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.

CHILDREN’S THEATRE SHOW ADDED

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.

WORKSHOPS ADDED:

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.

IOWA STAGE THEATRE COMPANY SHOW ADDED

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, candersen@dmplayhouse.com 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 Times:
7:00 PM, Wednesdays-Sundays; 10:00 AM Saturdays for family show
Theatre:
Special Events
Content Advisory:
The Playhouse does not rate subject matter as sensitivities vary from person to person. If you have questions about content, age appropriateness, or other aspects of the show please contact the ticket office, 515.277.6261
Download Playbill

In the News

David Kilpatrick on Iowa Live, KCWI 23
May 26, 2020

Katy Merriman and Kellie Kramer on WHO-TV13
June 12, 2020

Show Must Go On: Des Moines Playhouse Creates Live Theatre Drive-In During Pandemic

David Kilpatrick on dsm magazine Culture Cast
June 8, 2020

Company

  • Steve Berry

    Andrew Makepeace Ladd III, Love Letters

    Steve Berry
  • Dani Boal

    Melissa Gardner, Love Letters

    Dani Boal
  • Micheal Davenport

    Andrew Makepeace Ladd III, Love Letters

    Micheal Davenport
  • Peter Dean

    Narrator/Billy/Zeus, Miss Electricity

    Peter Dean
  • Chris Ennis

    Don, Rounding Third

    Chris Ennis
  • Gina Gedler

    Melissa Gardner, Love Letters

    Gina Gedler
  • Jodi Jinks

    Robyn, The Roommate

    Jodi Jinks
  • Nathan Jorgensen

    Michael, Rounding Third

    Nathan Jorgensen
  • Kellie Kramer

    Melissa Gardner, Love Letters

    Kellie Kramer
  • Gbomi Kayode

    Violet, Miss Electricity

    Gbomi Kayode
  • Bobby Nalean

    Andrew Makepeace Ladd III, Love Letters

    Bobby Nalean
  • Hudson Pulver

    Freddy/Owl, Miss Electricity

    Hudson Pulver
  • Jada Lynne Smith

    Mom/Connie/Mrs. Waldo/Athena, Miss Electricity; Assistant Director, The Roommate

    Jada Lynne Smith
  • Laura Sparks

    Sharon, The Roommate

    Laura Sparks
  • Katy Merriman

    Director, Love Letters, The Roommate; Co-Director, Miss Electricity

    Katy Merriman
  • David Kilpatrick

    Director, Rounding Third

    David Kilpatrick
  • Michael Bundy II

    Co-Director, Miss Electricity

    Michael Bundy II
  • Caitlyn Dean

    Assistant Stage Manager, Understudy, Miss Electricity

    Caitlyn Dean
  • Alex Snodgrass

    Scenic Designer, all shows

    Alex Snodgrass
  • Angela Lampe

    Costume Designer, The Roommate, Miss Electricity; Properties Designer, all shows

    Angela Lampe
  • Jessica Van Essen

    Costume Designer, Love Letters, Rounding Third

    Jessica Van Essen
  • Steve Taft

    Soundscape Designer, Rounding Third

    Steve Taft
  • Abby Kilpatrick

    Stage Manager, Love Letters

    Abby Kilpatrick
  • Paige Berry

    Stage Manager, Rounding Third

    Paige Berry
  • Nate Lawrence-Richards

    Technical Director, all shows

    Nate Lawrence-Richards
  • Jarod Holcomb

    Technical Assistant, all shows

    Jarod Holcomb
  • Tim Harris

    Sound Engineer

    Tim Harris
  • Virgil Kleinhesselink

    Master Electrician

    Virgil Kleinhesselink

Photos/Video

  • The Roommate, July 31-Aug. 16, 2020, with Laura Sparks and Jodi Jinks. Photo by Steve Gibbons.

  • The Roommate, July 31-Aug. 16, 2020, with Laura Sparks and Jodi Jinks. Photo by Steve Gibbons.

  • The Roommate, July 31-Aug. 16, 2020, with Laura Sparks and Jodi Jinks. Photo by Steve Gibbons.

  • The Roommate, July 31-Aug. 16, 2020, with Jodi Jinks. Photo by Steve Gibbons.

  • The Roommate, July 31-Aug. 16, 2020, with Laura Sparks. Photo by Steve Gibbons.

