The Beatles Would Pay to See the McGuigans

This is the story of three boys who were bestowed the great gift of love for the Beatles by their father.  When their father died tragically young, playing the music of their father’s favorite band helped bring closure and healing.  Now these three boys have taken this great gift and pay tribute to both their father and the greatest band in the history of rock with Yesterday and Today, an interactive Beatles experience currently playing at the Omaha Community Playhouse.

Let’s get one thing straight right now.  Though Billy McGuigan and his brothers, Ryan and Matthew, pay tribute to the Beatles with this all request show, they are not a Beatles tribute band.  They don’t wear wigs or adopt Liverpudlian accents.  What they do is present the music of a legendary group that sounds distinctly familiar yet is enhanced by an original feel and energy that is uniquely the McGuigans.

I am a Beatles nut and I make no bones about it.  I own all of their albums, am well versed in their history, and am chock full of obscure knowledge that makes me a devastating Beatles Trivial Pursuit player.  Needless to say, I hold those who cover Beatles songs to exceedingly high standards and the McGuigans and their band shattered those standards and then some in a high energy two plus hour concert that literally had us dancing in the aisles.  If you love the Beatles, you will love this show.

What makes this show so enjoyable is not only the great music, but the incredible camaraderie between the three brothers.  Like the Beatles, the McGuigans have a natural banter with each other and the audience that is full of fun and wit.  These guys can also play.  All three men are multi-instrumentalists with precise musicianship and a minute and exact understanding of all, and I stress ALL, of the Beatles’ work.  They play the well known numbers at your request, but they also know the lesser known numbers as demonstrated with performances of Maxwell’s Silver Hammer and, for the first time in their 8 year history, Baby, You’re a Rich Man which blew the roof off.

Billy McGuigan is the emcee of the show.  He’s also a natural showman and raconteur who revels in the energy of a live crowd and is able to take it and redirect it into the music and back to the audience with something more.  He’s also got a mighty rock tenor voice that shone in numbers such as Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da and I Saw Her Standing There.  Billy is equally as strong on the slower numbers, especially with his haunting performance of Yesterday.

Matthew McGuigan got quite a vocal workout in this evening’s performance as he sang lead on a large number of the night’s tunes in addition to his nimble and flawless bass playing.  Matthew started the night off hot with the ferocious Revolution, had a superb turn with Hey Jude, and nailed the falsetto line in Baby, You’re a Rich Man.  But his capstone number was his pudding sweet solo performance of Blackbird which sent chills down spines.

John Lennon would be proud of Ryan McGuigan’s voice.  Like Lennon, Ryan has a unique vinegar sour singing voice that lends itself beautifully to subtle nuance and emotion.  That incredible instrument was put to excellent use in Come Together, I Am the Walrus (with a little theatricality thrown in for good measure), I Feel Fine, and especially with his solo sequence in This Boy.

The McGuigans are also supported by a band that loves this music every bit as much as they do and even got their own turns in the spotlight.

Jay Hanson was phenomenal on lead guitar and fired off some sensational licks on While My Guitar Gently Weeps and had a remarkable vocal similarity to George Harrison on his rendition of Do You Want to Know a Secret?  Tara Vaughan’s fingers flew across the keyboard and she glowed in a solo during Oh, Darling.  Rich Miller’s drumming fueled the performances with a rock solid backbeat and Aaron Slagle’s cowbell had the crowd roaring for more in A Hard Day’s Night.

As I stated at the beginning of this review, Yesterday and Today is far more than a tribute to the Beatles.  It’s also a tribute to the McGuigans’ father, Bill, who died too soon from leukemia at the age of 42.  Bill can be proud of the legacy he’s left in his sons who do him proud by sharing their father’s love of a band that was simply the best with an act that is nothing but the best.  If tonight’s crowd was any indication, this show is going to be a long series of sellouts.  Do not delay.  Buy a ticket to see this city’s best musical act before the tickets fly out the window.

Yesterday and Today runs at the Omaha Community Playhouse through December 31.  Performances are Thursday-Saturday at 7:30pm and Sundays at 6:30pm.  There will be a 2pm performance on Sunday, November 29 and a special double performance on New Year’s Eve at 7pm and 10pm.  Tickets cost $40 except for the New Year’s performances which will be $50 for the 7pm show and $75 for the 10pm show.  For tickets, contact the box office at 402-553-0800 or visit the Playhouse’s web site at www.omahaplayhouse.com.  The Omaha Playhouse is located at 6915 Cass St in Omaha, NE.

