‘Leading Ladies’ is Next on OCP’s Mainstage

Omaha, Neb. – Leading Ladies, running April 14 – May 7, 2017 in the Hawks Mainstage Theatre at Omaha Community Playhouse, is a hilarious comedy by Ken Ludwig.

The story centers around two English Shakespearean actors, Jack and Leo, who find themselves so down on their luck that they are performing “Scenes from Shakespeare” on the Moose Lodge circuit in the Amish country of Pennsylvania. When they hear that an old lady in York, PA is about to die and leave her fortune to her two long-lost English nephews, they resolve to pass themselves off as her beloved relatives and get the cash. The trouble is, when they get to York, they find out that the relatives aren’t nephews, but nieces! Romantic entanglements ensue, especially when Leo falls madly in love with the old lady’s vivacious niece, Meg, who’s engaged to the local minister.

Award-winning playwright Ken Ludwig is known for such comedies as the Tony Award-winning Lend Me a Tenor, the Tony Award-winning Crazy For You, Moon Over Buffalo and Shakespeare in Hollywood. Leading Ladies falls right in line with his other titles, where cross-dressing, impersonating and falling in love lead the way.

Production:        Leading Ladies

Credits:                Book by Ken Ludwig

Director:              Jeff Horger

Cast

Michael Judah as Leo Clark

Kevin Goshorn as Jack Gable

Victoria Luther as Meg Snider

Catherine Vazquez as Audrey

Don Harris as Doc Myers

Sue Mouttet as Florence Snider

Will Muller as Duncan Wooley

Christopher Scott as Butch Myers/Frank

Show Dates:       April 14 – May 7, 2017 (Wednesday – Sat at 7:30pm, Sun at 2pm)

Tickets: At the OCP Box Office at 69th & Cass, by calling (402) 553-0800 or online at www.OmahaPlayhouse.com or www.TicketOmaha.com. Single tickets are $36 for adults and $22 for students (Thursdays – Sundays) and $28 for adults and $18 for students (Wednesdays). Tickets for groups of 12 or more are $24 for adults and $16 for students (Thursdays – Sundays) and $20 for adults and $14 for students (Wednesdays).

Twilight Tickets – A limited number of tickets are available at half price after noon the day of the performance at the Box Office. Cash or check only. Subject to availability.

Wednesday Performances – Discounted tickets are available for Wednesday performances only at $28 for adults and $18 for students

Whatta Deal Wednesday–Discounted tickets for $10 will be available for the first Wednesday performance on April 19, 2017.  $10 tickets will be available in person at the box office starting at 4pm the day of the show.

Sponsored by:   Carter and Vernie Jones

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

 

 

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Get a Clue

The classic board game comes to life.  Six people at Boddy Manor have motive to kill Mr. Boddy.  One of them did.  Can you figure out who done it before the show ends?  It’s Clue:  The Musical by Peter DePietro with music by Galen Blum, Wayne Barker, and Vinnie Martucci and lyrics by Tom Chido.  It is currently playing at the Bellevue Little Theatre.

Theatre doesn’t always have to be high art and Tony Award winners.  Sometimes a hokey, fun filled good time makes for the best night of theatre and this show is a shining example of that type of show.  DePietro’s script is very intriguing in that the show is actually a game.  Just as in the board game, a killer, weapon, and room are drawn at the top of the show and placed into a confidential envelope.  During the show, Mr. Boddy provides clues to help the audience deduce who done it, with what, and where.  And it does take a bit of careful listening and observational ability to figure it out.  This tactic helps to make for a pretty engaging production and ensures a different denouement almost every time.

With that being said, the focus on the game results in the loss of plot.  There really isn’t much of a story.  Rather there are little vignettes showing a bit about these characters and their connection to Mr. Boddy, an interrogation, the denouement, and then a real ending which feels unnecessarily tacked on.  On the other hand, I appreciate the use of meta as the characters are aware they are part of a board game and have done this on many occasions.  I also liked the rather catchy, occasionally hilarious, musical numbers.

