Sunday, June 24, 2018

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Posted August 02, 2017in Center Stage

Cloris Awards recognize metro’s best

Community awards unite, celebrate region’s theater Unfurl the red carpets. Let the spotlights blaze. The 2017 Greater Des Moines Cloris Leachman Excellence in Theater Awards will be presented in the grandeur of Hoyt Sherman Place at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 27. The third annual Cloris Awards recognize the best

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Posted July 05, 2017in Center Stage

An opportunity like nowhere else

The night of the last election, I stayed up reading James Baldwin. His work from the 1960s seemed the best way to grapple with my own moment — and apparently lots of others felt the same. Baldwin has recently enjoyed a resurgence. There’s even a documentary, celebrating his essays, novels

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Posted June 06, 2017in Center online exclusive

Zesty and full of hairpin turns

The biggest takeaway is the brilliance of the lyrics. “The Last Five years” uncorks 15 songs in 90 minutes, all by the Tony-winner Jason Robert Brown, and any one of them can snap your head back with some startling combo of wisecrack and heartbreak. A few even toss in something

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Posted May 31, 2017in Center Stage

An epic anniversary, with music off the chain

Des Moines Metro Opera (DMMO) may be nearing the half-century mark, but it’s still open to fresh thinking. One of its three major productions this summer — “Billy Budd,” a masterwork from Benjamin Britten — will premiere an orchestration no one has used before. For the 1951 original, Britten let

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Posted May 18, 2017in Center online exclusive

Shock and awe

StageWest is going out with a bang. The fireworks of “Hir” put an exclamation point on the company’s final year, before it’s absorbed into the larger Iowa Stage Company. This comes after 20 years of “bold, challenging” work, as called for in StageWest’s mission. Always frank, often very funny, and

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Posted May 03, 2017in Center Stage

A fresh cocktail for theater arts

Playhouse board of directors implements a three-legged leadership stool John Viars is happy to break down the numbers. “When I began here, we did six shows a year and employed two folks full-time,” says the man who’s run the Des Moines Playhouse since 1982. No longer, however. “Now we’ve got

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Posted April 05, 2017in Center Stage

Songs, shadow and sharp pangs, with a passel of awards

Robert Petkoff doesn’t worry about bringing what might be the weirdest musical ever made to Des Moines. He recalls that when he toured with “Spamalot,” a few years back, he found the Civic Center audience was “really on the ball.” A New York native who’s played on Broadway and in

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Posted March 20, 2017in Center online exclusive

Chock-Full O’Nuts

Everyone knows Mel Brooks made some of the funniest movies ever, and “Young Frankenstein” may rank right at the top. But when you see the stage version at the Playhouse, if you can stop laughing long enough to think straight, you realize the man was also crazy for musicals. No

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Posted March 06, 2017in Center online exclusive

The Game of Thrones, with whiskey and pills

When I say one of the best moments onstage was incomprehensible, I mean it as a compliment. Director Matthew McIver has brought off a wow of a show in “August: Osage County,” wringing the recent Pulitzer winner for every last hoot of laughter and gasp of horror. Often these erupt

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Posted March 01, 2017in Center Stage

Upping the game everywhere

Just how big of a splash has local theater made during the last decade? The best measure may be how far the ripples have reached. Community stages in Ames, Winterset, Newton and Ankeny have all recently upped their games — to enthusiastic applause. A case in point came over the

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