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‘War Horse’ opens at Civic Center tonight

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012 11:50 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012 12:13 p.m. CDT

England, 1914. As World War I begins, Joey, young Albert’s beloved horse, is sold to the cavalry and shipped from England to France. He’s soon caught up in enemy fire, and fate takes him on an extraordinary journey, serving on both sides before finding himself alone in no man’s land. But Albert cannot forget Joey and, still not old enough to enlist, he embarks on a treacherous mission to find him and bring him home.

“War Horse” — on stage at the Civic Center of Greater Des Moines tonight through Sunday — is a Broadway drama now playing to packed houses in London and New York. At its heart are astonishing life-sized puppets created by South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company that bring to life breathing, galloping, charging horses strong enough for men to ride. The production is based on Michael Morpurgo’s children’s novel of the same name. It was first published in Great Britain in 1982.

The book formed the basis of both the stage production and an acclaimed film in 2011. “War Horse” is based on a true story about a horse named Warrior.

Tickets are on sale now at the Civic Center ticket office, online at www.civiccenter.org, charge-by-phone at (800) 745-3000 and at all Ticketmaster locations. Show times are 7:30 p.m. tonight through Saturday and 6:30 p.m. Sunday with matinee performances at 2 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday.

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