March 28, 2017
David Kirkpatrtick, Nikki Syverson and John Viars have new roles at Des Moines Community Playhouse.
David Kilpatrick has great dramatic timing. For the past seven years, he has led the LaCrosse Community Theatre to its 50th anniversary this season, and he'll be executive director of the Des Moines Community Playhouse for its upcoming centennial.

As part of the local theater's succession plan, effective May 15, Kilpatrick will take the reins from John Viars, who remains as artistic director until his retirement after the centennial in 2019. Viars has played both roles since 1982, but will narrow his focus now to concentrate on selecting, producing and directing plays. This change also allows the Playhouse to transition the duties of managing director Rod McCullough, who will retire April 1.

Kilpatrick arrives as the Playhouse enters the second phase of a multimillion-dollar capital campaign. He's well prepared, having recently completed an $8.4 million capital campaign in La Crosse. In 2018, the Playhouse will undergo a renovation, including remodeling the auditorium and updating the entire facility. Already immersed in the fund-raising campaign, Playhouse Development Director Nikki Syverson is being promoted to director of advancement.

Kilpatrick will be new to Des Moines, but he's returning to Iowa. Prior to moving to Wisconsin, he was artistic director of the Old Creamery Theatre Company in Amana.

The transition also comes at a high point for the Playhouse, which is reaching record revenue levels. Its current hit, "The New Mel Brooks Frankenstein," plays through April 9.

It was Demolition Day for this old house, making room for a custom new house construction to get underway! See this Project in Progress as we complete the foundation and framing for this not-so-big house in the woods! ... 

With a unique blend of musical styles, Las Cafeteras performs Thursday at the Temple Theater downtown.
Las Cafeteras, a Los Angeles musical group whose members are all children of immigrants, will perform Thursday, March 30, at the Temple Theater. The L.A. Times calls their sound a "uniquely Angeleno mishmash of punk, hip-hip, beat music, cumbia and rock ... live, they're magnetic."

Las Cafeteras (literally The Coffeemakers) formed in 2008 with the purpose of documenting histories of their neighborhoods through music. The band's roots and mission reflect contemporary issues in an inclusive way. Tickets are $26 to $36, available here.  
Chicago jazz artist Greg Ward brings his quintet to Des Moines Friday.
The Chicago-based Greg Ward Quintet will wrap up the month of March at Noce, the jazz club at 1326 Walnut St. The performance is billed as Jazz @ 5, from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, March 31. Admission is $10 online or $12 at the door.

Beginning in April, Noce will have happy hour Tuesday through Friday from 4 to 6 p.m., with cheese plates and other food. Happy hours are later and even happier on the weekends -- 11 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. on Fridays and 10:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. on Saturdays, with jazz performers both nights for $5.  
Not only do they perform beautifully, members of the Des Moines Symphony certainly dress well.
The Des Moines Symphony takes the Civic Center stage this weekend with "Beyond the Score: Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique." Performances are 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 1, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, April 2. At both performances, maestro Joseph Giunta will reveal the music and guest artists of the symphony's 80th season, which begins later this year.
The first half of the program blends music, multimedia and theater to depict the dramatic life of an artist replete with unrequited love, witches, guillotines and dreams. After intermission, the epic Symphonie Fantastique will be performed in its entirety.
Tickets are $15-$65 through and at the Civic Center ticket office. 
Des Moines has great diversity in its population, all of whom start out pretty much the same.
A Women's Leadership series of four lunches in April will focus on Central Iowa's cultural diversity. Hosted by the Wallace Centers of Iowa, the presentations will be 11:30 am to 1 pm. at the Wallace House, 756 16th St. Local speakers will discuss their work in the immigrant community: 
  • April 6: Rev. Minna Bothwell, Capitol Hill Lutheran Church
  • April 13: Pablo Ortega, the Des Moines Public Schools director of English Language Learners Program
  • April 20: Annique Kiel, Drake University's executive director of Global Engagment and International Programs
  • April 27: Ying Sa, founder and principal CPA at Community CPA, Inc.
The cost for each lunch is $20 ($70 for the series). Reservations are required and can be made by calling Deborah Boyer at 515-243-7063 or emailing  


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