The Buzz!  What's new NOW!

PSSST: Have you heard?  ISE is now a year-round theatre producing agency! 

Our fall and winter shows support keeping summer Shakespeare free! 

And for our 2015 fall show season, we come out with a Bang (er, Fang!)  Stay away from mirrors- get out that Garlic - -and Check out the Buzz below PLUS the other pages on this site to learn all about it!

AND, we have a cool NEW Ticket Sales Outlet, too!

(In 2015, we'll be working with the great LOCAL agency:, as our new Ticket Sales Vendor!

Ticket sales for Dracula open week of 9/28!)

Yep - a lot continues to be new here at Iowa Shakespeare, where we are growing so rapidly!

So -Do take a leisurely stroll through the great CURRENT show information below to learn more about Cabaret Macabre 2015!  There are some GREAT new twists and turns in the show, which we are bringing back by popular demand for an exciting third season!

But fair warning: Our first season of Cabaret Macabre produced in 2013 (featuring our extraordinary Dracula show performed in this same intimate salon style) compltely sold out - every seat, every show!  And for our reprise of the show for our second season 2014 run, one week before the show opened, we'd already sold out 100 percent of our VIP tickets for our opening weekend.  And its not slowing down for this year.  As of today's date in mid September, in-person ticket sales are already brisk.  

So take a look around our Year Round Season tab - and be sure to enjoy the great pics from last year's show on our "Fall Season Show" pages- but don't delay - if you want to attend this year (expected to be our FINAL year in the Metro before we start traveling this popular show around the state) buy your tickets as early as possible!

So, go to to buy tickets NOW!  You'll find similar info below, but at our Sales Outlet you will find the most complete break out possible of all your venue choices, 2015 date options (Four weekend evenings October 16 - Oct 31), curtain times, ticket prices (Varies slightly by venue but about $20 - $30 per person, including special introductory year rates at Terrace Hill) and information about various amenities such as our 2015 Holiday Gala Show held directly on the Halloween Holiday - - featuring special intermission treats plus a post-show Champagne Party with the Cast.

Meanwhile, for your convenience, an overview of our 2015 venues, dates, general guidelines - and great info about the story iteself-- is provided here as well, below.  Enjoy checking us out!


Something Wicked

this way Comes... Knocking”

(William Shakespeare's MacBeth;
verse and stage directions



Our award-winning



...Exact Dates, show times and ticket prices below....

Make Ticket Purchases at!



Cabaret Macabre


Revel in the Mysteries of the Night

Extraordinary Gothic Thrills from the Masters

Edgar Allen Poe ~ Bram Stoker

A “Macabaret” NOT to be Missed



Unfolding by Candlelight inside THREE of Iowa's

most atmospheric and historic venues

including two Candlelit Gothic Mansions:

Its an intimate affair...



Featuring the original ISE dramatic play (now presented in two acts)




Sultry spine-tingling drama- sophisticated Timeless Tales

Cash Wine Bar  Complimentary Intermission Treats 


Serving up Gourmet Drama plus your “Just Desserts”

– so stop by - for a Bite!

Venue and Date information below










There is no more enticing,  memorable or authentic way to see a theatrical version of a great historic author - -or famous work- - than in an equally historic setting -and preferably, in the living, authentic setting of a period-correct House.  Certainly no other Faux stage set will be able to better convey the “flavor and taste” of an era - -and make the period come as richly alive. 

But also, the act itself of setting theatre inside a period house is quite historical, too.

You see, back in the days before mass media entertainment, it was quite common for folks to create their own plays and entertainments in their homes.  Especially in the colder months of the year, when evenings grew long and time to socialize more abundant, many families would congregate with friends and neighbors in their parlors to mutually put on and watch a play.  Or as in this story, many an evening was spent working on a Diary - - wrestling with pen and page to get just the right spin on words designed to live forever in posterity. 

 So we suggest you see for yourself!  If you have never experienced non-traditional "salon style" theatre in an historic house (an ISE specialty) then don't miss this chance to see
theatre come alive - -as seldom before!

