Tuesday, May 17, 2022

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Center Stage

Theaters find ways to connect


“Love Letters” with Kellie Kramer and Micheal Davenport. Photo by Steve Gibbons

The local theater scene continues to evaluate and evolve, balancing the necessity of safety with the call of the muse to produce performances. Without our traditional focal points in performance arts, the initial shock of what the pandemic has done to life’s routines has been replaced with finding new directions for coping with the changes this microbic disruptor, COVID-19, has inflicted upon us. How we retain our aesthetic connections begins at the individual and family level and continues up through the community, state, national and global levels. Our local theater community is determined to help provide outlets for our bare boards passions, even if it is virtually or socially distanced.

Des Moines Performing Arts is taking a longer strategy approach, as its programming is dependent upon so many national and international determining factors. DMPA continues to be engaged with its core central Iowa and multi-state regional audiences through innovative efforts, including its Project Joy campaign. As stated on its website, “Our mission has always been about connecting. We connect artists with people who love the performing arts. We connect audiences to each other in shared experiences.”

DMPA’s 2020-2021 Willis Broadway Season has postponed its initial two shows, but still has “Tootsie,” “Hadestown,” and “To Kill a Mockingbird” scheduled for presentation. Stay connected to their updates. While awaiting word of their signature Broadway Series programming, visit the website to discover a wonderful array of virtual offerings.

The Des Moines Community Playhouse is planning on streaming two from its successful Drive-In Theatre summer series on Sept. 10. “Rounding Third” and “The Roommate” will be presented as “a bit of a celebration,” as Executive Director David Kilpatrick shared. Plans are in the works to begin a newly formatted season for patrons later this year. This reimagined 2020-2021 season promises new and classic titles that will utilize smaller casts to better address dealing with pandemic issues in the production process, including a collaboration with Pyramid Theatre Company. The Playhouse also will offer a Flex Four subscription to allow patrons to match show needs with their needs, be it four different shows or one show for four attendees. Their education department also is developing a workable, engaging 2020-2021 classes schedule.

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Ankeny Community Theatre continues its ACT Readers Virtual Theater with two September offerings. “Gifted” by Tommy Lee Johnston will be presented Sunday, Sept. 13 at 7:30 p.m., and “God of Carnage” by Yasmina Reza, translated by Christopher Hampton, will be presented on Sunday, Sept. 27 at 7:30 p.m. More information is posted on the website, www.ankenycommunitytheatre.com.

Iowa Stage Theatre Company presents its popular major event, “Cocktails & Cabaret 2020,” on Saturday, Sept. 12 on the ISTC YouTube channel. This festive, talent-laden showcase has included top talent in central Iowa and will be an enticing way to sink back into a creative mood. https://www.iowastage.org/events

Under the guidance of its department head, Carl Lindberg, Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) is presenting a world-premiere radio play as an audio-only experience. Playwright Jayme McGhan, whose experience and productions have ranged from the Kennedy Center to Washington Shakespeare Company to Irish Repertory Theatre, brings a new work to central Iowa and DMACC virtual audiences in “Willy Beau Dilly,” released in four parts. This script’s charming characters and intricately woven plot address class, culture and love with a humorous touch. Information on how to connect with this show can be found at www.dmacc.edu/theatre/ankeny/Pages/radioplay.aspx
For more information, contact your local theater of choice and get signed up for email updates.


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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