Camille Metoyer Moten to Perform at OCP

Camille songbook

The Camille Metoyer Moten Songbook

June 8 – 10 at Omaha Community Playhouse

Omaha, Neb.— The Camille Metoyer Moten Songbook, featuring local singer Camille Metoyer Moten, will run June 8 – 10, 2018 at Omaha Community Playhouse in the Howard Drew Theatre. Tickets are now on sale through the OCP box office.

Camille Metoyer Moten brings her signature style back to the Omaha Community Playhouse stage this June! The Camille Metoyer Moten Songbook features standards, pop and jazz favorites, as well as a few classic Barbra Streisand tunes. With songs such as “God Bless the Child,” “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” and “On a Clear Day,” and backed by a four-piece band, this production is not to be missed.

Production:    The Camille Metoyer Moten Songbook

Show dates:   Friday, June 8 and Saturday, June 9 2018 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, June 10, 2018 at 2:00 p.m.

Tickets:          At the OCP Box Office, by calling (402) 553-0800 or online at www.OmahaPlayhouse.com or http://www.TicketOmaha.com.
Single tickets are $38. For groups of 12 or more, tickets are $35.

Location:        Omaha Community Playhouse, Howard Drew Theatre (6915 Cass St, Omaha, NE 68132)

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OCP Ends Season with a Little ‘Singin’ in the Rain’

Singin_4

From left to right: Nate Wasson, Tayler Lempke Plank, and J. Isaiah Smith star in ‘Singin’ in the Rain’

Omaha, Neb. – Singin’ In The Rain, based on the beloved movie musical, will run June 1 – 24, 2018 at the Omaha Community Playhouse in the Hawks Mainstage Theatre.

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.

To celebrate Singin’ In The Rain, Omaha Community Playhouse will hold an opening night celebration from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Friday, June 1 free to that evening’s ticket holders. No reservations necessary. Attendees will enjoy light refreshments and fun activities.

Production:        Singin’ In The Rain

Credits:   Theatre 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

Director:              Kimberly Faith Hickman

Cast

Nate Wasson* as Don Lockwood

J. Isaiah Smith as Cosmo Brown

Tayler Lempke Plank as Kathy Selden

Cathy Hirsch as Lina Lamont

Andrew Karolski as Young Don

Brohdi McClymont as Young Cosmo

Rob Baker as RF Simpson

Don Harris as Roscoe

Male Ensemble features Boston Reid, Brendan Brown, Jason DeLong, Joseph Mokrycki, Jude Glaser, and Marcus Benzel

Female Ensemble features Nora Shelton, Lillian Cohen, Karin Berg, Brianna Davis, Kara Penniston, Mia Sherlock, Payton Alber, Julia Ervin, Hannah Ramsgard, Becky Trecek, Debbie Trecek Volkens, Mary Trecek, and Carrie Trecek

*Nate Wasson will appear as a guest artist in the role of Don Lockwood. Nate previously toured with the Nebraska Theatre Caravan’s production of A Christmas Carol in 2015 in the role of Jacob Marley.

Show dates:       June 1 – 24, 2018; Wednesdays–Saturdays, 7:30 p.m. and Sundays, 2:00 p.m.

Tickets:  At the OCP Box Office, by calling (402) 553-0800 or online at OmahaPlayhouse.com or http://www.TicketOmaha.com. Adult single tickets start at $32 for Wednesday performances and start at $42 for Thursday – Sunday performances. Student single tickets start at $20 for Wednesday performances and start at $25 for Thursday – Sunday performances.

Ticket prices are subject to change based on performance date, seat location and ticket demand. Call the OCP box office for current prices.  For groups of 12 or more, tickets are $24 for Wednesday performances and $30 for Thursday – Sunday performances.

Discounts:           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 starting at $24 for adults and $18 for students.