 And- especially if you already know how cool ISE's Estate shows are: don't miss this particular play!  Edgar Allan Poe and Bram Stoker's Dracula story are rightfully recognized as masters of their gothic genre for a reason – these works compel our attention - and captivate our imaginations- in so many ways.

Suffice it to say that upon October evenings, many believe that the veil which hides the mysteries of the night grows thin and more transparent. We invite you to come and dare to explore the boundaries and interactions between the living – and the dead.  We invite you to be entranced. Stir your senses – and sense the night stirring. Look into the reaches of the human imagination – and into the fears - -and hopes- - of what lies beyond. 

You'll be able to be “up close and personal” in this one-of-a-kind authentic celebration of the All Hallows season. 



Besides treating yourself to a top notch unique theatre and art experience, there are still more reasons to attend an ISE Great Estate show. 

Because- - Another great reason to attend ISE's Theatre at the Great Estate Series- and this particular Cabaret Macabre show- is the great feeling you'll get by knowing you are contributing to supporting the arts in your community!  In other words: you can also feel great about buying a ticket because your funds do so much good stuff! Proceeds from ISE's year-round shows help keep our summer festival free for all comers, help support our youth programs, and help provide paid work for area artists.  Supporting ISE also has an overall economic growth benefit to the entire community, too:  ISE is one of the agencies that is a part of the 2012 front page Register study that found that area arts organizations make a notably strong financial contribution to the economy of our Capital City.  In fact, the Register study found that the Arts and Cultural sector collectively (specifically including ISE!) employed just as many area workers as do many large corporations such as Pioneer and HyVee!

So, you'll have fun while feeling great about it, too!  In fact, you can trust ISE to do so much good with the income from this show (and our other year round shows, too!) that for some of our ISE INDOORS shows, there are even sometimes tax-deductible options, too! (Don't worry -we'll be sure to let you know when that applies!)  Because while general admission tickets are not tax deductible, often when ISE offers a VIP ticket, it is partially tax-deductible – while bumping your evening up a notch, too! And with only 10 VIP tickets to an ISE INDOORS show available on any given night, VIP tix entitle you to seating so close you will be able to look into the very eyes of the Actors- you will be in prime seats in the first two rows!

Finally, how can you go wrong: the show is presented by Iowa's theatre experience experts:  The Iowa Shakespeare Experience – where we really know our way around a ghostly classic tale.  As the Bard wrote: "Double Double toil and trouble" ... Something Wicked This Way Comes!"


SO! Do you believe???????.....................

You WILL......................................







Halloween has become the most celebrated Holiday in America- and certainly the Holiday's legions of fans will flock to this show for a rare and choice personal experience – reflecting both the sardonic, tongue-in-cheek humor of the genre - -as well as the secret thrill and yes, the serious side of these timeless tales! 

But in addition to enjoying a celebration of the Holiday, the perceptive audience member will find that this show provides plenty of musings to keep the mind and Spirit engaged long after the Halloween season. That's precisely why these stories have become the classics that they are. The Dracula tale (and the Poe poems which augment your evening at some of our shows) often present the very definition of an allegory of good verus evil. 

So this is not a show or story particularly "dumbed down" for children.  (And in fact, we do not reccomend the tale for children under age 8, and advise parental guidance for those in the pre-teen years.) The original authentic language is retained despite the pressures to modernize or change the beautiful language or lushly slow, measured pace that allows the excitement to build.  NOTHING "jumps out at you" in THIS show - -unlike some more contemporary "horror" stories.  So instead, the horror of the tale is permitted to reside in your mind- where YOUR own imagination and wanderings take you, as you listen, watch, and experience the rich professional acting.

