Breaking News: Opening Night Tickets for OCP’s ‘Lost Boy Found in Whole Foods’ Only $10

OPENING NIGHT TICKETS ARE ONLY $10!!!

Lost Boy Found in Whole Foods

May 6 – June 5, 2016
Howard Drew Theatre (Omaha Playhouse, 6915 Cass St, Omaha, NE)

Showtimes:  Thurs-Sat at 7:30pm.  Sundays at 2pm.

For tickets:  Visit www.ticketomaha.com or call 402-553-0800

By Tammy Ryan
Director: Lara Marsh

Gabriel, one of the Lost Boys of Sudan, has started a new life in America. While working in Whole Foods, he meets Christine, a middle-aged, single mother. Their connection, and Christine’s quest to help him, changes both of their lives. Lost Boy Found in Whole Foods is an impactful and heartbreaking play that spotlights social responsibility and compassion for humanity.

Contains strong language and explores challenging subject matter.

The Cast

Justice Jamal Jones–Gabriel

Julie Fitzgerald Ryan–Christine

Victoria Luther–Alex

Anthony Jones–Panther

Mark Kocsis–Michael Dolan

Rusheaa Smith-Turner–Segel Mohammed

Advertisements

There’s Going to be a Party at the Holland

OFF-BROADWAY’S HILARIOUS DIXIE’S TUPPERWARE PARTY RETURNS TO OMAHA JUNE 2-5, 2016

Back By Popular Demand, 4 Performances Will Be Held At Holland Center

* * “Not your grandmother’s Tupperware Party!”— NBC Today Show. * *

Omaha, Neb., (April 26, 2016) – Omaha Performing Arts is bringing Dixie Longate back to Omaha in June for another run of the hilarious Off-Broadway show Dixie’s Tupperware Party. Four performances of the interactive production will run at the Scott Recital Hall in the Holland Performing Arts Center: Thursday, June 2, at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, June 3, at 8 p.m.; Saturday, June 4, at 8 p.m.; and Sunday, June 5, at 2 p.m. The production’s first successful run in Omaha in May 2015 kicked off with a sell-out opening night performance.

Tickets starting at $35 are on sale from Ticket Omaha by going online at TicketOmaha.com; by phone at 402.345.0606; or by going to the Ticket Omaha box office inside the Holland Performing Arts Center, 12th and Douglas. Groups of 10 or more may purchase tickets by calling 402.661.8516 or toll-free at 866.434.8587. This production contains adult content.

Dixie’s Tupperware Party stars Dixie Longate as the fast-talking Tupperware Lady who has packed up her catalogues and left her children in an Alabama trailer park to journey across America.

Critics and audiences have howled with laughter as Dixie throws a good ol’ fashioned Tupperware Party filled with outrageously funny tales, heartfelt accounts, FREE giveaways, audience participation and the most fabulous assortment of Tupperware ever sold on a theater stage! Loaded with the most up-to-date products available for purchase, Dixie will share how she became a member of the illustrious “No. 1 Tupperware Seller in the World” Club, as she educates her guests on the many alternative uses she has discovered for her plastic products. Written by Kris Andersson, the production garnered the prestigious 2008 Drama Desk Award Nomination and is now on its eighth smash season on national tour.

This ‘Phantom of the Opera’ Needs More Spirit

A disfigured genius falls in love with a chorus girl.  Taking her under his wing, he trains her voice so she can become the leading lady of the Opera Populaire.  When she falls in love with a childhood friend, the genius plots to keep her for himself at any cost.  This is the plot of The Phantom of the Opera, currently playing at the Orpheum Theatre.  It is written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Richard Stilgoe, composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber with lyrics by Charles Hart, and based off of a novel by Gaston LeRoux.

Phantom has long been my favorite musical.  Its moving story and haunting music never fail to sweep me into another world.  Even after 8 viewings of this show, it has not lost a bit of its magic.  Cameron Mackintosh’s reimagined production helps breathe a bit of new wonder into the 30 year old show with new sets and a few surprises.

With that being said, it also breaks my heart to admit that this was also the weakest rendition of the show I have seen to date.

