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ANNOUNCING the 2020-2021 Performing Arts Series at Stephens Auditorium!

Stephens Auditorium, managed by VenuWorks, plays a leading role in the performing arts. Our 2020-2021 Performing Arts Series brings a classic line-up full of laughter and tears, happy endings, and thought-provoking performances. This year’s four-show Broadway series includes South Pacific, Anastasia, Fiddler on the Roof and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Performing Arts Series subscriptions are on sale now!

Subscription orders may be placed online at

Individual tickets go on sale in Fall 2020.

 Russian String Orchestra – Tuesday, September 29, 2020 | 7:30 p.m.

The Ames International Orchestra Festival (AIOFA) welcomes Misha Rachlevsky and the Russian String Orchestra for a mini-residency. They will present a public performance in Stephens Auditorium on Tuesday, September 29.

Founded in 1991 as Chamber Orchestra Kremlin, the orchestra is comprised of some of Russia’s finest young string players and has carved a niche for itself under the creative baton of founder Misha Rachlevsky. With highly-acclaimed recording and mesmerizing concerts, the Russian String Orchestra’s warmth and high energy create addictive performances that stay with listeners long after the last note has been played.

Variations on the theme by Tchaikovsky                              Anton Arensky
Italian Serenade                                                                        Hugo Wolf
Serenade Melancolique for violin and orchestra                Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Evgeny Pravilov, violin
Longing for Light for string orchestra                                     Jeffrey Prater
String Quartet No. 3 in A minor (orchestral version)           Robert Schumann

The Russian String Orchestra residency is supported, in part, through local option tax funds provided by the City of Ames through the Ames Commission on the Arts and the Ames Convention & Visitors Bureau Community Grant Program. The performance is made possible, in part, by generous gifts from Arthur Klein, Warren and Beverly Madden, and Rae Reilly and the estate of Peter J. Reilly.


The Fab Four – Saturday, October 3, 2020 | 8 p.m.

If you want to experience the best Beatles tribute ever, you won’t want to miss The Fab Four-The Ultimate Tribute.

The Emmy Award winning Fab Four is elevated far above every other Beatles tribute due to their precise attention to detail. With uncanny, note-for-note live renditions of Beatles’ classics such as “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “Yesterday,” “A Day In The Life,” “Twist And Shout,” “Here Comes The Sun,” and “Hey Jude,” the Fab Four will make you think you are watching the real thing.

Their incredible stage performances include three costume changes representing every era of the Beatles ever-changing career. This loving tribute to the Beatles has amazed audiences in countries around the world, including Japan, Australia, France, Hong Kong, The United Kingdom, Germany, Mexico and Brazil.

This performance is made possible, in part, by generous gifts from Steve and Randi Peters and Brent and Maggie Wynja.


Whose Live Anyway – Friday, October 9, 2020 | 7:30 p.m.

The current cast members of the Emmy-nominated TV show Whose Line Is It Anyway? are proud to present their new improv tour: WHOSE LIVE ANYWAY?

WHOSE LIVE ANYWAY? is 90 minutes of hilarious improvised comedy and song all based on audience suggestions.  Cast members Ryan Stiles, Jeff B. Davis, Dave Foley, and Joel Murray will leave you gasping with the very witty scenes they invent before your eyes. Audience participation is key to the show, so bring your suggestions and you might be asked to join the cast on stage! WHOSE LIVE ANYWAY? showcases some of the improv games made famous on the long-running TV show as well as some exciting new ones.

All ages are welcomed, but please note that some PG-13 language will be used during the performance.

This performance is made possible, in part, by generous gifts from Jay and Karen Heldt Chapman.


Capitol Steps – Monday, October 19, 2020 | 7:30 p.m.

Originally founded by a group of Senate staffers, this satirical comedy group knows first-hand just what goes on in our nation’s capital, and they don’t pull any punches. Among the current members, 18 Congressional offices are represented from a span of over 62 years (though not all current members are former Capitol Hill staffers).

From their inception, the Capitol Steps have recorded 35 albums, the most recent of which is titled “Orange is the New Barack.” Through the years, they have been featured on NBC, CBS, ABC, and PBS, while producing biannual “Politics Takes a Holiday” radio specials on National Public Radio stations nationwide.

While the Capitol Steps are based in Washington, D.C., their comedy is accessible to all with an interest in politics. They continually update their material to keep up with the headlines, so no matter what’s in the news, the Capitol Steps are equal opportunity offenders.

This performance is made possible, in part, by generous gifts from Betty and Craig Miller, John and Suzan Shierholz and Brent and Maggie Wynja.


Ballet Hispanico – Monday, January 25, 2021 | 7 p.m.

