OCP Announces Auditions for ‘Dead Bird Play’

Omaha Community Playhouse is pleased to announce auditions for:

Dead Bird Play
By Maddie Radcliffe

A part of OCP’s Alternative Programming Series


Directed by Charisa Ramsey

Virtual Auditions
Nov. 21 and 22 | 2–6 p.m.
Auditions will be by appointment only via Zoom in 20 minute increments. Actors will be read in pairs. Please email Becky Deiber at bdeiber@omahaplayhouse.com to schedule a virtual audition and to receive audition paperwork and sides.

*The two characters in this play (ALEX and JORDAN) are deliberately not categorized by gender, race, age, ability or sexuality. This is a deliberate intent to actively encourage equitable casting. This reading will be filmed on Dec. 14th, 2020 and streamed at a later date.

Synopsis: In this new play by Maddie Radcliffe, everything’s fine until it’s not. All Alex wants is keep their porch plants alive, and all Jordan just wants is to visit their friend. An otherwise uneventful day plunges into surreal chaos when an ungodly amount of dead birds plummet from the sky and blanket Alex’s yard. What is this? A freak illness? A government conspiracy? Something…darker? Just when is a good time to talk about what happened? When an apocalypse seems nigh, your choices, past, present, and future, come into sharp relief.

Through upholding high ethical standards, demonstrating respect for all and consciously working to provide diverse representation, OCP is committed to creating an inclusive and safe environment in which all community members feel a sense of belonging, and does not discriminate in casting practices on the basis of an individual’s ethnicity, age, gender, physical and cognitive ability, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, country of origin or other factors. Omaha Community Playhouse is committed to diverse and inclusive casting.

OCP Needs Some Sleuths to Solve a Murder

Omaha Community Playhouse Announces Auditions for:

Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express
Adapted for the stage by Ken Ludwig


Directed by Anthony Clark-Kaczmarek


Production Dates: Feb. 26–March 21, 2021 | Hawks Mainstage
Rehearsals: Begin Jan. 17, 2021

In-Person, by appointment only Auditions
Sunday, Nov. 29 | 2 p.m. in Dance Studio at OCP (6915 Cass St, Omaha, NE)

To schedule an audition time and to receive paperwork, email Becky Deiber at bdeiber@omahaplayhouse.com

Enter through the Stage Door on the West side of the building. For those auditioning in person: Temperatures of auditioners will be taken upon arrival. Auditioners will be required to wear a facemask. Auditions will be held individually. Callbacks may include small groups. Provided seating will be plastic or metal chairs only, no fabric upholstery. The audition space will be appropriately sanitized. When arriving to audition, please enter through the Stage Door entrance on the West side of the building.

Virtual Auditions via Zoom
Monday, Nov. 30 | 6 p.m.
—Email Becky Deiber at bdeiber@omahaplayhouse.com to schedule a virtual audition via Zoom. Video Submission Auditions being accepted now through Nov 29. You can also submit a vocal audition video to Becky Deiber.


A Story of Survival

Living as a transgender woman during the nightmarish regimes of the Third Reich and the Soviets who ruled East Germany after World War II should have doomed Charlotte von Mahlsdorf to a tragic, possibly even short, life.  But she managed to not only survive, but thrive as an antiquarian with an amazing life story to tell.  But was her story simply a story to cover a more tragic reality?  Judge for yourself by watching I Am My Own Wife by Doug Wright and playing at the Omaha Community Playhouse.

Doug Wright has not written a biographical play.  This is a spoken biography with snatches of an autobiography tossed in as Wright, himself, is one of the 35 characters in the production.  Wright has a phenomenal gift for voice.  The conversations and monologues all sound completely natural and believable.  Unsurprising, as a great deal of them were culled from actual interviews he conducted with von Mahlsdorf.  But there’s a richness and power to the words that go beyond a mere interview and they suck the viewer in as von Mahlsdorf shares her fascinating life story.

