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The best of Broadway’s touring song and dance continues to take the stage in Iowa’s capital city as Des Moines Performing Arts rolls out plans for its upcoming season.

The 2019-2020 Willis Broadway Series kicks off Oct. 15 at the Civic Center when hit film-turned-musical “Mean Girls” takes the stage for a week-long run. Highlights from the impending season include the 50th-anniversary tour of cultural cornerstone “Jesus Christ Superstar,” the Iowa debut of 10-time Tony Award-winner “The Band’s Visit” and Broadway hit "Anastasia."

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Hit musicals “Wicked” and “The Book of Mormon” return next year as season ticket add-on performances. Civic Center organizers plan to bring a total 12 shows to Des Moines, with six performances as part of the traditional season ticket package and six being billed as add-on engagements.

“I really think this is a well-rounded lineup,” said Des Moines Performing Arts CEO and president Jeff Chelesvig. “It really showcases the best of Broadway and beyond.”

More: Des Moines Performing Arts announces 20+ new shows in comedy, music, dance and more

2019-2020 Willis Broadway schedule

Season ticket package:

  • Oct. 15-20: "Mean Girls"
  • Jan. 14-19, 2020: "Jesus Christ Superstar" (50th-anniversary show)
  • Jan. 28-Feb. 2, 2020: "Come From Away"
  • Feb. 25-March 1, 2020: "Anastasia"
  • March 17-22, 2020: Lerner and & Loewe's "My Fair Lady"
  • May 12-17, 2020: "The Band's Visit"

Season ticket add-on shows:

  • Nov. 19-24: Irving Berlin's "White Christmas"
  • Dec. 13 and 14: "Bandstand"
  • April 4, 2020: Bernadette Peters in Concert with the Des Moines Symphony
  • May 1-3, 2020: "Riverdance" (25th-anniversary show)
  • June 17-July 5, 2020: "Wicked"
  • July 28-Aug. 2, 2020: "The Book of Mormon"

► More: Broadway smash 'Dear Evan Hansen' broke a box office record in Des Moines

Five of the season’s 12 shows are making a return visit to the Civic Center stage, including “Jesus Christ Superstar,” which last made an appearance in 2008, and “Wicked,” which last stopped in Des Moines in 2013. Of the five, “Book of Mormon” holds the most recent visit, last playing Des Moines in 2016.

The Willis Broadway Series announcement comes as part of Des Moines Performing Arts unveiling 35 total shows in music, dance, comedy and Broadway headed to central Iowa in 2019 and 2020 (see that lineup here). 

► More: Des Moines Playhouse outlines 101st season of local plays and musicals

The nonprofit arts organization launches a new series, “National Geographic Live,” in 2020. Part of the travel brand’s touring entertainment division, the series connects celebrated authors, scientists and filmmakers with audiences.

“Science is a big part of the central Iowa community,” Chelesvig said. “(There’s) a lot of interest from families.”

National Geographic Live schedule

  • Jan. 21, 2020: Dr. Kara Cooney, Egyptologist: “When Women Ruled The World”
  • Feb. 18, 2020: Steve Winter, wildlife photographer: “On the Trail of Big Cats”
  • March 24, 2020: Terry Virts, NASA astronaut: “View From Above”

► More: 'Hamilton,' Aquaman and Maddie Poppe: Iowa's biggest entertainment stories of 2018

Since opening its doors in 1979, Des Moines Performing Arts has welcomed an estimated 10.6 million guests to nearly 10,000 performances in central Iowa. According to data provided by the organization, 323,529 attended shows during the 2017-2018 season and roughly 13,500 purchased Broadway season tickets to the 2018-2019 series.

Entertainment trade publication Pollstar ranked the Civic Center No. 34 on a year-end list of the world’s top-selling theaters, reporting 185,331 tickets sold in 2018.

Find more information at dmpa.org.

More: A closer look at the dozen Broadway shows coming to Des Moines next season

 

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