So its really up to you and your personal inclinations, as to how YOU will experience these now-legendary stories.  ISE's highly experienced actors will take you as far as you dare into the many themes of these tales.  For example, far from merely being a frothy seasonal treat (tho it is that, too!), these stories can also engage our imaginings about Heaven and Hell (St. Micheal and Luficer?), about male and female stereotypes and roles, and about empowerment and enslavement. Plus certainly, the show engages our imaginations and our understanding – and prejudices- about passions of all sorts. 

Again, it depends on you and the, well, Spirit that YOU bring to this one- - each individual audience member will likely have a very individual reaction to this particular show ...and to these particular stories.   And isn't that the best way to approach a show! Have fun – and have fangs!





This year, your best-ever All Hallows Eve celebration event takes place inside your choice of THREE of central Iowa's most atmospheric historic venues -including in two different authentic Gothic Mansions: venues that are candle-lit and festive for the occasion.  (Further below at bottom you'll find a list of exactly what venues are involved this year- and on which dates.)

This year's Cabaret features an original two-act play adaptation of Dracula: Evermore – The Diaries of the UnDead. 


The 2015 play presents David Buttery (an impressive young Model aiming towards a great film career) as Jonathan Harker, and showcases the extraordinary work of Marie Schmidt (from the European concert stage ) as Mina Harker.  For the third time by acclaim, the show also co-stars Matt Wiggins as Dracula and John Zickefoose as Van Helsing - each with a truly definitive portrayal of these famous roles.  For example, about John Z (an amazing classical actor originally hailing from the New York theatre scene and now in his umpteenth performance on an ISE stage) and his most ISE recent performance in one of classic theatres all-time famous roles... as evil Iago during ISE's 2013 summer festival hit Othello... Register Arts Review Micheal Morrain wrote (among much other ISE actor praise): “And to his almost disturbing credit, John Zickefoose makes a wonderfully convincing Iago... its fun to watch him ensnare the other characters with such cool calculation.”  In experienced hands like these, you can bet John's Von Helsing is extraordinary - and it IS. 

And next, for his part, Matt simply BECOMES Dracula- his is a true tour de force performance that will draw you deeply into the subtle inner life of this legendary character - a legend that genuinely comes alive - - so intimately close to the audience.

Enough said! The bottom line is that its No Trick!  Because watching this team have fun with these classic stories - -as well as present their serious side- -  will be a seasonal Treat indeed! 



This show is part of ISE's “Theatre at the Great Estates” dramatic play series known as ISE INDOORS - -conducted in Iowa's most prestigious mansions all year round.

And, ISE INDOORS shows typically are not those where an audience sits passively in some dark box – your evening will definitely be more engaging than that! Although- no worries- ISE shows are not the cheesy horror type where someone jumps out at you, or where you will be subjected to gore -- anything clumsy like that.  Our thrills and chills will unfold in your mind- - and you'll be haunted forever by their mesmerizing beauty, just as this old old story was written.

But note that while in its own way your experience will not be as passive as a more traditional theatre experience, unlike some of our other ISE INDOORS shows which travel the audience from room to room to room (like our Christmas show) this particular show does not involve moving the audience all about the houses very much.   

However, you will still be able to immerse yourself in the culture of the era. For the show proper, you will be seated in the intimate Grand Parlors of the Mansion shows- or in "theatre-in-the-round" style in our historic church.  And as usual with an ISE INDOORS show, you will rarely be more than 6 or 7 rows away from the action – usually, closerl 


Our ISE INDOORS shows feature a convivial intermission. For Cabaret Macabre, during the 20-25  minute intermission of this show,  you will adjourn to the Victorian Dining Salon or a Treat Table to partake of complimentary Treats and Cider: You'll get your “Just Desserts” - and you can also visit the Cash Donation Wine Bar (credit cards not accepted, tho we do accept checks with ID).  (For those years when we host a coffeehouse show, various coffeehouse beverages and treats will be available for purchase.)  Also during Cabaret Macabre, come intermission, you'll have the option of joining in on our often hilarious group participation reading of The Raven.  And in our larger venues, you'll be able to explore a bit -as there's a delightful among of creative Halloween decor liberally sprinkled about our historic house venues. 