Kimberly Faith Hickman provides yet another top of the line piece of direction with this play.  In the hands of a less capable director, the biographical nature of the show could cause it to become a little dry and draggy, but Faith Hickman keeps the pace brisk and knows how to strike the beats so the interviews and anecdotes pop and burst with a vibrant life of their own.  Her guidance of the play’s sole performer is entrancing as each character played by the actress is unique and well defined and helps pull the audience deeper into the tale.

I was particularly excited to see this show as I always relish the opportunity to see a new talent on the stage.  That being said, Natalie Weiss makes an epic debut at the Playhouse and does it, not with a bang, but with a whisper.

Weiss brings a quiet energy to her performance which is crucial for the primary character of von Mahlsdorf.  As von Mahlsdorf, Weiss is soft-spoken and unassuming, almost mesmeric.  Listening to von Mahlsdorf is like listening to your own grandmother as she has a warm and welcoming presence that can’t help but hook you in as she shares the story of her survival during one of history’s most horrific periods.  So closely do you identify with von Mahlsdorf that a lump may appear in your throat when the possibility that parts, perhaps all, of von Mahlsdorf’s life story could be works of fiction when official evidence from the Soviet regime of East Germany contradicts some of her personal story.

But Weiss’ skill isn’t limited to her handling of von Mahlsdorf.  Weiss proves herself a performer of great range and versatility as she assumes another 34 characters throughout the night.  Her changes are achieved effortlessly and subtly and accomplished through slight changes in posture, vocal timbre, accent, and energy focus.  The changes are also quite fluid as one character flows naturally into the next without smacking the audience over the head with the changeover.

Some of my favorite characters in Weiss’ repertoire were an intense Nazi commander who managed to retain a degree of humanity and spared von Mahlsdorf’s life from an execution squad; her depiction of von Mahlsdorf’s brutish father; her calm, no-nonsense aunt; Wright, himself, with a youthful exuberance and excitement at turning von Mahlsdorf’s life into a play; Wright’s very Southern friend, John; and a gregarious German TV talk show host who interviewed von Mahlsdorf when the controversy of her cooperation with East Germany’s Russian regime was national news.

Jim Othuse’s lights add so much to this play.  He utilizes an almost sepia effect with the lights so that one feels he or she is looking at a living, old time photograph, though he also achieves a nice disco effect when von Mahlsdorf visits a homosexual nightclub and achieves a TV studio lighting effect for the talk show scene.  Darin Kuehler’s properties accentuate the production with the period correct, antique models, pictures, and phonograph that make up von Mahlsdorf’s museum.  Amanda Fehlner’s simple black dress gives von Mahlsdorf that grandmotherly feel.  John Gibilisco’s ambient sounds always enhance von Mahlsdorf’s recollections from the fighter planes of WW II to gunshots to the disco beat of the nightclub.

Ultimately this story is an incredible tale of survival, but the question the show asks is how did von Mahlsdorf survive?  Was her personal story the truth of her survival or were her stories her means of surviving awful personal choices she was forced to make?  Or is the truth somewhere in between?  That answer is left to you.

I Am My Own Wife plays at the Omaha Community Playhouse through Nov 15. Showtimes are Thurs-Sat at 7:30pm and Sundays at 2pm.  Tickets start at $36 and may be purchased at www.omahaplayhouse.com or by calling the Box Office at 402-553-0800.  Due to mature themes and some strong language, this show is not suitable for children.  The Omaha Community Playhouse is located at 6915 Cass St in Omaha, NE.

Lofte Community Theatre Holding Auditions for ‘Keeping Spirits Bright’

Lofte Community Theatre Announces Auditions for:

Making Spirits Bright By Kathryn Cover
Performances: December 5-6, 11-13, & 17-20
Auditions: October 19 & 20 @ 7 PM
2 Men, 1 Woman; Ages 30 and Up

We all feel the modern strains of the holiday season, shopping, decorating, and food preparations. Follow one couple through a Christmas season that helps them bring back the spirit of what the holiday is about. Through magic, love, and humor, and a mysterious “Neighbor”, Nick and Helen rediscover the joys of the holiday.

Lofte Community Theatre is located at 15841 Manley Rd in Manley, NE.

