2018 Spring Theater 4 Des Moines Kids - dsm4kids.com

2018 Spring Theater 4 Des Moines Kids

Beloved children’s characters spring to life on stage this season in Des Moines. Our top theater picks for the coming months include adaptations of favorite kid’s TV series like PJ Masks Live; Feathers of Fire a sensory production that grade schoolers will enjoy and old school musicals like Chicago and Les Miserables that parents and teens will appreciate.

Even though a big Broadway production is amazing, there’s no need to shell out big bucks to give your kids a memorable live theater experience in Des Moines. 11 of the shows that we’ve highlighted below are just $20—or less—per ticket.

Note: Dates listed are performance beginning and end dates. Please call for specific performances dates and times within those ranges, as not all performances take place on a daily basis.


Moon Over Buffalo – Carousel Theatre of Indianola

Indianola First United Methodist Church Parish Hall, Indianola
March 8 -11, 2018; Showtimes are Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:00 pm and Sunday at 2:00 pm.
Ages 8 and up
Tickets can be purchased at the door.
Charlotte and George Hay, an acting couple not exactly the Lunts are on tour in Buffalo in 1953 with a repertory consisting of Cyrano de Bergerac “revised, one nostril version” and Noel Coward’s Private Lives. This backstage farce by the author of Lend Me a Tenor brought Carol Burnett back to Broadway co-starring with Philip Bosco as her megalomaniac, drunken husband and leading man. Fate has given these thespians one more shot at starring roles in The Scarlet Pimpernel epic and director Frank Capra himself is enroute to Buffalo to catch their matinee performance. Will Charlotte appear or run off with their agent? Will George be sober enough to emote? Will Capra see Cyrano, Private Lives or a disturbing mixture of the two? Hilarious misunderstandings pile on madcap misadventures, in this valentine to Theater Hams everywhere.

Chicago – Willis Broadway Series

Civic Center, Des Moines
March 9-11, 2018; Friday at 7:30 pm; Saturday 5:00 and 9:00 pm and Sunday 1:00 pm.
Ages 10 and up
Tickets start at $35.
There’s never been a better time to experience Chicago, Broadway’s razzle-dazzle smash. This triumphant hit musical is the recipient of six Tony Awards®, two Olivier Awards, a Grammy®, thousands of standing ovations and now the #1 longest-running American Musical in Broadway history.

Jack and the Beanstalk – Lunch n’ Laugh

CAP Theatre, Altoona
Saturdays, March 10, 17, 24 2018; Showtime is 11:00 am
Ages 4 and up
Tickets are $10 for children and $16 for adults.
Beans Beans the magical fruit … But just how magical, Jack will find out for sure. When little Jack’s family decides to sell their only cow to buy some food, it takes only a few beans to raise the roof and reap rewards in gigantic proportions.

How I Became A Pirate – Dallas Children’s Theater

Stephens Auditorium, Ames
Thursday, March 22, 2018; Show times are 10:00 am and 12:30 pm.
Grades K-5
Tickets are $5.
AARRRGH! This swashbuckling musical excursion tells the tale of young Jeremy Jacobs who joins Captain Braid Beard’s band of comical pirates who are searching for the perfect spot to bury their treasure. Jeremy finds fun and adventure on the high seas, but he soon learns that home and family are treasures you can’t find on any map!Based on the popular book, the production includes terrific songs like “A Good One to Boot”, “Green Teeth”, “I’m Really Just a Sensitive Guy”, “Talk Like a Pirate”, “Soccer by the Rules”, “Pirates Dot Arrgh”, and more…

Shh! We have a plan – Wellmark Family Series

Civic Center, Des Moines
Saturday, March 24, 2018, 2018; Showtimes are 11:00 am and 1:00 pm.
Ages 4 and up
Tickets are $5-12.
Based on the delightful Chris Haughton book of the same title, this show follows the journey of some madcap characters each of whom has a plan-they all want to capture a beautiful bird perched high in a tree! Sounds simple, but the quest becomes an obsession and the obsession becomes the absurd! Where will it all end? Join us as we follow the characters’ exploits, meet an elusive and magical little birdie and discover that perhaps freedom and kindness are more important than getting what you want at any cost!