HOLIDAY SHOWS: Holiday evening Champagne Gala shows (on Halloween Evening and when applicable, also on All Hallows Eve/Beggars Night and on Day of the Dead ) also include special festive touches, an expanded array of treats that include Savories as well as Sweets plus an optional Cast Party Reception after the show, featuring complimentary draughts from a “cauldron” of Bubbly.  There just might be a "Surprise" or two up our Capes, too!  Rest assured there will also be delighted Halloween decor.

In sum: This one will slay ya!  (No, we couldn't resist it!) These revels feature both chuckles as well as serious shivers –  and that “sultry”, deeply pasionate "something" which is part of the Stoker legacy, too. (This show could be rated at least PG13 for subject matter.) 

So - - Something Wicked This Way Comes!  Attend- and you will join in the Mysteries of the Night.  You will hear the Masters of the haunted Gothic genre- we believe your spirit will be stirred- and we think you just might sense the Spirits stirring,too!

In other words ...Count on it! This is a one-of-kind way to celebrate the season of All Hallows which will long Haunt your memory!  Drop in- for a Bite! 




WHAT TO EXPECT – and a little of “this and that




Venue Location/ Driving Directions:How do I get to the various venues, and where can I learn more about them?  For an overview of our frequent venue partners, you can check out  our "Venue Page" by clicking on the Menu Bar to your right.  But exact details about a specific year's venue will be found on our Ticket Sales Outlet pages

Format: How long does the Dracula show run? This year, the show is performed in two acts with one intermission.  The first act is about an hour and the second act just under an hour.   

Seating: Are there reserved seats? There are no assigned seats other than VIP row reservations for SOME shows  - - and the majority of the seating is General Admission. ABOUT VIP SEATING: VIP seating is not always offered.  But when it is, VIP seating likewise is not assigned per se- but hen it is, VIP seats comprise the most forward and most advantageous "center" seats of the House – where you will be within mere fangs – er, feet- of the actors.  As much as possible, VIP seats will be distributed in order of arrival at the Venue.  So if you purchase VIP seats, be sure to identify yourself to the House Manager upon your arrival at the show, so she can secure the appropriate seat for you and your party. 

Gala Shows:  What happens at a Gala show? Shows held directly on the Halloween Holidays (All Hallows Eve/Beggars Night, and Halloween Evening) will be presented with Gala style and verve: featuring various festive touches.  From year to year, there can be all manner of fun add ons -from soup suppers to a Gala Appetizer buffet, plus extra Treats offering savories traditional Halloween sweets.  As there is this year, on the Holidays proper, there is also usually a post-show reception with the Cast offering complimentary Bubbly. Each show night offers different amenities- find them all broken out on our Ticket Sales Outlet website under the particular date. 

Children: Can children attend these shows? And are there youth discount tickets? To support their communities, sometime our venues decide to offer a limited number of youth tickets at a discount - and if that is the case, these ticket options will be described on our Ticket Sales Outlet site. But, for the Cabaret Macabre, these discounts typically only cover youth through Junior High ages.  That's because while many youth totally fall in love with our shows, we do NOT recommend this particular show for younger children. In fact, parents should note: Iowa Shakespeare shows are sophisticated -and the works of the classic authors are not “dumbed down”. All children able to sit quietly and wonder at the marvel of live theatre are welcome, but we feel this particular show typically is not suitable for most children under age 8.  In fact, we would tend to give this show a PG13 rating. 

  • PARENTS OF VERY YOUNG CHILDREN PLEASE ALSO NOTE:  In our ISE INDOORS series, unfortunately NONE of our venues are suitable for any situation where a child may need to leave the audience due to becoming fussy or frightened- these Venues are simply not conducive to any audience movement during the show.  And moreover, If you do have to remove your child from the audience, be prepared: in most of our ISE INDOORS venues, there is very little (if any) indoor or outdoor space where you may go to during the performance.  (You likely would have to adjourn to your car.)  In sum: These are NOT venues where you can just easily remove a fussy or frightened child to help the child calm down- or to keep the youngster from disturbing the Actors or other Patrons.  We so greatly appreciate the challenges of parenthood- but please do keep this in mind!