Daena Schweiger’s direction makes full use of the play’s strengths and masks its weaknesses.  She understands the play’s farcical nature resulting in some really great caricatures from her actors.  The play is also well staged with the characters constantly moving about, making full use of the space.  I was especially impressed with a search scene immediately before Boddy’s murder with the actors running hither, thither, and non and was the show’s best moment.

It’s hard to analyze the performances of the actors as they can only be caricatures and the story does not allow them to develop in depth characters.  But there were several performances that did stand out.

Jesse Black plays Mr. Boddy, our host and murder victim.  I thought he came off a little too nice in Act I due to his underplaying of the role.  Boddy is a rather unlikable chap and Black had the room to go big and ram home that unlikability.  However, he has wonderful facial expressions which he used to the fullest in Act II as he is almost like an ever present spirit manipulating events and I rather enjoyed watching his reactions to the events swirling about.  He’s also got a very pleasant tenor voice best utilized in his keynote number “The Game”.

Patrick Wolfe delightfully chews the scenery as Colonel Mustard, an army man limited to administrative duty due to a condition where he sees living people as inanimate objects.  Wolfe has fantastic bluster and bombast as his off kilter Mustard always wants to play war games, even as foreplay.  Wolfe also has a great lower tenor voice as he joyfully declares “Do Unto Your Enemies” and searches for a good weapon in “Everyday Devices”.  Wolfe also has tremendous projection power, easily overcoming the black boxy acoustics of the theatre.

Sarah Ebke clearly is having fun as Mrs. Peacock, the wife of Mr. Boddy.  She is the one true villain of the piece as she is an unconvicted murderer which she gleefully admits to in “Once a Widow” as her alto tells us the story of the deaths of her five previous husbands.  Ms Ebke’s Peacock is a scheming, vile piece of work and one of the best characters of the night.

Carrie Beth Stickrod got the night’s biggest laughs with her rendition of Mrs. White, the put upon housekeeper of Mr. Boddy.  Ms Stickrod is beautifully acerbic as the housekeeper desperately searching for a way to escape the crushing debt she owes her employer.  I also loved her uneducated nature as her constant misspellings made for the best running gag of the show.  She’s also got a powerful soprano which kept the audience in stitches when she lamented “Life is a Bowl of Pits”.

Lindsey Tierney-Jack is all woman and then some in her portrayal of Miss Scarlet.  Ms Tierney-Jack brings a great sultriness to the role.  This is a woman fully aware of her sensuality and knows how to use it to get what she wants.  Ms Tierney-Jack also really emphasizes Scarlet’s performing heart as she breaks into random dance numbers during the chase scene in Act I.

Chris Ebke and his orchestra (Kim Hansen, Kyle Moeller, and Christina Allred) do justice to the musical score as Boddy Manor’s house band.  Gary Bosanek’s costume coordination was spot on with the bright, vibrant colors matching the character’s names.  Joshua Mullady’s lights enhanced each moment.  And Chris Ebke’s set is an awesome reproduction of the board game.

The energy of the cast seemed at a low ebb in tonight’s performance, resulting in a slow pace and loose cue pickups.  With the exception of Mr. Wolfe, the cast also needed to put the same projection of their singing into their dialogue.

Clue:  The Musical is definitely worth a watch, especially with the added thrill of getting to play the game during the show.  You’ll get some catchy music, some scene chewing hilarity, and a fun spectacle.

Clue:  The Musical runs at the Bellevue Little Theatre through April 9.  Performances are Fri-Sat at 7:30pm and Sun at 2pm.  Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for seniors, and $10 for students with proper identification.  Bellevue Little Theatre is located at 203 W Mission Ave in Bellevue, NE.

