Off-Broadway's Des Moines Finishes Extended Run January 8 | Playbill

Off-Broadway News Off-Broadway's Des Moines Finishes Extended Run January 8

Two-time Tony nominee Johanna Day and Oscar, Golden Globe, and Tony nominee Michael Shannon star in the dark comedy about five characters brought together by chance.

Michael Shannon, Hari Nef, Heather Alicia Simms, Johanna Day, and Arliss Howard in Des Moines Gerry Goodstein

Theatre for a New Audience's staging of Denis Johnson's Des Moines plays its last performance at the Shakespeare Polonsky Center January 8. The Off-Broadway production opened December 16 with a cast starring two-time Tony nominee Johanna Day (Sweat, Proof) and Oscar, Golden Globe, and Tony nominee Michael Shannon (Knives Out, Long Day’s Journey into Night). Previews began December 10 following delays due to COVID. Read reviews here.

Also starring in the cast are Heather Alicia Simms (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, A Raisin in the Sun), Arliss Howard (Mank, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone), and Hari Nef (“Daddy”, Transparent).

A plane crash, a rescued wedding ring, and a frightening diagnosis are some of the chance events that bring together five characters in Des Moines, Iowa. Featuring karaoke, liquor, and sex, the dark comedy "confronts death, mortality, and the stubborn pursuit of grace among those who barely believe in it."

Director Arin Arbus helms the production and the creative team comprising scenic designer Riccardo Hernández (Jagged Little Pill), costume designer Qween Jean (Wedding Band), lighting designer Scott Zielinski, sound designer Mikaal Sulaiman (Macbeth), and choreographer Byron Easley (Slave Play).

Des Moines originally made its world premiere in 2007 at San Francisco’s Intersection for the Arts, following which it was further developed by Johnson until 2013. In 2015, Arbus worked with Johnson on the director's first exploration of the play via a TFANA workshop.

For tickets and more information, visit

Go inside rehearsals with the gallery below.

Step Inside the Rehearsal Room for Denis Johnson's Des Moines


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