Rock in the Holidays with the McGuigan Brothers in Yesterday and Today: An Interactive Beatles Experience

Yesterday and Today
©2007 By Rave On Productions

Date: Nov. 27-Dec. 31, 2015

LocationOmaha Community Playhouse (6915 Cass St, Omaha, NE)

Theatre: Howard Drew Theatre

Curtain times: Thursdays-Saturdays – 7:30 p.m. and Sundays – 6:30 p.m.

Ticket cost: $40

Special Performances:  New Year’s Eve – $50 at 7 p.m. | $75 at 10 p.m.
Contact info: Box Office – (402) 553-0800
Show summary: Billy McGuigan and his brothers (Ryan and Matthew) are back! This all-request Beatles tribute show will have you dancing in the aisles and singing along to every song. Share your stories and relive your memories with your favorite Beatles songs. No two shows are the same, and every show is a guaranteed exhilarating time!

“A Christmas Carol” is Sleeker, But Chipped Around the Edges

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Greedy miser, Ebenezer Scrooge, is given one chance to redeem his soul.  Will a visit by the three spirits of Christmas be enough to gain salvation?  This is the story of A Christmas Carol adapted by Charles Jones from the classic novel by Charles Dickens and celebrating its 40th anniversary at the Omaha Community Playhouse.

Question:  How do you breathe new life into a 40 year old tradition?

Answer:  You put Hilary Adams at the helm.

Ms Adams’ direction gives A Christmas Carol a new lease on life.  More importantly, her direction went a long way in giving me the A Christmas Carol that I’ve long wanted to see.  Ms Adams accomplished this task by trimming a lot of unnecessary fat from the play, cutting a whiplash pace, and, for the most part, guiding her actors to natural, realistic performances.  I applaud Ms Adams for her staging of the story and she and the stage crew deserve especially high praise for the seamless and effortless scene changes.  The only critiques of her direction are that she needed to rein in some of the more cartoony performances that weakened this incredibly realistic production and to slow down the pace just a little bit.  Some of the actors were talking so fast that diction suffered and some important beats got glossed over.

I was extraordinarily pleased with Jerry Longe’s performance as Scrooge.  This was actually my third go-around in watching this play and the two previous times I thought Scrooge was missing something crucial.  This time I got a pitch-perfect Scrooge.  Longe’s Scrooge is cold-hearted, mean, greedy, selfish, and those are his better points.  This is a man that needs redemption.  I thought Longe was especially effective in making Scrooge’s salvation a drawn out process.  He fights changing tooth and nail and changes just a little with each interaction with the spirits until he finally sees the error of his ways.  That slow process makes the light-hearted, giddy Scrooge utterly believable when he is, at long last, redeemed.

Longe does need to slow down his delivery.  I lost some of his dialogue in Act I because he was speaking so quickly, though his speed was much more controlled in Act II.

David Krenkel was a wonderful surprise as he made his Playhouse debut as Bob Cratchit, Scrooge’s long-suffering clerk.  Krenkel was utterly natural as Cratchit.  He imbued a wonderful fatherliness and goodness into his role which had me believing him from start to finish.

I was underwhelmed by Don Keelan-White’s portrayal of Jacob Marley.  Keelan-White’s rushed line delivery resulted in the loss of character and made it feel like he was simply going through the motions.  Marley should exude a sense of otherworldliness and he seemed all too human to me.  Instead of speaking faster, Keelan-White just needs to close up the spaces between his words.  This will allow him to retain nuance without sacrificing pace.

Bridget Robbins strikes all the right notes as the Ghost of Christmas Present.  Ms Robbins found quite a few nice character moments in her role.  I was especially impressed with how her Spirit was concerned about Scrooge’s welfare, yet had no qualms about giving him a metaphorical shot to the mouth by using his own cruel words against him.

I am not quite certain what Michael Farrell was trying to accomplish with his interpretation of the Ghost of Christmas Present.  His phrasing was rather odd which made it difficult for me to understand what he was saying.  Farrell’s vocal quality also made it seem like he was trying to be jolly (which did come through) and magisterial (which did not quite hit the mark).

The ensemble was always engaged in the action, but there were several notable performances in smaller roles.  Don Harris impressed as Jake, especially in a scene where he tries to stand up to the usurious Scrooge before caving into him.  Emily Mokrycki is splendid as Mrs. Cratchit and strikes the perfect balance between love for her family and disdain for Scrooge.  Megan Friend excels with a sweet turn as Belle Fezziwig, the one-time fiancée of Scrooge, and a hilarious turn as the thieving Mrs. Dilber.