Parking/Arrival: Parking directions and availability is for the most part free -but differs for each Venue.  Check our Venue directions at our Ticket Sales Outlet for specific information.  For the most part at any of our venues you will on paved walks, but especially for our suburban venues, do be prepared for the occasional muddy area when parking and/or when making your way to the doors.

Latecomers: We recognize that sometimes everyone runs a little late.  Rest assured you will be welcome whenever you arrive.  But having said that, in any ISE INDOORS show, please very very quietly make your entrance.  (Specific information to help you -especially about what doors to use - will be posted at our Ticket Sales Outlet Page.) Once you arrive, you may distantly observe the show from any area immediately inside the doors of almost all of our venues, and can thus start to observe the show immediately upon your arrival - - but these are SRO areas and sometimes quite close to the "stage".  Accordingly, you will likely need to wait until an appropriate time before an Usher will be able to seat you. 

Physically Challenged:  We will gladly do our best to assist those with any physical challenges, but attendees do need to be aware that these venues are Historic Venues with less-than perfectly level floors, some steps, and tight configurations.  For authenticity, some scenes are deliberately lit with a moody dimness – and Actors are not on mics as the venue is quite intimate. So those with visual or hearing disabilities will want to keep that in mind.  As applicable, there are some additional notes for the physically handicapped about steps and alternate entrances at some of our venues (particularly for our Scheureman House site in Sherman Hill - a site with multiple front steps- on our Midwestix Website)

Purchases/Credit Cards:  Currently, ISE does NOT accept credit cards at the door or on site for our ISE INDOORS shows.  All purchases or donations at the site/door must be made via check (with ID) or cash.  Overall, especially since our door sale capacities are usually very limited due to near sell outs or outright sell outs, we strongly advise simply making an advance purchase through our Ticket Sales Outlet (which does accept Credit Cards - - and where you will also always recieve an advance purchase discount from door prices.)

Animals: Only service animals are allowed on site on any of our venue grounds. Sorry, but this means you cannot bring dogs to the grounds, even if you plan to leave them outdoors or in a car.  Our venues often have old walls, and Barking or disturbances will easily be audible (even from the parking area) to those inside the house.

Food and Beverages: Can I bring snacks? Outside Food and Beverages are NOT permitted at any of our venue sites, including plastic water bottles.  . 

Special Notes: In addition to refraining from bringing in outside food and beverages, we also ask that audiences refrain from bringing in/using chewing gum at our Mansion shows (which are privately owned), in order to protect the Mansion's furnishings.  (For those who need a "mouth aid" pre-unwrapped cough drops or small hard candy is ok.) Guns, weapons or anything that appears to be a weapon (including items related to Halloween or costuming) that might frighten other guests or damage the Venue or its contents will not be allowed.  Please be respectful at all times of the various historic period pieces and collections found in some of our Venues. 




Thank you for your interest in purchasing an ISE ticket!  All tickets purchased for this show help support ISE's FREE summer theatre festival and ISE's youth programs- and also help provide paid work for area artists.  We also offer a variety of advance purchase discounts and specials, such as specials for everyone from Seniors to Young Professionals- and for our cultural and artistic theatre colleagues. Much more below.

WHERE TO PURCHASE TICKETS: Tickets may be purchased at the door if available, but (with the exception of any youth tickets if these are available) 100% of advance purchases receive a $5 Discount per ticket -including VIP tickets! Advance purchase tickets may ONLY be made through our Ticket Sales Outlet page.

NOTE: Tickets purchased through our advance Ticekt Sales Outlet (in 2015, we're working with a GREAT local vendor:  Go to to purchase Tickets...) will NOT be mailed- your name will be on a list at the Door. 

TYPES OF TICKETS: Tickets are available in the following 2 categories: General Admission and (as applicable) VIP.

