DMPA announces 2018-19 Willis Broadway Series

Des Moines Performing Arts (DMPA) unveiled its highly anticipated 2018–2019 season this week. This announcement includes the critically acclaimed DEAR EVAN HANSEN in the premiere season of the show’s national tour and Broadway legend Betty Buckley playing the title role in HELLO, DOLLY!  Since opening the Civic Center doors in June of 1979, DMPA has entertained more than 10 million guests in its four venues (Civic Center, Stoner Theater, Temple Theater and Cowles Commons). The 2018-19 Willis Broadway Series will launch the organization’s 40th Anniversary Season.

“When selecting the shows for our Willis Broadway Series, our goal is simply to bring the best of Broadway and the West End to Central Iowa.” says Jeff Chelesvig, President and CEO of Des Moines Performing Arts.

The complete Willis Broadway Series includes: LOVE NEVER DIES, the spellbinding sequel to The Phantom of the Opera, Disney’s ALADDIN, DEAR EVAN HANSEN – winner of six 2017 Tony Awards including Best Musical and the 2018 Grammy® Award for Best Musical Theater Album, HELLO, DOLLY! – 2017 Tony Award Winner for Best Revival of a Musical, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s high-octane hit SCHOOL OF ROCK and THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG. Four package add-ons were also announced including: FINDING NEVERLAND, BAT OUT OF HELL, ROCK OF AGES and a special one-night only performance of BRIAN STOKES MITCHELL & MEGAN HILTY IN CONCERT with the Des Moines Symphony.

DMPA has a 15-year tradition of investing in Broadway productions. The 2018–2019 season features two DMPA-invested shows, DEAR EVAN HANSEN and HELLO, DOLLY!

The only way to guarantee seats to the six-show Willis Broadway Series is to purchase Season Tickets. Season Tickets to the Willis Broadway Series are on sale now at the Civic Center ticket office, by phone at (515) 246-2300 or online at DMPA.org. DMPA will announce the shows coming to the Prairie Meadows Temple Comedy Series, Prairie Meadows Live at the Temple Concert Series, Wellmark Family Series and The Dance Series later this spring.

LOVE NEVER DIES
Oct. 16–21, 2018
Des Moines Civic Center 

This story of boundless love, full of passion and drama, follows Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera, one of the most successful musicals of all time, which has now been seen by more than 130 million people worldwide and is the winner of over 50 international awards.

The ultimate love story continues in Love Never Dies, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s spellbinding sequel to The Phantom of the Opera.

The year is 1907. It is 10 years after his disappearance from the Paris Opera House and The Phantom has escaped to a new life in New York where he lives amongst the screaming joy rides and freak shows of Coney Island. In this new, electrically charged world, he has finally found a place for his music to soar, but he has never stopped yearning for his one true love and musical protégée, Christine Daaé.

Now one of the world’s finest sopranos, Christine accepts an invitation to travel from Paris to New York to perform at a renowned opera house. Christine’s marriage to Raoul is suffering at the hands of his drinking and gambling and they desperately need the financial rewards that America can give them.

In a final bid to win back Christine’s love, The Phantom lures her, Raoul, and their young son Gustave, from Manhattan to the glittering and glorious world of Coney Island… not knowing what is in store for them….

Love Never Dies is a dazzling new production, which takes audiences on a thrilling rollercoaster ride of intrigue, obsession and romance. Be seduced by the beautiful; sometimes magical and poetic; sometimes joyful; and occasionally melancholic score. Don’t miss this magnificent continuation of one of the world’s greatest love stories as it makes its premiere in Des Moines.

This production played to critical acclaim throughout Australia and New Zealand and is described by Chris Boyd in The Australian as “The best thing Lloyd Webber has written in the quarter century since The Phantom of the Opera.” Andrew Lloyd Webber describes the production as, “Probably the finest one I could ever, ever hope for.” 

Disney’s ALADDIN
Nov. 28–Dec. 9, 2018
Des Moines Civic Center

Discover a whole new world at Disney’s ALADDIN, the hit Broadway musical.

From the producer of The Lion King comes the timeless story of ALADDIN, a thrilling new production filled with unforgettable beauty, magic, comedy and breathtaking spectacle. It’s an extraordinary theatrical event where one lamp and three wishes make the possibilities infinite.

Hailed by USA Today as “Pure Genie-Us,” ALADDIN features all your favorite songs from the film as well as new music written by Tony® and Academy Award® winner Alan Menken (Newsies) with lyrics penned by the legendary Howard Ashman (Beauty and the Beast), Tony Award winner Tim Rice (The Lion King, Aida), and book writer Chad Beguelin (The Wedding Singer).

Directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Casey Nicholaw (The Book of Mormon, Something Rotten!),this “Fabulous” and “Extravagant” (The New York Times) new musical boasts an incomparable design team, with sets, costumes and lighting from Tony Award winners Bob Crowley (Mary Poppins), Gregg Barnes (Kinky Boots), and Natasha Katz (An American in Paris). See why audiences and critics agree, ALADDIN is “Exactly What You Wish For!” (NBC-TV).

