BridgesThe Broadway musical production of the Iowa-based love story, “The Bridges of Madison County,” will open its first-ever national tour at the Civic Center in Des Moines later this year.

Jeff Chelesvig president and CEO of Des Moines Performing Arts, says it’s a “real coup” to land the premiere show. It’s based on the best-selling romance novel from 1992 which was followed by a tear-jerking Hollywood blockbuster three years later, starring Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood.

“I think of the three versions of “The Bridges of Madison County,” this is the version that tells the story most beautifully because of its score and because it really gets into areas of where Francesca came from and tells the story of her and the family,” Chelesvig says. “It also talks about the people of Iowa in a beautiful and caring way.”

Des Moines Performing Arts was an investor in the Broadway production which won two Tony Awards last June. Based in the picturesque rural county in southeast Iowa, it’s considered by some to be one of the most romantic stories ever written, about two people caught between decision and desire, as a chance encounter becomes a second chance and much more. Chelesvig anticipates tickets will go exceptionally fast and it will be a huge tourism boost for central Iowa.

“I think this is going to be a huge draw in a number of ways,” Chelesvig says. “People around Iowa, of course, know the story and know about the bridges of Madison County. All of the folks from the convention and visitors bureau and from Madison County are all so thrilled that we are going to be opening this and they are looking forward to selling it.”

Des Moines has hosted at least four previous launches for national Broadway productions, including “State Fair” in 1995 and “The Music Man” in 2001. “Bridges” will play in Des Moines November 28th through December 5th, followed by a six-week run in Los Angeles.