CAUCUS! THE MUSICAL to be Presented in Des Moines Ahead of 2016 Iowa Caucuses

By: Jan. 07, 2016

Epic Stage Productions has announced that ten performances of CAUCUS! THE MUSICAL will be presented January 23 through February 6, 2016 at the Des Moines Performing Arts' Stoner Theater in downtown Des Moines.

Written by Iowa playwright Robert John Ford, CAUCUS! THE MUSICAL is an irreverent look at the first-in-the-nation Iowa Caucuses and the oversized role the undersized state plays in the presidential election process. A caucus year tradition in Des Moines since 2004, the 2016 edition has been significantly rewritten and features new characters, new scenes, and six new songs.

The production team includes director/choreographer Alison Shafer, music director Brenton Brown, assistant music director Jim Cacciatore, scenic designer Tim Wisgerhof, lighting designer Jim Trenberth, sound designer and production manager Josh Jepson, costume designer Susanna Douthit, props designers Ellen Harvey and Susan Sheriff, projections designer Cody Schug, graphic designer Bill Nelson, videographer Bruce James Bales, and stage managers Brian Cornell and Shawn Smith-Jones. Jepson, Wisgerhof, Trenberth, and Douthit recently received nominations in the inaugural Cloris Awards, which recognized outstanding theatre work in the Des Moines region during the 2014-15 season.

The cast includes Craig Petersen as Eldon Wise, the farmer who is designated the "typical Iowa caucus-goer" by the national press; Greg Millar*, Brad Church, Susan Grozier*, Shawn Pavlik, and Jerald Brantley Jr. as the candidates who will do anything to win his vote; Sarah Hinzman, Kyle Bochart, Molly Nelson, and Katie Dorrell* as the candidate's campaign managers; Carol Palmer*, Preshia Paulding, Sarah Weinberg, and Mitchell Nieland as Eldon's family members; Mary Bricker and Pernell Ferguson* as Eldon's friends and patrons of the local diner; and Jill Ziegler as the host of a national podcast series. Ensemble members include Judy Blessington*, Alexandra Stark, Ira Lacher*, Keith Berger*, Christopher Rozenboom, and Lamar Daniels (*indicates cast members of previous productions of CAUCUS! THE MUSICAL).

"For this new production, I felt very strongly that the script needed to be updated to reflect the current political climate in the country," said Ford. "As a result, this new production features a diverse group of actors that reflect on stage the many memorable characters and moments of the current 'caucus season' that Iowans will easily recognize."

Shafer added "We have an incredible cast and production team and we're very excited to showcase this locally-grown production in Des Moines at a time when the nation's eyes will be on Iowa and the caucuses."

Epic Stage Productions L.L.C. (formerly Right Brain Productions) was established in 2007 by Robert John Ford for the purpose of promoting Midwest theatre artists and their work. To date, ESP has presented ten full productions and three readings of new plays. ESP is committed to paying all theatre artists - directors, musical directors, choreographers, actors, designers, musicians, crew, technicians, stage managers, house managers - for their time and talents. Through 2015, ESP has paid $70,000+ to more than 100 local theatre artists.

Performance schedule, ticket information, and more information about the show is available at