 

BLT Holding Auditions for Season Finale, ‘All the King’s Women’

Auditions for Bellevue Little Theatre’s production of  All the King’s Women will be held at 7 PM on Monday March 27 and Tuesday March 28 at the Bellevue Little Theatre, 203 W. Mission Avenue in Bellevue, NE.

This theatrical tribute to Elvis Presley showcases women who met and/or influenced ‘The King’. The comedy provides insight into a side of Elvis seldom seen, and helps to portray the man and not the superstar.

A large cast of women of various ages is needed for this production which will open on Friday May 5th and run for three weekends, closing on May 21. Matthew Pyle will direct, with Bette Swanson serving as producer.

Rehearsals will begin on April 3.

For information call the director at 402-238-6788 or producer at 402-292-1920.

Give Kay & Ryan a Helping Hand

Kay & Ryan McGuigan are two of my closest friends.  I met Kay when I did my very first show in theatre and she has been a bedrock of support as I struggled through this business.  Through her I met Ryan whom I bonded with over a love of the Beatles.

This past weekend, Kay was diagnosed with colon and liver cancer and she, Ryan, and their lovely family really need your help.  Both are self-employed and have needed to put work on hold to focus on Kay’s health.  To help with day to day expenses a GoFundMe page has been set up and the link is below.

https://www.gofundme.com/support-for-ryan-and-kay-mcguigan

Please make a donation and then share the post on social media to help these truly wonderful people.

I thank you for your charity.

 

 

Auditions for OCP’s 93rd Season Premiere, ‘Eminent Domain’

Eminent Domain (World Premiere)

Aug. 25 – Sept. 17, 2017
Howard Drew Theatre (Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St, Omaha, NE)
By Laura Leininger-Campbell
Director: Amy Lane

Does oil run thicker than blood? Or will a pipeline splitting the prairie tear a family apart? A 2016 Eugene O’Neil National Playwrights Conference finalist, originally conceived for Shelterbelt Theatre’s Before the Boards series, Eminent Domain tells a relevant story of a Nebraska family farm threatened by the construction of an oil pipeline and the ensuing conflict that emerges within. On the surface, Eminent Domain exposes the hard-fought battle between Nebraska farmers and corporate energy. Dig deeper and the greater struggle is revealed: the fight to preserve our Heartland’s farms and the livelihood of the people who live here. Our most crucial resource is not just the land we are privileged to attend with cracked and calloused hands—it is our kin, our clan and our heritage. Join us for this world premiere of an Omaha playwright’s work.

Auditions: Wed. March 22 and Thur. March 23 at 7:00pm
Auditions will consist of cold readings from the script.

Cast of Characters:
ROB MACLEOD (60’s) A rancher and farmer. His farm is threatened with eminent domain.
ADAIR MACLEOD (30’s-40’s) Rob’s daughter, an attorney. She comes home to help Rob fight against the pipeline.
BART MACLEOD (30’s-40’s) Rob’s son, a rancher and farmer, and a writer. He lives and works on the farm.
THERESA MACLEOD (30’s) Bart’s wife. She lives with Bart on his father’s family farm.
CAM MACLEOD (60’s) Rob’s brother. His farm connects with Rob’s, and they share the day-to-day-work.
JANE MACLEOD (60’s) Cam’s wife. She loves her son, Evan, and her niece and nephew Adair and Bart fiercely.
EVAN MACLEOD (30’s-40’s) Cam and Jane’s son. He is autistic. He communicates in different ways.
TRENT NICHOLS (30’s-40’s) An employee of Canadian Energy.
MAT SALINAS (30’s-40’s) An attorney. He represents Rob in his fight against the pipeline.

OCP Announces 93rd Season

BILLY MCGUIGAN’S ROCK TWIST
Billy McGuigan and the Steve Gomez Band
By Rave On Productions
July 12 – 23, 2017 | Hawks Mainstage (Weds. – Sun.)