FINDING NEVERLAND
Dec. 27–29, 2018
Des Moines Civic Center 

The winner of Broadway.com’s Audience Choice Award for Best Musical, this breathtaking smash “captures the kid-at-heart,” says TIME Magazine. Vogue cheers, “It’s a must-see you’ll remember for years to come!”

Directed by visionary Tony®-winner Diane Paulus and based on the critically-acclaimed Academy Award® winning film, FINDING NEVERLAND tells the incredible story behind one of the world’s most beloved characters: Peter Pan. Playwright J.M. Barrie struggles to find inspiration until he meets four young brothers and their beautiful widowed mother. Spellbound by the boys’ enchanting make-believe adventures, he sets out to write a play that will astound London theatergoers.

With a little bit of pixie dust and a lot of faith, Barrie takes this monumental leap, leaving his old world behind for Neverland, where nothing is impossible and the wonder of childhood lasts forever. The magic of Barrie’s classic tale springs spectacularly to life in this heartwarming theatrical event. FINDING NEVERLAND is “far and away the best musical of the year!” (NPR).

DEAR EVAN HANSEN
Feb. 5–10, 2019
Des Moines Civic Center

WINNER OF SIX 2017 TONY® AWARDS INCLUDING BEST MUSICAL
AND THE 2018 GRAMMY® AWARD FOR BEST MUSICAL THEATER ALBUM

A letter that was never meant to be seen, a lie that was never meant to be told, a life he never dreamed he could have. Evan Hansen is about to get the one thing he’s always wanted: a chance to finally fit in. DEAR EVAN HANSEN is the deeply personal and profoundly contemporary musical about life and the way we live it.

“One of the most remarkable shows in musical theater history,” says The Washington Post. The New York Times calls DEAR EVAN HANSEN “a gut-punching, breathtaking knockout of a musical” and NBC News says that the musical is “an inspiring anthem resonating on Broadway and beyond.”

DEAR EVAN HANSEN features a book by Tony Award winner Steven Levenson, a score by Grammy®, Tony® and Academy Award® winners Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (La La Land, The Greatest Showman), and direction by four-time Tony Award nominee Michael Greif (Rent, Next to Normal).

The Original Broadway Cast Recording of DEAR EVAN HANSEN, produced by Atlantic Records, made an extraordinary debut at #8 on the Billboard 200– the highest charting debut position for an original cast album since 1961 — and went on to win the 2018 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album. A special edition coffee table book authored by Levenson, Pasek and Paul, Dear Evan Hansen: through the window (Grand Central Publishing / Melcher) is now available, offering an in-depth, all-access look at the musical, including never-before-seen production photos and cast portraits, behind-the-scenes stories, and a fully annotated script by the authors.

Jim Steinman’s BAT OUT OF HELL: The Musical
Feb. 26–March 3, 2019
Des Moines Civic Center

The romance of rock ‘n’ roll comes alive on stage in Jim Steinman’s ‘Jaw-Dropping Spectacle’ (London Evening Standard) Bat Out of Hell The Musical.

The streets are heating up as Strat, the forever young leader of rebellious gang The Lost, falls in love with Raven, the beautiful daughter of the tyrannical ruler of post-apocalyptic Obsidian in a love story that has “changed the way musicals are staged forever” (North West End).

Winner of Best Musical at the London Evening Standard Theatre Awards, this “dazzling tale of star crossed lovers” (Toronto Sun) plays the Des Moines Civic Center Feb. 26–March 3, 2019.

Forget everything you know about musicals and get lost in this critically-acclaimed, smash-hit theatrical spectacle. Book your tickets now!

ROCK OF AGES
March 8­–10, 2019
Des Moines Civic Center

Broadway’s Best Party is turning up the volume to ten! The ROCK OF AGES Tenth Anniversary Tour is blazing across North America! Nominated for five Tony Awards®, including Best Musical, ROCK OF AGES captures the iconic era that was the big bad 1980s Hollywood.

Know What Love Is, Feel the Noise, and Take Your Best Shot at one of the Sunset Strip’s last epic venues, a place where the legendary Stacee Jaxx returns to the stage and rock-n-roll

dreamers line up to turn their fantasies into reality.

Featuring the music of hit bands such as Styx, Poison, Twisted Sister, and

Whitesnake among many others, this Tenth Anniversary production features a dynamic new cast revisiting the larger than life characters and exhilarating story that turned ROCK OF AGES into a global phenomenon. This is one for the ages that will have you singing “Here I Go Again.”

HELLO, DOLLY!
April 9–14, 2019
Des Moines Civic Center

Tony Award®-winning Broadway legend Betty Buckley stars in HELLO, DOLLY! – the universally acclaimed smash that NPR calls “the best show of the year!” Winner of four Tony Awards including Best Musical Revival, director Jerry Zaks’ “gorgeous” new production (Vogue) is “making people crazy happy!” (The Washington Post). Breaking box office records week after week and receiving thunderous raves on Broadway, this HELLO, DOLLY! pays tribute to the original work of legendary director/choreographer Gower Champion – hailed both then and now as one of the greatest stagings in musical theater history. Rolling Stone calls it “a must-see event. A musical comedy dream. If you’re lucky enough to score a ticket, you’ll be seeing something historic. Wow, wow, wow, indeed!”

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