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BWW Review: YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN at The Des Moines Playhouse BWW Review: YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN at The Des Moines Playhouse
by Nolan Boggess - March 24, 2017

It is a known fact that any cold heart can be warmed by a seven foot mute monster in tap shoes singing Irving Berlin's "Puttin' on the Ritz". If you happen to be a fan of Mel Brooks' film Young Frankenstein, you already know this. But, if you happen to be like me and have never seen the iconic film,... (more...)
BWW Review: WEST SIDE STORY Entertains in Face of Controversy at The Des Moines Playhouse BWW Review: WEST SIDE STORY Entertains in Face of Controversy at The Des Moines Playhouse
by Nolan Boggess - October 20, 2016

Amidst months of controversy and questioning, Des Moines Playhouse's West Side Story succeeds to be one of the best and emotionally charged shows Des Moines has seen in a while. That is, if one can get past the apparent lack of Latinx actors in the show. ... (more...)
BWW Review: HAND TO GOD Thrills at StageWest Theatre Company BWW Review: HAND TO GOD Thrills at StageWest Theatre Company
by Nolan Boggess - September 15, 2016

Hand to God is good. It is that type of good that makes you feel bad for loving it so much.... (more...)
BWW Reviews: The Universality of MY NAME IS ASHER LEV BWW Reviews: The Universality of MY NAME IS ASHER LEV
by Brooke Bridenstine - March 23, 2015

One of the central conflicts in My Name is Asher Lev, now playing at the Des Moines Social Club and presented by StageWest Theatre Company, is that of tradition versus passion. In the play, Asher, a young Jewish painter, is forced to choose between his art and his upbringing. That is, will he follow... (more...)
BWW Reviews: THE BOOK OF MORMON Marches 'Two by Two' into Des Moines BWW Reviews: THE BOOK OF MORMON Marches 'Two by Two' into Des Moines
by Brooke Bridenstine - January 12, 2015

The missionaries of The Book of Mormon have been to Des Moines before and with the reception they received during their return engagement this past week, it seems that they can drop by and say "Hello!" anytime they want.... (more...)
BWW Reviews: JOSEPH Falls Short of 'Amazing' BWW Reviews: JOSEPH Falls Short of 'Amazing'
by Brooke Bridenstine - November 24, 2014

Joseph is once again traveling the country with his coat of many colors, so how does this reimagining of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat fare in the current musical landscape? The hardworking cast keeps the show lively and entertaining but the musical shows its age in structure and song... (more...)
BWW Reviews: Don't Cry for EVITA BWW Reviews: Don't Cry for EVITA
by Brooke Bridenstine - August 25, 2014

When Evita premiered on Broadway in 1979, it sat in a similar position as it does now: in a medium known for lighter fare, it seeks to tell a fairly unusual tale. And yet, the original Broadway production won multiple Tony awards and its' popularity spurred a 2012 Broadway revival and a current nati... (more...)
BWW Reviews: WE WILL ROCK YOU Fails to Impress BWW Reviews: WE WILL ROCK YOU Fails to Impress
by Brooke Bridenstine - June 18, 2014

There is not a lot to say about We Will Rock You. The plot is bizarre, the characters and dialogue are weak, and only the great music keeps it afloat.... (more...)
BWW Reviews: MAMMA MIA! Still the Reigning Dancing Queen BWW Reviews: MAMMA MIA! Still the Reigning Dancing Queen
by Brooke Bridenstine - May 06, 2014

54 million people can't be wrong. That is the number of people that have seen the worldwide hit musical Mamma Mia since it debuted in 1999. The nearly sold out crowd in Ames this past Sunday night are now counted among those millions of fans.... (more...)
BWW Reviews: ONCE Is Worth Seeing Twice BWW Reviews: ONCE Is Worth Seeing Twice
by Brooke Bridenstine - April 30, 2014

Once, the 2012 Tony Award winner for Best musical, is one of the most nontraditional musicals to come along in quite some time. Based on the Academy Award winning film of the same name, Once opened on Broadway in 2012 to strong reviews and the momentum continued to build to a Tony win and the launch... (more...)
BWW Reviews: Blue Men Invade Des Moines BWW Reviews: Blue Men Invade Des Moines
by Brooke Bridenstine - February 23, 2014

The blue, bald headed men of the aptly named Blue Man Group invaded Des Moines last week and proved why they have been leaving their blue prints around the globe for nearly thirty years. Time after time - and with decibels to spare - Blue Man Group brought audiences to their feet.... (more...)
BWW Reviews: WICKED Casts Spell Over Des Moines BWW Reviews: WICKED Casts Spell Over Des Moines
by Brooke Bridenstine - November 08, 2013

The musical that flew back to Des Moines last week needs no introduction. Wicked, The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz, cast its spell on Des Moines in two prior engagements and this time around new spectators and Wicked veterans alike will be flocking to see the gravity defying musical.... (more...)
BWW Reviews: Bourne's SLEEPING BEAUTY Delights BWW Reviews: Bourne's SLEEPING BEAUTY Delights
by Brooke Bridenstine - September 30, 2013