An established international force, Ballet Hispanico continues to mold the landscape of contemporary dance in the United States and beyond. Ballet Hispanico ignites cultural pride, elevates diverse artists, and stresses the importance of the universal, physical language accessible to everyone – dance! 

The company’s 50th anniversary touring repertory spans generations of Latinx artists honoring the legacy of those who laid the foundations and those who continue to explore, bringing people together to celebrate joy and diversity without the trappings of stereotypes. To and from Beyoncé and beyond, theatricality and passion propel every move.

“When Ballet Hispanico’s dancers take the stage, watch out. No one struts, kicks, spins, leaps, and gyrates the way they do. Their joy is infectious.” – Newsday

This performance is made possible, in part, by a generous gift from Elizabeth Beck.


DRUMLine Live – Saturday, January 30, 2021 | 7 p.m.

DRUMLine Live is a show-stopping attraction created by the music team behind 20th Century Fox’s hit movies, “Drumline” and “Drumline: A New Beat.” Having paraded onto some of the biggest theatre stages in America, Japan, and Korea, and performed more than 300 shows since 2009, the show features new music and choreography. The legendary Historically Black College and University (HBCU) band experience comes alive with this world-class cast of percussionists, musicians and dancers. Be prepared to laugh, sing, dance, and cry, because DRUMLine Live is a high-octane musical roller coaster ride that is guaranteed to touch every emotion in your body.

With riveting rhythms, bold beats, and ear-grabbing energy, DRUMLine Live is a synchronized musical showcase of the legendary HBCU experience that will also feature various genres of music from hip-hop, American soul, gospel, jazz and more. DRUMLine Live brings a unique style of drumming, mesmerizing musicianship, and energetic choreography NEVER before seen on stage.

This performance is made possible, in part, by a generous gift from Randy and Cathy Fitzgerald.


South Pacific – Tuesday, February 9, 2021 | 7 p.m. (Broadway)

Love transcends the harsh realities of war and prejudice in this sweeping Pulitzer Prize-winning tale centered around two unlikely love affairs. Set on a tropical island during World War II, this timeless Rodgers & Hammerstein classic features some of the most beautiful music ever composed woven into an inspiring story cherished the world over.

Winner of ten Tony Awards, the beloved score’s songs include “Some Enchanted Evening,” “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair,” and “There is Nothin’ Like a Dame” amid big, Broadway performances and a chorus of American sailors and Navy nurses ready to take you to Bali Ha’i.

This performance is made possible, in part, by a generous gift from Brian and Tanya Anderson.


Anastasia – Thursday, February 25, 2021 | 8 p.m. (Broadway)

Inspired by the beloved films, the romantic and adventure-filled new musical Anastasia is on a journey to Stephens Auditorium at last!

From the Tony Award®-winning creators of the Broadway classic Ragtime, this dazzling show transports us from the twilight of the Russian Empire to the euphoria of Paris in the 1920s, as a brave young woman sets out to discover the mystery of her past. Pursued by a ruthless Soviet officer determined to silence her, Anya enlists the aid of a dashing conman and a lovable ex-aristocrat. Together, they embark on an epic adventure to help her find home, love, and family.

Anastasia features a book by celebrated playwright Terrence McNally, a lush new score by Stephen Flaherty (music) and Lynn Ahrens (lyrics) with direction by Tony Award® winner Darko Tresnjak.

This performance is made possible, in part, by a generous gift from Duane and Megan Wolf.


Fiddler on the Roof – Tuesday, March 2, 2021 | 7 p.m. (Broadway)

Rich with musical hits you know and love, including “Tradition,” “Sunrise, Sunset,” “If I Were A Rich Man,” “Matchmaker, Matchmaker” and “To Life (L’Chaim!),” Fiddler on the Roof is the heartwarming story of fathers and daughters, husbands and wives, and life, love and laughter.

Tony-winning director Bartlett Sher and the team behind South Pacific, The King and I and 2017 Tony-winning Best Play Oslo, bring a fresh and authentic vision to this beloved theatrical masterpiece from Tony winner Joseph Stein and Pulitzer Prize winners Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick. Featuring a talented cast, lavish orchestra and stunning movement and dance from Israeli choreographer Hofesh Shechter, based on the original staging by Jerome Robbins, Fiddler on the Roof will introduce a new generation to the uplifting celebration that raises its cup to joy! To love! To life!

This performance is made possible, in part, by generous gifts from Jim Beckwith and Cecilia and Jack Horner.


Prague Symphony Orchestra – Friday, March 5, 2021 | 7:30 p.m.

Brimming with joy and national pride, the Prague Symphony Orchestra brings a cheerful, optimistic program featuring Smetana’s Bartered Bride Overture, Dvorak’s lush Eighth Symphony, and Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A minor, opus 54.

