Spring 2020: Theater Guide for Des Moines Kids and Families

Spring 2020: Theater Guide for Des Moines Kids and Families

The spring is always a great time for family theater, but the next few months look particularly exciting. There are classic musicals; favorite tv and book characters come to life and a few thought-provoking choices for young teens. Read on to find out where you can find some great shows headed to Des Moines stages this spring.

To find even more family friendly spring happenings in Des Moines, check out our events calendar and sign up for our FREE Weekend Fun Guide  to get posts like this delivered to your inbox.

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.

***Due to the evolving COVID-19 situation, all events have been cancelled through March 31st.  We’re not sure what will be happening after that.  Please verify information before heading to an event or activity since information may change.

Your spring theater guide for Des Moines families:


Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!

CAP Theatre, Altoona
February 21 – March 8, 2020; Show times are Friday and Saturday at 7:00 pm and Sunday at 2:00 pm
Appropriate for ages 5 and up.
Tickets are $15 Adult, $12 Senior; $10 Student.

Set in a Western Native American territory just after the turn of the century, the high-spirited rivalry between the local farmers and cowboys provides the colorful background against which Curly, a handsome cowboy, and Laurey, a winsome farm girl, play out their love story. Although the road to true love never runs smooth, with these two headstrong romantics holding the reins, love’s journey is as bumpy as a surrey ride down a country road. That they will succeed in making a new life together we have no doubt, and that this new life will begin in a brand-new state provides the ultimate climax to the triumphant OKLAHOMA!

Yamato – The Drummers of Japan – Wellmark Family Series

Civic Center, Des Moines
March 5, 2020; Showtime is 6:30 pm.
Appropriate for ages 5 and up.
Tickets are $12.

High-energy Yamato travels the world with Japan’s traditional Wadaiko drums made of animal skins and ancient trees, some of which are more than 400 years old. Their highly theatrical, propulsive rhythms will uplift the spirit.The title of their newest program is “Passion” which is exactly what the dynamic artists bring to their craft. Though the drummers are native speakers of Japanese, the connection forged between the audience and performers is powerful, with audiences of all ages deeply engaged. Yamato brings the audience into a world of exciting rhythm and sound with an important connection to Japanese culture and history included!

Rapunzel – Friday Fun Day

Des Moines Playhouse, Des Moines
March 6, 2020; Showtimes are 9:30 am, 10:45 am and 1:30 pm.
Appropriate for ages 4-6.
Tickets are $6.

Rapunzel has been locked away in the tower by the witch, with only the forest animals to talk and sing to. Will she be rescued by the prince, or can she rescue herself?

Blippi Live!

Civic Center, Des Moines
March 7, 2020; Showtime is 2:00 pm.
Appropriate for ages 2-7
Tickets are $24.50 – $64.50.

Blippi Live brings the energetic and loveable character Blippi off the screen and onto the stage with world-class production, audience engagement and amazing music. Children from the ages of 2 to 7 years old across the world have quickly taken a liking to Blippi’s charismatic personality and innovative teaching lessons! In the Live show they will continue to learn about the world around them while singing and dancing along with this one of a kind show.

Singin’ in the Rain – John Viars Theatre

Des Moines Playhouse, Des Moines
March 13 – April 5, 2020; Show times are Wednesday through Saturday at 7:30 pm and Sunday at 2:00 pm
Appropriate for ages 6 and up.
Tickets are $29 -$46.

Silent movies are out. “Talkies” are in! Unfortunately for famed movie star Don Lockwood, his leading lady’s comically harsh and squeaky voice is ill-suited for the switch. When their next film is converted into a talking picture, the studio must bring in aspiring actress Kathy Selden to voice all of its female star’s speaking and singing parts. Sparks fly between Kathy and Don in this charming love story that will give everyone the same glorious feeling they get when singing in the rain.

Red vs. the Wolf – Lunch n’ Laugh

CAP Theatre, Altoona
March 14, 21, 28 2020; Showtime is 11:00 am
Ages 3 and up
Tickets are $10 for children and $16 for adults.

