Best Family Theater in Des Moines This Fall – 2019 Edition

Best Family Theater in Des Moines This Fall – 2019 Edition

Fall marks the start of a new season at local theatres in Des Moines and it’s a great time to introduce children to the magic of the stage. With so many great performances this fall, there is no better opportunity to do so. From Friday Funday at the Des Moines Playhouse to a Broadway hit at the Civic Center, there is something for everyone in your family.  

To find more entertainment happening in Des Moines this fall, sign up for our FREE newsletters to get posts like this delivered to your inbox, visit the Events Calendar and check out our Fall Fun Guide.

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

Here’s your guide to finding the best family theater in Des Moines this fall:

September

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder – Main Stage

Des Moines Playhouse
September 6-29, 2019:  Wednesday through Saturday at 7:30 pm; Sunday at 2:00 pm
Recommended for ages 10+
Tickets start at $29

Set in London in 1907, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder centers on Monty Navarro, a penniless clerk who learns after the death of his mother that he is ninth in line to inherit the earldom of Highhurst, controlled by the wealthy D’Ysquith banking family. After the imperious ruling Lord dismisses Monty’s claim of being a relative, the eight D’Ysquiths ahead of young Mr. Navarro begin dying in natural and unnatural ways. A single actor plays all the not-so-nice D’Ysquiths, which adds to the merriment. 

Mom’s Gift – Main Season

Ankeny Community Theatre, Ankeny
September 27 – October 6, 2019​, 2019; Thursday and Fridays at 7:30 pm, and Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 pm.
Rated PG-13
Tickets are Adult $15, Senior (60+) $12, Child (grades K-12) $10.

​​​​In this comedy with a heart, Mom has been dead for 11 months and shows up at her husband’s birthday party as a ghost with a mission. Like Clarence in It’s A Wonderful Life, she has to accomplish a task to earn her wings. Only what the task actually is, is a mystery. There are so many things to fix. The problem is complicated by the fact that the only person who can hear or see Mom is her daughter who has been ordered by the court to spend Dad’s birthday with him as part of her Anger Management Program. One by one the family’s secrets are peeled away revealing a shocking truth that surprises even our ghost.

October

Cirque Mei

Stephens Auditorium, Ames
October 2, 2019; 7:00 pm
Recommended for ages 5+
Tickets TBA

From People’s Republic of China, Hebei Province, Cirque Mei will feature traditional and contemporary Chinese circus acts in a colorful and lively celebration of the internationally renowned Chinese circus arts. The performance, featuring a company of 40 elite circus artists and acrobats, will include many of the most popular Chinese circus routines including Hoops Diving, Lion Dance, Collective Bicycle Skills, Flying Meteors, Foot Juggling with Umbrellas, Female Contortion, and Ladder Balancing Act. The troupe was founded in 1976 and supports a community of over 130 circus performers who tour throughout China and the world.

Mean Girls – Willis Broadway Series

Civic Center, Des Moines
October 15-20, 2019; Tuesday through Friday 7:30 pm; Saturday 2:00 and 7:30 pm; Sunday 1:00 and 6:00 pm
Recommended for ages 10+
Tickets are $40.00 – $169.00

Direct from Broadway, Mean Girls is the hilarious hit musical. Cady Heron may have grown up on an African savanna, but nothing prepared her for the vicious ways of her strange new home: suburban Illinois. Soon, this naïve newbie falls prey to a trio of lionized frenemies led by the charming but ruthless Regina George. But when Cady devises a plan to end Regina’s reign, she learns the hard way that you can’t cross a Queen Bee without getting stung.

Disney’s Freaky Friday – Kate Goldman Children’s Theatre

Des Moines Playhouse
October 18 – November 3, 2019:  Friday 7:00 pm; Saturday and Sunday 1:00 and 4:00 pm
Recommended for ages 5+
Tickets TBA

Freaky Friday, a new musical based on the celebrated novel by Mary Rodgers and the hit Disney films, is a heartfelt, comedic, and unexpectedly emotional update on an American classic. By spending a day in each other’s shoes, Katherine and Ellie come to appreciate each other’s struggles, learn self-acceptance, and realize the immeasurable love and mutual respect that bond a mother and daughter.

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical

Stephens Auditorium, Ames
October 19, 2019; 8:00 pm
Recommended for ages 10+
Tickets TBA

Tony® and Grammy® Award-winning Broadway hit Beautiful – The Carole King Musical tells the story of the early life and career of the legendary and groundbreaking singer/songwriter. With a book by Tony® and Academy® Award nominee Douglas McGrath, direction by Marc Bruni, and choreography by Josh Prince, Beautiful features a stunning array of beloved songs written by Gerry Goffin/Carole King and Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil. A pre-show dinner will also be available for purchase.

The Princess and the Pea – Friday FunDay

Des Moines Playhouse
October 25, 2019; 9:30 am, 10:45 am, and 1:30 pm
Recommended for ages 4-6
Tickets $6

An interactive theatre show for kids. The ants are busy, busy, busy all day long, working to gather enough food for the long, cold winter ahead. The grasshopper would rather play, dance and sing. What will happen when the icy winds blow?

Best Family Theater in Des Moines This Fall – 2019 Edition – dsm4kids.com

Baby Shark Live!