Not that the show is bad.  The music, singing, and choreography were as strong as ever.  But there was a lack of connection between many of the primary performers and their words making it feel like they were simply going through the motions.  The end result being that a show where every prior production ranked a superior from me gets a mere OK on this go-around.

Part of this problem is not the fault of the actors.  While the Orpheum is a beautiful, archaic theatre well suited to a play like Phantom, its acoustics are a black hole for sound.  Many of the performers did what they could to overcome this problem, but their efforts could only go so far.  Others needed to do a better job of projecting.

Laurence Connor’s direction is passable.  The scene changes are excellently executed and some of the staging is truly magical.  However, he failed to get the best performances out of his cast and his staging of the play’s climactic final scene utterly robbed it of its tragic beauty.

The Really Useful Theatre Group took a big risk in casting Chris Mann in the title role.  Best known for being a finalist on The Voice, Mann, if the program is correct, has no prior acting credits.  Mann truly makes an effort and, for an inexperienced actor, has a truly potent sense of body language.  But his inexperience shows in his inability to capture many of the subtle nuances of the character, though he does show a brilliant flash or two throughout the night.

His singing is absolutely fantastic and he clearly knows how to interpret a song.  His beautiful tenor nailed the emotional beats of The Music of the Night and he was utterly mesmerizing as he entranced Christine during his solo in Wandering Child.

Katie Travis was one of the few performers equally as strong on the acting side as on the singing side.  She understood that a musical is more than just the singing.  It’s about being able to act through the songs, as well.  Ms Travis has a very young look which lent itself well to the role of Christine Daae.  She is utterly believable as the young girl torn between her mysterious benefactor and her young lover.  Her simple hugging of the Phantom at the play’s climax nearly broke me in two.

Ms Travis also has a glorious soprano that is so pure and clean.  She nearly brought down the house in her first solo, Think of Me, and proceeded to do so in Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again.  Ms Travis’ singing and accurate acting choices made for a well rounded performance.

Jordan Craig played Raoul, the Vicomte de Chagny, Christine’s love interest.  Craig is a very, very good singer.  His powerful, well measured baritone was a pleasure to listen to in his signature solo, All I Ask of You.  But his acting was almost non-existent.  I didn’t get the sense of any true emotional commitment to the role as Craig would appear on stage, sing, and then not have any sort of reactions to the events swirling around him, even in scenes where Raoul was in mortal peril.

David Foley and Edward Staudenmayer brought some welcome comedy relief in the roles of Firmin and Andre, the new owners of the Opera Populaire.  The roles are not huge, but each managed to create well developed characters with Foley’s business minded Firmin and Staudenmayer’s more artsy Andre.  These two men were arguably the strongest performers of the night with their deft comic timing and ability to overcome the difficulties of the Orpheum’s acoustics.  Staudenmayer does need to be careful with his humor as he went slightly over the top on a couple of occasions.

I would be remiss if I failed to mention several outstanding cameo performances in the evening’s production.  Victor Wallace stole his scenes as the uncouth Joseph Buquet who makes the fatal mistake of poking fun at the Phantom.  Morgan Cowling is a charmer as Christine’s loyal and gutsy friend, Meg Giry.  Michael Thomas Holmes was hysterical as the ill-tempered musical director, Monsieur Reyer.

Scott Ambler’s choreography was always a joy to watch especially in Masquerade.  Dale Rieling’s musical direction never failed to impress in a night of flawless instrumentation from his orchestra.  Paul Brown’s sets were pieces of artistic majesty from the stage of the Opera Populaire, to the graveyard where Christine’s father was buried, to the dank lair of the Phantom.  Maria Bjornsen’s costumes were extremely elegant with the flowing gowns for the ladies and the fine evening wear for the men.

There is a reason why The Phantom of the Opera still holds audiences in the palm of its hand even after 30 years.  The music and story are timeless with rich roles in which actors can sink their teeth.  While the night’s entertainment was pleasant enough, I have seen and will see better productions than this current run.  Ultimately, the failure to connect with their roles by many of the actors made this simply an average show.