OCP Holding Auditions for ‘The Last Five Years’

Omaha, NE.–The Omaha Community Playhouse is holding auditions for the upcoming production of The Last Five Years on Saturday, Oct. 31 at 11 a.m. at OCP, located at 6915 Cass St., Omaha, NE 68132. Video auditions are being accepted now through Oct. 31. Those who wish to submit a video audition can send their video to Becky Deiber at bdeiber@omahaplayhouse.com

Through upholding high ethical standards, demonstrating respect for all and consciously working to provide diverse representation, OCP is committed to creating an inclusive and safe environment in which all community members feel a sense of belonging, and does not discriminate in casting practices on the basis of an individual’s ethnicity, age, gender, physical and cognitive ability, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, country of origin or other factors. Omaha Community Playhouse is committed to diverse and inclusive casting.

Production: The Last Five Years

Written and Composed By: Jason Robert Brown

Director: Susan Baer Collins

Show Dates: Jan. 15–Feb. 7, 2021

Show Synopsis: A captivating, intimate musical that retraces the rise and fall of a five-year romantic relationship. The story is presented in chronological order by Jamie, the man, and in reverse by Cathy, the woman, with the two versions of the story meeting only once—at their wedding in the middle. Profoundly emotional with comedic moments sprinkled throughout, The Last Five Years is beautifully heartbreaking.

Roles

Catherine Hiatt; Age 25 to 35; Vocal range top D#5; Vocal range bottom F3; Character arcs from an ambitious, fresh-faced girl in a new relationship to a woman stunned by a betrayal and a divorce that she is only beginning to understand.

Jamie Wellerstein; Gender male; Age 25 to 35; Vocal range top Bb4; Vocal range bottom A2; Character arcs from an ambitious guy on a promising first date with a dazzling career to someone who is blinded by success and ego. He is lovable, yet makes unintentional choices that sabotage his own happiness.

To schedule an audition and to request paperwork, please email Becky Deiber at bdeiber@omahaplayhouse.com.

Vocal auditions will be in the Hitchcock Rehearsal Hall. Those who cannot attend in person may submit a vocal audition video.

Auditioners must fill out paperwork in advance, not at the audition. They can return completed paperwork by email or bring it with them. Specific time slots will be set in advance for each auditioner. Tryouts will be in groups of no more than 15. Temperatures of auditioners will be taken upon arrival. Auditioners will be required to wear a facemask. Auditioners will be allowed to sing only 16 bars of a song of their choosing, for which they should bring sheet music. Provided seating will be plastic or metal chairs only, no fabric upholstery. The audition space will be sanitized between groups . When arriving to audition, please enter through the south entrance lobby doors.

Please Bring: All contact information, personal schedules and a list of rehearsal conflicts with which to fill out an audition form. To expedite the check-in process, please bring a recent photo if you have one available. Please note, photos will not be returned.

Contact: For more information, contact Becky Deiber, bdeiber@omahaplayhouse.com, at(402) 661-8539.

Yesteryear’s Luxury: Rochester Inn & Sheboygan Falls, WI

DSC02666

Rochester Inn

Today the road has brought me to Sheboygan Falls, WI.

At long last, it was vacation time!  But what a change in plans.  Originally, I had been gearing up for a trip to England which would have begun next week, but that plan had to be put on the back burner.  So if I couldn’t be in England, I decided I would experience a bit of New England in the Midwest with a visit to Rochester Inn owned and operated by Ray and Kelly York.

I was struck by an incredible sense of déjà vu as Green Bay, WI had been the last place I visited before normalcy got upended in March.  And the route to Sheboygan Falls is identical except for the last 45 minutes.

The trip started off rather well.  I had a clear stretch of road.  I enjoyed a meal at my favorite hole in the wall, Iowa’s Best Burger Café, in Kellogg, IA and arrived at the same Hampton Inn in Cedar Rapids that I had stayed at when I visited Green Bay.

Again, I had a very restful night, though I was somewhat disappointed by the breakfast.  During the week, they still serve a hot meal, but during the weekends, they serve a to go bag.  Mine had a banana, a honey bun, and a bottle of water.  One would think that the hot meal would be served during the weekend and the to go bag during the week, but my best friend thought they were catering to business travelers during the week which was an angle I had not considered and could very well be correct.

