Our Amazing Holiday Show!

2015 Christmas Show information coming soon!

But the show is now fully confirmed for EARLY December.

So to buy 2015 tickets TODAY,

just go to the great 


Terrace Hill website at





and peruse past year's info

that showcases some of the great history

of this long running show,

now heading towards a remarkable

full decade of

usually sold-out performances!



FROM 2014:

Back at Terrace Hill for another awesome Season, ISE's 2014 Holiday show season is already fully confirmed- but the details will be announced in autumn 2014 as we expect some fun surprises will ensue!

Meanwhile, special thanks to Iowa's First Ladies for their personal support of this amazing project -- and read below to learn more, because our 2014 season is expected to be quite similar to our past Holiday line ups. 

After all, these shows sell out virtually every single seat for every single show - we won't mess with success!


ISE's 2013 Holiday show offered weekend matinees and nightly shows every night of the week from Dec 1- 8 during

an e-x-p-a-n-d-e-d

run of shows that were added due to popular demand!


2014 Tickets are expected to start selling in early fall - be sure to move quickly once they come on line- one show in 2013 sold out as early as October! 


NOTE: The sales for this show are managed by Terrace Hill, so you cannot go through ISE's usual ticket sales agents at Midwestix.




Either CALL Terrace Hill at 515 242 6317

Or purchase ON LINE at the Terrace Hill tab of EventBrite:



AND: scroll below to relive and enjoy prior information about this extraordinary show - and a few fun photos!







 We sold out completely by our opening night- apologies to those missing out! 

To avoid disapointment next year, request to be put on "the list" for 2013

via the following:  RobinHeinemann.Pres@Gmail.com

Meanwhile, read below to taste the show this year!


ISE for the HOLIDAYS 2012


(Historic Terrace Hill)

A repeat "Command performance" commission from Iowa's First Lady!

In a limited engagement that kicks off the Metro's Holiday Season, for the fifth season,

ISE again reprises our hit Sell Out show:

Iowa's First Lady presents;

Charle's Dickens' A Christmas Carol

Adaptation by Lorenzo Sandoval, MFA

By popular demand, our 2012 engagement offers an expanded number of dates:

Saturday November 25 - Friday November 30

This one-of-a-kind show is THE Holiday Show you have been waiting for !

Delectable Hospitality; Delectable Drama!

Presented entirely within Iowa's incomparable Victorian Governor's Mansion replete in holiday splendor, you'll take seats from room-ro-room as scenes from this show are creatively presented all throughout this Architectural jewel, top to bottom.  The Governor's Dining Table is laden with a sumptuous array of homemade sweets plus complimentary wine and hot drinks - while top regional actors present a singularly compelling, historically-resonant version of everyone's favorite Holiday tale. This show has all the bells and whistles: stunning costumes, period dance and song, fresh insights plus iconic faves --and all the sweet humor and touching pathos of Dickens at his classic best.  

One of Iowa's most notable Holiday Traditions -and a Creative Masterpiece!


Go to ISE's Holiday Show Webpage: Click HERE (direct link coming - meanwhile, scroll below to Page link at Site Menu, below right)




Brought to you by a unique partnership with Iowa's First Lady and Iowa's experiential theatre experts; The Iowa Shakespeare Experience.  This is a strictly non-partisan event. All proceeds go to maintain and restore the architectural treasure known as Terrace Hill, Iowa's historic Governor's Mansion, which belongs to ALL Iowans.

