There’s so much wonderful stuff going on this spring and summer, but this time I’m going to focus on some season announcements and some of the great opportunities for live performances celebrating Pride festivities during the month of June.
Iowa City Community Theatre will open next season with a few musicals starting with Pippen, then going to Evil Dead: the Musical. Yep, that Evil Dead! Following this, Almost Maine (a favorite of mine), Stephen Sondheim’s Company, then God of Carnage and ending the season with The Laramie Project. Laramie is very close to my heart as I went to college with Moises Kaufmann, who led Tectonic Theatre when they originally created this amazing play. As we are about to celebrate the anniversary of Stonewall, it is important that we don’t forget any of the history of what Pride is about and while the murder of Matthew Sheppard is not as recent or raw as it once was, it is important to keep remembering.
Theatre Cedar Rapids opens next season with Hello Dolly, then for their Halloween show, a new adaptation of Roald Dahls, Matilda the Musical, Dracula by William McNulty, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, The Humans, Thornton Wilder’s The Skin of our Teeth, Vanity Fair, and closing with the crown pleasing Mamma Mia. I admit to not being familiar with many of these shows but having met their managing director Katie Hallman and knowing Artistic Director Angie Toomsen, I am confident they have found some classics to put a new spin on, and some lesser known masterpieces. These two know their theatre!
City Circle Acting Company in Coralville will be opening the season with the very powerful drama The Christians, then classic musicals Annie, and a concert version of Evita, before closing with Legally Blond: The Musical and their teen production, Disney’s High School Musical.
Over the course of the summer we will get more announcements from other Theatre’s and I will keep my readers posted.
Now I want to talk about June events. This year’s Pride celebration remembers the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising. During my freshman year at college in NYC, I lived about the 3 blocks away from Christopher Street where I learned so much about the community and became a steadfast ally ever since. Being in NYC and the West Village in the late eighties created in me a sense and need for activism that continues to inform my art.
I am very excited about the wide range of events going on throughout the state and corridor area in June. Though much of this might not fall under the traditional heading of “theater”, the performances will be emotional, uplifting, and tell the story of the LGBTQ+ community in their own way.
If you are in the Des Moines area or want to enjoy a weekend in Des Moines, do not miss the Des Moines Gay Men’s Chorus’s Pride Cabaret “Divas and Icons,” June 6th, 7th and 8th at the Temple Theatre. For more info check them out at www.dmgmc.org or check them out on Facebook. In previous years, they held two performances but always sold out so added a third show this year, so be sure to get your tickets early!
If you are in the Iowa City/Cedar Rapids Corridor area you cannot miss The Quire of Eastern Iowa’s Spring show, June 22, 2019, at 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm at the Zion Lutheran Church ELCA, 310 N Johnson St, Iowa City. I have many friends who perform with the Quire and we’ve worked together on several shows at Dreamwell Theatre and Iowa City Community Theatre; Brian Kleis, Elisabeth Ross, David Roe, and John Crosheck just to name a few. This year’s show is a joint commissioned piece called Quiet No More commemorating the anniversary of the Stonewall uprising and will also be performed in Minneapolis with One Voice and other choruses later in June. The performance includes guest speakers and dramatic pieces between songs. It will be a moving and inspiring experience.
Dreamwell theatre will be bringing a 10-year tradition from the Twin Cities down to Iowa City with QueertopIA in late June. QueertopIA will be an evening of short works featuring LGBTQ+ performers and creators. The original Queertopia (notice we emphasize the IA so really, it’s almost as if we were meant to bring this south) has been described as an all-inclusive, no-holds-barred cabaret of “Queer Love” created by Jeffry Lusiak and carried on by Nastalie Q., and has been going strong for over a decade. Dreamwell Theatre’s President Madonna Smith previously worked with this group and gained their blessing to bring this great event to Iowa City and the corridor, with QueertopIA. As this theatre’s Artistic Director, I couldn’t be more pleased to start our own tradition with this event. We hope to have all types of performative art represented from short plays, monologues, puppet shows, stand up, dance, and hopefully some things we hadn’t even imagined. More details on date and location of this event will be posted on the Dreamwell Facebook page so check it out. We expect the performance slots to fill up fast, so send us your pitch with some details to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll get back to you on what happens next!
Since I couldn’t possibly mention all the great events happening in June, make sure to search out the Pride event calendars for your area where you will find can’t-miss gatherings at the Iowa City Pride Parade and the CR Pride Fest up in, you guessed, it, Cedar Rapids.