Discover the thrilling beauty of this internationally renowned orchestra as each piece takes you through an emotional experience. The Prague Symphony Orchestra is a top tier musical ensemble and the official orchestra of the Czech capital. 

Egmont Overture by Beethoven, Op. 84
Piano Concerto in G minor by Dvorak, Op. 33
Marek Kozák, piano
Symphony No. 7 in D minor by Dvorak, Op. 70, B. 141

This performance is made possible, in part, by generous gifts from Arthur Klein, Warren and Beverly Madden and Rae Reilly. Additional support come from local option tax funds provided by the City of Ames through the Ames Commission on the Arts.


Nathan Carter – Sunday, March 7, 2021 | 7 p.m.

Taking the music world by storm, Irish phenomenon Nathan Carter brings his action-packed live show, Celtic Roots, to Stephens Auditorium! Backed by his stellar 6-piece band and with special guest Chloe Agnew (former star of Celtic Woman), Nathan’s live show is a unique blend of Celtic, Irish, Country and Pop favorites not to be missed. Performing with Irish warmth and infectious energy, fans will hear hits like “Caledonia”, “Wagon Wheel”, “The Rare Auld Times”, and “The Irish River”.

Carter first catapulted into stardom in his native Ireland, charming audiences on guitar, piano, and accordion. Since his start at local venues, his career has become a national success story. With five #1  albums, two #1 singles, and three #1 live performance DVDs, Nathan is now Ireland’s #1 Live Act and is blazing a trail to worldwide success.


Velocity – Friday, March 26, 2021 | 7 p.m.

Velocity Irish Dance, the next generation in Irish tap, is an expressive, free, fast-paced and edgy performance driven by passion and pride. Led by Guinness World Record holder for The Fastest Feet in the World, James Devine, and five-time World Champion Irish dancer, David Geaney, and joined on stage by a motley crew of mind-blowing musicians and an old school scratch DJ, it’s nothing like you’ve ever seen before! These two illustrious hoofers come together in an intimate, no-nonsense jam session of impossible scuffles and shuffles.

Honoring past traditions but blasting feet first into the 21st Century, Velocity Irish Dance breaks away from the idea of what an Irish dance show is to one that is a high-octane celebration of the past, present and future of Irish dance!

This performance is made possible, in part, by a generous gift from Mike and Tammy Koolbeck.


Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Thursday, April 8, 2021 | 7 p.m. (Broadway)

Roald Dahl’s amazing tale is now Ames’ golden ticket! It’s the perfect recipe for a delectable treat: songs from the original film, including “Pure Imagination,” “The Candy Man,” and “I’ve Got a Golden Ticket,” alongside a toe-tapping and ear-tickling new score from the songwriters of Hairspray.

Willy Wonka is opening his marvelous and mysterious chocolate factory…to a lucky few. That includes Charlie Bucket, whose bland life is about to burst with color and confection beyond his wildest dreams. He and four other golden ticket winners will embark on a mesmerizing joyride through a world of pure imagination. Now’s your chance to experience the wonders of Wonka like never before – get ready for Oompa-Loompas, incredible inventions, the great glass elevator, and more, more, more at this everlasting showstopper! 

This performance is made possible, in part, by a generous gift from Todd and Jill Klindt.


Iowa State Center Ticket Office (physical location closed until further notice)
Located at the north entrance of Stephens Auditorium at the corner of Lincoln Way and Beach Avenue.
Regular Hours: Monday-Friday, 12:00 p.m. (noon) – 6 p.m.
Summer Hours (Memorial Day-Labor Day): Monday-closed; Tuesday-Friday, Noon-6 p.m.
Phone: 515-294-2479, please leave a voicemail
Charge by Phone: 1-800-982-2787 (ARTS)

About the Iowa State Center
The Iowa State Center, managed by VenuWorks, is a multi-building conference and performing arts complex.  The Center’s Stephens Auditorium, a 2,602-seat hall, hosts a dazzling array of international performances of music, theater and dance, as well as world-class orchestras, popular Broadway musicals, and explosive country and rock concerts. Fisher Theater seats 431 in an intimate setting, perfect for drama, dance and ISU theater productions. The Scheman Building, with 25 meeting rooms, two large lobbies and the 456-seat Benton Auditorium is a great meeting space for conferences, seminars and social events.

About VenuWorks
VenuWorks provides customized management solutions for arenas, stadiums, theatres and convention centers throughout the country with services that include operations, catering, concessions, along with the booking and marketing of sports and entertainment events.

Brianna Hall, Iowa State Center, (515) 294-3569,
Tammy Koolbeck, Iowa State Center, (515) 294-8809,

Submitted by Iowa State Center, Stephens Auditorium

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