The Bridges of Madison County Kicks off National Tour in Des Moines

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- It's a Broadway musical with a Tony Award-winning score, and its setting is right here in Central Iowa. "The Bridges of Madison County" is kicking off its national touring show right here in Des Moines.

Audience members may be familiar with the book and film, but the "Bridges of Madison County" will now be told in a touring format, starting right where it's set. While the two lead characters, Italian immigrant, Francesca, and National Geographic photographer, Robert Kincaid, are both outsiders to the state of Iowa, the actors who portray them say the caring, family-oriented culture of the Midwest rubs off on both of them. Elizabeth Stanley, who portrays Francesca, was born and raised in Cedar Rapids - so while her character may be foreign to the "Iowa nice" mentality, she certainly is not.

"I grew up in a really small town, a really rural area. And that is the reality of where my character is living, in rural America," Stanley said. "So I really feel like I do have a great understanding of her surroundings, and how isolated that can feel. And quiet, but also, she says the people are really kind and the people are really there for you. And I know all of that to be very true from my upbringing."

The story, set in 1965 in Madison County, tells the story of Italian immigrant, Francesca, who finds herself raising an American family here in the heartland. Things get complicated when she meets Kincaid, a national photographer assigned to capture the beauty of the county's old bridges. Andrew Samonsky, who portrays Kincaid, says while the script won't change from city to city, he thinks some of the laughs the show has received here in Des Moines won't be as well-understood in other regions.

"Doing it here in Des Moines, it definitely plays a lot differently I think than it will anywhere else in the country," he said. "Yeah, we said, you know, Iowa State is mentioned, and twice I think the show has stopped now, because the audience is cheering so loud for Iowa State. And I don't think that's going to happen anywhere else we go. But even like, there's a line - our director was saying there's a line about a seed catalogue in our show. When it played in New York, she said, we never got a laugh about seed catalogues in New York."

The Bridges of Madison County has shows all week through Saturday at the Des Moines Civic Center. Click here for showtimes and ticket information.