Jim Boggess and his orchestra add to the feeling of Christmas with bright and spritely renditions of Christmas carols.  Georgiann Regan’s costumes perfectly fit the Victorian tale.  Jim Othuse’s sets, lighting, and special effects are absolutely marvelous.

I understand that over 70% of the cast was appearing in this play for the first time.  That much new blood combined with opening night jitters may account for some of the bumps I saw tonight with diction, volume, and interpretation, especially in Act I.  The cast seemed to find their groove in Act II which is a good sign that they will reach their full potential for this 40th anniversary run.  All quibbles aside, I still consider this to be the best version of A Christmas Carol that I’ve seen at the Playhouse in the nearly 19 years I’ve lived in Omaha.  Even if you have seen the play before, I promise you surprises that will make it new all over again.

A Christmas Carol plays at the Omaha Playhouse through December 23.  Performances are Wednesdays at 7pm, Thurs-Sat at 7:30pm, and Sundays at 2pm and 6:30pm.  There are no performances on Nov 25 or 26, but two additional performances will be held on Dec 22 and 23 at 7:30pm.  Before Dec 15, tickets are $36 for adults and $25 for students.  Tickets for the Dec 15-23 performances are $40 for adults and $29 for students.  For reservations contact the OCP box office at 402-553-0800 or visit www.omahaplayhouse.com or www.TicketOmaha.com.  The Omaha Playhouse is located at 6915 Cass St in Omaha, NE.

Auditions Aplenty at Blue Barn Theatre

AUDITION DATES for the regional premiere of The Christians by Lucas Hnath

Auditions will be held  at the Blue Barn Theatre on Tuesday, December 8 from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. and Saturday, December 12th from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.  in their new home at 1106 S. 10th St.  (10th & Pacific) in Omaha, NE.

Auditions will consist of cold readings from the script. Callbacks (if necessary) will be determined at the auditions. The Christians will be directed by Susan Clement-Toberer.

Performances for The Christians run March 24 – April 17, 2016 with rehearsals scheduled to begin in mid-February, 2016.

Needed for The Christians:  3 male (ages 20s-70s), 2 female (ages 20s-50s) All ethnicities are encouraged to audition.  All roles are available.

 

AUDITION DATES for Porchyard Reading Series

* Rapture, Blister, Burn by Gina Gionfriddo

* Mr. Burns: a Post-Electric Play by Anne Washburn

Monday, Dec. 15 and Tuesday, Dec. 16 from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Performance of Rapture, Blister, Burn is Monday, February 15th.

Performance of Mr. Burns: a Post-Electric Play is Monday, April 4th.

Both shows will be directed by Amy Lane

Needed for Rapture, Blister, Burn:  4 women (Ages 20-70) and 1 male (age 30-40)

Needed for Mr. Burns: a Post-Electric Play:  3 male and 5 female roles (20s to 40s)

All ethnicities are encouraged to audition.  Auditions to be held at Blue Barn Theatre at 1106 S 10 St (10th and Pacific) in Omaha, NE.

 

BLUEBARN Theatre announces auditions for HEATHERS – THE MUSICAL

AUDITION DATES for the regional premiere of Heathers – the Musical by Laurence O’Keefe and Kevin Murphy.

Auditions will be held on Saturday, January 16th from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. and Sunday, January 17th from 6 p.m.  – 8:30 p.m.  in their new home at 1106 S. 10th St.  (10th & Pacific) in Omaha, NE.

Those auditioning are asked to prepare 16-32 bars of a pop/rock song, showcasing belt/mix range and use of language to tell the story. Readings and movement will be done at callbacks which will be held on Saturday, January 23rd.

Heathers – the Musical will be directed by Randall T. Stevens with music direction by Doran Schmidt and choreography by Nichol Mason Lazenby.

Performances for Heathers – the Musical run May 19 – June 19, 2016 with rehearsals scheduled to begin in the beginning of April, 2016.Needed for Heathers – the Musical:  Large cast of young actors who can believably portray high school students. Also needed are 3 mature character actors (2 male; 1 female).

All roles in Heathers must possess strong vocal ability in the new contemporary, pop Broadway style.  All ethnicities are encouraged to audition.  All roles are available.

