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Playhouse’s 100th Season Unveiled


The Des Moines Community Playhouse has the most celebrating, eye-popping, song-singing, 100-year loving, big-doings season ever. The theatre’s 100th season includes six musicals, plus drama, comedy, and family shows. Playhouse season tickets go on sale April 3, 2018, online at and at the Playhouse ticket office.
The 2018-19 Mainstage season includes five shows new to the Playhouse stage, with many new to Greater Des Moines as well. The season opens with Elton John’s “Billy Elliot.” The rest of the season includes a charming con man in “Catch Me If You Can” and the musical story of turn-of-the-century life, “Newsies.” The Mainstage season also features a comedic Sherlock Holmes romp, “Baskerville,” and a stunning new drama “Silent Sky.”
In its 24th season, the Kate Goldman Children’s Theatre at the Playhouse continues its page-to-stage tradition of plays adapted from popular and classic literature with “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever,” “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane,” “Judy Moody & Stink: The Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Treasure Hunt,” and the musical “Ella Enchanted.” Nationwide is the proud presenter of the 2018-19 children’s theatre season.
The Playhouse helps audiences spread holiday cheer with the 2018 Family Holiday Classic, “Elf – The Musical.” Previously announced is the theatre’s summer 2018 musical, “Mamma Mia!”
School matinees will be offered for “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever,” “Elf – The Musical,” “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane,” “Judy Moody & Stink: The Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Treasure Hunt,” and “Ella Enchanted.”
The Playhouse is one of the oldest and largest community theatres in the US. Located at the 42nd Street exit of I-235, the theatre has presented a full season of shows since 1919 and offers a wide variety of educational experiences including classes for ages 4 to adult, theatre trips to New York, and volunteer opportunities onstage and backstage.
For season ticket information, contact the Des Moines Community Playhouse ticket office at 515-277-6261 or visit the Playhouse website at

2018-19 Playhouse Season
“Mamma Mia!”
July 13-28, 2018
Who said a wedding couldn’t be this much fun?
On the eve of her wedding, a daughter’s quest to discover the identity of her father brings three men from her mother’s past back to the island last visited 20 years ago. The magic of ABBA’s timeless songs propels this enchanting tale of love, romance, and friendship. Everyone’s having the time of their lives!
“Billy Elliot”
Oct. 5-28, 2018
All you really have to do is shine!
Set in a northern English mining town, against the background of the 1984 miners’ strike, “Billy Elliot” is the inspirational story of a young boy’s struggle against the odds to make his dream come true. Billy’s journey starts when he stumbles out of the boxing ring and into a ballet class. There he discovers a passion for dance that inspires his family and community and changes his life forever. 
“The Best Christmas Pageant Ever”
Presented by Nationwide
Nov. 2-25, 2018
They showed up for the free cookies and stayed, much to the town’s dismay.
Now in its 18th year, the Des Moines Community Playhouse offers one of the community’s most beloved performance traditions: “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.” In this hilarious holiday classic, a mother struggling to put on a church Christmas pageant is faced with casting the Herdman kids, the most inventively awful kids in history. You won’t believe the mayhem – and the fun – when the Herdmans collide with the Christmas story head on!
“Elf – The Musical”
Nov. 30-Dec. 23, 2018
It’s a sparklejollytwinklejingley time of the year!
“Elf” has quickly become a modern Christmas classic! Based on the 2003 film, “Elf – The Musical” tells the story of Buddy, a human raised as an elf at the North Pole. Buddy’s enormous size and poor toy-making skills soon make him realize he’s not fit to live at the North Pole. Buddy travels to New York City where he learns his dad doesn’t believe in Santa Claus! The Playhouse presents the regional debut of this holiday show for the whole family.
“The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane'”
Presented by Nationwide
Jan. 4-20, 2019
Friendship is the true adventure.
Based on Kate DiCamillo’s book, this is a story of friendship and finding oneself. Edward Tulane is a very happy and very self-centered toy rabbit. After accidentally being tossed from a boat, Edward goes on a journey of discovery, meeting many characters including a hobo, a fisherman, and a four-year-old girl with tuberculosis. Over the course of his adventures, Edward finally learns how to love and care for others.
Jan. 25-Feb. 10, 2019
Sherlock Holmes was never more fun!
The iconic Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are joined by a cast of 40 quirky characters played by just five actors. Based on the 1902 novella “The Hound of Baskervilles” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, this mystery will keep you on the edge of your seat and laughing in the aisles.
“Judy Moody & Stink: The Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Treasure Hunt”
Presented by Nationwide
Feb. 22-Mar. 10, 2019
Join Judy and Stink for their swashbuckling adventures on “Artichoke” Island!
Based on the hit children’s book series by Megan McDonald, the whole family will love joining in the adventure as Judy and Stink find hidden clues, unlock secret codes, and solve tricky puzzles.
“Catch Me If You Can”
Mar. 22-Apr. 14, 2019
The charm. The con. The chase.
Seeking fame and fortune, precocious teenager Frank Abignale, Jr. runs away from home to begin an unforgettable adventure. With nothing more than his boyish charm, a big imagination, and millions of dollars in forged checks, Frank successfully poses as a pilot, a doctor, and a lawyer. When Frank’s lies catch the attention of FBI agent Carl Hanratty, Carl pursues Frank across the country to make him pay for his crimes. Based on the hit film and incredible true story.
“Ella Enchanted”
Apr. 26-May 12, 2019
A fairy tale with girl-power!
Ella was given the “gift” of obedience as a baby and must obey any direct order, no matter how ridiculous. When circumstances change, Ella becomes a servant in her own home. She begins her search for a way to break her childhood curse and pursue her dreams. Don’t miss this girl-power spin on the Cinderella story that’s a fairy tale like no other.
“Silent Sky”
May 30-June 16, 2019
They set their sights on the stars and changed science forever.
“Silent Sky” tells the untold stories of female astronomers through the eyes of a real scientist Henrietta Leavitt, a female “computer” at Harvard College Observatory. This true story of 19th-century astronomer, “Silent Sky” explores a woman’s place in society during a time of immense scientific discoveries, when women’s ideas were dismissed until men claimed credit for them. Social progress, like scientific progress, can be hard to see when one is trapped among earthly complications.
July 12-Aug. 4, 2019
These kids deliver!
This smash hit Broadway musical, based on the 1992 film, is inspired by the New York newsboys’ strike of 1899. When publishing giants Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst raise distribution prices at the expense of the delivery boys, Jack Kelly and friends, all teenage “newsies,” must fight for what’s right. Filled with high-energy action and dance numbers, this musical comedy drama is fun for the whole family.

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