World Premiere

See Billy McGuigan as you’ve never seen him before. Classic rock tunes with a big band twist; big band standards with a rock and roll twist. Backed by a full horn section and an all-star lineup of Omaha’s finest musicians, Billy’s brand new show will have Playhouse audiences rocking like never before. Frank Sinatra? Check. The Beatles? Check. Harry Connick, Jr.? Check. Billy Joel? Check! Fresh re-arrangements of rock and jazz standards performed as only Billy can. It’s rock with a twist. The world premiere is coming to the Omaha Playhouse in July 2017.

EMINENT DOMAIN
By Laura Leininger-Campbell
Directed by Amy Lane
Aug. 25 – Sept. 17, 2017 | Howard Drew (Thurs. – Sun.)

World Premiere
Does oil run thicker than blood? Or will a pipeline splitting the prairie tear a family apart? A 2016 Eugene O’Neil National Playwrights Conference finalist, originally conceived for Shelterbelt Theatre’s Before the Boards series, Eminent Domain tells a relevant story of a Nebraska family farm threatened by the construction of an oil pipeline and the ensuing conflict that emerges within. On the surface, Eminent Domain exposes the hard-fought battle between Nebraska farmers and corporate energy. Dig deeper and the greater struggle is revealed: the fight to preserve our Heartland’s farms and the livelihood of the people who live here. Our most crucial resource is not just the land we are privileged to attend with cracked and calloused hands—it is our kin, our clan and our heritage. Join us for this world premiere of an Omaha playwright’s work. Disclaimer: Contains adult language.

MAMMA MIA!
Music and Lyrics by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus and some songs with Stig Anderson | Book by Catherine Johnson | Based on the songs of ABBA
Directed by Jeff Horger
Sept. 15 – Oct. 15, 2017 | Hawks Mainstage (Weds. – Sun.)

This smash-hit musical featuring the songs of ABBA is one of the top 10 longest-running Broadway musicals. Mamma Mia! is a delightful tale of love, laughter and friendship. Donna is slowly warming up to the notion of her daughter Sophie’s impending wedding when her life is upended by the unexpected arrival of three former beaus, all possible candidates to walk Sophie down the aisle. With all your favorite ABBA hits such as “Dancing Queen,” “Take a Chance On Me,” “Honey, Honey” and more, find out why Mamma Mia! has become an audience favorite! Disclaimer: Contains spandex, strobe lights and disco dancing.

STUPID F@#%ING BIRD
By Aaron Posner
A sort-of adapted from The Seagull by Anton Chekhov
Directed by Suzanne Withem
Oct. 13 – Nov. 12, 2017 | Howard Drew (Thurs. – Sun.)

This “sort-of adaptation” of The Seagull by Anton Chekhov tells a story in which an aspiring young director battles against the art created by his mother’s generation. A young actress competes with an aging Hollywood star for the affections of a renowned novelist and everyone discovers just how complicated life, art and success can be. This irreverent, modern and very funny remix of a classic play will incite you to consider how art, love and revolution fuel your own pursuit of happiness.
Disclaimer: Contains adult language and sexuality.

A CHRISTMAS CAROL (Special Event)
By Charles Dickens | Adapted by Charles Jones | Musical orchestration by John J. Bennett
Howard and Rhonda Hawks Mainstage Theatre
Nov. 17 – Dec. 23, 2017 | Hawks Mainstage (Weds. 7:00 p.m., Thurs. – Sat. 7:30 p.m., Sun. 2:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.)

It just isn’t Christmas without A Christmas Carol. Experience Omaha’s favorite holiday tradition as Ebenezer Scrooge takes us on a life-changing journey filled with lovely costumes, exquisite music, beautifully crafted sets and special effects second to none. Perfect for the whole family!

YESTERDAY AND TODAY – 10th Anniversary (Special Event)
An Interactive Beatles Experience Featuring Billy McGuigan
©2007 By Rave On Productions

Nov. 24 – Dec. 31, 2017 | Howard Drew (Thurs. – Sun. eve)

Billy McGuigan and his brothers are back for the 10th consecutive year at Omaha Community Playhouse! 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!