Presented in association with Iowa's First Lady
For our 2012 Holiday show at the dazzling Iowa Governor's Mansion, we have been busy lining up our usual terrific cast!
Our 2012 Holiday show will feature ISE's trademark mix of old favorites and those new to the ISE stage, ensuring our shows stay fresh and lively- - with one constant:  ISE stages feature many of the Metro's leading professional actors and true regional stars! 
You'll find their names and a brief bio below- and, don't forget to keep scrolling down the page to see a few of our many audience raves and comments from last year- and to get even more of a taste of this extraordinary show! 
By the way- if you want to be among the select audiences to attend this one-of-a-kind event, be sure to move QUICKLY to purchase tickets - in years past, this show has sold out in a matter of days!
To purchase tickets NOW go to:
Returning to ISE's Christmas Carol are these audience favorites:
Regional favorite Bob Fry, veteran of countless area stages, reprising his tour-de-force 2011 role as none other than Ebenezer Scrooge...
ISE's inimitable John Zickefoose, in his zillionth-in-a-row show with ISE, reprising the role he founded as only he can do it - - as THE Ghost of Christmas Past and our lead Merchant of London...
Matt Wiggins, ISE's resident heart-throb, double cast in the challenging roles of the sunny Fred who embodies Christmas Spirit - - and the contrasting dour Young Ebenezer as he starts out on his callow path to his lonely and embittered old age...
Iowa's own songstress star Preshia Paulding, reprising her dual roles which just completely WOWED audiences last year- and this year we add a new scene for Preshia in the mix!  You will not believe Preshia's talented versatility in these roles of Mrs. Dickens, Mrs. Fezziwig - AND Mrs. Dilbur!
Tim Eckley, another returning veteran to this stage, reprising his original role of the adorable Mr. Fuzzywig- er, Mr. Fezziwig, and The Merchant... Tim, we couldn't do it without you!
Sara Lyons, our choreographer extraordinaire - and a whiz with historic period dance!
Hannah Berg, our extremely talented leading youth actress who plays several roles as a Crachitt family daughter and more! 
Charlie Ill, our Tiny Tim who seems simply born for the part- wow!
Anna Sundstrum, who takes the role of Dora by storm...
and of course, ISE's own Lorenzo Sandoval returns to his founding roles as Charles Dickens and Topper- but you won't want to miss this season, when Lorenzo also takes a turn at Marley!  His interpretation will be quite worth watching for!

Taking their first whirl on this ISE Holiday Show stage are these terrific pros:

Zander Morales - a true master of physical comedy and stage presence - from the Busch Gardens professional stage all the way to Iowa, where he's been most recently seen in the Playhouse hit Rent and as a lead in StageWest's Evil Dead, Zander takes on the role of Joe the Thief - -and we can't wait to see his spin on this iconic character!

Kay Mueller - a theatre professor and stage pro fondly known to countless regional audiences, Kay puts her unique touch on the pivotal role of Mrs. Crachitt... delightful!

James  Hotchkin - from the Iowa Shakespeare Project to Shakespeare-on-the-Loose and much more, Hotch is classic professional who really knows the ropes, and he brings oodles of warmth and humanity to none other than THE role of Mr. Bob Crachitt!

Monet Makohoniuk - a delightful newcomer to the area who is NOT destined to long stay under wraps (our lips are sealed!), Monet plays both Fan and Martha - and is a knockout in those period dresses!

Lauren McCool - with a Masters in theatre, Lauren was last seen on stage at the Playhouse in Sunset Boulevard.  Here, she tackles the dramatic dualities of the sorrowful Belle and the lively, fun-loving Clare!

Marie Schmidt has a Masters in Operatic singing and was also last seen on stage in Sunset Boulevard; here she puts a brand new shimmering spin on our Ghost of Christmas Past -and inaugurates our new role of the Merchant's Wife.

We also extend an ISE welcome to Jarret Brown, who has been a student of Kim Busbee and here applies his talents to the roles of Peter and Poulterer.

And mastering the challenging backstage duties of this uniquely-presented show are:

Returning Veteran Robin Heinemann, Executive Producer and Designer:  Lighting and Costumes.

Greg Blumhagen comes to us from past involvement at the Playhouse to take on our technical coordination of lights and sound.

ISE is delighted to welcome the fresh new talents of Annie Spaur and Heaven, who will be overseeing wardrobing and the gorgeous costumes we have created for this show.

And last but scarcely least, ISE is deeply gratified to welcome back "Fabulous Frank" Cebuhar, one of central Iowa's best known pianists and a veteran now of 3 ISE shows.  Frank will be playing Terrace Hill's extraordinary grand piano- wow, what a Christmas time treat!  (Frank, can you do Lady of Spain? )

ISE also continues to recognize the work of theatre pro Steve Mathews of the Metro's renowned Radio Garage, putting his ultra-professional spin on so many various artistic touches - - thank you Steve!

RECAP OF 2011 ISE Holiday Show at Terrace Hill: 
Show was an "Off The Charts" HIT! 
We are so gratified by the incredible success of ISE's A Christmas Carol at Terrace Hill, which by all acounts and measures, is an absolutely bona fide "off the charts" hit!  How do we count the ways ?  See below! 


