7 Holiday Plays to Enjoy With Your Family Near Iowa City

During the holiday season, it’s easy to get caught up in the spirit of buying. Why not consider an experience that your family can share as a special kind of holiday gift? Here are some upcoming plays and special events in the corridor for the holiday season.

Holiday Plays in the Iowa City Area

“A Charlie Brown Christmas/What Could Go Wrong the Night Before Christmas?”

Young Footliters
Coralville Center for the Performing Arts

Iowa City Holiday plays

Kick off your festivities with this live action double feature at Coralville’s beautiful performance space. This show features the thespians of the Young Footliters acting company.

“When Charlie Brown complains about the overwhelming materialism he sees during the Christmas season, Lucy suggests that he become director of the school Christmas pageant. Charlie Brown accepts, but this proves to be a frustrating endeavor. When an attempt to restore the proper holiday spirit with a forlorn little Christmas fir tree fails, he needs Linus’ help to discover the real meaning of Christmas.” 

This performance includes a presentation of the one-act play “What Can Go Wrong the Night Before Christmas?” This hilarious one-act is a spoof on the poem, “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” by Clement Clarke Moore. A host attempts to do a lovely reading of the poem but is stymied by every imaginable interruption.

This show runs November 17-18 at 7 p.m. and November 19 at 2 p.m. Tickets are available at www.coralvillearts.org. The CCPA is located at 1301 5th St, Coralville.


Book by Thomas Meehan, Music by Charles Strouse, Lyrics by Martin Charnin
Theatre Cedar Rapids

Everyone’s favorite red-headed orphan lifts our spirits by singing about the sun, and its inevitable rise tomorrow.

“With equal measures of pluck and positivity, little orphan Annie wins everyone’s hearts despite a next-to-nothing start in 1930s New York City.  She is determined to find the parents who abandoned her years ago at the orphanage run by the cruel Miss Hannigan.  Annie charms her way out of the orphanage and helps a wealthy man learn that money isn’t everything.”

This show runs Fridays and Saturdays, November 17 through December 9, at 7:30 p.m., as well as Sundays, November 26 through December 10, at 2:30 p.m. at Theatre Cedar Rapids. Tickets available at www.theatrecr.org. Theatre Cedar Rapids is located at 102 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids.

“It’s a Wonderful Life: Radio Play” 

By Joe Landry
Iowa City Community Theatre

Iowa City Community Theater is in its 62nd season. Head out to the Johnson County Fairgrounds and enjoy this delightful play.

“George Bailey spends his entire life giving up his big dreams for the good of his town, Bedford Falls. But in on Christmas Eve, he is broken over the misplacing of a loan and the machinations of the evil millionaire Mr. Potter. His guardian angel, Clarence, falls to Earth and shows him how his town, family, and friends would have turned out if he had never been born. George meant so much to so many people; should he really throw it all away?”

This show runs December 1-December 10, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets are available at www.iowacitycommunitytheatre.com. Iowa City Community Theatre produces shows at 4261 Oak Crest Hill Rd SE, Iowa City.

“The Best Christmas Pageant Ever”

By Barbara Robinson
Young Footliters at Hoover Museum OR Giving Tree Theatre

Iowa City Holiday plays

Two theaters are producing this play, about what happens when the worst kids in town, the Herdmans, get involved with the annual church Christmas pageant. The Young Footliters’ performance will be at the Herbert Hoover Museum and Library in West Branch on Friday, December 1 at 7 p.m., and Saturday, December 2, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. This is part of West Branch’s annual holiday celebration. The Hoover Library and Museum is located at 210 Parkside Drive, West Branch. Tickets are free but must be pre-reserved at www.coralvillearts.org. (As of this publication, tickets for this performance are sold out.)

“You won’t believe the mayhem–and the fun–when the Herdmans collide with the Christmas story head on! This delightful comedy is adapted from the best-selling Young Adult book, and has become a holiday staple.”

If you’d like to see this play,  you can travel to Marion and sit in Giving Tree Theatre’s cozy seats to enjoy “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever,” November 24-December 17, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets are available at www.givingtreetheatre.com.  Giving Tree is located at 752 10th St, Marion.

“A Christmas Carol”

Adapted by Patrick Barlow
Old Creamery Theatre

“This brand-new, thrilling adaptation of Dickens’s classic comes from the author of the Broadway and West End hit, The 39 Steps. A truly original retelling of the story of Ebenezer Scrooge and his ghostly visitors brought to life by a small, imaginative cast. It’s the spirit of the Christmas season in a way you’ve NEVER seen it before. Witness Scrooge’s transformation from a stingy miser to a man who generously celebrates the spirit of the season all year long in this highly theatrical adaptation.

Old Creamery Theatre in Amana presents the Dickens classic. This show runs November 16 through December 17, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 2 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m.  Tickets are available at www.oldcreamery.com. The main stage is at 39 38th Avenue, Amana. Please note that children under age 6 are not allowed at mainstage shows.

“Junie B. Jones is Not a Crook”

By Allison Gregory, Adapted from the book series by Barbara Park
Old Creamery Theatre

Iowa City Holiday Plays

“Something terrible happened to Junie B. Jones at school today! Someone stole her new furry mittens! So when Junie B. finds a wonderful pen of many colors, she should be allowed to keep it, right? Because finders keepers, losers weepers. It is okay to keep it, right? Junie B. Jones is not a crook…or is she? Join in on the fun with America’s favorite kindergartener!”

Presented by Old Creamery Theatre’s series for Young Audiences, this show runs November 25- December 16. Tickets are available at www.oldcreamery.com. November 25 at 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., December 2 at 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., December 9 at 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., December 16 at 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.

Old Creamery Theatre is located at 39 38th Avenue, Amana.

“Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”

By Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber
City Circle Acting Company of Coralville
Coralville Center for the Performing Arts

The first collaboration between Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice and one of the most enduring shows of all time, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” is the irresistible family musical about the trials and triumphs of Joseph, Israel’s favorite son. This show runs December 8-December 17, Fridays at 2:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets are available at www.coralvillearts.org. This show will be at the Coralville Center for the Performing Arts, 1301 5th St, Coralville.

Attending a theatrical performance can be a great way for your family to spend time together at the holidays. Please talk to your children ahead of time about appropriate behavior in the theater, which includes sitting still, not talking during the performance, and no use of electronic devices in the audience. I love theater and sincerely want all children to have the experience of a stage show, but please make sure they are mature enough to enjoy the show without becoming restless.

For an extensive calendar of family-friendly events this holiday season, check out our guide to holiday family events!

Happy holidays, I hope you enjoy some drama!


Sharon Falduto is a Central Iowa native who came to University of Iowa in 1991 and essentially never left the area. She is involved in local community theater, notably as one of the co-founders of Iowa City's Dreamwell Theatre. She has also directed children's plays with the Young Footliters group. Sharon works in with English Language Learners in a support position at Kirkwood Community College.. She lives in Coralville with her husband, Matt, and three daughters Rachel, Samantha, and Piper.


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