Tent Theatre

Once again, we are heading outdoors for summer theatre. Enjoy unique experiences under a grand event tent in our parking lot!

Be sure to check out the FAQs below!


7:30 PM Thursdays-Sundays, July 9-11, July 22-25, & Aug. 5-8, 2021
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7:30 PM Thursdays-Sundays, July 16-18 & July 29-Aug. 1, 2021
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10:00 AM Saturdays, July 10, 17, 24, 31 & Aug. 7, 2021
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7:30 PM, Tuesday, July 27, 2021
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Presented by

Sponsored by

Kent Sovern & Phyllis Mumford-Sovern
Jan & Layton Stump
Edward & Nancy Truslow

Polkadots sponsored by
Harry Bookey & Pamela Bass-Bookey


What is tent theatre?
The Playhouse has erected a 60' x 80’' event tent – the type you have seen elsewhere at weddings and special events – in the east parking lot and will be presenting four shows in this tent, July-August 2021. We have built a thrust stage. We have stage lighting and professional sound. 

How many seats are in the tent? Do I bring my own chair?
Conceptually, the size of our tent can accommodate more than 300 patrons. However, for social distancing, better sightlines, and quality sound, our capacity will be a maximum of 180. Should conditions change, we will adjust as needs dictate. The tent is fully equipped with chairs with seat cushions.

Where do I park? What is VIP parking?
Free parking is available in The Shops at Roosevelt parking lot immediately north of the theatre and on streets surrounding the theatre. A limited number of free parking spaces are available in The Playhouse's east parking lot for guests with handicapped parking tags. A limited number of spaces in The Playhouse's east parking lot may be purchased and are known as VIP parking.

Won't it be hot in the tent?
Tent flaps will be down during the day with industrial fans circulating air. The flaps on three sides will be raised in the evening for the shows.

What happens if there's bad weather?
A tent allows us to continue a show if there is rain. If we need to cancel for any reason, we will contact everyone via email and post on social media. In the event of a major weather event during the show, audience and performers will be moved indoors to safe locations until the "all clear" is given. If the potential for weather makes you uncomfortable, please call the ticket office and we gladly exchange your ticket for another night or give a refund. This exchange or refund will be honored even if the performance has already passed.

Why aren't there matinees of Godspell and Plaza Suite?
It would be too hot even with the tent.

Do I have to wear a mask in the tent?
As of June 29, 2021, we are recommending masks for those who are unvaccinated, or anyone else who prefers to wear their mask. As our events are outdoors no masks will be required. If recommendations change our policy may be adjusted. We will notify ticket holders of any new requirements in the Welcome email sent 2-3 days prior to their performances.

Are these shows being performed with intermission?
Yes. There is one intermission in Godspell and FAE Rides Again. Plaza Suite will have two intermissions. Polkadots: The Cool Kids Musical is performed without intermission.

Are there restrooms available?
Yes. We have full access to the restrooms in the building. 

Are there concessions available? Can I bring my own concessions?
The Playhouse will have prepackaged candy and beverages, including beer, wine and select mixed drinks, available for sale. Everything will be individually wrapped or in single-serving containers. Guests may not bring their own refreshments.

Why aren't you offering opening night livestream and video-on-demand?
The rights for video options are not available to us at this time.

Can I bring my pet?
Service animals as defined by the ADA are always welcome. Since the audience is seated together under a tent instead of in individual cars like summer 2020, we need to be sensitive to our guests and volunteers (allergies, non-humans' inattention to the show, etc).

Press Release

The Des Moines Playhouse Press Release
Date: Apr. 9, 2021
Subject: Playhouse Announces Summer Tent Theatre
Contact: Lee Ann Bakros, Playhouse Marketing Associate, 515.974.5358

The Des Moines Playhouse, now in its 102nd season, is keeping theatre live in Des Moines this summer in a unique setting. The Playhouse announced a summer Tent Theatre series tonight, Apr. 9, 2021, before the opening of Some Enchanted Evening. Three shows – Godspell, Plaza Suite, and Polkadots: The Cool Kids Musical – will be performed in an event pavilion in the theatre's east parking lot in July and August 2021. Tickets for in-person performances are available at dmplayhouse.com and by phone at 515.277.6261. Tent Theatre is presented by MidAmerican Energy Company and sponsored by Lincoln Savings Bank, Kent Sovern & Phyllis Mumford-Sovern, Jan & Layton Stump, and Edward & Nancy Truslow.

The Tent Theatre summer mini-season features Godspell, the Tony-nominated musical retelling of the Gospel according to Matthew, and the Neil Simon comedy Plaza Suite. The Tent Theatre family show, generously sponsored by Nationwide, will be Polkadots: The Cool Kids Musical, a celebration of the differences that make us awesome. The Playhouse's senior radio troupe, Final Act Ensemble, will also have a one-night-only performance.

Tent Theatre shows will be presented in repertory. To perform in repertory means to present a series of plays over a given span of time. Godspell and Plaza Suite will alternate weeks on the stage, July 9-Aug. 8, 2021, and Polkadots: The Cool Kids Musical will take the stage Saturday mornings, July 10-Aug. 7, 2021. FAE Rides Again is an evening of classic radio programs, songs, and commercials from the golden age of radio. A limited number of VIP parking spaces will also be available for purchase for each show.

These shows join the previously announced A Love Offering, a co-production with Pyramid Theatre Company, that will be presented indoors in The Playhouse's John Viars Theatre, June 4-20, 2021.