ISE shows do tend to draw regional audiences from far and wide - -and this show was of course no exception. Our favorite 2011 story of the out-of-state and far-flung folks who drove in for this one has to be from the couple who was celebrating their anniversary! Coming across this show entirely "by accident" while scrolling around on the Internet looking for a special way to celebrate, the wife tells us her gentleman lost no time- he booked with us immediately (-fortunately because the show sold out that very afternoon!) And then he planned for her a secret trip to spend the weekend in Des Moines ...with this show as the weekend's Centerpiece! They drove all the way from Lincoln, Nebraska to see the show - and are already talking about doing it again next year!

With so many great audience members like these, ISE has developed a tradition of posting at least one or two specific audience feedback notes to this page. 
It can be hard to choose our favorites from all the various comments, e-notes and survey feedback, but here are two from 2011 that really give a nice "flavor" of the show:

FROM D.W.:"I felt just like one of the Hubbells- what a terrific evening! So intimate - What an amazing show and such a totally captivating experience! I loved everything about it - the moving around was FUN , even for my Mom, who I'd given a ticket to as a present. The PR was right- we really WERE practically in the same bed with Scrooge - I just could not figure out how you were gonna do that before I went, but you really pulled it off and it was awesome! I also really like the way you did the lighting- using natural light (I know some was amplified but it was skillfull- the rooms always felt natural!) And the ACTING - just stunning acting - I will be telling EVERYONE about this one - already have!"
FROM M. E. K.: "This was simply wonderful! Wonderful! Here's the thing: I genuinely believe in this particular story and its message- and each year, I usually try to go to a performance of the story if I can. So I am pretty experienced with this - and I have to say I have NEVER seen a portrayal of A Christmas Carol as special and as marvelous, as touching and COMPELLING as this one. I am in the middle of composing a note for the First Lady to beg her to continue making this show an annual tradtion - everyone should have a chance to see this! "
Thank you Chris Branstad for your support and faith in this show and in ISE's work. Your personal leadership has been instrumental in reprising this amazing Iowa tradition! 
And a very special thanks to the professional staff in the offices of Terrace Hill and the offices of the First Lady: your support is terrific and we so appreciate working so closely with you!  What a great partnership!  