We’ve all heard the story of Little Red Riding Hood.  But how often has it been told from the Wolf’s point of view?  Yes, this kind, sensitive wolf is upset, for he has been maligned by society because of a story that has been repeated to generations of children.  He is determined to tell the story as it really happened, of the true nature of Red Riding Hood and his own good intentions.  This hilarious story will show your audience that there are two sides to every story.

My Fair Lady – Willis Broadway Series – POSTPONED

Civic Center, Des Moines
March 17-22, 2020; Friday at 7:30 pm; Saturday 2:00 and 7:30 pm and Sunday 1:00 and 6:00 pm.
Appropriate for ages 8 and up.
Tickets are $40.00 – $169.00.

From Lincoln Center Theater comes “a sumptuous new production of the most perfect musical of all time” (Entertainment Weekly), Lerner & Loewe’s “My Fair Lady”.  Boasting such classic songs as “I Could Have Danced All Night,” “The Rain in Spain,” and “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly,” “My Fair Lady” tells the story of Eliza Doolittle, a young Cockney flower seller, and Henry Higgins, a linguistics professor who is determined to transform her into his idea of a “proper lady.”  But who is really being transformed?

Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Live – CANCELLED

Stephens Auditorium, Ames
March 18, 2018; Show time is 6:30 pm. 
Appropriate for ages 5 and up.
Tickets start at $29. 

“Won’t you ride along with me?” Following the hugely successful “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Live: King for a Day” tour that traveled to more than 50 neighborhoods in 2019, Daniel Tiger and all his friends from the beloved Emmy Award-winning PBS KIDS television series are hopping back aboard Trolley for “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Live”.

View From Above – National Geographic Live

Civic Center, Des Moines
March 24, 2020; Show time is 7:30 pm.
Appropriate for ages 5 and up.
Tickets are $$15.00 – $48.00.

Terry Virts, NASA Astronaut is the speaker. As a NASA astronaut, pilot of the space shuttle Endeavour, and crew member on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft, he spent 200 consecutive days in space as commander of the International Space Station—one of the longest continuous space mission of any NASA astronaut. More recently, Virts appeared in the 2016 IMAX film, “A Beautiful Planet,” a breathtaking portrait of Earth from space that features stunning footage—much of it shot by Virts while aboard (and outside) the International Space Station—of our magnificent blue planet and humanity’s impact on it. His photography, which provides incredible aerial views of Earth and the vast space that surrounds it, is featured in the National Geographic book, “VIEW FROM ABOVE: An Astronaut Photographs the World.”

The Diary of Anne Frank – Youth Matinee Series – CANCELLED

Stephens Auditorium, Ames
March 27, 2020; Show times are 10:00 am and 12:30 pm. 
Suggested grade levels 6-12.
Tickets are $4.

In 1941 Nazi-controlled Amsterdam, 13-year-old Anne Frank goes into hiding with her family. For the next two years, she never leaves the attic where her family is concealed. Anne finds solace writing in her diary, capturing the daily lives of the secret annex’s inhabitants—from the horrors of war to the excitement of first love. National Players brings the true story of this incredibly insightful young girl to the stage in hopes of inspiring the next generation to stand up for justice rather than sit back in apathy.

A Piece of My Heart  – Main Season

Ankeny Community Theatre, Ankeny
March 27 – April 5, 2020; Show times are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm, and Sunday matinees at 2:00 pm.
Rated PG-13
Tickets are Adult $18, Senior (60+) $15, Child (grades K-12) $12.

​This is a powerful, true drama of six women who went to Vietnam: five nurses and a country western singer booked by an unscrupulous agent to entertain the troops. The play portrays each woman before, during, and after her tour in the war-torn nation and ends as each leaves a personal token at the memorial wall in Washington, D.C.

Wonder of the World  – Tallgrass Theatre Company

Rex Mathes Auditorium, West Des Moines
March 27 – April 12, 2020; Friday and Saturday at 7:30 pm
Appropriate for ages 13 and up.
Tickets are $20.