Ballet is not a dance style often featured on a Broadway stage, but Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty may change that. His production of Sleeping Beauty is as imaginative, expansive, and stunning as the best productions offered on Broadway. In its' North American premiere at the Des Moines Civic Cent... (more...)
BWW Reviews: Des Moines Goes JERSEY BWW Reviews: Des Moines Goes JERSEY
by Brooke Bridenstine - July 30, 2013

When Jersey Boys opened on Broadway in 2005 it won numerous Tony awards and was heaped with praise. This week, the national tour makes a second stop in Des Moines, to remind us that the awards and praise are well deserved.... (more...)
BWW Reviews: BROADWAY'S NEXT HIT MUSICAL Should Be Your Next Stop BWW Reviews: BROADWAY'S NEXT HIT MUSICAL Should Be Your Next Stop
by Brooke Bridenstine - May 06, 2013

Des Moines Performing Arts' Temple Comedy Series has done an excellent job of showcasing small comedy and improv troupes this season. Wrapping up the series right now is the improv musical comedy Broadway's Nest Hit Musical running now through May 12th.... (more...)
BWW Reviews: ROCK OF AGES Blasts Des Moines Audiences Back to the 80's BWW Reviews: ROCK OF AGES Blasts Des Moines Audiences Back to the 80's
by Brooke Bridenstine - April 29, 2013

When Rock of Ages stopped in Des Moines for a limited engagement last week, the beat could be heard for blocks and audiences were on their feet before the last number was over.... (more...)
BWW Reviews: MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET is Worth Every Penny BWW Reviews: MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET is Worth Every Penny
by Brooke Bridenstine - March 29, 2013

Million Dollar Quartet is difficult to categorize. Billed as a musical, it is unlike almost any musical playing because it takes place over an extremely short time span and features a small cast of characters. The show, which tells of a recording session at Sam Phillips' Sun Records featuring Johnny... (more...)
BWW Reviews: THE BOOK OF MORMON Converts Des Moines Audiences BWW Reviews: THE BOOK OF MORMON Converts Des Moines Audiences
by Brooke Bridenstine - January 28, 2013

The Book of Mormon, which opened Thursday at the Civic Center of Greater Des Moines, anchors the 2012-2013 Broadway series just as it is an anchor on the Great White Way itself.... (more...)
BWW Reviews: Road Trip to Oz BWW Reviews: Road Trip to Oz
by Brooke Bridenstine - January 16, 2013

What can I write about Wicked that hasn't already been written? The musical has been a hit since opening on Broadway in 2004 and now has productions around the globe and two touring productions in the United States. Some write of the power of its' message and others lament its' shortcomings. But I a... (more...)
BWW Reviews: Unique Theatrical Experience in WAR HORSE Not to be Missed BWW Reviews: Unique Theatrical Experience in WAR HORSE Not to be Missed
by Brooke Bridenstine - December 19, 2012

War Horse, which played last week at the Civic Center of Greater Des Moines, is about as unique a theatrical experience as there has been in recent years.... (more...)
BWW Reviews: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST Proves 'A Tale As Old As Time' BWW Reviews: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST Proves 'A Tale As Old As Time'
by Brooke Bridenstine - November 29, 2012

You would be hard pressed to find an adult or child of a certain age not familiar with the tale of Beauty and the Beast. It would have been equally as difficult to find someone who did not leave the Civic Center of Greater Des Moines with a smile last week when the touring production played for eigh... (more...)
BWW Reviews: Despite Stellar Cast, Touring Production of MIRACLE ON 34th STREET Needs a Miracle BWW Reviews: Despite Stellar Cast, Touring Production of MIRACLE ON 34th STREET Needs a Miracle
by Harmony Wheeler - November 25, 2012

Greeting audiences with a familiar New York City backdrop painting framed in a gorgeous white paneling and seasonal decor, the touring production of "Miracle on 34th Street: The Musical" doesn't offer much beyond its original seasons' greetings. Despite a strong, talented cast, the musical only offe... (more...)
BWW Reviews: STOMP Turns Up The Volume BWW Reviews: STOMP Turns Up The Volume
by Brooke Bridenstine - November 12, 2012

It has been over twenty years since STOMP opened in the UK. And while time tends to reveal imperfections, when STOMP performed at the Civic Center this past weekend it was proven that even in an era of big budget musical extravaganzas you simply need excellent performers and a fun idea to succeed an... (more...)
BWW Reviews: 25 Years Later LES MISERABLES Still Leaves an Impact BWW Reviews: 25 Years Later LES MISERABLES Still Leaves an Impact
by Brooke Bridenstine - October 12, 2012

The Civic Center of Greater Des Moines' Broadway Series got underway last week with a run of the 25th anniversary production of Les Miserables. Under the watchful eye of original producer Cameron Mackintosh and with music that is known around the world, the new production reinforces the show's posit... (more...)
BWW Reviews: DM Playhouse's RENT Honors Original BWW Reviews: DM Playhouse's RENT Honors Original
by Brooke Bridenstine - July 16, 2012

For millions of devoted Rentheads, the musical Rent epitomizes a way to live your life. How does the Des Moines Playhouse production stack up against such a legacy?... (more...)