2017 Summer Theatre Guide 4 Kids and Families in Des Moines

2017 Summer Theatre Guide 4 Kids and Families in Des Moines

Find 2019 summer theater shows here.

Des Moines’ summer theatre season may change your theatre going habits, by bringing the kids along. A glance at the programming of local theatres reveals a host of shows aimed at kids and families. It’s also far from expensive, thanks to annual events designed to have cross-appeal without breaking the bank.  Here’s your guide to summer theatre productions for kids and families in Des Moines.

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.


Steel Magnolias 

June 2 – 18, 2017; on stage at the Des Moines Community Playhouse. Steel Magnolias is the story of six unlikely friends: the outspoken, wise-cracking Truvy who dispenses shampoos and free advice to the town’s rich curmudgeon, Ouiser; Truvy’s eager new assistant, Annelle, who is not sure whether or not she is still married; an eccentric millionaire, Miss Clairee, who has a raging sweet tooth; and the local social leader, M’Lynn, whose daughter, Shelby is about to marry a “good ole boy.” Their conversations in Truvy’s beauty salon bring hilarity, until tragedy strikes and brings them face-to-face with their mortality. Showtimes are Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturdays at 7:30 pm and Sundays at 2:00 pm.  Tickets start at $25.00.

The Middle of Yesterday

June 2 18, 2017; presented by Ankeny Community Theatre.  What goes on in the minds of people suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease? The Middle of Yesterday tries to give us an answer. Kilby Fleming, an aging ex-War hero, struggles between reality and the hauntings of his memories as he declines into the dark world of Alzheimer’s. Locked in time, Kilby is forced to view his past as the people in the present fight to bring him back.  Show times are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm, and Sunday matinees at 2:00 pm. Ticket Prices: Adult $15, Senior (60+) $12, Child (grades K-12) $10.

Annie Jr.

June 9-11 & 16-18, 2017; presented by Class Act Productions.  With equal measures of pluck and positivity, little orphan Annie charms everyone’s hearts despite a next-to-nothing start in 1930s New York City. Annie is determined to find her parents who abandoned her years ago on the doorstep of an orphanage run by the cruel Miss Hannigan. Annie eventually foils Miss Hannigan’s evil machinations, finding a new home and family in billionaire Oliver Warbucks, his personal secretary Grace Farrell, and a lovable mutt named Sandy. Showtimes are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:00 pm and Sundays at 2:30 pm. Ticket Prices: Adult $15, Senior (63 and over); Student (3-18) $10.

Taming of the Shrew

June 15-18, 2017; Taming of the Shrew presented by Shakespeare On The Lawn At Salisbury House & Gardens with the Repertory Theater of Iowa.  William Shakespeare’s hilarious battle of the sexes is an all-out comedic romp. The beautiful and gentle Bianca has no shortage of admirers, but her father insists that she will not marry until her shrewish sister, Kate, is betrothed. Kate meets her match when the haughty bachelor Petruchio takes her for his bride. Their verbal sparring and physical battles not only provide some of Shakespeare’s wittiest repartee but also beg the ultimate question of just who is taming who.  Nightly performances will take place at 7:30 p.m. with gates opening at 6:30 pm for seating. Bag chairs, blankets, and picnics are welcome. Tickets are $25 Standard Admission, $15 Students and $22.50 Members. Admission for children 9 to 14 is $5.00 (call to purchase), children 8 and under are FREE.

The Duck Variations

June 16-18, 2017; a student directed play by Des Moines Young Artist’s Theatre. This play dramatizes the old adage that people who talk the most with authority about something are the ones most likely to know the least about it. Two old men discuss the ways of ducks and life, making observations that are profoundly hilarious. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday at 7:00 pm and Sunday at 2:00 pm. Tickets are $10.00.


The Music Man

July 14 – August 6, 2017; on stage at the Des Moines Community Playhouse. There’s trouble in River City when a fast-talking salesman gets his heart stolen by the town librarian. By turns wicked, funny, warm, romantic and touching, The Music Man is family entertainment at its best. Meredith Willson’s six-time, Tony Award-winning musical comedy has been entertaining audiences since 1957 and is a family-friendly story to be shared with every generation. The Music Man follows fast-talking traveling salesman, Harold Hill, as he cons the people of River City, Iowa, into buying instruments and uniforms for a boys’ band that he vows to organize – this, despite the fact that he doesn’t know a trombone from a treble clef. His plans to skip town with the cash are foiled when he falls for Marian, the librarian, who transforms him into a respectable citizen by curtain’s fall. Showtimes are Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturdays at 7:30 pm and Sundays at 2:00 pm.  Tickets start at $25.00.