The Phantom of the Opera plays at the Orpheum Theatre through May 1.  Performances are Tues-Thurs at 7:30pm.  Fri-Sat at 8pm and Sundays at 7pm.  There are also matinees at 2pm on Sat and 1:30pm on Sunday.  Tickets range from $150 to $50 and can be obtained at TicketOmaha or by visiting the box office at 13th and Douglas Streets M-F from 10am-5pm and Sat from Noon-5pm.  The Orpheum Theatre is located at 409 S 16th St in Omaha, NE.

Experience ‘Lost Boy Found in Whole Foods’ at OCP

The Play

May 6 – June 5, 2016
Howard Drew Theatre (Omaha Playhouse, 6915 Cass St, Omaha, NE)

Showtimes:  Thurs-Sat at 7:30pm.  Sundays at 2pm.

For tickets:  Visit www.ticketomaha.com or call 402-553-0800

By Tammy Ryan
Director: Lara Marsh

Gabriel, one of the Lost Boys of Sudan, has started a new life in America. While working in Whole Foods, he meets Christine, a middle-aged, single mother. Their connection, and Christine’s quest to help him, changes both of their lives. Lost Boy Found in Whole Foods is an impactful and heartbreaking play that spotlights social responsibility and compassion for humanity.

Contains strong language and explores challenging subject matter.

The Cast

Justice Jamal Jones–Gabriel

Julie Fitzgerald Ryan–Christine

Victoria Luther–Alex

Anthony Jones–Panther

Mark Kocsis–Michael Dolan

Rusheaa Smith-Turner–Segel Mohammed

The Benefit

Friday, May 6 at 5:30pm

Enjoy Sudanese-inspired hors d’oeuvres and cocktails, see the show and hear from the playwright, Tammy Ryan. All proceeds will jointly benefit programming of the Omaha Community Playhouse and Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska.

Hosts: Sandy Maass and Alan Thelen, Sandy and Kate Dodge

5:30 p.m. | Cocktails and heavy hors d’oeuvres; Playwright meet & greet

7:00 p.m. | Program featuring playwright, Tammy Ryan

7:30 p.m. | Lost Boy Found in Whole Foods

Post Show | Survivor Testimony from a local Lost Boy

Tickets: $125 per person ($75 tax deductible) | 10 for $1,000 ($520 tax deductible)

For questions, or to purchase tickets, please call the development coordinator at 402-553-4890 ext. 145.

The Workshop

Saturday, May 7 at 1pm

Playwright Tammy Ryan will lead a writing workshop with prompts designed to help you access your personal memories and experiences to use in your work, either in new plays or in a play you are already in process with. Free and open to writers of all levels. Please register in advance.

Biography of Tammy Ryan
Tammy Ryan is a playwright and librettist whose work has been performed across the United States and abroad. She was awarded the Francesca Primus Prize by the American Theater Critic’s Association for her play Lost Boy Found in Whole Foods (Premiere Stages/Playwrights Theater of New Jersey.) Tar Beach, (Luna Stage) was nominated for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and included on “The List” compiled by the Kilroys as one of the most outstanding plays by a woman playwright in 2014 and was a Jane Chambers Playwriting Award honoree, as well as a finalist for both the Terrence McNally Playwriting Award and the Source Theater Festival . Other plays include Soldier’s Heart, Dark Part of the Forest (Premiere Stages) A Confluence of Dreaming, Baby’s Blues, FBI Girl (Pittsburgh Playhouse), and The Music Lesson (Florida Stage/2001 Carbonell Award Best Production/2004 AATE Distinguished New Play Award). Her first opera, A New Kind of Fallout written with composer Gilda Lyons received its world premiere at Opera Theater of Pittsburgh in 2015. Ryan has held fellowships at Virginia Center of the Creative Arts, Hambidge Center, and the Sewanee Writers Conference and her work has been developed by The National New Play Network, The New Harmony Project, The Bonderman, and The Lark. Her latest play, Molly’s Hammer (also nominated this year for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize) received its world premiere at The Repertory Theater of St. Louis in March 2016.
For more information go to: www.tammyryan.net

