Holiday Shows in Des Moines

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Holiday Shows in Des Moines 2023

The holiday season is truly a special time of year to catch a holiday musical or show in Des Moines, Iowa. You can make it a date night or you can include the entire family. Go to dinner at your favorite downtown Des Moines restaurant, catch your favorite holiday show filled with Christmas music, and then drive to look at holiday lights in Des Moines. You can definitely create a great holiday tradition! Whether it is listening to Christmas carols live or taking in the talented performing arts, there is a show for all ages. Take a look at this year’s list below and create a new Christmas tradition this season.

Check out these other fun holiday guides to help you plan this season:

Des Moines Civic Center

December 22 – 23. Purchase tickets here.

CIRQUE DREAMS HOLIDAZE dazzles with a brilliant and whimsical family holiday spectacular. This annual tradition wraps a Broadway-style production around an infusion of contemporary circus arts. As lights dim and the music swells, audiences will have visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads as a fantastical cast of holiday storybook characters come to life. Broadway World exclaims, “Lose yourself for 90 minutes and go back to those wonderful dreams you had as a kid.”

A Motown Christmas

Hoyt Sherman Place

November 14 – Purchase tickets here.

It features former members of The Temptations, The Miracles, and The Contours. A Motown Christmas features a world-class vocal group, assembled from past and present members of Motown’s most legendary groups…Ali Woodson’s Temptations, The Miracles, and The Contours. The vocalists are backed up by a 6-piece band.

A Motown Christmas is a powerful family-oriented show combining Motown’s greatest hits with everyone’s favorite holiday classics. This show features those famous Motown trademarks…dazzling choreography and unforgettable harmonies all performed in that memorable, soulful Motown style. This is an evening not to be missed. Bring the family to dance, to sing, and to enjoy this special, holiday spectacular.

All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914

Des Moines Playhouse

December 1 – 17. Purchase tickets here.

Through new arrangements of European carols and war songs, “All Is Calm” recalls the remarkable World War I truce between Allied Forces and German soldiers in No Man’s Land on Christmas, 1914.

Out of the violence a silence, then a song. A German soldier steps into No Man’s Land singing “Stille Nacht.” Thus begins an extraordinary night of camaraderie, music, and peace. A remarkable true story told in the words and songs of the men who lived it.

A Charlie Brown Christmas

Des Moines Playhouse

December 2 – 17. Various times. Purchase tickets here.

The classic animated television special A Charlie Brown Christmas comes to life in this faithful stage adaptation in which Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the rest of the gang discover the true meaning of Christmas.

Ballet Des Moines Presents The Nutcracker

Hoyt Sherman Place

December 7 – 10

Multiple showings. Check out dates, and times and purchase tickets

Join Ballet Des Moines as they introduce a new cast of characters into the annual holiday tradition of The Nutcracker.

The mission of Ballet Des Moines is to enrich lives through inspiring dance performances, inclusive education and outreach programs, and innovative community partnerships.

Iowa Dance Theatre: The Nutcracker

Des Moines Civic Center

December 8-9. Purchase tickets here.

Iowa Dance Theatre presents The Nutcracker Ballet. Experience the adventures of a girl named Clara as she journeys to a distant land where a prince battles mischievous mice, flowers waltz, and a Sugar Plum Fairy delights children of every age.

Iowa Dance Theatre: A Christmas Carol

Stoner Theater

December 8-17

2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. showings

This classic tale of Ebenezer Scrooge and the spirits of Christmas past, present, and future has become a tradition for Iowa Stage Theatre Company and Des Moines!  The vision of designer Jay Jagim, who was involved in the initial creation of this adaptation at the Alley Theater in Houston three decades ago, shines in the return of this heartwarming production. Bring the whole family to enjoy the timeless tale of Scrooge’s ghostly visitations and Yuletide change of heart. Purchase tickets here.

Christmas with the Choral Society

St. Ambrose Cathedral 

December 9 at 7:30 p.m. 

Another grand tradition in Des Moines. Do not miss The Choral Society this Christmas season. The one you come back for, year after year. Attend an inspiring program of great works and seasonal favorites, all in celebration of the Christmas spirit. Together with a chamber orchestra, piano, and soloists, the Des Moines Choral Society will fill the cathedral with the joy of the season! Purchase tickets here.

The Nutcracker Ballet

Stephens Auditorium 

December 9 – 10 – Purchase tickets here.

This classic holiday fairy tale has come alive on stage at Stephens Auditorium each December since 1981. 

This annual Stephens Auditorium production features choreography by Robert Thomas and Miyoko Kato Thomas of the Robert Thomas Dancenter (in Ames).  More than 150 local dancers from surrounding central Iowa communities participate with guest principal dancers performing the roles of the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier.

Shaun Johnson & the Big Band Experience

Hoyt Sherman Place

December 16 at 7:30 p.m.

Shaun Johnson is celebrating this holiday season with a passionate and melodic, big band-driven traditional pop concert. As the lead singer of Tonic Sol-fa — and an Emmy winner — Shaun reworks classic Christmas fare with a charismatic charm, and his performances routinely sell out. Make plans to see this nationally acclaimed Billboard Top 5 artist! Purchase tickets here.

An amazing story ballet performance by the students of Grace Ballet & Acrobatics to uplift and inspire you about the love of our Heavenly Father.

Michael W. Smith Christmas

Hoyt Sherman Place

December 17; Two Showings – Purchase tickets here.

Multi-platinum, Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter Michael W. Smith is excited to be back on tour this Christmas season where he and his very special guest and friend, Michael Tait will bring you a night of his biggest Christmas hits and traditional favorites. We hope you’ll join us for a Christmas celebration that you will never forget.

Mannheim Steamroller Christmas

Stephens Auditorium

December 19 at 7:30 p.m. – Purchase tickets here.

Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis has been America’s favorite holiday tradition for over 35 years! Grammy Award winner Chip Davis has created a show that features the beloved Christmas music of Mannheim Steamroller along with dazzling multimedia effects performed in an intimate setting.

Experience the magic as the spirit of the season comes alive with the signature sound of Mannheim Steamroller. Their holiday CDs have become synonymous with Christmas and continue to occupy top spots on Billboards’s Seasonal Charts every year!

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical

Des Moines Civic Center

December 21 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

The beloved TV classic RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER soars off the screen and onto the stage this holiday season. Come see all of your favorite characters from the special including Santa and Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf, the Abominable Snow Monster, Clarice, Yukon Cornelius, and, of course, Rudolph, as they come to life in RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER: THE MUSICAL. It’s an adventure that teaches us that what makes you different can be what makes you special. Don’t miss this wonderful holiday tradition that speaks to the misfit in all of us. Purchase tickets here.


Erin Huiatt

Erin is a reliable resource and stepping stone for women and families to find support and make connections within our community. She wants families to feel confident to reach out and ask for help and advice to get pointed in the right direction. She enjoys traveling and exploring with her two children in tow!

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