Whatta Deal Wednesday – Discounted tickets for $10 will be available for the first Wednesday performance on Wednesday, June 6, 2018. $10 tickets will be available in person at the box office starting at 4:00 p.m. the day of the show.

Sponsors:  Immanuel Communities (Series Sponsor), Mutual of Omaha (Producing Partner), Giger Foundation (Orchestra Sponsor), NP Dodge Company (Special Effects Sponsor) Iron Works, Inc. (additional support) and WOWT (Media Sponsor)

Location:  Omaha Community Playhouse, Hawks Mainstage Theatre (6915 Cass Street, Omaha, NE 68132)

Running Towards/Away

Tess Maynard and her mother, Laura, are prepared to visit Mastavia (the city that’s also a country) to pick up a package left to them by Tess’ father/Laura’s husband.  Just before they embark on this adventure, Laura dies.  Tess decides to continue the adventure and advertises for a traveling companion who must have the same name as her mother.  Enter the second Laura Maynard:  a mysterious woman with something to hide.  As Tess begins this journey of discovery, Laura begins a journey of escape.  This is The City in the City in the City by Matthew Capodicasa and playing at the Blue Barn Theatre.

I was quite impressed by the construction of Capodicasa’s story.  On the theatrical level, he actually wrote this as a staged reading which leaves theatres with oodles of flexibility when it comes to the technical aspects such as set design, sound, and staging.  The story level is quite intriguing as well and I love that the parallel stories of the two women are told simultaneously, sometimes quite literally as they often speak at the same time.  Capodicasa also has a grand gift for description as he often has his characters describe what they’re doing and seeing which permits the audience to paint pictures with their imaginations.

This particular production allowed Susan Clement-Toberer to step up her directing game to a whole new level.  As I stated earlier, the play was written as a staged reading and had been performed as such at last year’s Great Plains Theatre Conference.  This was its first staging as a full production which gave Ms Clement-Toberer a blank slate to work with and she’s painted a magnificent portrait.  Using the guideposts of Capodicasa’s words, she has created an ethereal dreamscape which still has one foot planted in reality.  The staging is superb and makes use of the entire theatre.  Ms Clement-Toberer has led her two performers to skillful, sterling performances with a brisk pace and cue pickups so tight that a thin piece of paper couldn’t be wedged between.

Kaitlyn McClincy gives an exceptional performance as Tess Maynard.  She’s a woman who has recently been dealt a rough hand by life.  She’s lost her job and her mother.  Now she has a chance to discover the father she’s never known by taking part in this strange adventure.  Ms McClincy brings a hesitant adventurousness to Tess.  This is a woman who has probably never been out of her neighborhood and now plots to travel to the other side of the planet with a stranger.  She’s wonderfully sincere and conjures up needed seriousness when the moments call for it.

Both performers play multiple roles and some of Ms McClincy’s best characters are a guard at the gates of Mastavia who likes to toy with the two Americans and a truly haunting portrayal of the son of Laura Maynard.  So realistic and believable is Ms McClincy’s voice as the child that, if my eyes were closed, I would have sworn it was another person playing the role.

Frankly, I was blown away by the acting powers of Kim Gambino.  Not only does she ably play numerous roles, but she morphed into these characters with a snap of the fingers.  Most impressive was a scene where Tess was interviewing Laura Maynards to be her traveling companion.  With a slight change of posture, voice, and facial expression, Ms Gambino adopted nearly half a dozen distinct characters.  My personal favorite of her alternate characters was a witty waiter at a jazz club who had the audience laughing from the gut with her dead-on delivery.

However, Ms Gambino does shine the most with her take on Laura Maynard.  Laura is a shadowy character running from the one thing she can never outrun:  herself.  Ms Gambino brings a strong confidence to the role as Laura does bravely take on the challenge of traveling with a complete stranger who is ably able to help Tess on her quest.  But she also brings a tragic cowardice to the role as running away from herself means running away from her son.  Their phone conversations are some of the finest moments in the play.

