Spring Preview

Ready for spring? Here are three dozen fresh ideas to make the most of the weeks ahead.

Des Moines Symphony: Dance Beats, April 13-14, Des Moines Civic Center

“The Glass Menagerie”
Through March 10: The 1944 play that made Tennessee Williams famous, about a Southern family’s quietly desperate attempts to grab their fading dreams, gets a fresh retelling by the Iowa Stage Theatre Company at the Des Moines Civic Center’s Stoner Theater. iowastage.org

Dome After Dark & Botanical Blues
Through March 31: The Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden extends its hours, 6-10 p.m. Fridays, for Dome After Dark and hosts area blues musicians at 1 p.m. Sundays until spring returns to the non-tropics outside. dmbotanicalgarden.com

Iowa State University Museums
Through May 10: The university’s galleries currently showcase work by the groundbreaking African American printmaker and sculptor Elizabeth Catlett, and the university’s legendary sculptor-in-residence, Christian Petersen. museums.iastate.edu

“States of Becoming”
Through May 12: The current exhibition at the Des Moines Art Center explores themes of relocation, resettlement and assimilation in work by 17 contemporary artists who either immigrated to the United States themselves or were born to immigrants from a dozen African countries, plus tiny Trinidad and Tobago. desmoinesartcenter.org

Ballet Des Moines
March 8-9: This year, the spring triple bill at Hoyt Sherman Place features work by George Balanchine, Christopher Wheeldon and the company’s own artistic director, Tom Mattingly, who took inspiration from stories from LGBTQ Iowans. balletdesmoines.org

Des Moines Symphony: Gershwin
March 9-10: Pianist Michelle Cann joins the home-team orchestra at the Des Moines Civic Center to play Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” a century after its groundbreaking premiere. dmsymphony.org

“Funny Girl.” Photo: Matthew Murphy for MurphyMade

“Funny Girl”
March 12-17: Fanny Brice, the plucky up-and-comer Barbra Streisand made famous in 1964, tells her story in the national tour of the Broadway revival at the Des Moines Civic Center. Note to clouds: Don’t even think about raining on her parade. dmpa.org

The High Kings and Gaelic Storm
March 14: Two popular Celtic bands blow in with the wind before St. Patrick’s Day at Hoyt Sherman Place. hoytsherman.org

Black Jacket Symphony
March 16: The band returns to Hoyt Sherman Place to play Journey’s 1981 “Escape” album from start to finish, including “Open Arms,” “Who’s Crying Now” and a little ditty called “Don’t Stop Believin’.” hoytsherman.org

Kobie Boykins: NASA engineer
March 21: The chief engineer in charge of NASA’s current mission to send a spacecraft around Jupiter and its icy moons takes a turn in the Explorer Series at the Des Moines Civic Center. dmpa.org

“Swan Lake”
March 21: The World Ballet Series tour of “Swan Lake” glides into Stephens Auditorium in Ames, with Nadezhda Kalinina’s updates to the original 1895 choreography by Marius Petipa. center.iastate.edu

Des Moines Gay Men’s Chorus
March 22-23: The chorus sings hits by Kelly Clarkson at the Scottish Rite Consistory. dmgmc.org

March 23: The five-member Celtic band (pronounced “dive”) from the Scottish Highlands and islands takes a turn in the Celtic Music Association series at Franklin Junior High Event Center. thecma.org

Pink Floyd Laser Spectacular
March 24: There are cover bands. And then there are cover bands with lasers. Check this one out at Hoyt Sherman Place. hoytsherman.org

“The Pa’akai We Bring”
March 30: The next show in the Family Series at the Des Moines Civic Center uses music and hula to tell a story about a Native Hawaiian family who has harvested salt (pa’akai) for generations on the island of Kauai. dmpa.org

Fall Out Boy
April 3: The suburban Chicago punks who gave the world “Dance, Dance” and “Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down” visit Wells Fargo Arena with Jimmy Eat World, Hot Mulligan and CARR. iowaeventscenter.com

April 5: The award-winning “orchestra of voices” sings classical, jazz, gospel, pop and plenty more at Stephens Auditorium in Ames. center.iastate.edu

John Mellencamp
April 5: More than 40 years after recording his first big hits, including “Hurts So Good” and “Jack and Diane,” the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’s current tour visits the Des Moines Civic Center to showcase his latest album, “Orpheus Descending.” dmpa.org

“Beautiful: The Carole King Musical”
April 5-21: “You’ve Got a Friend,” “One Fine Day,” “Natural Woman” — hear all these hits and more in the show about the famous singer-songwriter, produced by the Des Moines Playhouse. dmplayhouse.com

James Patterson
April 10: The prolific bestselling author headlines the Des Moines Public Library’s annual AViD series with a visit to the Scottish Rite Consistory and copies of his latest book, “The Secret Lives of Booksellers and Librarians.” Check out the full AViD lineup: dmpl.org.

