2013 Summer Arts & Entertainment Guide- Theater5/22/2013
Who needs New York? Many of the Broadway hits and classics that grace the Vaudeville stages in the Big Apple include the Des Moines metro on the tour. You don’t have to be refined to appreciate a good theatrical production, and central Iowa offers a host of stages — both indoor and outdoor — stories and talents. The options are so eclectic, anyone will find him or herself satisfied with money well spent — that’s if there’s even an admission fee to see the show at all. Several local productions are offered free of charge. From improv comedians to Broadway thespians, here are few performances you’re not going to want to miss, most of which are brought to you by local talents.
May 24-June 9 — “Lend Me a Tenor.” Cleveland Grand Opera Company’s gala season opener has come to Des Moines. World famous tenor Tito Morelli is to perform “Othello,” but when he finally arrives, he’s drunk. Through a hilarious series of mishaps, with two Othellos in costume and two women en dishabille, the farce spins out of control onstage and off. A sensation on Broadway and in London’s West End, “Lend Me a Tenor” is sure to continue its success at the Des Moines Playhouse. $29. Des Moines Community Playhouse, 831 42nd St., 515-277-6261, www.dmplayhouse.com.
June 7-23 — “The Dixie Swim Club.” Ticket prices are $10-$15. On Fridays and Saturdays, the doors open at 7 p.m. Show begins at 7:30. On Sundays, doors open at 1:30. Show begins at 2 p.m. Tickets may be purchased by calling 515-964-5007 and leaving a message or email email@example.com. Ankeny Community Theatre/ ACT, 1932 S.W. Third St., Ankeny, 515-964-5007, www.ankenycommunitytheatre.com.
June 7-16 — “Time Stands Still.” Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Donald Margulies brings audiences a moving and at times hilarious story about relationships, mid-life crisis and the ties of friendship. James and Sarah, a journalist and photographer, cope with changes in life and their relationship when Sarah’s injuries abroad force them to return home to New York. Praised by the New York Times as a powerful drama that “crackles with bright wit and intelligence,” this surprisingly funny play prompts poignant questions about responsibility — to ourselves, to our loved ones and to the world. StageWes, Civic Center’s Stoner Theater, 221 Walnut St., 515-309-0251, www.stagewestiowa.com.
June 6-8 — “She Is King.” Direct from New York City’s downtown theater scene and recent Iowa Arts Council grantee, Laryssa Husiak shows her unique artistic vision with a new project performing the words of tennis trailblazer Billie Jean King in this premiere production. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the legendary tennis match, “The Battle of the Sexes,” in which King beat self-proclaimed “male chauvinist pig” Bobby Riggs. The event drew 50 million TV viewers in the United States and became a worldwide spectacle. $14-$20. The Des Moines Social Club Theater Co., 400 Walnut St., www.desmoinessocialclub.org.
July 11, 12 — “Best of the Bard.” The rafters of the Historic Rollins Mansion are comprised of beams that were imported from Europe, and the beams are said to be ones William Shakespeare himself performed under. The Rollins Mansion is like being transported to Old England. Have a pre-show picnic on lawn. The play will take place around the fountain in the rose garden. $15. Iowa Shakespeare Experience – Shakespearience Festival of the Classic Arts, www.iowashakespeare.org.
July 12-Aug. 4 — “Legally Blonde The Musical.” OMG, Becky, look at Elle Woods’ life as it’s turned upside down in this musical version of the 2001 movie. Instead of a wedding proposal, Elle’s boyfriend dumps her. Determined to get him back, she follows him east and charms her way into Harvard Law. Celebrate Valley girl power with this ridiculously enjoyable musical. Des Moines Community Playhouse, 831 42nd St., 515-277-6261, www.dmplayhouse.com.
