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BWW Review: LIZ CALLAWAY: HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS at Des Moines Playhouse: An Intimate Holiday Concert

Journey to the Holiday

BWW Review: LIZ CALLAWAY: HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS at Des Moines Playhouse: An Intimate Holiday Concert
Photo Courtesy of Home for the Holidays

This has been a strange year. It started with so many theatrical opportunities in the Des Moines area. Unfortunately that all changed on March 14 when theatres across the state started closing their current shows early and having to cancel the rest of their seasons due to Covid 19. This has led to financial hardships for theatres across the country.

At the start of this pandemic, there were many programs to help support out of work Broadway artist, and now some are starting to return that favor to local theatres. One of those artists, Liz Callaway, recently recorded a holiday concert called "Home For the Holidays" to help raise money for theatres across the country. One of those theatres is our own Des Moines Playhouse.

Over the last few years, we have been lucky to have many Broadway artists come to Des Moines and perform with the Des Moines Symphony, including Liz Callaway and her sister Ann Hampton Callaway for the 2018 New Years' Eve Pops. These concerts are always big and grand. One thing we don't get in Des Moines very often is a small and intimate concert with the stars of Broadway. This concert is very intimate, and at times feel like Liz is singing directly to you through the device you are streaming the concert through. The set also helped give the concert a sense of intimacy. As it starts, we see the stage is set with a beautiful Christmas tree, and three poinsettias, along with a piano and a few stools.

BWW Review: LIZ CALLAWAY: HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS at Des Moines Playhouse: An Intimate Holiday Concert
Liz Callaway
Peter Calo
Photo Courtesy of Home for the Holidays

From the top of the show, you can't help but find yourself getting into the Christmas spirit. The concert started with an upbeat "We Need a Little Christmas." I enjoyed that there was a mix of classic songs such as "Joy to the World" and "Carol of the Bells," but also some more contemporary songs such as "Grown-Up Christmas List." The interpretation of each of these songs had great variety with Joseph Thalken on Piano. I enjoyed that he was featured during a Charlie Brown segment playing "Linus and Lucy." Liz also had an acoustic set with Peter Calo on guitar.

While the concert mostly features Liz singing favorite holiday tunes, she taps into her Broadway and movie roots as well. This included beautiful renditions of "The Story Goes On" and "Memory. For those who grew up in the '90s, you will be thrilled as I was to hear Liz sing "Once Upon a December" and "Journey to the Past." Both are songs she sang as the singing voice of Anastasia in "Anastasia." This hit especially close to home as the national tour of "Anastasia" had played here in Des Moines just a few weeks before theatres began to shut down.

If you have found yourself ready to take in some holiday music, "Liz Callaway: Home for the Holidays" is an amazing way to get that fill. The concert is still available to be streamed through December 19. To find out more, or to purchase tickets, visit

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