We answer your questions about Donations, Classes, Volunteering, Purchasing Tickets, and Visiting the Playhouse.


Contact Lee Ann Bakros, public relations director, Lbakros@dmplayhouse.com, 515-974-5358. If she doesn’t have the answer, she will get you to the staff member who can answer your question.


Only 47% of the Playhouse’s total budget comes from ticket sales. Individuals, corporations, foundations, and government support make up the remaining 53%. It is only through the support of donors that the Playhouse can continue to bridge the gap between ticket sales and operating costs. When attending a Playhouse production, take pride in knowing your contribution is reflected on the stage in the costumes, props, and scenery. Donations are also needed to assist students with the cost of their participation in classes, camps, and workshops. Scholarship awards are based on a student’s financial need.

The Playhouse operates on a lean budget and makes every attempt to hold expenses to a minimum. However the costs of owning and operating a building as well as royalties (for a musical they average $25,000 and must be paid before we sell a ticket), sets, props, costumes, and providing a professional staff to ensure a high-quality experience all incur costs. If we tried to operate without donations, ticket prices and tuition fees would more than double and force many people to abandon going to the theatre. The support of our community keeps theatre available to more people.

All unrestricted gifts go to offsetting the expenses of operating the Playhouse and its programs. That ranges from scenery, props, and costumes to supplies needed for education programs to tickets for children who couldn’t otherwise afford to attend.

Absolutely. Your gift is deductible to the full extent allowed by the law. You will receive an acknowledgment letter and receipt from the Playhouse.

Nothing could be easier! Simply call Chris Andersen, director of philanthropy, 515-974-5370. You may also make your donation online.

We welcome the chance to discuss your support! Chris Andersen, director of philanthropy, 515-974-5370, nsyverson@dmplayhouse.com.

Yes. You can make your donation a tribute to someone. You will receive a donation receipt and your donation will be acknowledged with your tribute in the playbill.

Yes. If your company offers workplace giving or matching funds, you should contact your Human Resources representative for enrollment materials. Please let us know if you’re contributing through your workplace so we can be sure to credit you with the donation.

Yes, the IRS recognizes the Playhouse as a public charity under section 501(c)(3) of the tax code.

Yes! What a wonderful way to ensure the Playhouse’s future for years to come while earning a valuable tax deduction. You can leave your legacy in the performing arts without compromising your commitments to loved ones. It’s easier and more cost-effective than you may think. Contact your estate planning attorney, a trust officer, or an accountant who specializes in planned giving, or contact Chris Andersen, director of philanthropy, 515-974-5370, for more information.

The Playhouse’s endowment is managed under an agreement with the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines. Funds are invested and a portion of each year’s income is available to support Playhouse programs. For more information, contact Chris Andersen, director of philanthropy, 515-974-5370, or a Community Foundation official.

We welcome an opportunity to bring you up-to-date with Playhouse capital needs and plans. Please contact David Kilpatrick, 515-974-5353; John Viars, artistic director, 515-974-5354; or Chris Andersen, director of philanthropy, 515-974-5370.

Please call costume designer Angela Lampe, 515-974-5364, before bringing items over. Always make sure whatever you donate is in good condition and clean.

Please contact Jonathan Hudspeth, production manager, 515-974-5359, before bringing items over.

There is no guarantee a donated item will appear onstage at a particular time. Sometimes a donated piece may be used right away. At other times, a piece may be in storage for several years until the right design concept for that piece comes along. We are unable to let you know when a donated item will be in a show.


Since part of our process is to teach independence and to foster that skill, we do prefer children attend class on their own.

All of our paid instructors, including summer college interns, have undergone a background check.

Our teachers are area education and theatre professionals. A majority hold college degrees. We also hire college students to serve as education interns in the summer. They assist our professional teaching staff with the planning and implementation of our summer day camp programs.

