Tuesday, November 30, 2021

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Center Stage

A May overview


There is perhaps no truer comedy than that which comes from a slip of the tongue or a quick-witted reaction. That’s why “Broadway’s Next Hit Musical” is sure to fill Temple Theater with laughs this month, and there’s an Iowan in the cast. Des Moines’ own Robert Grant is among a strong cast of hilarious improvisational performers. Grant and the gang have taken over the Temple Theater as part of the Temple Comedy Series, a presentation of the Prairie Meadows Temple Theater Series presented by Des Moines Performing Arts.

Ticket-holders aren’t just there to watch, though. This interactive bit offers a chance for the audience to actually create the show, which guarantees that no two shows will be the same. Sans the same, tired song-and-dance formula, every night is made up entirely on the spot by five master improvisers taking cues and suggestions from the audience. What remains is a spontaneously funny evening of music, humor and laughter that leaves you with a side ache.

“Broadway’s Next Hit Musical” will have its final performance on May 12. For more information, visit www.broadwaysnexthitmusical.com. Tickets are on sale now at the Civic Center Ticket Office, all Ticketmaster locations, charge-by-phone at (800) 745-3000 and online at DesMoinesPerformingArts.org.

While “Broadway’s Next Hit Musical” features one of Des Moines’ own talents, contrastingly, Banana Punch, a local improvisational comedy ensemble featuring Iowa actors. Des Moines’ oldest established sketch comedy group, Banana Punch offers plenty of laughs of its own, and its fourth anniversary show is on May 11 at the Rex Mathes Auditorium in West Des Moines. Doors open at 7 p.m., and the show begins at 7:30. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door. To celebrate its birthday, the show will be a compilation of the group’s funniest sketches over the last four years.

“We’re known for smart, dry, laugh-out-loud comedy,” said group founder John Donovan. “We’ve been doing it for four years, and nobody’s complained yet… And yes, we’ll be doing the ‘Dr. Seuss’ sketch.”

There’s nothing funny about the tragedy depicted in “Lord of the Flies,” but the William Golding classic is a great story, and it’s coming to the Des Moines Playhouse later this summer. “Lord of the Flies” analyzes how society is directly affected by the actions and judgment of man. The human experiment unfolds after a group of young, boys are left alone on a deserted island with no adult guidance, no rules. As the freedom from structure unlocks a primal inner battle between good and evil, madness and carnage divides the group.

“Lord of the Flies” is brought to audiences through Adolescent Anarchy: A Theatre Collaborative, an experimental group of nine teens who are creating a fully-realized production of the story turned big screen hit. Its mission is to build a foundation of involvement for teens in the theatre with innovating ways in which theatre is viewed — fresh and abstract ideas are added by taking “thinking outside of the box” to a whole new level.

The production is scheduled for August, but time is running out to help fund Adolescent Anarchy to make this classic story come to life at the Des Moines Playhouse. Gifts and pledges made to the Playhouse via Birdies for Charity through May 5 will be designated for Adolescent Anarchy. Every $1 becomes $1.25, thanks to a match by Sammons Financial Group. CV

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