The Humans – Willis Broadway Series

Civic Center, Des Moines
Tuesday April 3 – Sunday, April 8, 2018; Show times are Friday at 7:30 pm, Saturday at 2:00 and 7:30 pm and Sunday at 1:00 pm and 6:30 pm.
Ages 12 and up
Tickets are $30-$107.50.
Stephen Karam’s The Humans is an uproarious, hopeful, and heartbreaking play that takes place over the course of a family dinner on Thanksgiving. Breaking with tradition, Erik Blake has brought his Pennsylvania family to celebrate and give thanks at his daughter’s apartment in Lower Manhattan. As darkness falls outside the ramshackle pre-war duplex and eerie things start to go bump in the night, the Blake clan’s deepest fears and greatest follies are laid bare. Our modern age of anxiety is keenly observed, with humor and compassion, in this new American classic that won the 2016 Tony Award® for Best Play. Show Run Time: 95 minutes (no intermission).


Fisher Theatre, Ames
April 5-8,2018.; Showtimes are Thursday – Saturday at 7:30 pm and Sunday at 2:00 pm.
Ages 11 and up
Tickets start at $25. Students $16.
This landmark musical, the first by Rogers and Hammerstein, opened in 1943 and was immediately a box office smash; its popularity has not faded. The love story of cowboy Curley and farm girl Laurey was originally described by one New York critic as “a beautiful and delightful show that has, at a rough estimate, practically everything.” Since its opening, Oklahoma! has been performed every day somewhere in the world for the past seventy-four years.

A Few Good Men

Ankeny Community Theatre, Ankeny
April 6-15, 2018; Show times are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm, and Sunday matinees at 2:00 pm.
Ages 13 and up
Tickets are Adult $15, Senior (60+) $12, Child (grades K-12) $10.
​Two Marines stand trial for complicity in the death of a fellow Marine at Guantanamo Bay. The Navy lawyer, a callow young man more interested in softball games than the case, expects a plea bargain and a cover-up of what really happened. Prodded by a female member of his defense team, the lawyer eventually makes a valiant effort to defend his clients and, in so doing, puts the military mentality and the Marine code of honor on trial. Written by Aaron Sorkin.

Sleeping Beauty – Friday Funday

Des Moines Playhouse, Des Moines
Friday, April 6, 2018; Showtimes are 9:30 am, 10:45 am and 1:30 pm.
Ages 4-6
Tickets are $6.
What do you do if you’re a prince and you happen upon a sleeping princess? How on Earth do you wake her up? Tap dance on her bed, yell in her ear, or pour ice water over her head?


Des Moines Playhouse, Des Moines
April 6-29, 2018; Show times are Wednesday through Saturday at 7:30 pm and Sunday at 2:00 PM
Ages 8 and up
Tickets are $29 -$55.
At the dawn of a new century, everything is changing… and anything is possible. Set in the volatile melting pot of turn-of-the-century New York, three distinctly American tales are woven together – that of a stifled upper-class wife, a determined Jewish immigrant and a daring young Harlem musician – united by their courage, compassion and belief in the promise of the future. Together, they confront history’s timeless contradictions of wealth and poverty, freedom and prejudice, hope and despair… and what it means to live in America.

The Christians – Iowa Stage Theatre Co. 

