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DMPA Announces New Programming

Des Moines Performing Arts (DMPA) announced four new programming initiatives as the organization remains unable to host traditional in-person events. The new slate of programming includes streaming performances, limited on-site opportunities as well as no-cost options designed to keep the performing arts alive for all audiences. The new initiatives include:


DMPA will present three virtual engagements for Broadway fans and families to enjoy safely from home.

The Amazing Max – Streaming Live: Saturday, December 5, 2020 at 11 AM

Max Darwin (aka The Amazing Max) has performed off-Broadway and in February 2020 appeared on the Temple Theater stage as part of DMPA’s Wellmark Family Series. Max is bringing his fun for all ages act to the virtual stage and encouraging young audiences to perform their own magic and build self-confidence. The live virtual performance will include tricks, jokes and lessons using household items. Tickets start at $20 per viewing device and can be purchased here.

Manuel Cinema’s Christmas Carol – Streaming Live: December 10-20, 2020

Using hundreds of paper puppets, miniatures, silhouettes, and an original live score, Manual Cinema takes on Charles Dickens’s holiday classic with a visually and musically inventive adaptation. The beloved story is told from a new point of view, bringing a fresh perspective to this masterpiece. Performed from Manual Cinema’s studio in Chicago, the show will be streamed live to audiences worldwide each night. Tickets start at $20 per viewing device and can be purchased here.

Jagged Live in NYC: A Broadway Reunion Concert – Streaming Live: Sunday, December 13 2020 at 7:00 PM

The cast of Broadway’s new musical, Jagged Little Pill, will reunite on the Shubert Studios stage for a one-night-only concert. The concert will feature performances from the new musical based on the iconic Alanis Morissette album. Jagged Little Pill received 15 Tony Award nominations this year, including Best Musical. Pre-Sale tickets start at $27 more details can be found here.


DMPA professionals will be curating an ongoing series of special virtual conversations with artists and creatives that have ties to the organization. These free events will allow audiences to interact with world-class talent from all disciplines presented by DMPA, including those in the Willis Broadway Series, Prairie Meadows Live at the Temple Concert Series and Prairie Meadows Comedy Series. The conversations will be offered live as well as recorded and shared at a later time.

The first Creative Conversation will occur on Thursday, November 19, 2020 at 7 PM with Ashli St. Armant of Jazzy Ash and the Leaping Lizards. St. Armant performed on the Civic Center stage as part of the 2019 Wellmark Family Series. Her songs inspire families to have fun while exploring the music of New Orleans as part of the American Folk heritage.

Click here for further details on future conversations and to register (registration is encouraged, but not required).


Designed to offer community members a safe way to get a behind the scenes look at the performing center, Civic Center Tours will provide guests a rare chance to experience this landmark in new ways. The hour-long tours will take families/groups of eight or less on a specially curated journey through the city-block wide structure and offer remarkable access from the main stage to star dressing rooms. Guests will have the opportunity to take photos and ask local theater experts questions while learning more about the organization’s history and the stars that have performed in the Civic Center.

Tours will be offered beginning Tuesday, December 8, 2020 from 10 AM to 4 PM. Families/Groups of eight or less can register here for no cost. Donations are welcome.


As the pandemic touches every aspect of our lives, DMPA is offering an all-inclusive way to safely celebrate weddings, vow renewals and engagement celebrations. Taking place on the Civic Center’s Main Stage, Center Stage Weddings gives couples a unique way to make their day memorable for themselves and a limited number of guests. This special package includes a 15- minute ceremony and 60-minute reception, legal officiant, professional photographer, live-streaming and recording of the ceremony, the use of the Civic Center’s star dressing rooms for the wedding party, a champagne toast and much more.

This opportunity is welcoming of all individuals wishing to express their love. Bookings are currently available January – May 2021. Packages begin at $2,500. Click here for more details.



“We know our audiences miss going to the theater and we miss them,” said Jeff Chelesvig, President and CEO of Des

Moines Performing Arts. “These initiatives are our way of keeping the performing arts alive and accessible for our community until we can safely welcome everyone back to our venues. Until that time, we are incredibly grateful for the loyal support and patience of our season ticket holders, donors and sponsors.”

In addition to the programming announced today, DMPA has been actively adapting its education initiatives to serve students and educators across Iowa. The Iowa High School Musical Theater Awards, presented by EMC Insurance Companies, has been modified to serve more than 75 schools across Iowa this year. Additionally, DMPA announced a series of virtual performance “field trips” at no cost to schools in lieu of the very popular Applause Series and introduced a new slate of continuing education initiatives to assist educators.

“The arts help students discover their passions, understand themselves and develop empathy for new cultures and perspectives. This pandemic doesn’t change that. If anything, the arts are more critical now than ever,” said Karoline Myers, Education Manager of Des Moines Performing Arts. “Ensuring the arts remain a vital part of curriculum has been a hallmark of DMPA for decades. Now, we are finding new ways to make sure our youth stay engaged with the power of performance.”