For More Information and character breakdown, Contact Randall at rstevens@bluebarn.org

Blue Barn Theatre Revives Campy Holiday Classic

NELLY-PRESS-PHOTO-AXE The BLUEBARN Theatre is proud to present the revival of the popular holiday hit, Little Nelly’s Naughty Noël by Tim Siragusa with songs by Jill Anderson. The show is a retro flashback to 2002 when BLUEBARN first produced the show written by local playwrights, Siragusa and Anderson.

BLUEBARN Producing Artistic Director Susan Clement-Toberer co-directs with Ms. Anderson. Both were involved with the original production 13 years ago.

Shows run Nov. 27 – Dec. 20; Thursday-Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Sunday Nov. 29, Dec. 6, 13, and 20 at 6 p.m. Nov. 28, Dec. 3. Dec. 5 and Dec. 13 are currently sold out. Added performances are Wednesday, Dec. 16 at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 20 at 2 p.m.; and Saturday, Dec. 12 and 19th at 10 p.m. Single tickets for Little Nelly’s Naughty Noël are $30 for adults; and $25 for students, seniors 65+, TAG members, and groups of 10 or more.

About Little Nelly’s Naughty Noel

Back by popular demand!! Little Nelly’s Naughty Noël is a Blue Barn perversion of all we hold dear, at that holliest, jolliest time of the year! With a mad gang of varmints both bawdy and bold, the play takes a wild, woolly romp through Nebraskee of old in an evening that can be described as “Willa Cather on crack” or “The Gift of the Magi” laid out on a rack!

About the stars of Little Nelly’s Naughty Noel

Little Nelly’s Naughty Noel features some of Omaha’s funniest veterans and newcomers. BLUEBARN Theatre founding company member Nils Haaland (The Grown-Up, Our Town, 33 Variations, BLUEBARN Theatre) returns alongside Theresa Sindelar (Reefer Madness, God of Carnage, Every Christmas Story Ever Told…and then Some!, BLUEBARN Theatre), Martin Magnuson, Nik Whitcomb, John Ryan, Spencer Williams (Young Frankenstein, Omaha Playhouse), Paul Hanson (Reefer Madness, BLUEBARN Theatre), Adam Lambert, Regina Palmer, and Amy Schweid.

ABOUT THE BLUEBARN THEATRE

The BLUEBARN Theatre has been bringing professionally-produced plays to area audiences since 1989. Since its inception, BLUEBARN has produced over 100 plays and has established itself as Omaha’s professional contemporary theatre company. Striving to bring artistically significant scripts and professional production values to Omaha and the surrounding region, BLUEBARN is known for high-quality entertainment and the fearless pursuit of stories that challenge both theatre artists and patrons.

 

“Cock” Auditions at SNAP Productions

Cock
written by Mike Bartlett

SNAP! Productions
3225 California Street
Omaha, NE 68108

Auditions: Monday, November 16 @ 7PM; Tuesday, November 17 @ 7PM

Production Dates: March 3 – March 27, 2016

Rehearsal Dates: Start February 1, 2016

Audition Requirements: Cold readings from the script

Cast Needs: 3 Men, 1 Woman: 4 Total

Genre: Comedy

Show Summary: John has been in a stable relationship with his boyfriend for a number of years. But when he takes a break, he accidentally falls in love with a woman. Torn between the two, filled with guilt and conflicting emotions, he doesn’t know which way to turn. His boyfriend is willing to wait for him to make a decision, but so is his girlfriend. And both are prepared to fight to keep him. As the pressure mounts, a dinner with both parties is arranged, and everyone wants to know. Who is John? What is he? And what will his decision be?

Director: Joshua Mullady

Contact Information: Joshua Mullady (Director) – thespi96@gmail.com OR Michal Simpson (Producer) – msimpson6@cox.net

Auditions for “City of Angels” at Omaha Community Playhouse

CITY OF ANGELS
Production Dates: March 4-April 3, 2016
Performs in: Hawks Mainstage Theatre
Director: Jeff Horger
Synopsis: Sexy, sizzling and smart, City of Angels is a film noir-style musical that pays homage to glamorous 1940s Hollywood. Winner of six Tony Awards including Best Musical, this clever show has two plots running simultaneously as a man writes a screen play that mirrors his life. Stunning staging separates the real world and “reel” world. Intrigue, mystery and incredible music make City of Angels a must-see production.