June 13-16, 19-23 — “bash: latterday plays.” This presentation of Neil LaBute’s collection of three darkly brilliant one-act plays portrays the evils that are abroad in everyday life; each is distinguished by the raw and yet lyrical intensity that has become Labute’s signature. In “Medea Redux,” a woman tells of her complex and ultimately tragic relationship with her junior high school English teacher. In “Iphigenia in Orem,” a Utah businessman confides in a stranger, confessing to a disturbing crime. In “A Gaggle of Saints,” a young Mormon couple separately recount the violent events of a weekend in New York City. $20. Wednesday, June 19, is Dice Night. Get tickets at the door for whatever price rolls on a 20-sided dice. The Des Moines Social Club Theater Co., 400 Walnut St., www.desmoinessocialclub.org
July 13 — Iowa Shakespeare Experience’s “Ballet, Belin and the Bard.” For date night, friends or family, be sure to engage your senses and experience a remarkable three-in-one show, as three of the Metro’s lauded classic arts organizations take the stage in a new way this summer. This festive show is born of ISE’s new partnerships with Ballet Des Moines and Des Moines Civic Music. This is a special one-night-only picnic-friendly anniversary celebration show, marking the Shakesperience festival’s fifth-year expansion into coverage of all the classic arts. Unfolding outdoors, under the midsummer moon, ISE is presenting a free production of “Starry Starry Night: Ballet, Belin and The Bard,” featuring scores of beautifully costumed dancers from Ballet Des Moines and the incomparable strains of the Belin String Quartet, laced together by exciting monologues and dialogues from William Shakespeare. Original choreography, magical music and magnificent dramatic displays, all set against the twinkling cityscape. It’s an atmosphere of European elegance on the breezy downtown Des Moines Riverwalk. So grab the kids, your best friend or lover and bring an old-fashioned picnic and wine to the festival’s mainstage at Simon Estes Riverwalk Amphitheatre. Gates open for picnics at 6 p.m. and curtain is at 8 p.m.
July 14 — “Othello Sneak Peak.” Get a preview of this William Shakespeare play in the Historic Jordan Mansion with a family-friendly ice cream social to follow. Tickets under $10. Iowa Shakespeare Experience – Shakespearience Festival of the Classic Arts, www.iowashakespeare.org
June 14-30 — “Pippin.” A young prince, Pippin, searches for the meaning of life and discovers love, war and himself in the process. This Tony Award-winning musical has a great deal of substance beneath its glamorous, glitzy exterior. Ames Community Theater, 310 Main St., Ames, 515-232-2354.
July 18-21 — “The Passion of Othello.” Iowa Shakespeare Experience is celebrating its growth and love for the Bard with a full line-up of mainstage shows, including this full-length Shakespeare classic, and as always, it’s free. Picnic starts at 6 p.m., curtains at 8 p.m. Iowa Shakespeare Experience – Shakespearience Festival of the Classic Arts, www.iowashakespeare.org.
July 24-Aug. 4 — “Jersey Boys.” The 2006 Tony Award-winning “Best Musical” depicts Rock and Roll Hall of Famers The Four Seasons: Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito and Nick Massi. This is the story of how four blue-collar kids became one of the greatest successes in pop music history. They wrote their own songs, invented their own sounds and sold 175 million records worldwide — all before they were 30. Don’t let that make you feel inadequate about your life and talents, though. Just go enjoy the show, which features hit songs “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Rag Doll,” “Oh What a Night” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.” $25 and up. Civic Center, 221 Walnut St., 515-246-2300, www.civiccenter.org.
Aug. 2-18 — “The Big Five-Oh!” Ticket prices are $10-$15. On Fridays and Saturdays, the doors open at 7 p.m. Show begins at 7:30. On Sundays, doors open at 1:30. Show begins at 2 p.m. Tickets may be purchased by calling 515-964-5007and leaving a message or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Ankeny Community Theatre/ ACT, 1932 S.W. Third St., Ankeny, 515-964-5007, www.ankenycommunitytheatre.com. CV