“Mean Girls”
April 11: Beware: The national tour of the Broadway musical about high school hierarchy takes the stage — and no prisoners — at Stephens Auditorium in Ames. center.iasate.edu

Des Moines Symphony: Dance beats
April 13-14: Surely, Beethoven would be hella proud to know his nearly 200-year-old Grand Fugue has inspired the BRKFST Dance Co. to bust out some moves with the symphony at the Des Moines Civic Center. Before and after, the orchestra performs music from Tchaikovsky’s “Sleeping Beauty” and Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet.” dmsymphony.org

April 16: The three brothers — Adam, Jack and Ryan Met — who started busking in New York’s Central Park hit the big-time in 2013 with “I’m Ready,” which sampled SpongeBob SquarePants, followed by “Weak,” “Bang!” and “World’s Smallest Violin.” Catch them at Wells Fargo Arena. iowaeventscenter.com

Kane Brown
April 18: The country-pop star who attracted a following on social media before releasing his first two successful albums, “Chapter 1” and “Experiment,” brings his “In the Air” tour to Wells Fargo Arena. iowaeventscenter.com

“The Good Doctor”
April 19-May 5: Tallgrass Theatre Company presents an unusual mashup, a series of short plays that Neil Simon based on classics by Anton Chekhov. tallgrasstheatre.org

Poetry Palooza
April 19-20: After last year’s successful revival, the annual festival during National Poetry Month heads to Grand View University with readings, spoken-word slams and more. poetryamp.org

Drake Relays
April 21-27: Pace yourselves. The week barely lets up between the half-marathon early on Sunday morning and the final 4×400-meter relay Saturday night. Early forecasts call for sleet. (Just kidding.) godrakebulldogs.com

Joe Satriani and Steve Vai
April 25: Take note, shred heads: The world-famous electric guitar virtuosos are joining forces for the “Satch-Vai Tour” that visits the Des Moines Civic Center. dmpa.org

Zach Bryan
April 25-26: The Grammy-winning country star, whose recent hits “Heading South” and “Something in the Orange” topped charts worldwide, brings his “Quittin’ Time” tour to Wells Fargo Arena with the Middle East and Levi Turner. iowaeventscenter.com

David Foster and Katharine McPhee (pictured)
April 30: The Canadian producer and his wife, the American singer/actor, visit Hoyt Sherman Place to perform some of their biggest hits and share anecdotes about their creation. Foster has written and produced Celine Dion’s “The Power of Love,” Josh Groban’s “You Raise Me Up” and Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing” from “The Bodyguard.” hoytsherman.org

April 30-May 5: The Tony-winning musical about Michael Jackson’s 1992 “Dangerous World Tour” gets a tour of its own, which includes a weeklong stay at the Des Moines Civic Center. The musical was written by two-time Pulitzer winner Lynn Nottage (“Ruined,” “Sweat”) and choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon. dmpa.org

The Improvised Shakespeare Co.
April 30-May 5: With little more than a suggestion from the audience (and years of improv training), the Chicago-based company creates a fresh Shakespearean play every time they hit the stage at the Temple for Performing Arts. dmpa.org

Valley Junction Farmers Market
May 2: Running out of last year’s dusty old potatoes in the root cellar? Historic Valley Junction re-opens its Thursday evening farmers markets, with live music at the old depot at Railroad Park, through Sept. 26. valleyjunction.com

Cinco de Mayo
May 4: Head back to Valley Junction for the annual Cinco de Mayo celebration, which honors the neighborhood’s Latino history and growing diversity. valleyjunction.com

Downtown Farmers Market
May 4: Head downtown for a taste of spring and live music, starting the first Saturday in May. dsmpartnership.com

Des Moines Choral Society
May 4: The choir and a chamber orchestra present their annual masterworks program in the splendor of St. Ambrose Cathedral. dmchoral.org

“Who’s Live Anyway?”
May 5: Quick-thinking comedians visit Hoyt Sherman Place to play a few of the improv games that became famous on the long-running TV show “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” hoytsherman.org

For more ideas, sign up here to receive our new free newsletter, dsm Season Preview, which offers our editors’ essential recommendations for the months ahead.

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