The Show Will Go On

On June 3, 2020, Playhouse executive director David Kilpatrick and artistic director Katy Merriman had a live conversation about how the theatre is coping during the pandemic. The conversation was recorded and posted here as well as our YouTube channel and Facebook page.

Live Theatre Drive-in

The Des Moines Playhouse is keeping theatre LIVE in Des Moines with a unique new initiative: Live Theatre Drive-in. The Playhouse has small cast plays in its parking lot, with audiences remaining safely in their cars listening via a radio frequency. Tickets are free, but reservations are required as space is limited. If you have a reservation, please watch for your email from Debbie Jacobson, typically arriving 48-72 hours prior to your show date, with important details on your visit.

Some performances are fully reserved and have a waiting list. If you are on the waiting list but haven’t gotten a call, there is a chance you can still see the show. Come to the theatre before 6:30 PM to be added to the standby list. By 6:45 PM, we’ll start filling empty parking spots with standbys. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee to see the show, but we will do our best.

Rain cancellations in most instances will be determined close to curtain time. If a show is canceled, those with reservations will be called. Please make sure we have a current phone number.

About the shows

Love Letters
By A.R. Gurney
7:00 PM, Wednesdays-Sundays, June 12-28, 2020
Love Letters centers on two characters, Melissa Gardner and Andrew Makepeace Ladd III. The actors sit side-by-side at tables and read the notes, letters, and cards that span a 50-year friendship. As time progresses, Melissa and Andrew discuss their hopes and ambitions, dreams and disappointments, victories and defeats. A different couple performs each night: Dani Boal and Bobby Nalean, June 12, June 18, June 20, and June 24; Gina Gedler and Steve Berry, June 13, June 17, June 21, June 26, and June 28; and Kellie Kramer and Micheal Davenport, June 14, 19, June 25, and June 27. The show contains some adult language. The show is 90 minutes and performed without intermission.

Rounding Third
By Richard Dresser
7:00 PM, Wednesdays-Sundays, July 10-26, 2020
ADDED SHOW: 7:00 PM, Tuesday, July 14, 2020
Don is a coach who believes that winning is what is most important in baseball, and he is all about the game. Michael is his assistant coach and a businessman who believes that kids should have fun when they play baseball. Don’s kid is the team’s star pitcher. Michael’s kid can barely remember to keep his shoelaces tied. These conflicting personalities instantly clash. The show is 90 minutes and performed without intermission.

The Roommate
By Jen Silverman
7:00 PM, Thursdays-Sundays, July 31-Aug. 16, 2020
ADDED SHOW: 7:00 PM, Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020
Get Tickets
Sharon, in her mid-fifties, is recently divorced and needs a roommate to share her Iowa home. Robyn, also in her mid-fifties, needs a place to hide and a chance to start over. But as Sharon begins to uncover Robyn’s secrets, they encourage her own deep-seated desire to transform her life completely. The Roommate is a dark comedy about what it takes to re-route your life – and what happens when the wheels come off. The show contains some adult language and situations. The show is 90 minutes and performed without intermission.


Miss Electricity
By Kathryn Walat
10:00 AM, Saturdays, July 11, July 25-Aug. 15, 2020
Get Tickets
Ten-year-old Violet is determined to show the world, not to mention the cool kids at school, just how special she is. With the help of her assistant Freddy, she sets out to break a world record but becomes accidentally extraordinary when she’s struck by lightning, twice, and gains control over all things electric. Under the name Miss Electricity, Violet zaps her way through circuits, bullies, and tests, but could lose everything when the power goes to her head. The cast includes Peter Dean, Gbomi Kayode, Hudson Pulver, and Jada Smith. The show is 50 minutes and performed without intermission.


Youths ages 5 and up and their families can come early to Miss Electricity for 45 minutes of fun, outdoor theatre games starting at 9:15 AM. Playhouse classroom favorites like Frogger, Join the Scene, and more have all been adapted to accommodate physical distancing. The focus will be on games that use bodies rather than voices for those who wish to wear a mask. The workshop is free but donations are accepted; no pre-registration required.


The Cake
By Bekah Brunstetter
7:00 PM, Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2020
Jen returns to her North Carolina hometown to ask her deceased mother’s best friend, Della, to bake her wedding cake. But Della refuses because Jen is marrying a woman. This play contains adult language and sexual content. Like the rest of the Live Theatre Drive-In series, The Cake is free. Donations are accepted and will be shared equally between Iowa Stage Theatre Company and The Des Moines Playhouse.