Kum & Go Theater in the Des Moines Social Club
April 13 – 22, 2018; Show times are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm and Sundays at 2:00 pm.
Ages 10 and up
Tickets are $35 Adults, $20 Students and $30 Senior
Twenty years ago, Pastor Paul’s church was nothing more than a modest storefront. Now he presides over a congregation of thousands, with classrooms for Sunday School, a coffee shop in the lobby, and a baptismal font as big as a swimming pool. Today should be a day of celebration. But Paul is about to preach a sermon that will shake the foundations of his church’s belief. A thought-provoking and funny play about faith in America—and the incredible challenge of institutional change. “…powerful, riveting…handles a complex and intellectual debate in a relatable way and that, more importantly, shows the human and real consequences of choices based in spirituality.” —National Catholic Reporter.

Feathers of Fire – Wellmark Famiy Series

Civic Center, Des Moines
Saturday, April 14, 2018; Showtime is 1:00 pm.
Ages 4 and up
Tickets are $12
Feathers of Fire: A Persian Epic is a visually breathtaking cinematic shadow play for all ages, created by Hamid Rahmanian, a 2014 Guggenheim fellowship-winning filmmaker/visual artist.  The play unfolds an action-packed magical tale of star-crossed lovers from the 10th-century Persian epic Shahnameh (‘The Book of Kings’), – Zaul and Rudabeh, who triumph at the end against all odds. Rahmanian’s graphics, derived from the visual tradition of the region, will be rendered as puppets, costumes, masks, scenography and digital animation, all of which will come to life in a “live animation” shadow casting technique perfected by shadow master Larry Reed on a cinema-size screen. The play also features an original score by the acclaimed musical team, Loga Ramin Torkian & Azam Ali.

Les Misérables 

Civic Center, Des Moines
Tuesday April 17 – Sunday, April 22, 2018; Show times are Friday at 7:30 pm, Saturday at 2:00 and 7:30 pm and Sunday at 1:00 pm and 6:30 pm.
Ages 10 and up
Tickets are $35 – $127.50
Cameron Mackintosh presents the new production of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg’s Tony Award-winning musical phenomenon, Les Misérables, direct from an acclaimed two-and-a-half-year return to Broadway.  Set against the backdrop of 19th-century France, Les Misérables tells an unforgettable story of heartbreak, passion, and the resilience of the human spirit. Featuring the beloved songs “I Dreamed A Dream,” “On My Own,” “Stars,” “Bring Him Home,” “One Day More,” and many more, this epic and uplifting story has become one of the most celebrated musicals in theatrical history. With its glorious new staging and dazzlingly reimagined scenery inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo, this breathtaking new production has left both audiences and critics awestruck. “Les Miz is born again!” (NY1).

Our Town

Fisher Theatre, Ames
April 20-29,2018; Showtimes are Thursday – Saturday at 7:30 pm and Sunday at 2:00 pm.
Ages 7 and up
Tickets start at $18. Students $11.
Ordinary life has great joys that very few people fully appreciate. There are also the transcendent moments surrounding love and death that come to all. This masterpiece of American theatre takes place in a small New England town at the turn of the last century. Through its themes lies the understanding that we are all connected no matter when we have lived and that we all know in our hearts that something is eternal, and it isn’t the objects we own.

The Great Gatsby – Youth Matinee Series

Stephens Auditorium, Ames
Thursday, April 26, 2018; Show time is 11:00 am.
Grades 7-12
Tickets are $5.
In a time where success is expected, and excess is celebrated, Jay Gatsby is a god among men, yet without the love of Mrs. Daisy Buchanan, he is unfulfilled. This fast-paced adaptation of Fitzgerald’s novel brings the Jazz Age of New York to life as Daisy’s cousin, Nick, guides us through a world where love, opportunity, deception, and tragedy are always just around the corner.  Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby explores themes of decadence and excess, idealism, resistance to change and social upheaval creating a portrait of the Jazz Age and the Roaring Twenties that has been described as a cautionary tale regarding the American Dream.