Limited Engagement at Iowa's Governor's Mansion
Thursday, December 15 - Sunday, December 18
The Iowa Shakespeare Experience is delighted to announce that  in Winter 2011, we will be kicking off our frequently-requested year-round programming – in simply terrific ISE style!   And true to our name, this will be a tour-de-force AND a choice, truly memorable Holiday EXPERIENCE!
 Terrace_Hill_Dickens_Stairway_Bill_Nellans.jpgCome this December 15-18, by popular demand, we will reprise our acclaimed Holiday show at Terrace Hill, the Iowa Governor's Mansion.  This show is an original work, based closely on the classic tale by Charles Dickens: “A Christmas Carol”.  This great play was last seen in 2007 after a fantastic 3 year run Terrace Hill run - - -check out the photos (left and more below!) from our earlier run with John Busbee as Scrooge and Joel Hade as Crachit!. Yep- it sure IS one beautiful show!
Due to the abiding interest of Iowa's First Lady in working with the ISE to make this show an ongoing Terrace Hill tradition for the people of Iowa, this unique play will now return - - complete with a new name, and fresh new surprises!  This will be a new version of the story which, while sharing all the iconic scenes, brings more. Because as as an original work, the work also  offers great never-seen-before scenes, dialogues and other tidbits which allow audiences a fresh new look into the mind of the great Charles Dickens -and new insights into the Victorian mores of his times.
In sum: this is a show at once the delightful old favorite - -while also a show with seamless yet truly fresh NEW sparkle.  
So the new run will be complete with all the trimmings – Dickens' own stunning language, a special touch of live music and dance, nightly treat-laden parties, meeting the Cast right after the show, - -the works.  In fact,  look for a special wine and gourmet component - one that that will make your entire evening that much more unforgetttable!!  Yep- the gourmet hospitality of Iowa's Governor's mansion will be a special part of your night- with all treats served up directly in the gorgeous Governor's Mansion dining room!  You'll see Stars (on the trees!) Enjoy Stars (in our show) and GET the "Star Treatment" as Terrace Hill guests!
Here's an overview of recent news announcments concerning this very special Show!  
2011: ANNOUNCING NEW SHOW TITLE! In conjunction with the office of the First Lady, with whom we have partnered for this show, we are excited to present the show's new name and tagline:  Iowa's First Lady Presents "A Christmas Carol"; Gourmet Hospitality and Delectable Drama at the Governor's Mansion.
And if that sounds like we are all excited about the delicious new gourmet components which enhance this dramatic evening of live theatre - -  - we are!  How could we not be, when these special artisan treats will be based on Victorian Holiday-time recipes from the recipe collection of the Governor's own personal chef! 
EXTRAORDINARY PATRON EVENT: There is a particularly special aspect to ISE's Holiday show!  The First Lady will host a special Patron's event  - as the Mansion's restoration permits, the event will either be held in the First Lady's private, personal home on the Mansion's third floor or on the Mansion's dazzling First Floor- she is opening the door to all Iowans to attend this splendid pre-show Appetizer party. The Govenor and she will be your personal hosts. (Tickets sold through Terrace Hill - visit http://iowachristmascarol.eventbrite.com. to learn more.  This is a very intimate event with limited capacity - act early to attend! ) 
WONDERFUL ISE SPECIAL TOUCHES!  Attendees will enjoy so many special ISE touches, which we've ramped up even further for this new version of this great show.  This year, you'll meet Mrs. Dickens as well as Charles Dickens himself - both of these warm and welcoming personalities will be your personal Guides thorough this uniquely memorable Holiday experience.  And if you wish, you can even join Mrs. Dickens in a Holiday song or two around the Mansion's gorgeous grand piano.  Evening show guests will be led up to tthe Mansion by flickering lantern light, and all guests will marvel at the Mansion's extraordinary Holiday decorations, with splendid designer decor laid out in finery and period charm.
And - we are now officially Cast with a GREAT talent line up!
For all the details about the 2011 show AND the 2011 Cast - - plus more great photos! - -  just, scroll below!  
  All the details:
: True to our name, you can trust the ISE to always create a very special theatre experience - and this one is particularly amazing. Our version of this treasured story is a one-of-a-kind original adaptation that was specifically commissioned by Terrace Hill especially for the Iowa Governor’s Mansion – and it is the classic "Ebenezer Scrooge" tale the way it was meant to be experienced. 
 This elegant drama in its equally elegant surroundings draws the audience into Dickens' famed work like never before – because the audience and the show interact together in the intimate, splendid environment.  The play not only takes place IN the holiday-bedecked mansion, but audiences and the Actors move together all throughout this architectural jewel -with scenes taking place in fully 7 of its salons, parlors and halls -- -this year, even in the bedchambers!- - -so that the show takes place literally all around you.  (And yes, although you may stand briefly, the audience is usually seated in each room.)
While children can and do attend (and thrill to!) this captivating play, the story is never once dumbed down – it is a sophisticated telling of the beautiful moving tale, told in the gorgeous rich language of the period.  Young professionals and the theatre Cognoscenti will relish this interactive dramatic Holiday evening just as much as families.  Featuring the lush production values that the ISE is famous for, you will truly be touched by the Christmas Spirit(s)– in ways you will simply never forget.  It's classic ISE at its very best - like only the ISE does it.  Presented as part of our Iowa Classic Theatre division.
