The Stage: Summer Takes a Bow

For reasons known only to God and the bureaucrats, school starts in Iowa City in August instead of waiting decently until after Labor Day. Despite the resumption of scholarly activity, however, August is very much the dog days in this town. The novelties of summer–the outdoor concerts and splashing in the fountain, the sudden increase in street food vendors, the frequency with which streets are blocked off–is starting to wear thin. Swimming in the outdoor pools is starting to feel like swimming in hot soup and you’ve already seen all the summer blockbusters twice just to get out of the heat–and they did not improve on a second viewing.

Thankfully, this August does bring with it a few new theatrical events, plus some big teasers for the fun that is to come.

Old Creamery Theater

Suds is described in its publicity materials as “a musical soap opera set in a laundromat.” Anyone who’s ever spent much time in a laundromat has probably wished the places were more exciting–even the funky paint colors and free popcorn at the old place on South Gilbert (now a plasma center) didn’t ever really make up for the dreariness–so this sounds like an excellent way to shake off the blues and enjoy some 1960s pop while you’re at it.

Suds runs regularly at the Old Creamery Theatre from August 4 through September 11. Tickets are available here or by calling 1-800-35AMANA or 319-622-6194.

The Sound of Music
Iowa City Community Theatre

Some people might be tempted to describe The Sound of Music as a musical soap opera, or at the very least as a musical melodrama. They sing! They dance! They find love! They lose it! They find it! They flee the Nazis! But those of us who love it know it is much, much more. It’s the thing you were allowed to stay up late to watch on television as a kid, and the thing you danced to in ballet class at Halsey Hall, and the thing you were shocked to find your friend in college had never seen, and the thing you know all the words to, and the thing that made you desperately, desperately hope your first kiss would involve a gazebo.

The gazebo and the Alps will not be present at the staged reading taking place this month at The Englert, but all the words and music you love will be there and proceeds will benefit the Iowa City Community Theatre, which has been bringing sounds of all sorts to the area for 55 years.

If you are feeling loaded and would like to help the ICCT out, check out the “Exclusive Red Carpet Event” on Friday, August 12 at 7:30 p.m. You get the show, champagne and a post-show reception at the Chef’s Table next door.

The show will be performed again twice the next day, August 13, at 2:00 and 7:30 p.m., for those who are not quite so flush. Tickets are available at the box office, online here or by calling 319-688-2653.

The Englert School for the Performing Arts

If you’re looking for one last creative educational opportunity before school starts in earnest, the Englert is also sponsoring two drama classes in August. The first, for teens, focuses on playwriting; the latter, for ages sixteen and up, deals with auditioning. Details for both are available at

Coralville Ribbon Cutting

Perhaps the most exciting premiere this August is the long-awaited opening of the Coralville Center for the Performing Arts. The massive structure at the corner of 5th and 12th in downtown Coralville (a phrase that I, a born and bred Iowa Citian, never thought I’d say) will open its doors to the public officially during a series of activities from August 26 through 28.

The center includes a 482-seat theatre and will be open for both public and private arts events in the area. Friday and Saturday night will feature special events for sponsors, but the public is invited to an open house on Saturday, August 27, from 1 to 4 p.m.. Informal entertainment will take place on stage, and the box office will be open. That evening, the All in a Day Play Festival begins. The names of a playwright, a director and a cast from Circle City Acting Company and Dreamwell Theatre will be drawn from a hat. The participants then have the next 24 hours to write and put on a 10-minute play, which will be performed at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, August 28.

Megan Flanagan, Managing Director for the CCPA, says of the new facility, “Our mission is really about providing opportunities. We have great creative people in this community, and this is about giving them a space to make things happen.” If you are one such creative person and have always wanted to get a barn and put on a show, get in touch. More information is available online here or by calling 319-248-1868.

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