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Experience a Magical Journey: A Review of Des Moines Young Artists’ Theatre’s The Hobbit

My family was ushered into Middle Earth and caught up in its other-worldliness last weekend thanks to Des Moines Young Artists’ Theatre’s presentation of The Hobbit. If you’re looking for a fun show for kids and adults alike, catch the final performances of this wonderful production July 7-10.

Under the directorial guidance of Kathy Pingel and Ron Ziegler and the stage management of Alice Robertson, cast members ushered us into a mystical, magical land complete with hobbits, dwarfs, trolls, goblins, elves, and dragons. Although I was unfamiliar with The Hobbit, the story telling was superb and I easily found myself caught up in the adventure of Bilbo Baggins, played pluckily by likeable Kyle Bochart, as he seeks to recover treasure guarded by the ferocious dragon Smaug.

Jonathan Brugioni’s Gandalf wisely guides Bilbo and his dwarf comrades through twists and turns in their quest, while Marshall Johnson’s Thorin Oakenshield and Alexandra Stark’s Elven Queen portray regal leadership in their roles.

Annie Mielke’s Gollum is expertly played – the perfect blend of creepy, sad, and desperate. The hair, makeup, and costuming by Nicholas Amundson was on point throughout the show, but never more so than with Gollum. I worried my seven year-old would be frightened. He wasn’t, but parents should consider giving a heads up about Gollum to younger children.

Credit Tim Wisgerhof (Scenic Designer), Alex Snodgrass (Light Designer), and Mark Toebben (Sound Designer/Composer) for bringing Middle Earth to life. Their expertise captured the moody, imaginative land and through minor set, lighting, and music changes, Bilbo and gang move from the Shire through grasslands, caves, forest, and mountains.

Experience a Magical Journey: A Review of Des Moines Young Artists' Theatre's The Hobbit | Des Moines Moms Blog

In The Hobbit, Des Moines Young Artists’ Theatre continues their mission to encourage and empower artists of all ages. The cast of almost 30 people ranges in age from entering 6th grade to nearing 60, and each contributed significantly to the story’s telling.

You can still catch The Hobbit this weekend with shows Thursday, July 7 (7:30 p.m.), Friday, July 8 (7:30 p.m.), Saturday, July 9 (2 p.m., 7:30 p.m.), and Sunday, July 10 (2 p.m.). Tickets can be purchased through Midwestix.

Get more information about Des Moines Young Artist’s Theatre, as well as audition details for their upcoming presentation of James and the Giant Peach Jr., at

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