The sound design of William Kirby is probably the best I’ve ever seen.  Kirby’s use of sound of the show makes for a truly immersive experience as voices echo throughout the theatre and a phasing effect really adds to the dreamlike quality of some of the scenes.  Ernie Gubbels’ lights were also of high quality especially with the Blue Room and his use of shadows and lights in the phone conversations.  The set is credited to BLUEBARN and is ideal for imagination as the use of sheets and scaffolding take you from Tess’ apartment to Mastavia to a cemetery.

It’s most assuredly a unique piece of theatre that will suck audience members into the tale.  Even more impressive, the show is still evolving which is the joy of working a new show.  On opening night, a new scene was inserted just prior to opening and I just may catch closing night to see what new surprises and changes are added to the show.

The City in the City in the City plays at Blue Barn until June 17.  Showtimes are 7:30pm Thurs-Sat and 6pm on Sundays with the exception of one 2pm matinee on June 10.  There are no shows on May 20 and 27.  Tickets cost $30 for adults and $25 for seniors (65+), students, and TAG members.  For reservations, call 402-345-1576 or visit www.bluebarn.org.  Due to strong language, this show is not suitable for children.  The Blue Barn is located at 1106 S 10th St in Omaha, NE.

Blue Barn Closes Season with Midwest Premiere

BLUEBARN THEATRE presents

The MIDWEST PREMIERE of a Bold New Play

THE CITY IN THE CITY IN THE CITY

By Matthew Capodicasa

BLUEBARN’s production will be the premiere of the new play by Matthew Capodicasa. Mr. Capodicasa will be present at the opening on May 17 and will be honored with a fête after the show.

Capodicasa’s other plays include You Remind Me of You, Frelmetsch the Maneater, Vessels, All the People You’ve Been, and Chaos and Caesar Salad. His work has been presented or developed at the Kennedy Center, the National New Play Network, Primary Stages, the Flea Theater, the Abingdon Theatre, the Great Plains Theatre Conference, the Bloomington Playwrights Project, Theater Masters, the Habitat, Fordham University, and NYU’s Experimental Theatre Wing. He is the recipient of the Woodward/Newman Drama Award, and his plays have been finalists for the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference and the Heideman Award.

ABOUT THE CITY IN THE CITY IN THE CITY

Tess’s mother dies just before they are supposed to leave for the ancient city-state of Mastavia to retrieve a package. Unwilling to give up the mission, Tess posts an ad for a substitute traveling companion with the same name as her mother, and meets a mysterious woman eager to escape her life. This unlikely duo sets off on an adventure to a strange city of doubles, checkpoints, mystifying bureaucracy, ancient graves, and a hidden world neither of them expected to encounter. Two actors play dozens of roles in this Great Plains Theatre Conference pick.

Performance dates:

May 17 – June 17, 2018

Thursday, Friday, and Saturday performances at 7:30 pm

Sundays, June 3 & 17 at 6:00 pm

Sunday, June 10 at 2:00 pm

Tickets are on sale now!

Call the BLUEBARN box office 9:30am-4:30 pm M-F

Or visit www.bluebarn.org

Ticket prices:

Adults                   $30

Seniors 65+        $25

Students              $25

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

Not Quite Perfect Yet

On the day of his wedding, Bill wakes up with a monstrous hangover, slightly concussed, and in bed with a woman who isn’t his fiancée.  A series of shenanigans, misunderstandings, and schemes unfold in an attempt to keep his fiancée from learning the truth.  Will there still be a Perfect Wedding by Robin Hawdon and currently playing at the Bellevue Little Theatre?

Personally I found Hawdon’s script to be a laugh riot.  He has an instinctive understanding of classic farce complete with the impossible situation, desperate attempts to solve said situation, slamming doors, and over the top characters.  Hawdon’s story actually takes things one step further with an ending that wasn’t entirely predictable and had some surprisingly sweet moments as well.

