Category Archives: Review

Review: Something Rotten! At Des Moines Performing Arts

Don’t let the title Something Rotten! fool you.  This touring Broadway musical makes for an extremely funny theatrical experience.

It’s anything but rotten… and is a great way for the Des Moines Civic Center to kick off the 2017-18 Willis Broadway Series.  My wife and I were fortunate enough to be invited to opening night, Tuesday, October 17, 2017.Something Rotten! is set in the 1590’s.  No, that’s not a typo. It really does take place in the 1590’s.  A time when William Shakespeare was “rock star” famous… and two aspiring playwright brothers wanted a little piece of that fame.

They set out to make a name for themselves by creating the very first theatrical production to combine song and dance with acting. That’s right, they were attempting to make the world’s first musical.

Something Rotten! is brilliantly written and laugh out loud funny.  I honestly can’t remember the last time my wife and I laughed so hard. We weren’t alone either.

The nearly sold out, opening night audience was laughing right along with us and was quick to reward the cast with a  standing ovation during the curtain call at the end of the night.If you’ve never been to a musical before and don’t really know much about Shakespeare you’ll enjoy this show.  On the other hand, if you’re a fan of musical theatre and have a general knowledge of Shakespeare you will absolutely love this show.

There are so many jokes, musical riffs, and borrowed lines from popular musicals that hardly a moment goes by without a laugh.  In fact, I’d really like to see this show again sometime because I’m sure there are some that I missed.

The talented singing and dancing was an equal match to the comedy.  This show is loaded with lots of great music and the actors performed it all flawlessly, all while in most cases dancing too. If you’re a fan of tap dancing, like I am, there’s a scene that you will really enjoy!

There are a few swear words sprinkled in but they are well timed comedically and aren’t over the top.  A lot of the humor is innuendo-based so younger theatre-goers might not get it all.

While there’s nothing inappropriate I’d say this show is best suited for middle school aged kids and older.

If you’re looking for a two-hour diversion from the world… one that will have you laughing and leaving with a smile on your face… Something Rotten! is the show for you!

Something Rotten! runs through Sunday, October 15th and the Des Moines Civic Center. You can learn more about the show and get tickets on the Des Moines Performing Arts website.

***Disclaimer – I was provided with free press night tickets.  All opinions are my own.

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Review: Rock Of Ages Blacklight Minigolf At The Mall Of America

There’s certainly no shortage of things to do at the Mall of America. Of course, there’s shopping, but there’s also lots of food and fun!

I’ve already reviewed Nickelodeon Universe and Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium so on a recent MOA trip I was looking for something new for my family to try when we wanted a break from shopping.

As luck would have it, there’s a new minigolf attraction now open on the 3rd floor of the Mall of America; Rock Of Ages Blacklight Minigolf.  It’s an 18 hole miniature golf course centered around the theme of rock music starting with the 50’s to current day.The artwork on the course was fun and vibrant and like a blast of my childhood.  There were boom boxes, cassette tapes, nods to video games and more.  The rock music playing throughout added to the party like atmosphere.

Going in I wondered if there would be a hole devoted to Minnesota Rock Icon Prince.  Sure enough, there was!

We arrived around Noon on a Sunday and got right in.  The course was fun to play!  A little challenging at times but not too difficult that it was frustrating…. although I will say hole 17 was my nemesis.My wife was the big winner in our foursome!  Who knew she was such a great mini golfer?  Both my daughters had a blast and look forward to going again.

It took us about an hour to complete the course which was the perfect break from our back-to-school shopping.  The music, black lights, artwork, and memories all made for one fun experience.  My family loved it and I’m guessing yours will too!

If you’re really a mini golf fan you should know there’s another MOA course you can play too;  Moose Mountain Adventure Golf.  We plan on trying that one out on our next trip to the Mall Of America.

Disclaimer: I was provided with free passes to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are mine.

Where’s your favorite place to play mini golf?

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Review: An American In Paris at Des Moines Performing Arts

When I got the press night invite from Des Moines Performing Arts to attend An American In Paris at the Civic Center I had a little bit of a dilemma; both my wife and my oldest daughter wanted to be my “plus one”.

Fortunately, I didn’t need to be a bad guy and choose because my daughter couldn’t make it since she had ballet class.  That meant my wife and I could have a weeknight, date night.

I didn’t know much about An American In Paris going into the show. There is a Gene Kelly movie with the same name. I knew that because my wife was hoping to watch it before we went. That didn’t happen but we do plan to have a family movie night and watch it soon.

The stage production of An American In Paris at the Civic Center in Des Moines was simply amazing.  I’d describe it as a ballet within a musical.  There was more dancing in it than any show I’ve seen before, and I have to say this Dance Dad really appreciated it.

If I had to guess I’d say it was two-thirds musical, one-third ballet.

The choreography and talent were fantastic.  The performers were strong dancers, singers, and actors.  I was amazed at the talent and how well-rounded they were.

The other thing that I found amazing is how for the production/technical aspects of the show were.  Technology is really starting to play a part in stage productions.  The use of screens and projections is allowing for effects that weren’t possible a few years ago.

The screens allowed for subtle details to the staging that really added to the show… a wispy cloud floating across the sky, the flicker of a light, or a splash of water… all gave the illusion of reality.

Speaking of illusions… there were a few set changes that I would describe as pure magic.  The way certain stage elements disappeared and the precision with which set pieces were moved around on stage was incredible.

If you’re a fan of love stories this is the show for you!  If you’re a fan of ballet this is the show for you!  If you’re a fan of live theater, in general, this is the show for you!

An American In Paris is part of the Willis Broadway Series on Des Moines Performing Arts’ main stage July 18, 2017, through July 23, 2017.  You can find more information here.***Disclaimer – I was provided with free press night tickets.  All opinions are my own.

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