American Gothic Performing Arts Festival Begins This Week


The highly anticipated American Gothic Performing Arts Festival is set to make its return to Ottumwa from June 9 to 26.

Celebrating its 11th anniversary, organizers say the festival promises an extraordinary season filled with mesmerizing performances, thought-provoking plays, and exceptional young talent from around the region and nation.

Opening Weekend, which kicks off on June 9, will set the tone for an unforgettable experience. Audiences will be captivated by a diverse array of performances, including theater, dance, and music, showcasing the rich tapestry of artistic expression. This immersive weekend will offer an opportunity for attendees to indulge in the full breadth of the festival’s offerings, leaving them inspired and enthralled.
The highlight of the Opening Weekend will be the prestigious Arts Gala, taking place on June 10. Distinguished guests, patrons, and artists will gather in the Terrace Garden of the Temple of Creative Arts to celebrate the start of the festival. The Arts Gala will feature captivating performances, delectable cuisine, and an opportunity to engage with the talented artists who bring the festival to life. There will be a live auction of a NYC trip and tickets to the new revival of Sweeney Todd starring Josh Groban and Annaleigh Ashford and featuring AGPA Festival alum Felix Torrez-Ponce, Chef Tables and more. Proceeds from the auction will be shared between AGPA and the Bridge View Center Theater.

Debuting on June 11, Kansas City playwright Victor Wishna’s highly anticipated play, inspired by true local events at the former B’nai Jacob Synagogue in Ottumwa, will take center stage. The play was a finalist in the 2022 National Jewish Playwriting Contest. Titled Tree of Life, this evocative production explores themes of resilience, community, and the power of the human spirit. Wishna’s masterful
storytelling combined with the exceptional performances of the cast will transport audiences to a world of gripping emotions and profound introspection. This debut production is funded in part by the Louis and Frances Swinken Supporting Foundation of the Jewish Community Foundation of Kansas City.

“We are thrilled to present the 2023 American Gothic Performing Arts Festival. This season promises to be our most extraordinary yet, and we invite
everyone to join us for an unforgettable journey through the arts.” Executive Artistic Director Dennis Willhoit

With a lineup encompassing a range of performances, workshops, and special events, the American Gothic Performing Arts Festival is poised to captivate and inspire audiences of all ages. Be a part of this remarkable celebration of creativity and reserve your tickets now at

About the American Gothic Performing Arts Festival: The American Gothic Performing Arts Festival, founded in 2013, is an annual celebration of the performing arts that showcases exceptional talent and thought-provoking works of theater, dance, and music. Located in the heart of [City], the festival has become a cultural cornerstone, nurturing local talent and attracting renowned artists from across the country. For more information, visit

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