In summer 2020, The Playhouse presented four shows outdoors, drive-in style, with small casts and limited audiences. Since October 202, the theatre has successfully presented five shows including a musical indoors. To promote safety, The Playhouse has drawn upon the guidelines suggested by local, state, and federal agencies, experts, and associations. Full safety guidelines are posted on the theatre's website, dmplayhouse.com.

The Playhouse vision, as Iowa's largest producing theatre, is to be a vital part of a collaborative, energized, and engaged community that values art in its culture, particularly because of the contributions of high-quality avocational, educational, and entertaining theatre experiences. 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 the summer shows, visit The Playhouse website at www.dmplayhouse.com or contact The Playhouse at 515.277.6261. Ticket office hours are Noon-3:00 PM, Tuesdays-Fridays.

 Des Moines Playhouse Summer 2021 Mini-Season

 A Love Offering
A Co-production of Pyramid Theatre Company & The Playhouse
Presented indoors in The Playhouse's John Viars Theatre
Performances: June 4-20, 2021
In-person: 7:30 PM Fridays-Saturdays, 2:00 PM Sundays
Livestream: 7:30 PM, Friday, June 4, 2021
On-Demand: June 10 & June 17, 2021
Tickets for in-person performances are $29 Adults, $15 Students
Livestream and on-demand options are $25 per device, one viewing
Purchase at dmplayhouse.com
Description: T’Wana Jepson has been bit before. And scratched. And kicked. And punched. And called every dirty word in the book. But so has her co-worker and work mama, Miss Georgia. It comes with the territory as a nurse’s aide caring for patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia. You learn to not take it personally and to lean on your co-workers for support. But after T’Wana is attacked by the patient in E 204, something happens that threatens the bonds of trust and friendship.

Tent Theatre presented outdoors
Performances: 7:30 PM Thursdays-Sundays, July 9-11, July 22-25, & Aug. 5-8, 2021, presented in repertory, alternating weeks, with Plaza Suite
Tickets: $29 Adults, $15 Students
Purchase at dmplayhouse.com
Description: Prepare ye for Godspell, a modern-day retelling of the New Testament parables. With a Tony-nominated score of songs ranging in style from pop to vaudeville, including the hit song "Day by Day," composer Stephen Schwartz (Wicked) brings to vibrant life the timeless messages of kindness, tolerance, and love. 

Plaza Suite
Tent Theatre presented outdoors
Performances: 7:30 PM Thursdays-Sundays, July 16-18 & July 29-Aug. 1, 2021, presented in repertory, alternating weeks, with Godspell
Tickets: $29 Adults, $15 Students
Purchase at dmplayhouse.com
Description: A suburban couple takes a suite while their house is being painted and it turns out to be the one in which they honeymooned 23 (or was it 24?) years before. A Hollywood producer thrice-married calls a childhood sweetheart, now a suburban housewife, for a little sexual diversion. A mother and father fight about the best way to get their daughter out of the bathroom and down to the ballroom where wedding guests are gathered. Hilarity abounds in Neil Simon's portrait of three couples successively occupying a suite at NYC's Plaza Hotel.

Polkadots: The Cool Kids Musical
Tent Theatre presented outdoors
Performances: 10:00 AM Saturdays, July 10, 17, 24, 31 & Aug. 7, 2021
Tickets: $15 per person, all ages
Purchase at dmplayhouse.com
Description: Lily Polkadot has just moved to Rockaway, a “Squares only” town. As the first Polkadot in an all-Square school, Lily struggles to gain acceptance from her peers in the midst of daily bullying and segregated drinking fountains. Her quest seems hopeless until she meets Sky, a shy Square boy whose curiosity for her unique polkadots blooms into an unexpected pal-ship. Polkadots offers us a reminder that our differences make us awesome.

Tent Theatre presented outdoors
Performance: 7:30 PM, Tuesday, July 27, 2021
Tickets: $10 per person all ages
Purchase at dmplayhouse.com
The Final Act Ensemble radio troupe is back with a comedy show featuring Burns and Allen in “George Meets a Hit-Man” and Fibber McGee and Molly in “Fibber Gets a Hundred-Dollar Bill” plus previews of coming attractions, bantering announcers, commercials that couldn’t sell anything, and a couple of favorite songs.


Protecting Yourself & Others

  • Please do not come if you are feeling unwell or have been unwell in the past 14 days, have been recently diagnosed with COVID-19, or are awaiting a COVID-19 test result. We will refund your ticket order.
  • Masks are recommended for anyone who is unvaccinated or would feel safer wearing one. No masks will be required. Social distancing practices will continue to be followed.
  • Hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol is readily available throughout public areas.

Paperless Interactions

  • No tickets are issued. Seating will be assigned by the ticket office, based upon when tickets were purchased and the size of groups. If wheelchair, visual, or audio accommodations are requested, they will be honored.
  • Playbills are digital. Links are sent in Welcome emails and posted on shows’ website pages.


  • A limited array of prepackaged concessions will be offered. Outside refreshments are not allowed.
  • Credit/debit cards are preferred for contactless payments.


  • Shows are performed with an intermission with the exception of Polkadots: The Cool Kids Musical, which is presented without intermission.
  • Please maintain good physical distances while waiting.

An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place. COVID-19 is an extremely contagious disease that can lead to severe illness and death. By entering The Playhouse’s facilities, guests, volunteers, and staff voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19.

We have drawn upon the guidelines suggested by local, state, and federal agencies, experts, and associations. The Playhouse remains committed to monitoring the current recommendations, guidelines, and restrictions to which we are subject. Click here to read The Playhouse safety guide, effective June 29, 2021.

Feel free to reach out to David Kilpatrick, Playhouse executive director, with questions at any time: dkilpatrick@dmplayhouse.com, 515.974.5353.


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