights of the year, if not just the season. Tracy Letts' play about a family in turmoil won 5 Tony Awards and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.  Featuring a Who's Who of some of the best area talent in a play called one of the best plays of the 21st Century, you definitely want to see this one.  March 3-19.
 
And also, the extra FREE show:
 
Cabaret
Presented as the J-Term show by Drake, this production is the result of a month of intensive labors by students specializing in this production only for their January term. It won't cost you a cent, but you need to reserve your tickets through the Drake box office before they're gone, in order to see some of the amazing talents there.  Directed by Karla Kash, this will be great! February 19-21.
 
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Lots of stuff to see and do, and even more listings available at the Monthly Calendar link above for shows by these theatre companies and more.  It may be cold out there in an Iowa winter, but the theatre is as hot as ever!!

Ankeny Community Theatre Thatcher Williams Tiffany Johnson Aaron Smith Kristin Larson Grand View University Charlie Reese Karla Kash Pyramid Theatre Company Noce Drake Repertory Theatre of Iowa StageWest Simpson College Cabaret August: Osage County The Normal Heart The Fantasticks Clybourne Park No Coast tick tick BOOM The Great Gatsby Oleanna Akeelah and the Bee Playhouse Creatures