New Artistic Director Announced








Katy Merriman named Artistic Director; John Viars continues as Artistic Director Emeritus

DES MOINES – April 3, 2019 – Now in its 100th season of bringing excellence in entertainment and education to Central Iowa, the Des Moines Community Playhouse today announced its new artistic team. Katy Merriman has been named artistic director while John Viars will continue through the end of the year as artistic director emeritus.

Katy will assume artistic director duties beginning June 1, 2019. She has been associated with the theatre for many years as a director, teacher, and actor. 

After graduating from Butler University with a Bachelor of Music in vocal performance, Katy served as interim managing director for Summer Stock Stage (SSS) in Indianapolis, IN. While working with SSS, she also music directed Into the Woods, Jr., stage managed Ragtime, and helped initiate the summer education program. Upon moving to Des Moines in 2013, Katy began working with the drama department at Roosevelt High School where she music directed and coached IHSSA musical theatre groups. She spent the 2017-18 school year working as the drama director at Dallas Center-Grimes High School where she and her students presented productions of Our Town and She Kills Monsters.

At the Playhouse, Katy served as musical director of the Playhouse’s summer Performance Academy and directed the January 2018 production of Elephant and Piggie’s “We Are in a Play.” An Iowa Stage Theatre Company resident artist, she directed their production of Fun Home in October 2018. Katy’s Playhouse stage roles include Meredith Willson’s The Music Man (Marion Paroo), Into the Woods (Cinderella), Les Misérables (Cosette), and Legally Blonde the Musical (Elle Woods).

“It is an honor to work for a theatre whose focus is on serving our volunteers and community and providing anyone opportunities to learn, grow, and find a home in theatre,” said Katy. “I am excited to be a part of the artistic future of the Playhouse and to work with its dedicated, creative staff members and volunteers.”

When he joined the Playhouse in 1982, John served as Playhouse executive director and artistic director. In 2017, David R. Kilpatrick joined the Playhouse as executive director and John became artistic director, concentrating on selecting, producing, and directing plays.

The Playhouse’s 100th anniversary celebration will culminate with a gala on Nov. 9, 2019, just prior to Viars’ retirement on Dec. 31, 2019.