Iowa Stage Opens Season With ‘The Cake’

Iowa Stage Theatre Company’s Artistic Director Matthew McIver said he’s excited for Friday’s opening of “The Cake,” the organization’s first in-person show in a year and a half.

Writer: Luke Manderfeld

Matthew McIver has been through plenty of season openers. But this Friday’s opening of “The Cake” at Stoner Theater in the Des Moines Civic Center, launching Iowa Stage Theatre Company’s five-show 2021-22 season, feels a little different. The show will mark the organization’s first in-person performance since the pandemic began last March.

“We’re most excited right now about the fact that we’re able to return to live, in-person performances at Stoner Theater,” McIver, Iowa Stage’s artistic director, said on the latest dsm CultureCast podcast. “This is the show that we were about to load into the theater in mid-March 2020 when everything shut down. … We were able to pull [the cast] back together, and that is wonderful. At this point, I can’t imagine any other people in these roles.”

“The Cake” tells the story of Jen, who has found someone she wants to marry. She asks the best friend of her deceased mother to bake her a cake, but she refuses because Jen is marrying a woman. The show follows this LGBTQ+ couple as well as an older, heterosexual relationship. The writer, Bekah Brunstetter, has contributed to hit shows such as “This Is Us” on NBC and “The Maid” on Netflix.

McIver said Iowa Stage is focusing on cast and audience safety. In line with Des Moines Performing Arts guidelines, audience members will have to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test within 72 hours of showtime.

“This has been almost two years of uncertainty—of an inability [to make plans],” McIver said. “There’s a sense of tremendous excitement as there often is for a season opener, but for us, there’s an uncertainty in terms of we think people want to come back together, but how comfortable are they? … We’re doing everything we can to make this a wonderful experience for audiences.”

Listen to the podcast here. Find more of Iowa Stage Theatre Company’s season and get tickets here.

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