The Ugly Duckling – Youth Matinee Series

Stephens Auditorium, Ames
Monday, April 30, 2018; Show times are 10:00 am and 12:30 pm.
Grades preK – 3
Tickets are $5.
We all know the fable of the swan who grows up ‘ugly” in a family of ducks, and who later finds his appearance changing as he discovers his true identity. Around the world, we find that many different animals learn the lesson of the “ugly duckling.” This delightful musical combines the folk traditions of other cultures and unites the classic ugly duckling with the Burmese mole that hates dirt and the Inuit bald eagle with a full head of hair. These three “misfit” heroes work together to earn their home on the King’s estate and ultimately find self-confidence, friendship and a sense of accomplishment.


PJ Masks Live

Civic Center, Des Moines
May 8, 2018; Show time is 6:00 pm
Ages 4 and up
Tickets are $39.50 – $99.00
PJ Masks Live: is a super-heroic, brand new live musical show, featuring the heroic trio from your favorite series: The PJ Masks! Watch Catboy, Owlette and Gekko as they try to save the day from the sneaky villains – Romeo, Night Ninja and Luna Girl! Fluttering Feathers! Leaping Lizards! What a CAT-tastrophe! You’ve never seen the PJ Masks like this before – leaping, flipping and climbing – live on stage. Complete with your favorite music and brand-new songs you’ve never heard before. Don’t sleep through it – watch the PJ Masks save the day, live on stage.

Rapture, Blister, Burn – Iowa Stage Theatre Co.

Kum & Go Theater in the Des Moines Social Club
May 10 – 20, 2018; Show times are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm and Sundays at 2:00 pm.
Ages 13 and up
Tickets are $35 Adults, $20 Students and $30 Senior
After grad school, Catherine and Gwen chose polar opposite paths. Catherine built a career as a rockstar academic, while Gwen built a home with her husband and children. Decades later, unfulfilled in polar opposite ways, each woman covets the other’s life, commencing a dangerous game of musical chairs—the prize being Gwen’s husband. With searing insight and trademark wit, this comedy is an unflinching look at gender politics in the wake of 20th-century feminist ideals.  “…intensely smart, immensely funny…RAPTURE more largely illuminates how hard it can be to forge both a satisfying career and a fulfilling personal life in an era that seems to demand superhuman achievement from everyone.” —NY Times.

Tetris – Wellmark Family Series

Temple Theater, Des Moines
May 12, 2018; Showtimes are 11:00 am and 1:00 pm (The 11 am performance of Tetris will be a sensory-friendly performance.)
Ages 4 and up
Tickets are $5-$12.
Inspired by the game Tetris this extremely physical dance quartet explores how we connect with one another, building a private language to communicate, and then invites others to enter into the dancers’ world.  It is for the kids who can’t sit still, for the ones who like to climb the walls, and those who can imagine further than they can see.

Wild Kratts Live

Civic Center, Des Moines
May 15, 2018; Show time is 6:30 pm
Ages 4 and up
Tickets are $33.25 – $103.25
Animated Kratt Brothers, Martin and Chris, “come to real life” in a classically Wild Kratts story. Off “To the Creature Rescue!” the Kratt Brothers activate some fan favorite Creature Power Suits to confront a comic villain. Through hilarious pratfalls and amazing animal ‘wow facts’ the Wild Kratts team rescue their favorite invention from Zach’s clutches so the animals of the creature world are safe once again.

The Big Magic Show

Hoyt Sherman, Des Moines
Saturday, May 19, 2018; Showtime is 7:00 pm
Ages 6 and up
Tickets are $15 Advanced, $20 day of show.
An evening of magical fun supporting Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Iowa. There will be  pre-show strolling, close-up magic for the public,  opening the show are the top three finalists in the Children’s Magician of the Year Contest and the show will feature some of the top names in magic; with special guest MC, Mr. Oscar Munoz.

Did we miss something?  Please let us know at nicole@dsm4kids.com.  And, find more fun things to do this season in our Spring Fun Guide.



Which performance makes the cut this spring? Let us know below!

Featured photo source PJ Masks Live Facebook Page.

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