Audition Dates: Monday, December 14 at 7:00 PM and Tuesday, December 15 at 7:00 PM

Location:  Omaha Community Playhouse (6915 Cass St in Omaha, NE)

Production Notes: CITY OF ANGELS is two shows in one, with the interweaving of two plots, one dealing with the writing of a screenplay in the legendary Hollywood of the 1940’s; the other, the enactment of that screenplay. The movie scenes appear in shades of black and white, and the real life scenes are in color. Although some actors will play multiple roles in the typical fashion of a large ensemble musical, there are certain pairs of characters that are reflections of each other in the two worlds and the roles were specifically designed to be played by the same performer. This show contains mild language and stylized violence. Although there is no nudity in the show, there are several lustful characters who appear in various states of undress.

Please note:  Although there will be singers in the ensemble, none of these roles require singing and may be played by non-singing actors. However, everyone must sing at the auditions.

Character Descriptions:

The following roles are singing roles:

STINE (Mid 20s to mid 40s) A novelist who is hired to adapt his own book into a screenplay. It pays a lot more, but it might not be worth all his trouble. He is a bad husband who loves his wife.

STONE (Late 20s to mid 40s) The main character in the screenplay. An ex-cop and current private investigator with a rough past and an even rougher present. He attracts trouble…and
a constant barrage of beautiful and dangerous women.

ANGEL CITY FOUR (Ages 18+) The “greek chorus” of the show; a soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone who exist in both worlds and help navigate the audience through the stories. Lots of 4 part harmony. The most difficult singing in the show.

BUDDY FIDDLER/IRWIN S. IRVING (Mid 30s to mid 60s)
– A sleazy and perverted movie producer who you can’t help but almost like. / The sleazy and perverted movie producer Stine creates as a character for his screenplay.

GABBY/BOBBI (Mid 20s to mid 40s) Stine’s wife. She is a supportive spouse whose life would be easier if she didn’t love her husband. She forgives him for cheating more quickly than she
forgives him for sacrificing his artistic integrity. / Stone’s ex-lover. She blames herself for what happened between them. Regardless of who’s to blame, she has been suffering the
consequences ever since.

DONNA/OOLIE (early 20s to late 30s) Buddy’s intelligent but weary assistant. She puts up with Buddy’s antics because it’s a good job, but the less than glamorous side of Hollywood has taken a toll on her. She often finds herself operating in survival mode, making poor choices if they bring her pleasure in the moment. / Stone’s loyal assistant. It’s a thankless job, but until she finds Mr. Right, somebody’s gotta do it.

CARLA/ALAURA (Late 20s to mid 40s) Buddy’s combative and manipulative wife, who didn’t have time for acting classes because they slowed down her rise to Hollywood stardom. / A
femme fatale if ever there was one. She seduces men with just a look, and keeps secrets from everyone.

AVRIL/MALLORY (Late teens to late 20s) A starlet on the rise. She’ll do what and who it takes to make it onto the silver screen. / Alaura’s step-daughter who likes to cause trouble and makes
questionable life choices.

PANCHO/MUNOZ (Late 20s to mid 50s) A Hollywood actor famous for playing Latino roles (not necessarily well) who is good friends with Buddy Fiddler. / L.A. police officer and ex-partner of Stone. He has an axe to grind with Stone and would love nothing more than to see him executed, as long as it’s legal.

JIMMY POWERS (Early 20s to late 50s) Popular singer of the 1940s. He exists in the real world, although he is recording a few hits for the soundtrack of the film. Occasionally sings with the Angel City Four.

The following roles are ensemble roles:

PETER (Late teens to early 30s) Alaura’s step-son. There is something “off” about him.

WERNER/LUTHER (Early 40s to late 60s) An actor and friend of Buddy who will be playing Luther in the movie. / The rich husband of Alaura and father of Mallory and Peter who is confined to an iron lung for life support.

DR. MANDRIL (Early 20s to late 50s) Luther’s personal physician and astrologist.

ADDITIONAL ROLES – thugs, party guests, police officers, office workers, morgue workers, studio workers, sex workers

All members of the ensemble will play multiple roles. There are roles available for actors of any gender and race. There are 2 roles that could be played by either male or female actors ages 13+. All other roles will be played by actors ages 18+.

What to Bring:
• Please come prepared with 16 bars of music prepared to sing. An accompanist will be provided.

• There will be a dance audition, please come dressed ready to move. No boots, sandals, flip-flops, slick shoes, etc.

• You will be asked to fill out an audition form, please have all necessary contact information and personal schedules handy in order to complete the form.

• A recent photo if you have one available. Please note, photos will not be returned.