The teacher/student ratio varies, depending on the class and its goals. Generally, the younger the students, the smaller the class.

Each class is intended for a specific age group, according to their interests and developmental levels. We ask that you register for those classes specified for your child’s grade.

Many of our classes do involve a performance component, but some do not. We recommend that you read the class description carefully to determine whether a performance is involved. If you aren’t sure, please call Robin Spahr, education director, 515-974-5365.

We encourage parents to talk over different class descriptions with their child, to determine which class might sound more interesting to them.

We use many different performance spaces including classrooms, particularly during the summer semester.

A showcase is generally more informal, along the lines of a “show and share.” This is most likely to be the case with younger students. A performance is a more formal occasion.

The primary feature of theatre is that it is a collaborative art form and participation teaches cooperation, focus, and active listening as well as other acting skills. The plays we select in the education department are written to accommodate a wide variety of abilities. Some students may have more lines than others.

If a child cannot be at the performance, we recommend they register for a different class or session.

Absolutely! Our teachers are very skilled at working with each student at the level at which they are currently.

It is our goal to offer theatre education to all students. It is easier to accommodate students with special needs if we can prepare with a parent meeting ahead of time; in this way we can determine how best to serve your child.

Students receive the most benefit from 100% attendance. If they are in a class that concludes with a performance, it is especially important that they be at every class.

In creative drama, classes might consist of story dramatization, theatre games, and perhaps a hands-on activity, such as the construction of a puppet, mask, or hat. For older students involved in a performance-based class, students might learn actor warm-ups, theatre games, and rehearse performance material.

The ability to record and/or photograph depends on whether the material is copyrighted. If it is, we are prohibited by law from recording the performance. If the performance is original material, or public domain, parents are welcome to take pictures and/or record the performance.

Yes. For details on how to apply for a scholarship, contact Robin Spahr, education director, rspahr@dmplayhouse.com, 515-974-5365.

Volunteering: Front-of-House

Volunteers as young as 14 can come with an adult; otherwise ages 16 and up.

We use Volunteer Local to advertise available shifts. Links, by show title, are on our website.

We offer on-the-job training and will have you shadow an experienced volunteer your first time.

Volunteers are asked to leave the parking lot open for our guests in the evenings and on weekends. On show days, you can park on the streets around the theatre and, for most performances, in the lot behind (east) the Shops at Roosevelt. On weekdays and non-show days, you can park in the Playhouse parking lots on the 41st Street (east) side of the building. When you arrive, you will go to the Mainstage (upstairs) or Kate Goldman Children’s Theatre (downstairs) for a brief meeting with your usher team.

Solid white shirt and black pants or skirt.

Volunteers are expected to arrive one hour prior to the show and to help pick up the theatre at the end of the show. This is approximately a three-hour commitment.

Deb Korte, guest services manager, 515-974-5352, dkorte@dmplayhouse.com.

Volunteering: Costume Shop

Volunteers as young as 14 can come with an adult; otherwise ages 16 and up.

No, we welcome sewers and non-sewers. There is a lot of hand sewing to be done in the costume shop and if you are willing to learn, you will walk away with valuable skills that you can use on your own wardrobe.

Projects range from tailoring a man’s suit to hot-gluing flower petals on an elf costume. We utilize sewing skills, altering, crafting skills, hairstyling, embroidery, painting, ironing, laundry, and more. It takes a great deal of organization to costume a show. Labeling costumes and setting up dressing rooms are also important parts of the process.

Each show is different, so the hours vary. Contact costume designer Angela Lampe, 515-974-5364, to receive information on volunteer opportunities as they arise. Daytime, evening, and weekend hours are possible. 

Volunteers are asked to leave the parking lot open for our guests in the evenings and on weekends. On show days, you can park on the streets around the theatre and, for most performances, in the lot behind (east) the Shops at Roosevelt. On weekdays and non-show days, you can park in the Playhouse parking lots on the 41st Street (east) side of the building. When you arrive, follow the signs on the lower level to the costume shop.

