The Des Moines Playhouse Announces Live Theatre Drive-in

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The Des Moines Playhouse Announces Live Theatre Drive-in

The Des Moines Playhouse is keeping theatre LIVE in Des Moines with a unique new initiative: Live Theatre Drive-in. Starting June 12 and continuing nearly every weekend through Aug. 15, The Playhouse will present three, two-person cast plays in its parking lot, with audiences remaining safely in their cars listening via a radio frequency, just like at state-opened drive-in movie theatres. Tickets are pay-what-you-can, but reservations are required as space is limited.

June's title is Love Letters, in which a lifelong friendship unfolds through the exchange of letters. Rounding Third, whose characters are a Little League coach and his assistant, will be presented in July. In August, two middle-aged women from different walks of life share a home in The Roommate. David Kilpatrick, Playhouse executive director, said, "Theatre is a communal event. This summer we want to come together and celebrate live performances, yet remain safe and physically distant." Playhouse artistic director Katy Merriman added, "I know so many of us feel like we've been at home waiting to jump on any chance to create something and spend time with others. I'm excited to provide our community with an outlet for expression, whether on the stage or as a viewer, in a safe environment. And we get to be outside!"

The Playhouse parking lot will accommodate 20 cars with six-plus feet between cars. Audiences can sit in their cars or, remaining physically distanced, sit in lawn chairs in their parking space.

Pay-what-you-can donations will be collected via texting software. A tip jar will also be available for those without the ability to text a donation.

Restrooms will be available with staff doing a thorough cleaning after each use.

Stam Chocolate will be available for sale from theatre staff, and one food truck will be on site at each performance.


About the shows

Love Letters, 7:00 PM, Fridays and Saturdays, June 12-13, 19-20, and 26-27, centers on two characters, Melissa Gardner and Andrew Makepeace Ladd III. The actors sit side-by-side at tables and read the notes, letters, and cards that span a 50-year friendship. As time progresses, Melissa and Andrew discuss their hopes and ambitions, dreams and disappointments, victories and defeats. Each weekend will feature a different pair of Playhouse actors. Love Letters is by A.R. Gurney.

Rounding Third by Richard Dresser will be presented at 7:00 PM, Friday and Saturday, July 10-11, and Thursdays-Saturdays, July 16-18 and July 23-25. Don is a coach who believes that winning is what is most important in baseball, and he is all about the game. Michael is his assistant coach and a businessman who believes that kids should have fun when they play baseball. Don's kid is the team's star pitcher. Michael's kid can barely remember to keep his shoelaces tied. These conflicting personalities instantly clash.

The summer season ends with Jen Silverman's play The Roommate, 7:00 PM, Friday and Saturday, July 31-Aug. 1, and Thursdays through Saturdays, Aug. 6-8 and Aug. 13-15. Sharon, in her mid-fifties, is recently divorced and needs a roommate to share her Iowa home. Robyn, also in her mid-fifties, needs a place to hide and a chance to start over. But as Sharon begins to uncover Robyn's secrets, they encourage her own deep-seated desire to transform her life completely. The Roommate is a dark comedy about what it takes to re-route your life - and what happens when the wheels come off.


The Playhouse decided, for the safety of audiences and volunteers, which include actors and backstage crews, to cancel all shows through Aug. 31, 2020. This includes Singin' in the Rain, Pippi Longstocking, Leaving Iowa, and Roald Dahl's Matilda. In addition, The Playhouse will be adjusting its 2020-21 season from what was originally announced. The new season will be determined by June.

The Playhouse 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 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.


Live Theatre Drive-in Performances: June 12-Aug. 15, 2020
All performances 7:00 PM
Friday & Saturday, June 12-13, June 19-20, June 26-27, July 10-11, July 31-Aug. 1
Thursday-Saturday, July 16-18, July 23-25, Aug. 6-8, Aug. 13-15
June: Love Letters
July: Rounding Third
August: The Roommate

Live Theatre Drive-in Tickets
Reservations required.
Tickets will be on a pay-what-you-can basis using texting donation software with a tip jar also available.


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