Saturday was gray, murky, and rainy.  But it was still an enjoyable drive.  I ended up arriving in Sheboygan Falls earlier than planned and was hungry so I stopped at a McDonald’s to eat a sandwich and small fries while I read another mystery in a Sherlock Holmes pastiche I had been reading.  Then I drove around the town for a bit before arriving at Rochester Inn.

Rochester Inn is located in the Cole Historic District and had been built by local businessman and pioneer, Charles Cole, in 1848.  The building had been built in the Greek Revival style and was originally a trading post and general store with the Cole family living on the second floor and the third floor being used as a meeting place for the Midwest’s first temperance society.  It is also believed that the building may have served as the town’s post office as Cole had been the postmaster.

The building had been several other businesses before falling into disrepair.  In 1986, it was restored to its original grandeur and became a bed and breakfast.

The inn is reminiscent of a New England inn at the turn of the century and if you want seclusion and social distancing, this is the B & B for you.

Possessing only 6 suites, Rochester Inn is the first inn I’ve visited that has no common area outside of the entry hall which I suspect is normally used for checking in and out.  The inn is currently utilizing a socially distant self check-in process and I found an envelope containing a welcome letter and inn keys waiting for me when I arrived.  I made my way up the back stairs and reached my room, the William Brian Donlevy suite.

Rochester Inn is famed for its two floor suites and I was hoping this would be the one I would be given.  Without question, this is the most luxurious suite in which I’ve stayed to date.  The first floor features deep blue carpeting adorned with symbols that reminded me of my old Webelos badge along with a leather couch, an elegant coffee table, and two armless easy chairs.  On a table by the door, I found a plate of cookies containing caramel or butterscotch chips (perhaps both) which I munched on while walking upstairs where I found a four poster queen-sized bed, writing desk, vanity area, and bathroom containing a very deep two person jacuzzi tub.  Flat screen TVs are located both upstairs and downstairs with the upstairs one having a DVD player and a DVD library is available in the main hall.

After getting settled, I relaxed for a bit before heading out for a little walk in the historic downtown area and the nearby neighborhoods.

Sheboygan Falls strikes me as a very well to do town due to the quality of homes I saw on my amblings.  It also contains a large number of parks and I spent a bit of time at Sheboygan Falls View Park looking at the town’s namesake falls.

DSC02669

Dinnertime had arrived and I made the brief journey to Duke of Devon in nearby Sheboygan.  Duke of Devon is an English gastropub that practices pretty good social distancing.  I sipped on a ginger ale while enjoying a cottage pie which is a beef stew with tomatoes, marmite, and a mashed potato topping and it was quite tasty and filling.

After dinner, I returned to Rochester Inn where I spent the evening relaxing before retiring for the night.

I rose quite early the next morning and watched a little TV while I waited for my breakfast to be delivered.

As I stated earlier, there are no common areas in this inn which means no communal dining room.  Breakfast is delivered within a thirty minute window that you mark on a card and hang up on your door.  For those who must leave early, a continental breakfast can be left for you if you need to eat on the go.

At about 8:45, a tray was delivered to my room.  It looked splendid and the food tasted even better.

DSC02678

Herb infused eggs with ham and cheese, fresh fruit, cinnamon croissant, with apple cinnamon jam, and OJ.

The meal consisted of a glass of orange juice with fruit and a cinnamon croissant that was so good that I literally leaned back on the couch and tapped my toes along with a casserole dish of herb infused eggs with ham and cheese.  There was also a small serving of apple cinnamon jam.  Now I’ve never been a jam fan, but this was so good that I spread it on my croissant to increase the cinnamon goodness.

After breakfast, I drew a bath and decided to try the herbal bath salts.  It smelled like a field of flowers and I don’t know if it helped me to relax, but the perfect temperature of the water certainly did along with the massaging power of the jets.