RIPCORD
By David Lindsay-Abaire
Directed by Kimberly Faith Hickman
Jan. 19 – Feb. 11, 2018 | Hawks Mainstage (Weds. – Sun.)

Pranks and practical jokes abound when cantankerous Abby and chipper Marilyn are forced to share the nicest room at the Bristol Place Senior Living Facility. As Abby attempts to get rid of her unwanted new roommate, a series of bets soon escalates into a hilarious game of one-upmanship as the two women try every trick in the book to claim their space in the apartment and their place in the world. Ripcord is a hilarious tale with a lot of heart.
Disclaimer: Contains adult language spoken by a cantankerous old lady.

PARADE
Book by Alfred Uhry  |  Music and Lyrics by Jason Robert Brown  |  Co-Conceived and Directed on Broadway by Harold Prince
Directed by Jeff Horger
Feb. 9 – March 11, 2018 | Howard Drew (Thurs. – Sun.)

Parade is the Tony Award-winning musical based around the trial of Leo Frank, a Jewish man wrongfully accused of murder in Marietta, Georgia in 1913. Religious intolerance, political injustice and racial tensions are already prevalent in this small Southern town, and when reporters begin to sensationalize the case, the likelihood of a fair trial is put in jeopardy. With a book by Alfred Uhry (Driving Miss Daisy) and music by Jason Robert Brown (The Last Five Years, The Bridges Of Madison County), this true story reveals the beauty of the human condition, even when faced with tragedy. Disclaimer: Contains language and situations related to racial tension and mob violence.

Roald Dahl’s JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH
Words and Music by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul | Book by Timothy Allen McDonald | Based
on the book by Roald Dahl
Directed by Kimberly Faith Hickman
March 2 – March 25, 2018 | Hawks Mainstage (Weds. – Sun.)

James and the Giant Peach is a brand-new musical guaranteed to mesmerize theatregoers of all ages. A compelling story by beloved author Roald Dahl (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda) and music composed by the award-winning team of Pasek & Paul (La La Land, A Christmas Story, television’s Smash), a young orphan named James accidentally drops magic crystals by an old peach tree. Strange things start to happen and James soon discovers a world of magic and adventure full of friendly insects and learns that love and family can be found in unexpected places.

SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE
Based on the Screenplay by Marc Norman & Tom Stoppard  |  Adapted for the stage by Lee Hall  |  Music by Paddy Cunneen  |  Based on the Academy Award-winning film starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Joseph Fiennes
Directed by Jeff Horger
April 13 – May 6, 2018 | Hawks Mainstage (Weds. – Sun.)

Based on the Academy Award-winning film by Tom Stoppard and adapted by Lee Hall (Billy Elliot), Shakespeare in Love is a love letter to the stage and a celebration of theatre, music and human connection. While the government threatens to close all theaters, young Will Shakespeare suffers from writer’s block, as his muse Viola disguises herself as a man to pursue her dreams of being an actor. Amidst mistaken identities, ruthless scheming, backstage theatrics and a misbehaving dog, Will’s love for Viola quickly blossoms and inspires him to write his greatest masterpiece.
Disclaimer: Contains scenes of sexuality.

THE MOUNTAINTOP
By Katori Hall
Directed by Denise Chapman
May 4 – May 27, 2018 | Howard Drew (Thurs. – Sun.)

An Olivier Award-winning play of historical fiction, The Mountaintop imagines the final night in the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. After giving his speech, “The Mountaintop,” Dr. King returns to his room at the Lorraine Motel. When a mysterious woman with a secret agenda pays a visit to Dr. King, the resulting confrontation imaginatively explores destiny, legacy and mortality.
Disclaimer: Contains dialogue related to racial tension and adult language.

SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN
Screenplay by Betty Comden and Adolph Green | Songs by Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed | By special arrangement with Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures, Inc. | Music published by EMI, all rights administered by Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC | Based on the Academy Award-nominated MGM film starring Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds
Directed by Kimberly Faith Hickman
June 1 – June 24, 2018 | Hawks Mainstage (Weds. – Sun.)

The beloved movie musical Singin’ in the Rain comes to life on stage with charm, humor and stormy weather that has made it an enduring classic. This tale of a famous on-screen couple from the silent films who prepare to transition to the age of “talking pictures” combines the best of Hollywood and Broadway with music that will keep you smiling, dances that will keep your toes tapping and special effects that will take your breath away. Songs such as “Make ‘Em Laugh,” “Fit as a Fiddle,” “Good Mornin’” and of course “Singin’ in the Rain” will whisk you away to a simpler time.

Regional Premiere, ‘Silent Sky’, is Next Show for Blue Barn

BLUEBARN Theatre Presents Regional Premiere of Silent Sky by Lauren Gunderson

The BLUEBARN Theatre is proud to continue Season 28 with the historical drama, Silent Sky, by Lauren Gunderson.

BLUEBARN Producing Artistic Director Susan C. Toberer directs with set design by Martin Scott Marchitto, lighting design by Darrin Golden, costume design by Lindsay Pape, sound design by Craig Marsh, and properties design by Amy Reiner.

Shows run March 23-April 15; Thurs-Sat at 7:30pm, Sun, April 2 at 2pm, and Sun, April 9 at 2pm and 6pm.

Single tickets for Silent Sky are $30 for adults and $25 for students, seniors (65+), TAG Members, and groups of 10 or more.

Silent Sky is generously sponsored by Giger Foundation, First National Bank, Mutual of Omaha, and Valmont Industries.

About Silent Sky

A new play about Henrietta Swan Leavitt and the real women “computers” working at Harvard Observatory at the dawn of modern astronomy.  In this exquisite blend of science, history, family ties, and fragile love, a passionate young woman must map her own passage through a society unaccustomed to strong women in a man’s world.  A celestial romance and true story of discovery.

About the Stars of Silent Sky

Silent Sky showcases some of Omaha’s finest actresses:  Haley Haas (The Dresser, BLUEBARN Theatre) as Henrietta Leavitt, Sarah Carlson-Brown (Gnit, BLUEBARN Theatre) as her sister, Margaret, and Judy Radcliff (Our Town, BLUEBARN Theatre) as the wise Williamina.  Pamela Chase makes her BLUEBARN debut as the suffragette, Annie, as well as guest actor Christopher Joel Onken in the role of Peter Shaw.

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.

About the Playwright, Lauren Gunderson

Lauren M. Gunderson is the most produced living playwright in America of 2016, the winner of the Lanford Wilson Award and the Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award, a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and John Gassner Award for Playwriting, and recipient of the Mellon Foundation’s 3-Year Residency with Marin Theatre Company.  She studied Southern Literature and Drama at Emory University and Dramatic Writing at NYU’s Tisch School where she was a Reynolds Fellow in Social Entrepreneurship.  Her work has been commissioned, produced, and developed at companies across the U.S. including South Cost Rep (Emile, Silent Sky), The Kennedy Center (The Amazing Adventures of Dr. Wonderful and Her Dog!), The O’Neill, The Denver Center, San Francisco Playhouse, Marin Theatre, Synchronicity, Olney Theatre, Berkeley Rep, Shotgun Players, TheatreWorks, Crowded Fire, and more.  She co-authored Miss Bennett:  Christmas at Pemberley with Margot Melcon.  Her work is published at Playscripts (I and You, Exit Pursued By a Bear, The Taming, and Toil and Trouble), Dramatists (Silent Sky, Bauer, Miss Bennett) and Samuel French (Emilie).  Her picture book, Dr. Wonderful:  Blast Off to the Moon will be released from Two Lions/Amazon in May.