Angela Lampe, costume designer, 515-974-5364, alampe@dmplayhouse.com.

Volunteering: Backstage

Absolutely not; just a desire and a willingness to learn.

Volunteers as young as 14 can come with an adult; otherwise ages 16 and up.

The set construction schedule, known as build schedule or work call schedule, is available online. We also send the work call schedule via email. Sign up for this email by contacting John Viars, artistic director, 515-974-5354.

No. Come for an hour or for the whole day; whatever time you are able to give is welcomed.

Clothes you don’t mind getting dirty or ruined and closed-toe shoes.

We prefer that you work every performance. Some shifts may be difficult or complicated and, with the same person each time, the show will flow more smoothly. Light board and sound board operators do need to work every performance. If you’re not available for every performance but want to help, please let us know and we’ll try to find a way to get you involved.

Black shirt and black pants and closed-toe shoes.

Volunteers are asked to leave the parking lot open for our guests in the evenings and on weekends. On show days, you can park on the streets around the theatre and, for most performances, in the lot behind (east) the Shops at Roosevelt. On weekdays and non-show days, you can park in the Playhouse parking lots on the 41st Street (east) side of the building. When you arrive, follow the signs to the Mainstage and go to the scene shop immediately behind the stage.

John Viars, artistic director, 515-974-5354, jviars@dmplayhouse.com


Our audition schedule is available online. Ages for boys and girls are indicated, with the youngest being 8 years old. Roles for men and women are available to actors ages 16 and up for most shows. Where race, ethnicity, gender, age, or other personal differentiations are not demanded by the needs of the script, the Playhouse casts its shows without regard to these attributes.

The age listed is the age of the character, not the actor playing the character. Anyone who comes to auditions may try out. You may end up changing the director’s mind!

The length of the audition process depends on the number of people auditioning. It can take 1-3 hours for the initial round of auditions to be completed.

Yes, you may call Robin Spahr, 515-974-5365, to arrange another time, prior to the scheduled auditions. Keep in mind that if you cannot come to callbacks it may put you at a disadvantage. It is best to come to scheduled auditions if you can, but we will work to accommodate actors who call for an alternate date.



No one is required to take a class before auditioning at the Playhouse. However, many children find that taking classes gives them the experience and confidence to go through with the audition process. The Playhouse offers audition workshops during the winter and summer.

First you will fill out the audition forms with your contact information and you’ll list any conflicts you may have during the rehearsal period. Conflicts during performances cannot be accommodated. The next step will be to audition for the director by singing 32 measures of the song of your choice if auditioning for a musical or doing a short reading, chosen by the director, for a non-musical. In both instances, the director is assessing if you can be heard, if you have a strong stage presence, and if you can move in character.

Wear neutral clothing with neat lines and closed-toe shoes (no sandals or flip flops). For men and boys: wear a pair of trousers and buttoned shirt, tucked in. For women and girls: wear a mid-length skirt or pants and a blouse, tucked in.

For musicals, auditionees will need to sing a prepared song. Most directors prefer that it not be from the show for which you are auditioning. The Playhouse provides an accompanist. There will also be a dance audition either on the first night or during the callback. The choreographer will teach everyone a brief segment from the show and then assess people in small groups. For non-musicals, those auditioning will be asked to read a selection from the script. The Playhouse does not ask for prepared monologues.

We strongly recommend that everyone use accompaniment, either our pianist or a pre-recorded CD.

Yes. A CD player is available at all musical auditions.

Learn with the others and then present with confidence what you’ve picked up. Remember that it is part of the rehearsal process to teach you what you need to know. We’re looking for people who are interested in learning as well as those who already have experience.

Sometimes there are non-singing roles in a musical. Those roles are usually identified in the audition notices. If you have misgivings about auditioning, you can come and watch auditions at any time.