After the bath, I started visiting the local parks beginning with Falls Park.  I enjoyed gazing at the eight foot high waterfall while watching the red and gold leaves of the trees in the park.  I spoke to my best friend for about an hour before the charge on my phone wore out.  Then I headed to Settlers Park where I saw a pond full of mallards swimming and honking away.

After a morning of exploring, I returned to the inn where I found a new plate of white chocolate chip cookies waiting for me which I enjoyed while doing a little writing and Facebooking.

About a quarter of six, I decided to walk into town and have an early dinner.  My choice was Fat Cow Pub & Eatery.

DSC02695

Fat Cow Pub & Eatery

Very few people were in there which made distancing even easier and I decided for some local fare with the Cheese Curd Stuffed Cheeseburger.

This was a fantastic choice.  It was served on a garlic aioli bun with lettuce, pickles, onions, bacon, and a bit of BBQ sauce.  Juicy, filling, and just plain delicious.  Feeling contented I returned to Rochester Inn where I organized some photos, watched The Blind Side, and hit the hay.

The next morning found me enjoying another leisurely soak before I got back to writing this article.  A knock at my door at 8:50am brought a tray that consisted of fruit, OJ, little smokies, and Pecan Encrusted Cinnamon French Toast with authentic Wisconsin maple syrup.

DSC02697

Pecan Encrusted Cinnamon French Toast with fresh fruit, little smokies, and OJ.

And with another satisfying meal tucked away, I was ready to relax for roughly an hour before heading for home.

But if you find yourself near the Sheboygan Falls region, do yourself a favor and spend a night or two at Rochester Inn.  You’ll enjoy some timeless elegance with some splendid meals and you can enjoy a bit of simplicity with the town’s numerous parks.

Until the next time. . .happy travels. Continue reading

OCP Artistic Director Announces Departure

Omaha, NE.–After serving as artistic director for four-and-a-half years, Kimberly Faith Hickman has announced she is leaving her role at the Omaha Community Playhouse (OCP) at the end of 2020. Hickman plans to return to OCP in spring of 2021 as a guest director for the highly anticipated production of Willy Wonka and to teach for OCP’s Henry Fonda Theatre Academy.

Susan Baer Collins will serve as the interim artistic director upon Hickman’s departure until OCP completes a nation-wide search for the organization’s next artistic director. Baer Collins held various positions on staff at OCP from 1987 to 2014, most notably associate artistic director. She also served as an interim artistic director at OCP from 2015 to 2016.

“I am very proud of the programmatic, artistic and educational growth that has occurred at OCP during the last four-and-a-half years,” said Hickman. “I have collaborated with incredible people, both onstage and off, and the Omaha Community Playhouse staff is among some of the best that I have worked with in my 18 years of working in theatre. I look forward to those collaborations continuing in this new capacity.”

“Kimberly brought an enormous amount of creativity and passion to OCP over the last four years,” said Katie Broman, Executive Director. “She has contributed so much to our organization in many positive ways. We appreciate all of her hard work, and we wish her the absolute best in any and all future endeavors.”

Hickman joined the OCP staff in 2016 and quickly became a driving force in the organization. In addition to programming four seasons and directing 19 productions, Hickman established the OCP Directing Fellowship, a program that provides up-and-coming directors the opportunity to gain valuable directing experience. She worked with Autism Action Partnership to develop sensory-friendly performances, designed to create a welcoming environment for those with autism spectrum disorders, sensory sensitivities and other special needs to experience live theatre. She coordinated Spanish-translated performances, offering real-time translation services during popular productions via headset. Hickman also rebranded OCP’s existing education department as the Henry Fonda Theatre Academy.

OCP will commence a nation-wide search for the organization’s new artistic director. “We are committed to hiring an artistic director who is both exceedingly talented and passionate about leading OCP into our next 100 years of service to the Omaha community,” Broman said. “We will seek the most qualified candidates who share OCP’s values of inclusivity, artistic and educational impact, excellence, stewardship and community.”

Into the Gray

A hotshot fighter pilot is grounded after she becomes pregnant.  After several years, she is ready to be “in the blue” again, but finds herself still on the ground as she will now pilot a drone.  Her relegation to the “Chair” Force and finally witnessing the real horrors of war cause her to slowly lose her sense of identity and her mind won’t be far behind if the spiral can’t be stopped.  This is Grounded by George Brant and currently playing at the Omaha Community Playhouse.

