Stephens Auditorium 2019-2020 Performing Arts Series revealed

Emily Urban

“If I had to pick, geez I don’t know if I could pick just one,” said Tammy Koolbeck, executive director of the Iowa State Center, when asked which show she most looks forward to in the 2019/2020 Performing Arts Series.

Koolbeck, Holly Olson, director of marketing for the Iowa State Center, and their staff worked for months to put together Tuesday night’s premiere of the 2019/2020 Performing Arts Series, even handling changes up until noon the day of the event. It takes a team to put together the list of shows in the Performing Arts Series. The team deals with moving performances and additional shows added at the last minute.

The preview is held every year for Stephens Auditorium donors to get a brief sneak peak at next year’s shows. The attendees at the reveal Tuesday night each had their own favorites in the line-up.

“I love music, so I am very excited about the music ones, the Carole King one, ‘Beautiful,’ The Russian Symphony one too… If my grandkids lived close enough I would bring them to ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar.’ I have a five-year-old and a four-year-old great-grandchildren, so I would love to bring them to that,” said Candace Flakoll, who has attended performances at Stephens Auditorium for 15 years.

Starting off the Performing Arts Series is the Cirque Mei. This traditional Chinese circus group performs traditional Chinese acts such as hoops diving, lion dancing, foot juggling with umbrellas, female contortion, ladder balancing and more. They are set to perform at 7 p.m. Oct. 2.

Next up in the series is The Kingdom Choir, a performance driven by Christian traditions. This choir performed at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding. They are set to perform at 7 p.m. Oct. 7.

The first of five Broadway musicals in the season is “Beautiful,” a show that paints the picture of the award winning singer/songwriter Carole King’s life and career. This musical is set to take the stage at 8 p.m. Oct. 19, following a pre-show dinner available for guests of the event.

After one Broadway show comes another with “Jersey Boys.” This musical has won a Tony, Grammy and Olivier Award in its running. It tells the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. The show is set for 7:30 p.m. Nov. 3 with a pre-show dinner available.

Following “Jersey Boys” is Ailey II. This dance company focuses on bringing young dance talent and emerging choreographers together to provide extended cultural community. Ailey II includes dance performances, training and community programs. They’re set to take the stage at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 13.

Next up is “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.” This production utilizes multiple characters from Eric Carle’s books, such as “Little Cloud,” the “Mixed-Up Chameleon” and “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.” The show is set for 3 p.m. Nov. 17.

Next, the Canadian Brass will perform their new arrangements and renditions of Dixieland and Baroque tunes at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 3.

The winter holiday show will be A Magical Cirque Christmas, a collection of performers from around the world performing circus acts while a live band performs Christmas songs. They will perform 6 p.m. Dec. 22.

“The Color Purple” comes in as the third Broadway show in the season. This Tony Award-winning musical is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Alice Walker. The show is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Jan. 17.

The Russian National Ballet will perform “The Tale of Swan Lake” at Stephens Auditorium as this season’s ballet at 7 p.m. Feb. 13. The ballet combines the music of Tchaikovsky and Petipa with the story of a princess turned into a swan by a sorcerer.

“Finding Neverland” is the fourth Broadway show as part of the season. The musical tells the story of J.M. Berry and his inspirations behind the world of Neverland. The shows will fly to Stephens at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 14. A pre-show dinner will be available.

The Siberian State Symphony Orchestra is bringing the music of Russia to Ames on their eight-week American tour. The orchestra will perform at 7:30 p.m. March 2 with a pre-show dinner available before the performance.

The final show for the season and final Broadway show in the series will be “Waitress.” The show follows the story of Jenna, an expert pie maker, as she navigates friendship, motherhood and “the magic of a well made pie.” The show is set to perform at 7 p.m. March 12. A pre-show dinner will be available.

Tickets for shows in Stephens Auditorium are made available through the Stephens Auditorium’s box office, online at or by phone at 1-800-745-3000.