Scripts are available at the Playhouse ticket office and may be checked out for one week. Auditionees should contact the Playhouse ticket office, 515-277-6261, to confirm a script is available before coming in.

Callbacks are usually held on Monday and Tuesday following the audition. Not all auditionees will be asked to callbacks as some parts may be cast from the initial audition. The stage manager typically calls all of those who have been cast to ensure their acceptance of the role offered. Cast lists are posted on the Playhouse website typically the Thursday following auditions.

A callback is held following the initial round of auditions. This is a chance for the directing team to narrow down the number of actors they are considering for individual roles.

Rehearsals are typically 3 hours, 4-7 days a week, for 6-8 weeks prior to the show opening. Shows run 3-4 weeks.

It varies. We try to accommodate a reasonable number of conflicts, but excessive conflicts can be a factor in the casting process. Conflicts are not allowed for dress rehearsals and performances.

Yes. All cast members, regardless of role, are required to be at all performances. If an actor is unable to be at all scheduled performances and dress rehearsals, we ask that they not audition.

Just as with classes, part of our process is to teach independence and to foster that skill. We prefer that children attend rehearsals on their own.

Due to time constraints, directors are unable to provide feedback. We always recommend that you come back for the next audition.

It is always difficult to see your child disappointed. The best tact is to listen and to encourage him or her to try again.

Each show uses nearly 100 volunteers backstage (set construction, costumes, lights, sound, etc.) and front-of-house (usher, etc.). Information on volunteering backstage is available online or by contacting Jonathan Hudspeth, production manager, 515-974-5359, jhudspeth@dmplayhouse.com. Information on front-of-house volunteer needs are available online or by contacting Deb Korte, guest services manager, 515-974-5352, dkorte@dmplayhouse.com.


Tickets are available 24 hours a day online. Our ticketing system is real time, and allows you to choose your seats. The ticket office is open Noon-6:00 PM, Tuesday-Friday, and can be reached by phone during that time at 515-277-6261. Performance weekends, the ticket office opens two hours prior to show time. The ticket office is open through intermission of shows.

Mainstage shows start at $29. Kate Goldman Children’s Theatre shows start at $18.

Yes. All orders, whether purchased online, by phone, or at the ticket office, are subject to the same service, ticketing, and processing fees.

Season tickets are the best price, and are a savings of 20% over ticket prices. The Mainstage has a Hot Ticket program: all seats, day-of-show, $29, beginning two hours prior to show time, in person at the ticket office. On occasion we will sell tickets to the final dress rehearsal for $5-25, depending upon the show. Contact the Playhouse ticket office at 515-277-6261 for more information.

Discounts are offered for groups of 15 or more. For more information, contact Lee Ann Bakros, group sales director, 515-974-5358, Lbakros@dmplayhouse.com.

62 years and older.

All persons, regardless of age, must have a ticket. The price for children is the same as the student ticket price.

All persons, regardless of age, must have a ticket.

Our experience is that live theatre is generally not enjoyable for children under 5, either for the child or the audience. Parents of children who become disruptive or talkative are asked to move to the lobby where the performance can be watched on a TV screen. The Playhouse can suggest websites to visit for more information on a show.

Ticket fees help offset the cost of running our ticket system.

Rows 1-9, sometimes referred to as the orchestra, are closest to the stage. Rows 10-18 are similar to stadium-style seating in movie theatres. There are steps involved with rows 10-18.

Directors in the Kate Goldman Children’s Theatre are skilled at revealing the stage so that it is interesting from all angles. If you were to come and watch a rehearsal, you would see the director sitting in the right and left seating to make sure that the story is open to both sides as well as the center section.

The ticket office, on the 41st Street (east, lower) side of the building, designates Will Call as the window where guests can pick up tickets that have already been paid.

While all sales are final, you can exchange your tickets up to 24 hours prior to your performance by contacting the Playhouse ticket office at 515-277-6261.

