DM Playhouse Honors John Viars and Unveils New Logo At 100th Birthday Bash

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The Des Moines Community Playhouse celebrated a century of community theatre on Friday, Nov. 8, 2019, with the Ultimate Cast Party and on Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, with a gala dinner followed by a musical revue. More than 500 people participated in each night's activities.

At Saturday's gala, proclamations from the State of Iowa and the City of Des Moines were read. Governor Kim Reynolds cited the Des Moines Community Playhouse as a leader and ambassador to theatres around the country and throughout the world. Retiring director John Viars' vision and guidance were highlighted: "John Viars worked with thousands of volunteers and professionals, challenging each to do their best, instructing as required, supporting where possible while always respected and honored, thus allowing each individual achieve their dreams..." Des Moines Mayor T.M. Franklin Cownie proclaimed Nov. 24, 2019, as Des Moines Community Playhouse Day, urging "the citizens of Des join in this important observance." The Playhouse's first public performances were held on Nov. 24, 1919. In addition, a new logo to kick off the second century of theatre was unveiled. The logo was created by Cooper Smith Co., a local design firm.

John Viars, executive director and artistic director of the Playhouse, was honored for his 37 years of service to the organization which conclude with his official retirement on Dec. 31, 2019. The Playhouse main auditorium was renamed the John Viars Theatre. In recognition of the impact he has had on the local arts community, Rollins Avenue on the theatre's north edge was renamed Honorary John Viars Street by the City of Des Moines city council. Viars, whose first Playhouse show was Annie Get Your Gun in September 1982, was inducted into the theatre's Legends. Legends are those whose talent and devotion to the Des Moines Playhouse over a long period of time have helped set the high standards of entertainment, professionalism, and quality that area audiences expect today. Legends understand the life-changing power and importance of theatre in our community because they, themselves, have lived it.

The Playhouse, now in its 101st season, is one of the oldest and largest community theatres in the US. Located at the 42nd Street exit of I-235, the theatre has presented a full season of shows since 1919 and also offers a wide variety of educational experiences including classes for ages 4 to adult, theatre trips to New York, and volunteer opportunities onstage and backstage.

For more information about The Playhouse Celebration of the Century please contact the theatre at 515-974-5358
DM Playhouse Honors John Viars and Unveils New Logo At 100th Birthday Bash

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