Brant’s script displays a minute understanding of what being in the military means to somebody completely dedicated to the military.  Brant’s unnamed pilot exudes that unbreakable sense of brotherhood with the constant camaraderie which includes not only hanging out together, but the blue language one often finds in the barracks.  But Brant’s pilot also shows the danger of one’s identity being wrapped up in what he or she does as opposed to who she or he is as the changes to warfare and inability to fly slowly rob the pilot of her sense of self.  Brant’s play title actually holds a number of meanings within the context of the show.  The pilot is grounded in the sense that she is not permitted to fly.  In her own mind, she is grounded in the sense of punishment when she is forced to pilot a drone.  As she loses herself, she loses the things that kept her grounded. 

Kimberly Faith-Hickman keeps all of these ideas and a great deal more in mind with her direction of this play.  The staging is absolutely impeccable as she uses a plexiglass cell designed by Jim Othuse which serves the double purpose of keeping the actor socially distant from the audience, but also represents the cell that slowly builds around the Pilot over the course of the show.  Her managing of the play’s numerous beats is precisely on point and the changes always ring true.  Faith-Hickman’s guidance of her sole performer is a work of art as she lets the story build slowly and organically before reaching its tense climax and crushing resolution.

Leanne Hill-Carlson’s rendition of the Pilot is splendid and nearly flawless.  Her Pilot is definitely a tomboy as she curses at a PhD level, enjoys a beer and burger with her brothers-in-arms, and has a real sense of swagger and machismo.  The Pilot has a confidence that often bleeds over into arrogance with her enjoyment of being the lone wolf and her constant referencing to herself as a god.

But this is no 2D character.  The Pilot is a multifaceted character with a constantly evolving emotional arc that Hill-Carlson rides the same way a champion jockey rides a prime thoroughbred.  One actually feels Hill-Carlson’s disappointment with being grounded, her anger and frustration at not getting to fly a proper jet when reactivated to combat duty, her arrogant sense of superiority when hunting the enemy, her shock at seeing dead bodies for the first time, and her slowly eroding sense of identity when the ease and more personal nature of modern warfare conflict with the way things were.

Not only does Hill-Carlson masterfully play the Pilot, but she presents it beautifully as well.  She’s always aware of her positioning and plays to all sides of the theatre and punctuates her monologues with just the right reactions and gestures.

Jim Othuse’s lights bolster the story as he gives us a desert sun and shades of gray as the Pilot loses her sense of emotional color and the ability to see anything as black or white.  Lindsay Pape has Hill-Carlson properly attired in an Air Force jumpsuit.  John Gibilisco provides always appropriate sounds especially in a small running gag of radio static always changing into AC/DC songs.  Jay Hanson has also composed an original score that well supports this story’s emotional trek.

In the end, this is a tragic tale of someone who enjoyed being in the clouds in more ways than one being brought to earth in a most decisive fashion and makes for a gripping night of storytelling.

Grounded plays at the Omaha Community Playhouse through October 18.  Showtimes are Thurs-Sat at 7:30pm and Sundays at 2pm.  Tickets start at $36 and may be purchased at www.omahaplayhouse.com or by calling the Box Office at 402-553-0800.  Due to strong language, this show is not suitable for children.  The Omaha Community Playhouse is located at 6915 Cass St in Omaha, NE.

Prepare to Be ‘Grounded’

Omaha, NE.– Grounded will open Friday, Sept. 25 at the Omaha Community Playhouse. The show will be held in the Howard Drew Theatre at OCP. Performances will run Thursdays through Sundays through Oct. 18. The Howard Drew Theatre will allow for social distancing and other safety precautions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

An ace fighter pilot finds herself grounded when an unexpected pregnancy cuts her career in the sky short. Reassigned to military drone operation, the former F-16 pilot patrols Afghanistan by day—from a windowless trailer outside of Las Vegas—and returns to her family at night. But as professional pressure mounts, the lines between the desert where she lives and the desert where she hunts high-profile terrorists begins to blur.