We sell gift certificates in multiples of $5.

You need to call the Playhouse ticket office at 515-277-6261 or visit the ticket office to redeem gift certificates.

If a show is cancelled due to inclement weather, every effort is made to contact guests. Guests are contacted via email whenever possible, then by phone. Please make sure we have your current email and phone information in the event we need to contact you. Whenever possible, information is posted on the theatre’s website, social media outlets, and the theatre’s phone system. Area media are also notified. Cancellations due to bad weather are typically not decided until 3:00 PM on performance day, 11:00 AM for weekend matinee performances.

We love to donate ticket packages to your auction or fundraiser. On your non-profit organization’s letterhead, please send a request with information about your event including the date when you will need the tickets to the Des Moines Community Playhouse, 831 42nd St., Des Moines, IA 50312, or info@dmplayhouse.com.

Your Visit to the Playhouse

There is a parking lot on the 41st Street (east) side of the Playhouse. Parking is permitted on streets neighboring the theatre. After 5:00 PM daily, parking is available behind the Shops at Roosevelt in their 41st Street (east) parking lot.

DMP_parking Map

Mainstage show times are 7:30 PM Wednesday-Saturday and 2:00 PM Sunday. Kate Goldman Children’s Theatre show times are 7:00 PM Friday, and 1:00 PM and 4:00 PM Saturday and Sunday with only a 1:00 PM show on the final Sunday. The Family Holiday Classic times are 7:00 PM Wednesday-Friday and 1:00 PM and 5:00 PM Saturday-Sunday.

Virtually every show has a 15-minute intermission.

Mainstage musicals typically last 2-1/2 hours, while non-musicals are 2 hours. Kate Goldman Children’s Theatre shows are typically 90 minutes. Show times are available online and by calling the Playhouse ticket office at 515-277-6261.

While you will see a range of clothing styles from shorts to cocktail dresses, most guests dress in nice/business casual attire.

Handicap accessible parking is available in the 41st Street (east) parking lot. An elevator provides access between the two levels of the building. Handicap seating, including wheelchair positions, are available in both the Mainstage and Kate Goldman Children’s Theatre. These are indicated online on the seating map. The Playhouse ticket office is also happy to assist. Contact them at 515-277-6261.

ASL interpreted performances, audio description, and other services may be available with advance notice. Please let the Playhouse ticket office know of your needs by calling 515-277-6261.

Assisted listening devices are available at every Mainstage performance. You may pick them up at the ticket office. You will need to leave your photo ID when checking them out.

Of course. Contact the Playhouse ticket office at 515-277-6261 to confirm script availability.

Artistic staff share background information on each Mainstage show. These preshow talks begin 30 minutes prior to show time, and are held in the upper lobby. Some shows may have post-show discussions. These will be publicized on the Playhouse website.

You are welcome to take photos of your family in the lobby and in your seats. Photographing or recording shows is not permitted.

An usher or other Playhouse volunteer can take your flowers to your friend.

You can visit your friend after the show. Ask any volunteer or Playhouse staff member to bring you to the Green Room.

We sell Coca-Cola products, including water and juices, Chocolate Storybook candy and nuts, and Thelma’s Cookies. In the Mainstage, we also offer ice cream novelties, beer, wine, and mixed drinks. Prices range from $2-4 for non-alcoholic beverages, candy, cookies, and ice cream. Prices range from $4-8 for alcoholic beverages. You may take all food and beverages into the theatre.

The Playhouse is just minutes away from restaurants on Ingersoll Avenue and in Beaverdale, and 15-20 minutes by freeway from downtown, East Village, and West Des Moines restaurants. The Cheese Shop, in the Shops at Roosevelt, is open before and after most shows, serving meats and cheeses as well as beverages. Creme Cupcake and Desserts, at 28th and Ingersoll, is open after Friday and Saturday night shows, serving desserts and drinks.