Winter Dozen for 2020

4d0448f1 42c9 4baa 8db0 d939c7d7f5f2Here we are again, with the Gentle Guide’s list of shows to look forward to coming up in the next few months. There are a few special things, including some regional premiere productions and a wide variety of show styles to choose from. Please, take advantage of the myriad possibilities provided by so many area theatre groups, and if something looks interesting to you, make the time to attend and support their efforts. The weather may be cold, but it’s a warm and inviting season of theatre up ahead. (Plus, a special announcement at the end of the list, featuring the return of a favorite event!!!)

12 - BKLYN - the Musical

Adb043ed 06c7 4171 93f6 f11d373c1fe9Road trip for the first show on the list, but I can’t skip this one (and it’s the only one that starts up in December!) History Boy Theatre in Jefferson always presents shows we don’t typically see very often here in Des Moines, so I want to make sure their production of BKLYN is noted. It’s an urban tale about a group of street performers, both telling their own personal stories, plus one about a woman who comes to the US to find the father she never knew. All performances are dinner shows, running the last weekend in December and the first weekend in January, with a special New Year’s Eve performance.

11 - Baggage

Bb17f6cd 39ac 45ed b11a 3facebf18bddSome relationships are just destined to be. And some are destined to be destructive. Sometimes people can’t decide which one they happen to be in at the time, let alone how it affects everyone else around them. Grand View College brings this comedy about trying to connect despite your history to the Viking Theatre for one weekend only, starting March 5.


10 - Wonder of the World

A2d7a6c2 b106 45ee 9617 2008cf120b65The final production of Tallgrass Theatre’s season is a visit to Niagara Falls, complete with a crazy cast of characters searching for answers and purpose. Laughs are as plentiful as the water for those met along the journey towards finding out what might have been. You never know what’s around the next bend, whether it’s the falls or something uplifting. Shows run at the Rex Mathes Auditorium from March 27 through April 13

9 - Eurydice 

C6ab2756 aaa4 41af bbd7 8dff506827daCarousel Theatre in Indianola presents this new version of the Orpheus myth for the first two weekends in March. The love story is brought into the modern day for an examination of its heroine and all the different ways her life and death are pulling in different directions. Carousel just keeps getting better and better, and this choice allows them to show yet another color to their dramatic palette.


8 - The Cake

77a86622 f541 4e0a b90e 80e837e52f1aFrom one of the writers of the TV drama This Is Us comes a new play about a wedding cake, promises made, and what marriage really means beyond the initial event. Iowa Stage returns to the Stoner inside the Civic Center from March 27 through April 5 to present this topical and moving production for the first time in the area.

7 - Circle Mirror Transformation

A85e5938 bc98 4956 8330 db762ddf1e24They say that theatre is a window into the soul. For a quartet of strangers, a drama class becomes a journey of self-exploration and conflict in this comedic drama from DMACC Ankeny. Searching for expression can also turn into a search for common ground. The free performances begin February 28 at their Black Box theatre on the Ankeny campus.

6 - Wild Widow Poker

72c95f23 09bd 4ed9 9462 03b79c7edf10A brand new play written by A’ndrea J. Wilson at Grand View University, this combined production from Grand View and Pyramid Theatre Company is guest directed by Tiffany Johnson. In 1963, four Chicago women must confront the rapidly changing outside world and decide how much they can ignore... and how and when to decide to do something courageous. Presented in the Viking Theatre at Grand View for 4 performances only starting February 20.

5 - Brilliant Traces

B24245df 87a1 407d 8d7f dd8cfc00d5b3TheatreMidwest brings its second full production to Des Moines with the two-hander Brilliant Traces. Appropriate fare for a frozen January, a runaway bride finds refuge in a remote and snowbound cabin. The owner of the cabin (and reluctant host) is also a runaway, from life and people... and these two isolated individuals must now try to find some common ground and understanding in the Alaska wilderness. The 2020 theatre year starts at the Viking Theatre at Grand View January 3 through 12.

4 - The Boy at the Edge of Everything

15f37364 bffa 4d15 a0a7 2c2606cda316The Iowa Premiere of this imaginative story comes from DM Young Artists’ Theatre. Young Simon becomes obsessed with discovering the Edge of the Universe, the dividing line between nothing and everything. But what he finds there is not what he expects... and his adventure will change more than just his own life. See the heartwarming story at the Stoner Studio Theatre beginning on Valentine’s Day, February 14.

3 - Singin’ in the Rain

5490af26 0925 4904 bcd9 ff6674a1ecc2Recognized as one of the great song-and-dance movies of all time, the MGM film has been reimagined as a stage musical. It graces the DM Playhouse mainstage opening March 13, with all the familiar tunes along for the ride. It’s a fun-filled romp sure to make you tap your toes and sing along, so grab your umbrellas and enjoy it all!


2 - Other Desert Cities

4585e327 b2f1 429b a0a3 28d2f9f666a6This year’s Dream Project from Tallgrass Theatre Company is Other Desert Cities, starring Kristin Larson. As the head of Grand View’s theatre program, she seldom gets to stretch her own acting muscles, but she’s taking the lead in this production about family secrets and what happens when they are revealed. This tight drama runs for three weekends beginning January 17 at the Rex Mathes Auditorium.

1 - Adore Us! Line

F2c98162 f3ec 43d0 a0f9 b77bd571949dRobert John Ford once again returns to the political arena, after his previous success with Caucus!-the Musical. Adore Us! Line is a song-for-song parody of A Chorus Line, with the numerous candidates “auditioning” for the typical Iowa caucus voter. With an all-star cast of many of Des Moines best and brightest musical theatre performers, this Iowa Stage production is sure to be an amazing treat (and there are rumors that a candidate or two might show up to see it as well!) Shows are at the Stoner Studio Theatre for the two weeks leading up to the actual Iowa Caucus, opening January 24 and running through February 2.


Musical Theatre Karaoke is back in January!!!

0ea80d04 effe 474b bf34 392781a29344And now, the announcement. There’s a new venue in the Drake area called xBk Live (named because co-owner Tobi Parks is an “ex-Brooklyn” native). Along with many local and regional singers and artists, she’s helping bring back my favorite night of the month, Musical Theatre Karaoke!!! It’s being combined with some of the features of the Cabaret nights formerly featured at Noce, with the help of local performers Charlie Reese and Madison Ray. The best news is that it will be held at a more accessible time, on Wednesday evenings starting at 7:30pm. We’ve got accompanist Francine Griffith on board, and it will be open to all ages. While xBk Live will sell alcohol as well as other drinks, they are licensed as a theatre and not a bar, so everyone is welcome. So, go find that sheet music and start practicing!! Beginning in January, Musical Theatre Karaoke will happen on the last Wednesday of every month (with the first one being January 29! Mark your calendars and come join us!!!!)