Nothing will prepare you for the dirty little secret Cass discovers in her husband’s sweater drawer. It is so shocking that our heroine has no choice but to flee to the honeymoon capital of the world in a frantic search for the life she thinks she missed out on. It’s a wild ride over Niagara Falls in a barrel of laughs as Cass embarks on a journey of self-discovery that has her crossing paths with a blithely suicidal alcoholic, a lonely tour-boat captain, a pair of bickering private detectives, and a strange caper involving a gargantuan jar of peanut butter, all of which pushes her perilously close to the water’s edge.

Sesame Street Live! Make Your Magic – CANCELLED

Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines
March 30-31, 2020; Show time is 6:00 pm
Appropriate for ages 3 and up.
Tickets are $17-$67.

Everyone’s invited on an amazing journey with Elmo to discover the “power of yet” in “Sesame Street Live! Make Your Magic”. In partnership with the non-profit educational organization Sesame Workshop, this production features favorite Sesame Street pals Elmo, Abby Cadabby, Big Bird and more in a magical adventure live on stage. 

Spring 2020: Theater Guide for Des Moines Kids and Families – dsm4kids.com


The Boy Who Cried Wolf – Friday Fun Day

Des Moines Playhouse, Des Moines
April 3, 2020; Showtimes are 9:30 am, 10:45 am and 1:30 pm.
Appropriate for ages 4-6.
Tickets are $6.

A naughty shepherd has played one too many tricks on the village. What happens when they don’t believe him anymore? Will it be too late for the sheep, or will they take matters into their own hands?

MasterChef Junior Live!

Civic Center, Des Moines
April 5, 2020; Show times is 2:00 pm.
Appropriate for ages 5 and up.
Tickets are $30.00 – $125.00.

“MasterChef Junior Live!” is coming to Des Moines. The family-friendly show will feature head-to-head cooking demonstrations and fun (sometimes messy!) challenges with past MasterChef Junior contestants, and an overall immersive audience experience fun for all ages. It’s a recipe for a guaranteed good time! 

Miss Nelson has a Field Day – Youth Matinee Series

Stephens Auditorium, Ames
April 6, 2020; Show times are 10:00 am and 12:30 pm. 
Suggested grade levels Kindergarten – 5th Grade
Tickets are $4. 

Return to Horace B. Smedley School where the Smedley Tornadoes have never won a football game. In fact, they have never even scored a single point! With such a poor record and a team that is out of control, kind-hearted Miss Nelson comes to the rescue when she enlists the help of her alter ego, the ill-tempered Miss Viola Swamp, to coach the team and whip them into shape. Coach Swamp applies her trademark discipline to the players’ training, demanding tough exercises and no back talk. The team changes their attitude, pulls together, sharpens their skills and manages to win the biggest game of the year.

The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe – DM Young Artists’ Theatre

Stoner Theater, Des Moines
April 10- 16, 2020; Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 pm; Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 pm
Appropriate for ages 8 and up.
Tickets are $24.50

During World War II, four siblings (Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy Pevensie) are evacuated from London and sent to live with an old Professor in his safe countryside home. The youngest sibling, Lucy, soon stumbles into a wardrobe and discovers a magnificent world full of magic, talking animals, and ancient prophecies. It isn’t long before all four Pevensies are fighting a war of their own alongside the powerful Aslan to save Narnia from the evil forces of Jadis,the White Witch.This beloved story by C.S. Lewis comes to magical life with inspiring messages of love, faith, and courage.

Beep – Wellmark Family Series

Temple Theater, Des Moines
April 18, 2020; Show times are 11:00 am and 2:00 pm.
Appropriate for ages 5 and up.
Tickets are $12.

A slightly sideways tale about unexpected friendship, finding where you fit and learning to mix it up a little. In Mort’s Village everything has its place, every day is the same and everyone likes it that way. Until one morning, crash, boom, bang… down comes “Beep”. What is this annoying interruption to Mort’s breakfast molly melon, who is this noisy robot girl, and how will she find her home? Des Moines Performing Arts is excited to continue a sensory-friendly initiative with the 2:00 pm performance of “Beep”.

The Pout-Pout Fish  – Youth Matinee Series

Stephens Auditorium, Ames
Tuesday, April 23, 2019; Show times are 10:00 am and 12:30 pm.
Suggested grade levels Pre-K – 2.
Tickets are $4.