Scroll below  for an overview of our terrific cast and crew line-up!!
This show is an extraordinary value! To celebrate the show's return, we are offering special introductory value pricing for 2011 at price levels unlikely to be replicated in the future.
Also, tickets WILL sell out. The show features intimate settings so that the audience will often be "up close and personal" with the Cast. And, the Show garners a regional audience  - -so act soon to purchase.  TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE TO PURCHASE NOW AT MIDWESTIX.com. (At that site, just click on the left sidebar at Iowa Shakespeare: Holiday show at the Terrace Hill Governors Mansion.) 
Adult tickets are only $30 (Matinee) -$65 (Evenings) - -all shows include various types of gourmet treats (PLUS evening shows include complimentary wine!). 
There are great limited discounts for young professionals and youth aged 7-14.  Also enjoy limited "Early Bard" advance purchase discounts before December 9, while they last!
So don’t miss THE Holiday event that finally, is everything you have been waiting for in a Holiday show – and more!  Because this is one purchase you can really feel terrific about - proceeds benefit the restoration of Iowa's amazing Governor's Mansion AND help keep the ISE summer fesival free.   Makes an UNFORGETTABLE gift!  
Thursday, December 15: Gourmet goodies from 5:30pm; 7:00 Curtain
Friday and Saturday, December 16-17: Gourmet goodies from 6:00 pm; 7:30 Curtain
Sunday, December 18:  Gourmet Sweets at 1:00 pm, Curtain at 1:30 pm 
As usual, we've drawn a truly terrific ensemble cast!  And in many cases, witty doublecasting really makes their talent shine!  This show is a real treat for theatre pros as well as newcomers!
Theatre aficionados will delight that long-time veteran of the stage -and everyone's hero from The Ingersoll Dinner Theatre- Mr. Bob Fry, will play our 2011 Scrooge. And Paul Valleau, who will play Bob Crachit, has been taking the theatre world by storm with his leads in Stagewest's current show "This Fall" and his recently completed run as the lead in the Playhouse's 2011 smash hit, "The Producers".  The show's Playwright, Director and Co-Producer - - ISE's own Lorenzo Sandoval- -also again plays Charles Dickens as well as a variety of great character roles.  And of course the wonderful John Zickefoose will reprise his memorable role as the Ghost of Christmas Present - - along with his inimitable scenes as a true Victorian gentleman.  (John, we keep loosing track - what is this - your 20th show in a row with us?  WOW!)  
Handsome and talented Matt Wiggins returns for his fourth show consecutive show with us, doublecast as both the openhearted, warm and sunny Nephew Fred AND the dark, Younger Ebenezer.  And WHAT a simply magnificent Marley - we have only to say the name of outstanding classicist Hollis Monroe, and with his statewide multi media reputation as a major star, audiences are already shivering in anticipation! 
Back again with ISE after her hit role with us this summer in our Mark Twain show, the award-winning Preshia Paulding  gives us simply delightful work - -double cast as Mrs. Dickens AND Mrs. Fezziwig (and of course she takes a song or two!) As Mrs. Crachit, veteran theatre pro Karen Schaeffer will touch audiences with her candor and humanity.  And, Elisabeth Ballstadt (seen at Stagewest and just about every other major area stage!) takes on the oh-so-fun role of Clare in our one-of-a-kind Yes and No game scene which audiences always relish.
Hollis Monroe is also double cast as Joe the Thief - and his comedic talents there are matched byCynthia Mercati, another well noted area veteran of just about every stage around. And, 2011 ISE Festival Season intern Anna Sundstrom takes on Dora!  Steve Hickle joins us in 3 different roles, and charming young Shannon Beh simply melts hearts in her 2 roles as a young Victorian girl.  We have some fun touches, too:  In his final year gracing Des Moines stages before an exciting upcoming course of professional theatre college study, Alex Schaeffer takes a spin opposit his Mother as her son in the Crachit story - -and in real life. Tim Eckley also reprises his winsome creation of our original Mr. Fezziwig!
Want to know more?  We think we have the cutest Tiny Tim ever in Charlie Ill, and little Hannah Berg is an absolute spitfire in her 2 roles, such as Nancy Crachit.  Finally, returning from her marvelous run in our summer Twain show, the fresh, beautiful Samantha Tucker is lovely as Belle, the love of Young Ebenezer's life.  Choreographer Sara Lyons of Dance-a-Cross Studios adds the special touches ISE is known for, ensuring that the Fezziwig Ballroom scenes are worthy of Terrace Hill's  stunning "Ballroom".
Behind the scenes, the professional talents of Stage Manager Christy Dietsch, back with us again after Festival 2011, ensure the extraordinary challenge of mounting a show in fully 7 different parlors, salons, and halls of one of Iowa's most venerated historic mansions is very well met.  Anna Sundstrom joins the Costume team as Nicole Tesche returns for her third run with us as our Costume Coordinator and Wardrobe Wonder - the lavish period costumes are even richer than ever! Co-Producer Robin Heinemann also creates magic with her special touches around the kind of thoughtfully detailed lighting and scene design required to make theatre glow from every angle of a non-traditional space.

 BELOW:  Scrooge visits the Towering Tree in the Fezziwig Ballroom 
BELOW: New Gourmet buffets  - - so you can "make a Night of it!" Terrace_Hill_Pink_Room_with_food.jpg
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