Wednesday, April 21, 2021

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Center Stage

The evolution of central Iowa theatre continues

3/31/2021

“The Velveteen Rabbit” marks another Kate Goldman Children’s Theatre show at The Des Moines Playhouse, a perfect diversion for families yearning for some live theatre. Graphic Credit – Des Moines Community Playhouse

Performances persist. Creativity will find a way to release, fulfilling the needs of both the creators and the consumers. Central Iowa’s producers have proven to be resolute in their commitment to share new shows and offerings to their patrons. The overall results are that central Iowans can be proud of local producers in responding to the fluid pandemic situation.

One proven benefit of the virtual means of presenting has been that family and friends who are geographically separated have been able to share performances. They can discuss these shows, the players involved, and have more shared experiences than pre-pandemic live performances previously allowed.

The Des Moines Community Playhouse has found a successful presentation groove thanks to having its John Viars Theatre. Still restricting attendance to a fraction of its theater capacity, it has successfully presented two sets of shows in repertory, including offering virtual viewing for those still apprehensive about in-person attendance. April brings another appealing twin bill: “Some Enchanted Evening: The Songs of Rodgers & Hammerstein” (opening April 9) and “The Velveteen Rabbit” (under the Kate Goldman Children’s Theatre banner, including virtual performances for schools, opening April 16).

Iowa Stage Theatre Company will present its next streaming production, “The Agitators” by Mat Smart. This critically acclaimed play tells the enduring but tempestuous friendship of Susan B. Anthony (Alissa Tschetter-Seidschlaw) and Frederick Douglass (Pernell Ferguson). After the commanding virtual production values from their last show, audiences are looking forward to this one, which runs April 16-25.

Prep Iowa

Des Moines Young Artists’ Theatre brings its next virtual performance, “She Kills Monsters: Virtual Realm,” to audiences April 15-17, 7 p.m. and April 17-18 2 p.m. Through this high-octane dramatic comedy laden with homicidal fairies, nasty ogres and 1990s pop culture, acclaimed playwright Qui Nguyen offers a heart-pounding homage to the geek and warrior within us all.

Ankeny Community Theatre continues its April Readers Virtual Theater with two free, online shows: “Stuck at Home” by Bryan Starchman (April 11, 6:30 p.m.) and “Amber Waves” by James Stills (April 25, 6:30 p.m.).

Class Act Productions continues its monthly offering of MadCAP Improv, now virtual, on April 17, 7-9 p.m. This program is a billed as “a wild, fast-paced improvisation games workshop” for young adults grades 6-12. Details can be found on their Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/CAPtheatre/.

Des Moines Metro Opera partners with Iowa Public Radio to broadcast DMMO’s 2018 production of Johann Strauss II’s uproarious comedic masterpiece, “Die Fledermaus.” Streaming Saturday, April 3 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, April 4 at 4 p.m. For its 2021 Arias in April series, Iowa Public Radio will broadcast the 2014 DMMO production of Jake Heggie and Terrence McNally’s “Dead Man Walking,” available on IowaPublicRadio.org on Saturday, April 10 at 8 p.m. or Sunday, April 11 at 4 p.m.

The Des Moines Symphony presents a trio of “Fireworks & Fanfare” shows in April. Tuesday April 13 at 7 p.m. will be “Remix,” a free and fun evening of cupcakes, cocktails and trivia held live on Zoom. “Classic Conversations” will be Wednesday April 14 at 6:30 p.m. when Dr. Eric McIntyre of Grinnell College presents an online class that combines wine, cheese and great music. Thursday April 15 at 7 p.m. is an All Brass affair – “The Rejoicing” from Handel’s “Royal Fireworks” as the opener for an exhilarating evening of brass and percussion music. https://www.dmsymphony.org.

Other performance opportunities and camps not mentioned above:

• Des Moines Community Playhouse – Friday Funday (Interactive theatre for children ages 4-6) April 2021: “Cinderella.” https://www.dmplayhouse.com/friday-funday-2/

• Des Moines Performing Arts – registration is open for MUSICAL THEATER CAMP, June 14 – Aug. 6, 2021. Check out full schedule of one-week camps. https://desmoinesperformingarts.org/classes-camps/

• Des Moines Community Playhouse – Classes and camps for children and adults. https://www.dmplayhouse.com/education/classes-and-camps/

Check for updates with each company regarding future plans and how to support.

Ankeny Community Theatre – www.ankenycommunitytheatre.com
Carousel Theatre of Indianola – www.carouseltheatre.org
Class Act Productions – www.captheatre.org
Des Moines Community Playhouse/Kate Goldman Theatre – www.dmplayhouse.com
Des Moines Performing Arts – For rescheduled, canceled, postponed events and FAQ https://desmoinesperformingarts.org/covid-19-update/
Des Moines Young Artists’ Theatre – www.dmyat.org
Iowa Shakespeare Experience – www.iowashakespeare.org
Iowa Stage Theatre Company – www.iowastage.org
Pyramid Theatre Company – www.pyramidtheatre.org
Tallgrass Theatre Company – www.tallgrasstheatre.org
Urbandale Community Theatre – www.urbandaletheatre.com ♦

John Busbee is a creative project developer, critic, playwright, author, producer and media professional. He has produced his weekly show, The Culture Buzz, on KFMG since 2007.

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