Phone: (515) 779-9775
Tom Milligan has spent 45 years as a working theater artist in Iowa. As an actor, director, scenic designer as well as producer, his work has been seen throughout Iowa and the Midwest. Beginning in 1973, many remember his work at Iowa’s first dinner theater, Charlie’s Showplace, in Des Moines. Over the years he has been on staff at The Des Moines Playhouse, The Ingersoll Dinner Theater, The Drake Opera, Hoyt Sherman Theater, The Drama Workshop and many other venues in the Des Moines area. In 2005 he moved to The Amana Colonies, working on multiple productions at The Old Creamery Theater, The Iowa Theater Artists Company, as well as many self-produced productions. His 16-year association with Humanities Iowa reflects his passion for both theater and history through his unique one man play presentations.
The Art of Conservation: A Visit with Ding Darling
In this 45-minute presentation, Jay N. “Ding” Darling visits with the audience, as an old friend, in his 11th office at The Des Moines Register. Beginning with his early years in Sioux City where as a young boy where he became aware of the natural world around him while developing skills as an editorial cartoonist, he recalls his remarkable life journey. His story continues to include two Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoons for the Register and a remarkable career as a nationally known conservationist. From the introduction of The Duck Stamp to the creation of the National Wildlife Federation, Darling’s influence was felt not only through his cartoons but his actions as well. Considered by many to be one of the most important members of the modern conservation movement in the first half of the 20th century, the impact of his work is still felt today.
This program is part of the Democracy and the Informed Citizen Initiative, administered by the Federation of State Humanities Councils. The initiative seeks to deepen the public’s knowledge and appreciation of the vital connections between democracy, the humanities, journalism, and an informed citizenry.
We thank The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for their generous support of this initiative and the Pulitzer Prizes for their partnership.
Grant Wood: Prairie Rebel
In this 45-minute, one-man show, Grant Wood chats with the audience as if talking to an old friend across the backyard fence, or maybe at his home at Five Turner Alley in Cedar Rapids. He tells us about his life and how he changed the art world forever with his work. It is the man behind American Gothic that we hear and see, and the story of how he took the moments, the memories and the people of our state to show the whole world the specialness of this Iowa. After the presentation, the audience is encouraged to ask questions about Grant Wood and his life.
American Dreamer: The Life and Times of Henry A. Wallace
In this one-act play based on the award-winning book of the same name by Senator John C. Culver and John Hyde, actor Tom Milligan portrays Henry A. Wallace, the agricultural innovator and founder of Pioneer Hi-Bred seed corn company who became US Secretary of Agriculture and later Vice President under Franklin Roosevelt. Admired by many and later branded as a Socialist during his controversial 1948 campaign for the presidency, Wallace always held out a vision for the future.