Opening December 16, Des Moines Stars Michael Shannon and Johanna Day | Playbill

Off-Broadway News Opening December 16, Des Moines Stars Michael Shannon and Johanna Day

Denis Johnson's dark comedy about chance events plays Off-Broadway at the Polonsky Shakespeare Center.

Michael Shannon and Johanna Day in rehearsal for Des Moines Hollis King

Theatre for a New Audience's Des Moines opens December 16 at Off-Broadway's Polonsky Shakespeare Center. Due to COVID cases within the company, the run through January 1, 2023 was delayed, starting previews December 10.

Chance events—including a plane crash, a rescued wedding ring, and a frightening diagnosis—bring five characters together in Des Moines, Iowa. The dark comedy, complete with karaoke, liquor, and sex, "confronts death, mortality, and the stubborn pursuit of grace among those who barely believe in it."

Hari Nef, Arin Arbus, and Michael Shannon in rehearsal for Des Moines Hollis King

Starring in Denis Johnson's final play are two-time Tony nominee Johanna Day (Sweat, Proof), Oscar, Golden Globe, and Tony nominee Michael Shannon (Knives Out, Long Day’s Journey into Night), 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).

Directing the production is Arin Arbus, who leads the creative team featuring 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Des Moines originally made its world premiere in 2007 at San Francisco’s Intersection for the Arts, following which it was further developed by Johnson until 2013.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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