Keeping the audience protected

  • The Playhouse parking lot will accommodate 24 cars with six-plus feet between cars. Audiences can sit in their cars or, remaining physically distanced, sit in lawn chairs in their parking space.
  • When you make a reservation, you are reserving one parking space for one car; we don’t care how many people are in the car.
  • This is a free event. We accept donations. You can donate by text or by using DipJar. Either one you choose helps keep theatre and performing arts in Central Iowa (a)live. We’ll give you details on both options when you arrive. We have generous donors who have agreed to match each dollar we receive for every summer performance up to $29,000. Now your donation can make twice the impact. If you want to increase the amount of the matching funds, please contact Chris Andersen, or 515.974.5370.
  • Guests are encouraged to use their facilities before coming. Restrooms will be available in emergencies with staff doing a thorough cleaning after each use. Shows are 90 minutes and performed without intermission.
  • Candy and beverages will be available for free from theatre staff. We do accept donations for these as well.

Photos: What to expect when you come

Photos: Creating Live Theatre Drive-In

Performance Academy Production of Matilda, Jr. – CANCELED

Rebellion is nigh in Matilda Jr., a 70 minute adaptation of the Broadway musical. Matilda, Jr. is a gleefully witty ode to the anarchy of childhood and the power of imagination! This story of a girl who dreams of a better life and the children she inspires will have audiences rooting for the “revolting children” who are out to teach the grown-ups a lesson. Packed with high-energy dance numbers and catchy songs, Matilda Jr. is a joyous, girl power romp. Children and adults alike will be thrilled and delighted by the story of a the special little girl with an extraordinary imagination.

Performance Academy Production of Disney’s Frozen Kids – CANCELED

You’ll love this fanciful and heartwarming stage adaptation of the celebrated animated film and Broadway musical. Join Anna, Elsa, Olaf, Sven, and the rest of your favorite characters as they embark on an epic, ice-filled journey of self-discovery, camaraderie, and the real meaning of true love. Adapted for young performers, this musical includes favorite Frozen songs such as “Love Is an Open Door,” “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?,” and “Let It Go,” as well as wonderful new songs from the Broadway production. This production of Frozen KIDS is sure to prove that “some people are worth melting for.”

Best of Broadway Tour May – CANCELED

May 7-10, 2020

Click here for the Apr. 23-26, 2020, trip.

Led by Playhouse artistic director Katy Merriman, the trip includes:

  • Roundtrip airfare between Des Moines and New York on Delta Airlines’ nonstop flights
  • 3 nights double occupancy at the Renaissance Times Square
  • 3 Broadway theatre tickets: On Thursday and Friday evening, the group sees shows together. Thursday’s show is Plaza Suite starring Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker. Friday’s show is Six: The Musical. Saturday’s show is the traveler’s choice and can be a matinee or evening show. 
  • Group transportation between the airport and hotel in New York if you are traveling with the group
  • Baggage handling at the hotel for one large bag and appropriate baggage handling tips

Not included in the trip are fees for checking luggage with the airline, tips for optional tours, transportation in New York, meals, and tour and travel incidentals. If you are not traveling with the group, you will have to take a taxi from the airport to the hotel at your expense. Prices and details of offerings are subject to change. Additional charges incurred for deviations from the trip.

Options, including tours and a welcome dinner, will be offered at an additional cost. Optional travel insurance is offered at an additional cost and must be purchased at the time of registration for pre-existing conditions to be covered.

The Playhouse is not responsible for any airline delays.

$125 per person non-refundable deposit due at registration.  [Waived pending full refund of theatre tickets]

Please note our trip policies: [Waived due to Covid-19]

  • $125 per person deposit due at time of registration. Deposit is non-refundable.
  • Final balance due 90 days prior to trip departure. Since we are within 90 days of the trip, we will work with you on a payment schedule.
  • Cancel 45-90 days prior to departure: 50% of the trip cost is non-refundable.
  • Cancel 45 days or less prior to departure: No refund.

For more information on theatre trips or to be placed on the email notification list, contact Lee Ann Bakros, trip coordinator, at 515-974-5358.