An American in Paris

July 18–23, 2017; on stage at the Des Moines Civic Center. An American in Paris is the new Tony Award®-winning musical about an American soldier, a mysterious French girl and an indomitable European city, each yearning for a new beginning in the aftermath of war. Showtimes are Tuesday – Saturday at 7:30 pm; Saturday at 2:00 pm and Sunday at 1:00 and 6:00 pm. Tickets start at $35.00.

School of Rock

July 21 – 30, 2017; Des Moines Young Artist’s Theatre presents: School of Rock at the Kum & Go Theatre.  Based on the popular Paramount film starring Jack Black, School of Rock follows Dewey Finn, a failed, wannabe rock star who decides to earn a few extra bucks by posing as a substitute teacher at a prestigious prep school. Completely disinterested in academic work, Dewey decides to create his own curriculum…turning his class into a guitar-shredding, bass-slapping, mind-blowing rock band. Showtimes are Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 pm and Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 pm. Tickets are $20 Adults, $18 Students/Seniors and $12 Children.

Guys and Dolls

July 21 – 23 & 28 – 30, 2017: Guys and Dolls presented by Urbandale Community Theatre.  Set in Damon Runyon’s mythical New York City, Guys and Dolls is an oddball romantic comedy. Gambler, Nathan Detroit, tries to find the cash to set up the biggest craps game in town while the authorities breathe down his neck; meanwhile, his girlfriend and nightclub performer, Adelaide, laments that they’ve been engaged for fourteen years. Nathan turns to fellow gambler, Sky Masterson, for the dough, and Sky ends up chasing the straight-laced missionary, Sarah Brown, as a result. Guys and Dolls takes us from the heart of Times Square to the cafes of Havana, Cuba, and even into the sewers of New York City, but eventually everyone ends up right where they belong. The show is at the Urbandale Performing Arts Center and tickets are $20.00 for adults and $10.00 for children (K-12).


Twelfth Night, or What You Will 

August 3-6, 2017: Twelfth Night, or What You Will presented by Class Act Productions.  Viola, cross dresses and takes the man’s name of Cesario. Viola enters the service of the Duke of Illyria, Orsino. Orsino longs for the love of a neighbouring countess. Viola (Cesario) then falls in love with Orsino. To add to the farce Viola’s (Cesario) identical twin, Sebastian arrives on the scene. Living in Olivia’s household is her uncle, Sir Toby Belch, a merry character. The steward of the household is the conceited Malvolio. The plot illustrates jealousy, mistaken Identity, cross-dressing and features fights and duels. In the end Sebastian and Olivia fall in love and marry. Orsino realizes that it is Viola that he loves and she agrees to marry him. Sir Toby Belch and Maria also decide to marry! Twelfth Night ends and everyone, except Malvolio, is happy and Shakespeare speaks of the madness of love. This production is performed outdoors at Haines Park in Altoona, IA. In the event of inclement weather, performances will be moved to CAP Theatre. Tickets are $5.00, available online and at the park. Tickets available at the park will be cash only!

Unnecessary Farce

August 4 – 20, 2017; presented by Ankeny Community Theatre.  Two cops. Three crooks. Eight doors. Go. In a cheap motel room, an embezzling mayor is supposed to meet with his female accountant, while in the room next-door, two undercover cops wait to catch the meeting on videotape. But there’s some confusion as to who’s in which room, who’s being videotaped, who’s taken the money, who’s hired a hit man, and why the accountant keeps taking off her clothes. Recommended for kids ages 13 and up. Show times are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm, and Sunday matinees at 2:00 pm. Ticket Prices: Adult $15, Senior (60+) $12, Child (grades K-12) $10.

The Giver

August 11 – 13, 2017; The Giver presented by Adolescent Anarchy.  Jonas’ world is perfect. Everything is under control and safe. There is no war or fear or pain. There are also no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the community. But when Jonas turns 12, he is chosen for special training from The Giver–to receive and keep the memories of the community. The Giver is the only person who holds the memories of real pain and real joy. Now Jonas will learn the truth about life–and the hypocrisy of his utopian world. Through this astonishing and moving adaptation, and with the creative minds of Adolescent Anarchy, discover what it means to grow up, to grow wise and to take control of your own destiny. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday at 7:00 pm and Sunday at 2:00 pm. Tickets are $10.00.


Paw Patrol Live!

September 9–10, 2017; on stage at the Des Moines Civic Center. It’s the day of the Great Adventure Bay Race between Adventure Bay’s Mayor Goodway and Foggy Bottom’s Mayor Humdinger, but Mayor Goodway is nowhere to be found. PAW Patrol to the rescue! Ryder summons Marshall, Chase, Skye, Rubble, Rocky, Zuma, and the newest pup, Everest, to rescue Mayor Goodway and to run the race in her place.  Showtimes are Saturday and Sunday at 10:00 am and 2:00 pm. Tickets start at $22.50



Is there a summer theatre production your family is planning on attending? Let us know!


Did we miss something?  Please let us know at nicole@dsm4kids.com.

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