Ten shows will make up Des Moines Performing Arts’ (DMPA) 2013-2014 Willis Broadway Series, headlined by the Tony Award-winning musical revival of “Porgy and Bess” (April 1-6, 2014); and “Once” (April 22-27, 2014), a tale of a Dublin street musician. “Once” won eight Tony Awards in 2012, including best musical.
Jeff Chelesvig, DMPA’s president and CEO, announced the lineup April 1 to nearly 1,800 people at the Des Moines Civic Center. Season ticket packages for the Broadway series go on sale April 29, starting at $160 for the five-show core package, which also includes the crowd-pleasers “The Phantom of the Opera” (Sept. 10-21) and Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” (Dec. 10-15). Those of us who came of age listening to Queen will no doubt appreciate “We Will Rock You” (June 10-15, 2014), the worldwide hit show that pays homage to the legendary rock group.
The blockbuster “Wicked” will return to the Civic Center (Oct. 30-Nov. 10) as one of the Broadway Series’ “add-ons.” Chelesvig, who has an impressive record of nabbing national premieres, has done so again with what promises to be one of the more intriguing add-on offerings: Matthew Bourne’s “Sleeping Beauty.” The ballet will stop at the Civic Center Sept. 27-28 for the premiere of its first North American tour. “This is a must-see, even if you’re not a dance person,” Chelesvig told the crowd. “It’s an extraordinary production…as big as a Broadway show.”
The other add-ons include “American Idiot” (Jan. 24-25. 2014), based on Green Day’s rock opera of the same name; Blue Man Group (Feb. 18-23, 2014); and audience favorite “Rain—A Tribute to the Beatles” (Feb. 4-5).
DMPA brought a bit of the new season to the unveiling event. Stars from the “Porgy and Bess” cast sang a stirring rendition of “Summertime,” and four cast members from “White Christmas” sang and danced several tunes.
DMPA also announced its Dance Series, Family Series and Temple Comedy Series last night. Highlights include the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (March 18) and the Spirit of Uganda (Feb. 8, 2014), a dynamic group of 22 dancers and musicians ages 8-18. These children also serve as ambassadors of Uganda’s 2.7 million orphans, Eric Olmscheld, DMPA’s director of programming and education, said in making the announcement.
Although this season’s Willis Broadway Series had a record-breaking 12,097 season ticket holders, DMPA still has to raise $2.2 million each year to support programs and education, Chelesvig noted. Some 6,000 individuals and corporations donate to the annual fund each year, he added. For more information, go to www.desmoinesperformingarts.org.
Pictured: “Porgy and Bess.” Photo by Michael J. Lutch.