  • Miss Electricity family show with Gbomi Kayode and Hudson Pulver, Saturdays, July 11, 25, Aug. 1-15, 2020. Photo by Steve Gibbons

  • Miss Electricity family show with Jada Lynne Smith and Gbomi Kayode, Saturdays, July 11, 25, Aug. 1-15, 2020. Photo by Steve Gibbons

  • Gbomi Kayode is Miss Electricity, Saturdays, July 11, 25, Aug. 1-15, 2020. Photo by Steve Gibbons

  • Miss Electricity family show with Gbomi Kayode and Hudson Pulver, Saturdays, July 11, 25, Aug. 1-15, 2020. Photo by Steve Gibbons

  • Miss Electricity family show with (left to right) Hudson Pulver, Peter Dean, Gbomi Kayode and Jada Lynne Smith, Saturdays, July 11, 25, Aug. 1-15, 2020. Photo by Steve Gibbons

  • Theatre games before Miss Electricity performance, Saturdays, July 11, 25, Aug. 1-15, 2020. Photo by Steve Gibbons.

  • Theatre games before Miss Electricity performance, Saturdays, July 11, 25, Aug. 1-15, 2020. Photo by Steve Gibbons.

  • Rounding Third with Nathan Jorgensen and Chris Ennis, July 10-26, 2020. Photo by Steve Gibbons.

  • Rounding Third with Chris Ennis, July 10-26, 2020. Photo by Steve Gibbons.

  • Rounding Third with Nathan Jorgensen, July 10-26, 2020. Photo by Steve Gibbons.

  • Rounding Third with Nathan Jorgensen and Chris Ennis, July 10-26, 2020. Photo by Steve Gibbons.

  • Love Letters dress rehearsal, Thursday, June 11, 2020, with Kellie Kramer and Micheal Davenport. Performances are June 12-28, 2020. Photo by Steve Gibbons.

  • Love Letters dress rehearsal, Wednesday, June 10, 2020, with Dani Boal and Bobby Nalean. Performances are June 12-28, 2020. Photo by Steve Gibbons.

  • Love Letters dress rehearsal, Monday, June 8, 2020, with Gina Gedler and Steve Berry. Performances are June 12-28, 2020. Photo by Brent Isenberger.

  • Love Letters dress rehearsal, Thursday, June 11, 2020, with Kellie Kramer and Micheal Davenport. Performances are June 12-28, 2020. Photo by Steve Gibbons.

  • Love Letters dress rehearsal, Thursday, June 11, 2020, with Kellie Kramer and Micheal Davenport. Performances are June 12-28, 2020. Photo by Steve Gibbons.

  • Love Letters dress rehearsal, Wednesday, June 10, 2020, with Dani Boal and Bobby Nalean. Performances are June 12-28, 2020. Photo by Steve Gibbons.

  • Love Letters dress rehearsal, Wednesday, June 10, 2020, with Dani Boal and Bobby Nalean. Performances are June 12-28, 2020. Photo by Steve Gibbons.

  • Love Letters dress rehearsal, Monday, June 8, 2020, with Gina Gedler and Steve Berry. Performances are June 12-28, 2020. Photo by Brent Isenberger.

  • Love Letters dress rehearsal, Monday, June 8, 2020, with Gina Gedler and Steve Berry. Performances are June 12-28, 2020. Photo by Brent Isenberger.

  • Love Letters dress rehearsal, Thursday, June 11, 2020, with Kellie Kramer. Performances are June 12-28, 2020. Photo by Steve Gibbons.

  • Love Letters dress rehearsal, Thursday, June 11, 2020, with Micheal Davenport. Performances are June 12-28, 2020. Photo by Steve Gibbons.

  • Love Letters dress rehearsal, Wednesday, June 10, 2020, with Dani Boal. Performances are June 12-28, 2020. Photo by Steve Gibbons.

  • Love Letters dress rehearsal, Wednesday, June 10, 2020, with Bobby Nalean. Performances are June 12-28, 2020. Photo by Steve Gibbons.

  • Love Letters dress rehearsal, Monday, June 8, 2020, with Gina Gedler. Performances are June 12-28, 2020. Photo by Brent Isenberger.

  • Love Letters dress rehearsal, Monday, June 8, 2020, with Steve Berry. Performances are June 12-28, 2020. Photo by Brent Isenberger.

  • Love Letters dress rehearsal, Wednesday, June 10, 2020, with Dani Boal and Bobby Nalean. Performances are June 12-28, 2020. Photo by Steve Gibbons.

  • Love Letters dress rehearsal, Monday, June 8, 2020, with Gina Gedler and Steve Berry. Performances are June 12-28, 2020. Photo by Brent Isenberger.

  • Love Letters dress rehearsal, Monday, June 8, 2020, with a few cars and lawn chairs in position. Photo by Brent Isenberger.