 

Relive the Classic Hits with ‘Under the Streetlamp’

FLASHBACK TO CLASSIC HITS FROM 1950s TO 1970s WITH UNDER THE STREETLAMP

Show Brings Together Performers from “Jersey Boys;” Other Broadway Musicals

Omaha, Neb. (April 19, 2016) – Exuding the rapport of a modern-day Rat Pack, Under the Streetlamp is bringing doo-wop, Motown and rock ‘n’ roll to new audiences at the Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas Street, on Thursday, May 19, 2016, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $25, and are available at TicketOmaha.com, 402.345.0606 or at the Ticket Omaha Office inside the Holland Performing Arts Center.

Under the Streetlamp offers audiences the opportunity to hear four stars of stage and screen: Michael Ingersoll, Christopher Kale Jones, Brandon Wardell and Shonn Wiley. Featuring tight harmonies and slick dance moves, the performers take audiences back to the era of sharkskin suits, flashy cars and martini shakers – a flashback to a time when people would gather under streetlamps on hot summer nights to sing their favorite rock and roll songs.

Classic hits from Frankie Valli, Elvis Presley, Tom Jones, The Beatles, Roy Orbison, Bobby Darin and more are reborn for today’s audiences along with hilarious behind-the-scenes tales.

The quartet met onstage as lead characters in the Broadway musical Jersey Boys and each performer has an impressive list of credits. Among them, they have appeared on Broadway, in feature films and on television, including special appearances during the New

Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square, on “The Tonight Show,” “The Primetime Emmy® Awards,” “The Tony® Awards,” and the “Oprah Winfrey Show.” Under the Streetlamp aired its first PBS special in 2011 and its second in 2014.

Surreal ‘The Feast’ is Mirthfully Macabre

All meat in the world has mysteriously rotted forcing the populace into compulsory vegetarianism.  A dinner party awaits a delayed guest and the other participants are getting. . .hungry!!  This is the framing device for The Feast by Celine Song and currently playing at the Shelterbelt Theatre.

Note that I use the term framing device as opposed to plot because the story of this play is rather nebulous.  Ms Song’s script starts out incredibly strong as it focuses on the famished partygoers and their dysfunctional relationships appear to be the thrust of the tale.  Towards the play’s climax, the story begins to veer into the surreal before taking a left turn into the nonsensical.  A telling monologue attempts to tie up the peculiarities of the story, but the lack of centrality somewhat weakens the show.  With that being said, the play’s surefire direction and steady acting greatly neutralize a good deal of the story’s shortcomings.

Noah Diaz is truly becoming a force to be reckoned with on the directing scene.  His staging is incredibly sharp with a particularly nice touch of the actors already being on stage during the pre-show playing party games.  This added a vital bit of realism to the production and was able to pull the audience into its world before the dialogue began.  Diaz also has a well coached cast who gave sterling performances and picked up cues at the drop of a hat.

Diaz also played the role of Rhett, a friend of the party’s hostess and her husband.  Diaz is blessed with that mysterious x factor that makes for great acting.  Always perfectly believable, Diaz’s Rhett is a sickly, smarmy prig.  Diaz plays the role with a charming insincerity as he constantly inquires about how much longer the hostess’ husband will be simply because he wants to eat or politely fighting with his wife before they “make-up”.  Rhett’s wife claims Rhett always wants what he can’t have and one of the play’s more surreal scenes reveals the reason Rhett behaves this way. This grants Diaz the opportunity to play a brilliantly tragic moment which engenders great sympathy for Rhett.  Diaz is a little young for the role, but had to step into the part when the original actor needed to withdraw very late in the rehearsal process.

Mary Kelly is darling as Wendy, the hostess.  As the stereotypical 1950s housewife, Ms Kelly’s Wendy is quite solicitous in looking after the wants of her guests and constantly checking in with her husband to find out when he will arrive so she can serve dinner.  However, Ms Kelly gets to turn the stereotype on its head during her dark asides when she becomes a demented Betty Crocker.  She talks about her fantasies of eating people due to her desire for some meat, passionately describing how she would prepare the entrée.  Ms Kelly also gives her Wendy a bit of a lascivious nature as she secretly pines for her husband’s stepbrother.