Civic Center, Des Moines
October 29, 2019; 6:00 pm
Recommended for all ages
Tickets $29.00 – $59.00

Take an adventure into the sea with Baby Shark as he joins up with his friend Pinkfong to sing and dance through some of your favorite new and classic songs! Baby Shark Live! is a state of the art enchanting kids spectacular. In this one of a kind concert experience young fans will be dancing in the aisles as Baby Shark and friends, go on fun adventures to learn and meet new friends! Some of the hit songs include, Baby Shark, Five Little Monkeys, Wheels On The Bus, Jungle Boogie, and Monkey Banana Dance

Maddi’s Fridge – Youth Matinee Series

Stephens Auditorium, Ames
October 19, 2019; 10:00 am and 12:30 pm
Recommended for grades 1-6
Tickets $4

Maddi and Sofia are best friends. They play in their neighborhood park together. Maddi is really good at climbing the rock wall, while Sofia is a fast runner. One day Sofia discovers that Maddi has no food in her fridge at home. Sofia wants to help her friend, but Maddi makes her promise not to tell anyone. What should Sofia do? Based on the book by Lois Brandt, this play is a gentle, yet sometimes hilarious exploration of friendship, empathy and doing the right thing.

November

Seussical Jr  – Des Moines Young Artists’ Theatre

Stoner Theater, Des Moines
November 1-10, 2019; Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 pm; Sunday at 2:00 pm
Recommended for ages 5+
Tickets start at $24.50

Join Horton the Elephant, Gertrude McFuzz, Mayzie La Bird, The Cat in the Hat and more of your favorite Dr. Seuss characters in one fantastical musical extravaganza. When Horton the Elephant hears a small noise and discovers a world called Whoville on a tiny speck of dust, he embarks on the adventure of a lifetime to save the Whos and prove that a person’s a person, no matter how small. Narrated by the Cat in the Hat, this 70-minute journey takes audiences to the Jungle of Nool, the Circus McGurkus, McElligott’s Pool & Solla Sollew as Horton, along with his friends JoJo and Gertrude McFuzz, learn the powers of friendship, loyalty and the imagination.

Disney’s The Little Mermaid Jr – Mainstage

CAP Theatre, Altoona
November 1-17, 2019; Friday and Saturday at 7:00 pm; Sunday at 2:30 pm.
Recommended for ages 5+
Tickets TBA

Celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the movie. In a magical underwater kingdom, the beautiful young mermaid, Ariel, longs to leave her ocean home – and her fins – behind and live in the world above. But first, she’ll have to defy her father, King Triton, make a deal with the evil sea witch, Ursula, and convince Prince Eric that she’s the girl whose enchanting voice he’s been seeking.

Chasing George Washington – Youth Matinee Series

Fisher Theater, Ames
November 1, 2019; 10:00 am
Recommended for grades 3-8
Tickets $4

Field trips are fun, especially when your destination is 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue! In this charming and exciting musical, Dee, José and Annie accidentally knock George Washington out of his portrait and into real life — turning their White House tour into a mad-cap and fun-filled adventure. As they encounter Jacqueline Kennedy, Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln, Dolley Madison, and other famous White House residents, together they all learn what and who is included in the true portrait of America.

Delusions of Power – Carousel Theatre of Indianola

Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Innovations Office, Indianola
November 7-10, 2019; Showtimes are Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:00 pm and Sunday at 2:00 pm
Recommended for ages 13+
Tickets can be purchased at the door. Adults $10, Students $5.

A popular president faces her first real challenge: a case of accidental hallucinogenic drug use by the vice president while the president is undergoing surgery. Pandemonium breaks out while the White House staff tries to cover for a delusional vice president in the midst of unexpected domestic and international crises. Will the White House cover this up, tell the truth, or do something else?

Jungle Book – Wellmark Family Series

Civic Center, Des Moines
November 16, 2019; 10:00 am and 1:00 pm
Recommended for all ages
Tickets TBA

From the creators of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea comes a new theatrical adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book,” re-imagining the classic stories through modern eyes to transport audiences to the world’s jungles. Using a rich sound-scape and immersive multimedia, Jungle Book will feature your favorite characters like you’ve never seen before, and will delve deep into the original themes of the story, and our relationship to the animal kingdom.  Please note the 2:00 pm show is Sensory Friendly.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Youth Matinee Series

Stephens Auditorium, Ames
November 17-18, 2019; 3:00 pm Sunday, 10:00 am and 12:30 pm Monday
Recommended for grades PreK-3
Tickets $4

Eric Carle’s books create a lasting impression on children all over the world. Whether writing about a brown bear, a quiet cricket, or even a hungry caterpillar, his stories instill happiness in people of all ages. In this production, audiences will be enthralled as Little Cloud floats across the stage, The Mixed-Up Chameleon goes on an adventure to the zoo, and The Very Hungry Caterpillar nibbles through the scenes. Audience members will feel like the pages of the books have come to life on stage through Mermaid Theatre’s signature puppetry and black-light production.

The Emperor’s New Clothes – Friday FunDay

Des Moines Playhouse
November 22, 2019; 9:30 am, 10:45 am, and 1:30 pm
Recommended for ages 4-6
Tickets $6

An interactive theatre show for kids. The vain and foolish emperor loves to show off the newest trends to his people. When two scoundrels weave a suit of cloth so light and fine it looks invisible, only a young boy has the courage to say what everyone is thinking: The Emperor is in his underwear!

 

 

What shows are your family planning to see this fall in Des Moines? Let us know in the Comments below!

 

Featured photo source Mean Girls on Broadway website. Photo by Joan Marcus.

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