DES MOINES – Hoyt Sherman Place’s John and Penny Krantz Stage received some upgrades this year and more are on the way.

Hoyt Sherman added shade sails to the stage, they also plan to level off steeper areas of the lawn and do more landscaping. All of these improvements are expected to cost $100,000.

The outdoor stage is used for Jazz in July, a summer concert series that features jazz musicians. With the new additions Robert Warren, the CEO of Hoyt Sherman Place, said that more people will be attracted to the theater.

“We have a three-year commitment from our sponsor to continue to do it and to keep it free of charge which is great and the concept of starting off on the lawn is just a way to capture people who drive by this lawn all the time and not even know what’s going on,” Warren said, “So start off on the lawn and then gently invite them to come inside.”

To end the Jazz in July series this year, Hoyt Sherman Place booked jazz legend and East High School alumna, 94-year-old Marilyn Maye. She will perform on July 26 at 5:00 p.m.

“It was the perfect selection I’m so glad she’s available,” Warren said, “Not only is she an East High graduate but she’s almost as old as the theater and she’s still looking beautiful and going strong. Her voice is perfect and she’s just a sweetheart. We will have an opportunity for the audience to engage with her even after the performance.”

Jazz in July will return next summer.