Leanne Hill Carlson strikes all the right notes with her depiction of Sam, Rhett’s wife.  Sam is a selfish, petty woman who lives life below the bellybutton because she’ll sleep with and kiss anything with a pulse that isn’t her husband.  This type of role could be a real scene chewer, but Ms Hill Carlson always remains grounded in a very effective performance.  The fact that Sam’s selfish nature is a façade that covers a bitter truth permits Ms Hill Carlson to add some wonderful and crucial dramatic heft to the character.

Beau Fisher soars in his Omaha theatre debut as Xander, a scientist and the stepbrother of Wendy’s husband.  Fisher impresses as the hyper-intellectual Xander who is more content experimenting on animals than he is engaging with other people.  I was especially impressed with the subtlety of Fisher’s performance as he manages to hint at a lusting towards Sam as well as having a keen grasp of what’s going on around him despite his isolationist tendencies.  Fisher’s descent into madness towards the play’s finale is one of the show’s funniest moments.

Brennan Thomas gives a nicely understated performance in the uncredited role of Francis, Wendy’s husband.  In spite of his limited stage time, Thomas is able to bring some beautiful nuance to Francis who is tasked with explaining the meaning, or non-meaning, behind the play’s plot.

The technical aspects of this show were some of the strongest I have seen this season.  From the clever and surprisingly complex cardboard set of Sharon Diaz, to the nearly living lights designed by Joshua Mullady, to the wonderfully appropriate mood music of Hannah Meyer, and the always apropos sounds of Shannon Smay, this show will be a treat for your eyes and ears.

Despite the oddities of the script, Ms Song does accomplish a very difficult task which is to make a dark comedy truly funny.  Most dark comedies rely on the story being funny due to acts of cruelty, but this show uses genuine humor and leaves the darkness to bolster the show’s more serious moments.  While the plot may be “love it or hate it”, the show’s directing, acting, and technical aspects will be certain to hold the audience’s interest.

The Feast plays at the Shelterbelt through May 8.  Performances are Thurs-Sat at 8pm and Sundays at 6pm.  The final Sunday performance will be at 2pm.  Tickets cost $15 for adults and $12 for students, seniors (65+) and T.A.G. members.  Sunday tickets are $12.  For reservations contact the Shelterbelt at 402-341-2757, or by e-mail at boxoffice@shelterbelt.org, or their website at www.shelterbelt.org.  The Shelterbelt is located at 3225 California St in Omaha, NE.  Due to some sensitive subject matter, The Feast is recommended for mature audiences.

‘The Feast’ Opening at Shelterbelt on April 15

The Shelterbelt Theatre presents…

The Feast by Celine Song
directed by Noah Diaz

April 15 – May 8, 2016

When all meat mysteriously turns to rot, ours becomes a world populated with reluctant vegetarians. Four hungry dinner guests impatiently await a latecomer to the table. As the hour grows late and stomachs begin to howl, the traces of civilization turn to decay. Sensual as it is grotesque, foul as it is funny, The Feast is a biting satire that serves up a heady repast straight from the kitchens of our darkest desires.

Featuring performances by award-winning actors Leanne Hill Carlson, Noah Diaz, Beau Fisher, and Mary Kelly, as well as live music from cellist Hannah Mayer

Thursday/Friday/Saturday performances: 8pm
Sunday performances: 6pm
Final Sunday, May 8th performance: 2pm

SPECIAL EVENTS
• Thursday, April 14 – Theatre Arts Guild “TAG” Night Out
• Sunday, April 17, 5pm – “Page to Stage” pre-show discussion with director Noah Diaz and Great Plains Theatre Conference associate artistic director Scott Working
• Thursday, April 21 – American Sign Language-interpreted performance

Tickets are $15 for general public and $12 for students/seniors/TAG.
Lobby opens 1 hour before show. House opens 30 minutes before show.