The Iowa Theater has been reopen for just under a month, and we’re all adjusting to what a night at the movies looks like now. The lights still go down and the popcorn is still just as good (it might even taste betterabsence really makes the heart grow fonder), but a packed house now means just around 30 people, and our staff’s smiles are behind masks. It is a challenge, but we know that every showtime is also a promiseto entertain you, to let you escape and to do so as safely as we know how. 

There are still no new movies available to theaters yetthe next big titles arrive in late July, so in the meantime we’re showing some classics that will lift your spirits. June was all about comedy, and July is all about song and dancemusicals to life your mood, we hope. 

First up is an encore of “The Wizard of Oz” (July 1, 3, 4), a film we showed the summer we reopened. I remember vividly the text message I got from our manager, “Line out the door!” he said, and attached was a photo of a line around the block to get inside to the cool air-conditioning and cold soda on a hot August evening. As we’ve all been spending a lot more time at home lately, Dorothy’s sentiment feels even more appropriate: there’s no place like home. 

Next is a personal favorite, the Ann-Margret, Dick Wan Dyke classic “Bye Bye Birdie” (July 8, 10, 11). This film is presented by our friends at the Winterset Stage, and will be free for Stage members. Be on the lookout for information on how to become a member and support our vibrant community players. 

Smack in the middle of the month is “Little Shop of Horrors” (July 15, 17, 18fun fact: I played “Street Walker #3” in the Winterset High School production of this, somewhere around 1996), which brings the dorky Seymour face to face with the blood thirsty plant, Audrey II. If you’ve never seen it, we guarantee all the songs are real ear worms, and you’ll leave with a new appreciation for your local dentist. 

Our second to last July title is a bit more contemporarythe Abba-tastic “Mamma Mia” (July 22, 24, 25). This is a great Girls’ Night Out film (we’ve got wine specials all week!) and we encourage safe, physically distanced dancing in the aisles. 

Finally, Fred Astaire and Audrey Hepburn dance through Paris in “Funny Face” (July 29, 31 and August 1). Hepburn has never been more demure and innocent, and Fred Astaire never more footloose and fancy free. My husband and I have been watching a lot of Fred Astaire films, and this one stands out as being especially light and lively. 

We hope that the singing and dancing of these films will make you smile, even if behind a mask. 

Please visit www.the-iowa.com for showtimes for July and more details.