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7 July 2021



Five shows to be performed at DMPA’s Stoner Theater.

Iowa Stage Theatre Company, central Iowa’s home for award-winning theater that inspires, enlightens and entertains, announces a return to live performances in the fall of 2021.

“Our resident artist company and guest artists created amazing pieces of streaming theater during the pandemic,” said ISTC Artistic Director Matthew McIver. “But there is no feeling quite like live, in-person performances, and we are excited to head back to the Stoner Theater and to welcome audiences back.”

Five shows will be presented at the Stoner Theatre, following the safety protocols of Des Moines Performing Arts. The shows are:

The Cake by Bekah Brunstetter

A young woman asks her godmother to bake her wedding cake, but the godmother refuses because she’s marrying a woman. Mix in a baking reality show and a dormant marriage and things get very, very interesting. This is the show that was about to load into the Stoner Theater in March of 2020 when the pandemic descended, and will lead ISTC and audiences back into the theater!

It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play adapted by Joe Landry

This beloved American holiday classic comes to captivating life as a live 1940s radio broadcast. An ensemble of five actors, with the help of live sound effects, brings a few dozen characters to life on the stage, sharing the story of idealistic George Bailey as he considers ending his life one fateful Christmas Eve.

Long Day's Journey Into Night by Eugene O’Neill

A play about addiction and the resulting dysfunction of the family, Eugene O'Neill's autobiographical play Long Day's Journey into Night is regarded as his finest work. First published in 1956, it won the Pulitzer Prize in 1957 and has since sold more than one million copies.

Sweat by Lynn Nottage

Lynn Nottage’s masterpiece of blue collar America looks at the tensions of factory workers as they struggle with labor strife, racial tension, getting another gimlet and the boiling frustrations of trying to make a dollar out of fifty cents. Sweat was originally to have closed our third season, in May of 2020.

Girls' Weekend 2 by Karen Schaeffer

Meg’s getting married, but not before an epic bachelorette party at Dot’s cabin. As friends and family gather to raise a glass, well, several glasses—it isn’t long before misinformation and mixed signals threaten to derail the ceremony. Even the designated driver can’t save this wild ride, a farce made possible by the devious imagination of Karen Schaeffer.

“These five shows run the gamut, from the classics to the cutting edge, with themes of friendship, foes and family,” -Matthew McIver

“We are excited to bring back together the creative teams behind The Cake and Sweat, and to tackle one of the greatest American plays, Long Day’s Journey Into Night. And when we could all use some uplift and a laugh, It’s A Wonderful Life and Girls Weekend 2 are here to raise our spirits.”

ISTC is especially excited to continue its work giving Iowa writers world premieres with Karen Schaeffer’s Girls Weekend 2. “Comedies are in many ways much harder to write than dramas, and Karen is a master of the form,” said McIver. “Audiences that loved Girls Weekend are going to be delighted with what she has cooked up for those characters next.”

Season tickets are on sale now, and available through, as well as at the box office of Des Moines Performing Arts, at 221 Walnut Street.

Performance Dates All Performances at the Stoner Theater of Des Moines Performing Arts

The Cake by Bekkah Brunstetter

November 12-21, 2021

It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play by Joe Landry

December 16-23, 2021

Long Day’s Journey Into Night by Eugene O’Neill

February 11-20, 2021

Sweat by Lynn Nottage

March 25 - April 3, 2022

Girls' Weekend 2 by Karen Schaeffer

April 29 - May 15, 2022

Iowa Stage Theatre Company, founded in 2017, is a professional, home-grown theater company in central Iowa that creates high-quality audience experiences of the greatest stories ever told onstage, from the classics to the cutting edge. Led by Artistic Director Matthew McIver, our Resident Artist Company works to transform Iowa, its citizens, and arts community by producing truthful, relevant, and intimate theatre that inspires, enlightens, and entertains.

For Press Photos, please contact Laura Jordan by email at For more information about Iowa Stage Theatre Company, visit us online at

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