Honoring Playhouse Legends

Begun in 2011 , the theatre honors Playhouse Legends, whose talent and devotion to our theatre over a long period of time have helped set the high standards of entertainment, professionalism, and quality that our audiences expect today. Legends understand the life-changing power and importance of theatre in our community because they, themselves, have lived it.

2023 Honorees

  • Paul Dieke, first show was Oliver!, 1980
  • Gloria Filean, ticket office volunteer beginning in 1953
  • Jim Fogarty, first show was The Clown Who Ran Away, 1965
  • Virgil Kleinhesselink, first show was Man of La Mancha, 1979
  • Ken Reams, first show was Cyrano de Bergerac, 1968
  • Carol J. Taylor, first show was Gypsy, 1964

2019 Honoree

  • John W. Viars, first show was Annie Get Your Gun, 1982

2018 Honorees

  • Sue Caswell, first show was Bell, Book, and Candle, 1957
  • J Michael Kellar, first show was The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, 1991
  • Melissa Kellar, first show was The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, 1991
  • Greg Leavengood, first show was Otherwise Engaged, 1980
  • Mark Morrison, first show was 42nd Street, 1990
  • Rich Richards, first show was Promises, Promises, 1977
  • Dick Russell, first show was The Great Big Doorstep, 1948
  • Antonia Nozicka, first show was The King and I, 1985
  • Original Board of the Little Theatre Society of Des Moines: James B. Weaver, President; Lewis Worthington Smith, Vice President; Ida T. Jacobs, Secretary; and Henry H. Griffiths, Treasurer; and Ditlev Tillisch, producer and funder of the first performance on Nov. 24, 1919

2017 Honorees

  • Steve Berry, first show was Jabberwock, 1974
  • Gina Gedler, first show was Meredith Willson’s The Music Man, 1983
  • Linda Juckette, first show was Man of La Mancha, 1979
  • Joe Tish, first show was Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, 1994
  • Shirley Brower, first show was Look Homeward, Angel, 1960
  • Marion Cowper Rae, first show was Anna Christie, 1928
  • Richard Wulf, first show was Born Yesterday, 1950

2016 Honorees

  • Verner Haldene
  • Cloris Leachman
  • Phyllis Love
  • Eddie Rissien

2013 Honorees

  • Dale Berry, first show was The Clown Who Ran Away, 1966
  • Jo Berry, first show was The Sound of Music, 1973
  • Kathi Fieldsend, first show was Cabaret, 1988
  • Lenny Houts, first show was The Music Man, 1984
  • Henrietta Kagin, first show was Our Town, 1959
  • Phyllis Mumford, first show was The Sound of Music, 1973

2012 Honorees

  • Michael Cornelison, first show was Beauty and the Beast, 1963
  • Pearl Faessler, first show was Auntie Mame, 1963
  • Maxwell Schaeffer, first show was Woman in Mind, 1990
  • Toni Pickard, first show was The Philadelphia Story, 1957
  • Ruthanne Silverstein, first show was Guys & Dolls, 1958
  • Lloyd Von Hagen, first show was The Tender Trap, 1960

2011 Honorees

  • Al Downey, first show was Madwoman of Chaillot, 1960
  • Jeanne Hopson, first show was Damn Yankees, 1960
  • Jack Mishler, first show was Ah, Wilderness!, 1942
  • John Thompson, first show was The Traitor, 1950

Playhouse Archives Online

More than 30 passionate volunteers have digitized our historical documents resulting in more than 119,000 pieces of data! Our dream is to have our online archive encompass our 103-year history and be publicly available as a searchable database.