ABOUT VIP SEATING:  your choice:  enter the show area first along with your fellow VIPs, and take any seat as preferred (ie perhaps you prefer a back or a side seat...), or claim middle far forward seating which is reserved separatly for all VIP ticket holders.  But note:  VIP seats are not specifically reserved for a specific person except for special high-end donor or corporate sponsor arrangements (contact to purchase these ultra high end seats through your kindly donation or sponsorship.)  Instead, all typical VIP seating is first come first served within the VIP area.  


Find Specific Ticket options and dates on our Ticket Outlet website:

(All tickets priced $5 higher if available for purchase at the door!)

General Admission advance purchase tickets can range from $10 or youth tickets to about $30 for regular General Admission.  All tickets include complimentary intermission treats. All General Admission  tickets are $5 higher at the Door IF available.

VIP advance purchase tickets can range up to about $50.  VIP tickets are not assigned by exact seat number, but all VIP tickets provide guaranteed front forward seating.  Holiday Gala VIP tickets include a post show reception with the Cast and a complimentary draught from the Cauldron of "champagne" Bubbly! All VIP tickets are $5 higher at the Door IF available.

TAX DEDUCTIBILITY INFORMATION:  General Admission tickets are NOT tax deductible. However, many VIP tickets are partially tax-deductible at HALF the paid cost of the ticket. If applicable, you'll find tax deductibilty information on our Ticket Outlet page. To receive your Tax deductibility information, be sure to PRINT OUT the informational Ticket Outlet page as well as a copy of your  ticket order- no further tax information will be provided or sent due to limited non-profit staffing capacities.

SPECIALS: Are there any special Discounts besides Midwestix advance purchase discounts? YES, often there are! Frequently ISE offers courtesy Door Special Discounts to our artistic colleagues, and to Seniors, Young Professionals and high school or college/grad students at the door. For shows during which these opportunities are provided, you'll more information on our Ticket Sales Outlet web site.

Carefully note: Courtesy specials can ONLY be purchased at the door, so again, the various discounts described above generally apply only to Door pricing!





Note: Spirited advance purchase Discounts ($5 off Door purchase prices!)

are always available at our advance Ticket Sales Outlet:

We also often offer special Discounts for

Students, Young Professionals, Artists and Colleagues, and youth: those prices will be posted at our Ticket Sales Outlet to the degree applicable.


4 2015 performances only – Don't be Tricked-

take advantage of the Advance Sale Discounts because




Delectable Drama and Gourmet Treats



(1 Venue Option)



2300 Grand Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa


DATES: Friday October 16 AND Saturday, October 17

TICKETS: On sale at Red Truck Tickets. com.  $5 more at the door IF available. 


  • INCLUDED AMENTITIES: ALL Tickets include Intermission Sweet Treats and opportunity to view countless lit pumpkins on display.  Cash-Donation Wine Bar available.



(1 Venue option)



405 Maple Street, Waukee, Iowa


DATE: Saturday, October 24 


TICKETS: on sale at  $5 more at the door (cash or check only) if available.

  • INCLUDED  AMMENITIES: All Tickets include Intermission “Treat table” of light Sweets and light Savory Snacks, plus hot beverages.
  • ADDITIONAL  AMMENITY OPTIONS: Cash-donation wine bar available



(1 Venue Option)



245 Pennsylvania Avenue, in Carlisle, Iowa (about 12 miles from downtown Des Moines)


DATE:  Saturday, October 31; HALLOWEEN NIGHT

TICKETS: on sale now at  $5 more at the door if available.

  • INCLUDED AMMENITIES: An especially festive array of both sweets and savories , complementary spiced cider  PLUS optional Interactive Edgar Allan Poe during Intermission AND a glass of complementary post-show “Champagne punch” with the Cast; also a cash-donations wine bar is available throughout the evening. The entire house will also be open for self-guided tours during intermission.




  • .
© 2017 Iowa Shakespeare Experience