Swim along with pouty Mr. Fish and his friends in this new musical adventure. Using live actors and puppets, this colorful adaptation of The New York Times bestseller is sure to turn the poutiest of frowns upside down. This brand new production is being co-conceived, directed and designed by the acclaimed puppeteers of AchesonWalsh Studios.

Pippi Longstocking: The Musical – Kate Goldman Children’s Theatre

Des Moines Playhouse, Des Moines
April 24 – May 17, 2020; Show times are Friday at 7:00 pm and Saturday and Sunday at 1:00 PM and 4:00 pm.
Appropriate for ages 5 and up.
Tickets are $14 -$19.

Rules are made to be broken! Her father is a pirate captain. Her mother is an angel. She does her own thing. Pippi Longstocking will always come out on top no matter who she’s up against, whether the head of the Child Welfare Board, naughty burglars, or thieves with an eye on her pirate gold.

Air Play Symphony – Wellmark Family Series

Civic Center, Des Moines
April 25, 2020; Show time is 11:00 am.
Appropriate for ages 5 and up.
Tickets are $12.

In “Air Play Symphony” fabrics swirl in a giant air vortex, balloons swallow people, silks soar over the audience, and confetti flutters into a starry sky. With stunning images and gales of laughter, Air Play Symphony is a circus-style adventure through a surreal land of air, transforming ordinary objects into uncommon beauty. Set to a remarkable score of classical music performed live by the Des Moines Symphony, the circus comedians Seth Bloom and Christina Gelsone seamlessly interplay between the breath-taking sculptures, orchestral music, and the audience.


Of the Deep – Youth Matinee Series

Fisher Theater, Ames
Thursday, May 1, 2020; Show time is 10:00 am.
Suggested grade levels 5-12.
Tickets are $4.

“Of the Deep” is a new play featuring puppetry and original music. When a young girl discovers a massive whale carcass washed up on the shore of her small, coastal town, she and the town’s residents must work together to figure out what happened and how to move forward.

The Brementown Musicians – Friday Fun Day

Des Moines Playhouse, Des Moines
Friday, May 8, 2020; Showtimes are 9:30 am, 10:45 am and 1:30 pm.
Appropriate for ages 4-6.
Tickets are $6.

The donkey brays, the dog howls, the cat meows, and the rooster crows.  See what happens when a group of sassy animals on their way to audition for The Voice meets up with a gang of rowdy robbers.

The Band’s Visit – Willis Broadway Series

Civic Center, Des Moines
May 12-17, 2020; Friday at 7:30 pm; Saturday 2:00 and 7:30 pm and Sunday 1:00 and 6:00 pm.
Appropriate for ages 12 and up.
Tickets are $40.00 – $154.00.

Spend an evening in the company of unforgettable strangers at “The Band’s Visit”—now one of the most celebrated musicals ever. It rejoices in the way music brings us to life, brings us to laughter, brings us to tears, and ultimately, brings us together. In an Israeli desert town where every day feels the same, something different is suddenly in the air. Dina, the local café owner, had long resigned her desires for romance to daydreaming about exotic films and music from her youth. When a band of Egyptian musicians shows up lost at her café, she and her fellow locals take them in for the night. Under the spell of the night sky, their lives intertwine in unexpected ways, and this once sleepy town begins to wake up.    

Leaving Iowa – John Viars Theatre

Des Moines Playhouse, Des Moines
May 29 – June 14 2020; Show times are Wednesday through Saturday at 7:30 pm and Sunday at 2:00 pm.
Appropriate for ages 5 and up.
Tickets are $19 -$23.

Don Browning, a middle-aged writer, returns home to put his father’s ashes to rest. When Don discovers that Grandma’s house in now a grocery store, he has a new mission – to trek across Iowa to find a proper resting place – and he’s dragging his entire family along with him! Join Don and his family on a family road trip that will bring them face to face with colorful characters from a motormouth waitress to eccentric Civil War reenactors and more.



Will your family be seeing a live stage performance this spring in Des Moines? Which one?


Featured photo source Lincoln Center Theater.

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