Tickets are on sale now starting at $36, with prices varying by performance. Tickets may be purchased through the OCP Box Office by phone at (402) 553-0800 or online at OmahaPlayhouse.com.

COVID-19 INFORMATION

All audience, staff, and volunteers will be required to wear masks. Masks will be available free of charge and must be worn properly in accordance with CDC guidelines. Patrons attending a show in either theatre will be socially distanced from other guests with all groups at least 6 feet apart. In the Howard Drew theatre, a plexiglass barrier will be installed around the perimeter of the stage to provide separation between guests and performers. Productions will not incorporate any physical audience participation.

Audience members will be required to self-screen for a fever and symptoms of illness prior to arriving at OCP. Those with fever or other symptoms may exchange their ticket at no cost. New arrival and dismissal procedures will help encourage social distancing, including staggered vehicle loading/unloading, assigned will call pick up times and row-by-row dismissal after a show.

Lobbies, reception areas and lines will be arranged and marked to encourage social distancing. Plexiglass barriers will be installed in the box office windows with cash-free payments encouraged, touchless credit card transactions offered and touch-free ticket pickup available. Common areas and performance halls will be cleaned and sanitized on a daily basis with both cleanser and electrostatic technology.

All restrooms will be outfitted with touchless fixtures and will be sanitized daily and throughout performances. We will no longer hold post-show meet and greets with the actors in the lobby. Concessions and drinks will not be available and public water fountains will be closed.

Director:  Kimberly Faith-Hickman

Starring:  Leanne Hill-Carlson as The Pilot

Secluded Splendor: Tuck U Inn at Glick Mansion & Atchison, KS

Tuck U Inn at Glick Mansion

Today the road has brought me to Atchison, KS.

Labor Day weekend had arrived and I felt the need to get away to someplace quiet and restful.  A look through my trusty spreadsheet and I realized it was the perfect time to visit Atchison and Tuck U Inn at Glick Mansion owned and operated by Chris and Loman Wildy.

I had been meaning to visit Atchison for quite a while, not only because of Glick Mansion, but because the town also contains a community theatre, Theatre Atchison, where I plan to one day review one of their shows.  However, with the pandemic currently throwing a wrench into the world of the arts, I decided to at least visit the town and inn.  (I would later learn that Theatre Atchison is mounting a 20-21 season.)

Theatre Atchison

It was the type of drive I like the best:  no interstate.  Nothing but highways and going through a small town or two before I arrived in Atchison.

Atchison is actually notable for a number of items.  It has a deep history, once had more millionaires per capita than any other city in the country, was the birthplace of Amelia Earhart, and is considered the most haunted town in Kansas.  In fact, across the street from Glick Mansion is Sallie House, the most haunted house in Kansas which has been featured on many shows.  It is available for self-guided tours and overnights, but one must sign a waiver to enter the house as there is a chance for injury in the abandoned domicile, though one hasn’t happened since the last tenants in 1993.

Sallie House. This is reportedly the most haunted house in Kansas.

I entered the town around 4pm and made my way to Glick Mansion which is located in Atchison’s historical district.

When I think of a classic B & B, Glick Mansion is the vision that pops into my mind.  This Victorian mansion was built by George Glick in 1873.  Glick had been a successful attorney and farmer and was also active in state politics as he was elected to the Kansas legislature in 1862 and served in that capacity in 14 of the next 18 years.  He also served one term as governor starting in 1882.

When I arrived at the mansion, I was let in by Chris and led into the entry room/den where I filled out some paperwork and selected a breakfast time in order to be socially distanced from other guests.  But when Chris opened the door to the living room, I felt as if I had stepped back in time.

Period correct furniture and property fill the massive living room whose centerpiece includes a baby grand (I think) piano.  Chris showed me around the abode and enlightened me on some of the history of the house and town as I gazed on the historical beauty of the inn.  Eventually, Chris led me to my room, the First Lady’s Room.