Press Release

Des Moines Playhouse Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Kill Date: Aug. 15, 2020
Subject: Des Moines Playhouse Presents Live Theatre – Drive-in Style
Contact: Lee Ann Bakros, Playhouse Marketing & Public Relations Director, 515.974.5358

The Des Moines Playhouse is keeping theatre LIVE in Des Moines with a unique new initiative: Live Theatre Drive-in. Starting June 12 and continuing nearly every weekend through Aug. 16, The Playhouse will present three, two-person cast plays in its parking lot, with audiences remaining safely in their cars listening via a radio frequency, just like at state-opened drive-in movie theatres. Tickets are pay-what-you-can, but reservations are required as space is limited.

With the success of its evening shows, the theatre is announcing a Saturday morning series for young audiences: Miss Electricity, July 11-Aug. 15, excluding July 18, at 10:00 AM. As with the evening shows, audiences will listen to the audio on their cars FM radio or, if sitting in lawn chairs, through a portable radio. Tickets are pay-what-you-can, but reservations are required as space is limited.

Live Theatre Drive-In is sponsored by Edward Jones, EMC, Fareway, ITA Group, and MidAmerican Energy. The Family Live Theatre Drive-In is sponsored by Nationwide. Guest donations will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $19,500.

June’s title is Love Letters, in which a lifelong friendship unfolds through the exchange of letters. Rounding Third, whose characters are a Little League coach and his assistant, will be presented in July. In August, two middle-aged women from different walks of life share a home in The Roommate. David Kilpatrick, Playhouse executive director, said, “Theatre is a communal event. This summer we want to come together and celebrate live performances, yet remain safe and physically distant.”  Playhouse artistic director Katy Merriman added, “I know so many of us feel like we’ve been at home waiting to jump on any chance to create something and spend time with others. I’m excited to provide our community with an outlet for expression, whether on the stage or as a viewer, in a safe environment. And we get to be outside!”

Keeping the audience safe

  • The Playhouse parking lot will accommodate 20 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.
  • Pay-what-you-can donations will be collected via DipJar and texting software. Credit/debit cards are preferred to minimize contact but cash is also accepted.
  • Guests are advised to use home facilities before coming to the show. Restrooms will be available if needed with staff doing a thorough cleaning after each use.
  • Candy and pop will be available for sale from theatre staff and guests are welcome to bring food and non-alcoholic beverages with them.

About the shows

  • Love Letters, 7:00 PM, Wednesdays-Sundays, June 12-28, 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. Love Letters is by A.R. Gurney.
  • Rounding Third by Richard Dresser will be presented at 7:00 PM, Wednesdays-Sundays, July 10-26. Don (Chris Ennis) is a coach who believes that winning is what is most important in baseball, and he is all about the game. Michael (Nathan Jorgensen) 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.
  • In Miss Electricity, 10-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.
  • The summer season ends with Jen Silverman’s play The Roommate, 7:00 PM, Thursdays-Sundays, July 31-Aug. 16. Sharon (Laura Sparks), in her mid-fifties, is recently divorced and needs a roommate to share her Iowa home. Robyn (Jodi Jinks), 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 Playhouse decided, for the safety of audiences and volunteers, which include actors and backstage crews, to cancel all shows through Aug. 31, 2020. This includes Singin’ in the Rain, Pippi Longstocking, Leaving Iowa, and Roald Dahl’s Matilda. In addition, The Playhouse will be adjusting its 2020-21 season from what was originally announced. The new season will be determined by June.

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 season of shows since 1919 and also 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 more information about The Playhouse and Live Theatre Drive-in, contact Playhouse executive director, David Kilpatrick, at 515-974-5353.

Live Theatre Drive-in Performances: June 12-Aug. 16, 2020
All performances 7:00 PM
June: Love Letters, Wednesdays-Sundays, June 12-28
July: Rounding Third, Wednesdays-Sundays, July 10-26
August: The Roommate, Thursdays-Sundays, July 31-Aug. 16

Family Live Theatre Drive-In Performances: Saturdays, July 11, July 25-Aug. 15, 2020
All performances 10:00 AM

Live Theatre Drive-in Style Tickets
Reservations required.
Tickets will be on a pay-what-you-can basis
When reservations are filled, guests are placed on a waiting list.
Guests on the waiting list who haven’t received a call should come to the theatre at 6:00 PM to be added to the standby list. Standbys will be parked as spaces are available starting by 6:45 PM. There is no guarantee to see the show.

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Show Credits

Love Letters by A.R. Gurney

Rounding Third by Richard Dresser

The Roommate by Jen Silverman

Miss Electricity by Kathryn Walat

Sponsored by

  • Edward Jones
  • EMC
  • Fareway Stores Inc
  • ITA Group
  • MidAmerican Energy
  • Nationwide
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