Silent Sky

may 31 - jun 16, 2019
Performance Times:
7:30 PM Wednesday through Saturday; 2:00 PM Sunday
Run Time:
1 hour 45 minutes including a 15-minute intermission

They set their sights on the stars and changed science forever.

Silent Sky is an inspiring story of perseverance and scientific discovery told through the eyes of Henrietta Leavitt, a real female “computer” at Harvard College Observatory, in 1901. In spite of social restrictions of the time, Henrietta and her female peers pursued their study of the stars and changed the way we understand both the heavens and earth today.

An inspiring STEM story on stage. The Playhouse offers resources for educators wishing to provide learning on Leavitt’s life and discoveries.   

Mainstage 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 (ie strobe lights and other theatrical effects), please contact the ticket office at 515-277-6261.

The performance at 2:00 PM on Sunday, June 9 will have live audio description, provided by IRIS. Please contact our ticket office at 515-277-6261 if you would like to use this free service.

Henrietta Leavitt
Shelby Jensen
Margaret Leavitt
Emma Norman
Peter Shaw
Bobby Nalean
Annie Cannon
Laura Sparks
Williamina Fleming
Jen Green
Production Team
Judy Hart
Scenic Designer
Nicholas Amundson
Costume Designer
Angela Lampe
Lighting Designer
Dan Stratman
Sound Designer/Composer
Mark Toebben
Stage Manager
Jason Ehlenfeldt
Technical Director
Nate Lawrence-Richards
Artistic Director
John W. Viars

Des Moines Community Playhouse Press Release
Kill Date: June 16, 2019
Subject: Des Moines Community Playhouse Presents Silent Sky  
Photos available for download beginning May 21 at
Contact: Lee Ann Bakros, Playhouse Public Relations Director, 515-974-5358

The Des Moines Community Playhouse presents the new drama Silent Sky, May 31-June 16, 2019. Tickets may be purchased online at, by phone at 515-277-6261, or at the Playhouse ticket office, 831 42nd St.

It is 1900, and the bright young student Henrietta Leavitt (Shelby Jensen) has the opportunity to work at the Harvard College Observatory as a human “computer.” When Henrietta arrives, she is eager to use Harvard’s telescope, the Great Refractor, but is told that, as a woman, she is not allowed to do any sort of direct astronomical observation. Her job is to measure and catalog the brightness of stars as they appeared in the observatory’s photographic plate collection. Henrietta is not discouraged and begins the process of recording the changes she sees in the photographs of Cepheid stars.

During her inquiry, Henrietta’s relationships strain under her obsessive work ethic; her sister Margaret (Emma Norman), her love interest Peter Shaw (Bobby Nalean), and her colleagues Annie Cannon (Laura Sparks) and Williamina Fleming (Jen Green) all find themselves pushed aside in favor of a great cosmic mystery. 

Silent Sky is the poignant tale of a woman’s dedication to the stars, and the human touch that makes life under the vast sky beautiful and timeless. Her subsequent scientific discovery still has a profound and lasting impact on the field of astronomy.

The Playhouse cast is directed by Judy Hart.

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 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 Silent Sky, contact the Playhouse ticket office at 515-277-6261.

Silent Sky Performances: May 31-June 16, 2019
7:30 PM Wednesday-Saturday
2:00 PM Sunday

Silent Sky Tickets
Ticket prices start at $29
To purchase tickets:
Des Moines Community Playhouse Ticket Office, 831 42nd St., Des Moines, IA 50312