This had been the governor’s bedroom and it is a beaut.  From its elegant Victorian furniture to its queen sized canopy bed, this room practically shouts comfort.  The bathroom is especially impressive as it was once the sleeping porch of the Glicks.  Yes, you read that right.  The Glicks believed sleeping outside was healthier.  Not only does the bathroom contain a fireplace, but it also holds a jetted tub.

After getting settled, I took a little walk around the town.  I could definitely see the extreme wealth for which the town had once been famed as there are a lot of old money houses in the area.  As I later learned from Loman (who is a fount of knowledge on Atchison’s history), the town once had 57 millionaires and 11 women who were worth half a million.  That latter fact was the most interesting because this was during a period when women were not encouraged to work nor were allowed to inherit, so how did they accrue their wealth?  They either had to be working covertly or illicitly.

The truth was that they were doing a bit of both.  A restaurant near the riverfront was a brothel back in the day and that is where these women worked.  Atchison had been a big port town that often had 3 steamboats in dock to get supplies.  So the women would hit up the steamboat personnel when they docked and the money rolled in.

I needed some dinner, so I made my way to Paolucci, a bar/restaurant/deli.  I decided to go with their house special, a chicken romano sandwich which was grilled chicken seasoned with Romano cheese and topped with bacon.  As I wanted some vegetables, I also had the tossed salad with Paolucci’s homemade ranch dressing. 

Paolucci

This meal was a jackpot.  The vegetables were fresh and crisp and the homemade dressing was out of this world.  The sandwich was perfection on a bun.  The chicken was so juicy and the seasoning made each bit a little bite of Heaven.  With a satisfying meal tucked in, I returned to Glick where I had a long conversation with Loman before retiring for the evening.

In the morning, I drew a bath and the water gets very hot very fast, so it was a case of actually bringing the water down to my preferred temperature.  The jets were just what I needed as I’ve been using a new tabata workout regimen and my lower extremities were aching and the jets massaged the soreness out of them.

I enjoyed breakfast in the sun room where a small dish of honeydew and strawberries awaited me with goblets of orange juice and milk.  The main entrée was a sterling plate of Eggs Benedict with a side of seasoned asparagus.  It was an incredible meal with presentation that was a work of art.

Afterwards I began my explorations of the town and started with a visit to Benedictine College.  This small Catholic university only contains about 2,000 students and has a lot of elegant buildings including St Benedict church.  I halted my campus amblings prematurely as I saw a sign saying that through Sept 15 on-campus students were to remain on-campus except for necessities and off-campus students were to remain off-campus to help insulate against COVID, so I thought I should abide by the decree and drove around the campus instead.

From there I wandered about the town.  The town is still slowly reopening from COVID so certain venues only have limited availability.  This meant I was unable to make visits to the Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum and the Evah Cray Historical House as they are only operating a few days out of the week.  However, I will visit these places when I make my inevitable return to the town.

So I spent an afternoon reading Sherlock Holmes, writing, and watching Ratatouille which I selected from the inn’s movie library.

About 6pm, I felt ready for dinner so I went downtown to Maria’s Mexican Restaurant.  Again, I found another winner of a meal.  I tried the Burrito Fajita and it was delicious especially when enhanced with a side of properly seasoned rice and refried beans mixed with a bit of queso.

With a nice dinner digesting, I returned to Glick Mansion where I watched The Mask of Zorro, took another bath, and read Sherlock Holmes until oblivion claimed me.

I had a feast waiting for me in the sun room the next morning. Chris had prepared a bacon, egg, and cheese quiche along with some kiwi, strawberries, and what looked like a miniature orange with a side of fried potatoes. There was even a bit of dessert with a strawberry turnover.

Thirty minutes later I had another leisurely meal under my belt and I returned to my room to put the finishing touches on this article.

This has been one of the best inns I’ve visited since I founded the Corner and it gets my highest recommendation for a visit. It’s a classic B & B where you’ll be surrounded by vintage comfort, enjoy some fine meals, and have some wonderful hosts in Chris and Loman. You truly will leave this inn as a friend and can enjoy some of this town’s history or even do a little ghost hunting if that’s your forte.

Until the next time. . .happy travels.