The hand of capable leadership is present in this production with the direction of Marya Lucca-Thyberg.  She definitely understands the art of the character as her actors definitely have distinctive personas.  She also has a good feeling for the more creative side of farce as she conjured up several amusing bits of business.

Thomas Stoysich has a very worthy debut at the Bellevue Little Theatre with his portrayal of Bill.  Stoysich does a pretty good job of making Bill likable despite the fact that he’s not all that likable of a person.  However, I consider that crucial to this character because Bill’s actions are governed by a weight he is carrying on this shoulders.  So he’s not a bad person, just a little soiled.

Stoysich has excellent, crystal clear facial expressions and reactions and manages to tap into the needed broadness for his character.  However, his panickyness and nervousness also seemed to strike the same note and I think there was space to maintain the attitude, but change up the pitch as it were.

Kaitlin Maher gives a spot-on performance as Rachel, Bill’s fiancée.  Ms Maher has a commanding presence and is truly the rock in her relationship with Bill.  Clearly she has to be the more level headed half as Bill is rather flighty.  She’s honest, strong, caring, and obviously deserves a lot better than Bill.

Jessica Mascarello serves as a good counterpoint to Rachel with her essaying of Judy.  Where Rachel is strong and direct, Ms Mascarello’s Judy is weak and sneaky.  Like Bill, she’s more soiled than bad, but she ends up being the other woman with her eyes wide open as opposed to being smashed like Bill.  Ms Mascarello still manages to conjure up a degree of sympathy with her ability to project her disillusionment with love which is what fuels her character.  Ms Mascarello also has a knack for physical comedy as she got to take part in some of the best sight gags.

Farce needs a strong rapid-fire energy and that was missing in the afternoon’s production.  Pacing needed to be much brisker and cue pickups needed to be much sharper.  Accents and acting were also a bit of a mixed bag.

The technical aspects of the production were quite potent.  Taelore Stearns has constructed an excellent old-fashioned inn with doors aplenty for chases and slamming.  Joshua Christie’s sound design was quite clever with a series of Tom Jones’ love songs.  Nancy Buennemeyer’s costuming was well done especially with Rachel’s beautiful wedding gown and the elegant kilts of Bill and his best man, Tom.

This show is assuredly on the right path to being a rock solid laugher.  A little more speed and a little tightening of delivery will permit this cast to maximize everything this entertaining script has to offer.

Perfect Wedding plays at Bellevue Little Theatre through May 20.  Showtimes are Fri-Sat at 7:30pm and 2pm on Sundays.  Tickets prices are $18 for adults, $16 for seniors, and $10 for students with valid ID.  For tickets, contact 402-291-1554 between 10am-4pm, Mon-Fri.  Bellevue Little Theatre is located at 203 W Mission Ave in Bellevue, NE.

There’s Hope on ‘The Mountaintop’

The Mountaintop_4

Donte Plunkett as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Catie Zaleski as Camae

On the night before his death, a mysterious woman helps Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. face his mortality and the future of his cause.  This is The Mountaintop by Katori Hall and playing at the Omaha Community Playhouse.

Ms Hall has written one of the most uniquely constructed scripts I have seen in quite a spell.  Whether by coincidence or design, the script is actually built as if it is a trek up and down a mountain.  It is a long, sometimes laborious, climb to the summit.  But once the peak is reached, the play really begins to pop and rapidly races down to the finale.  While the first half of the play could be a little dry, the second half provides some compelling viewpoints on racial harmony, faith, mortality, how far we’ve come as a people in overcoming our hatred and biases, and how much further we still have to climb.

Denise Chapman has provided an admirable and nuanced piece of direction to the production.  She has staged the play well, keeping her 2 actors animated with a constant moving about of King’s hotel room.  She also has a good instinct for maximizing the play’s twists and surprises and really makes those moments stand out and sing.  Ms Chapman has also guided her thespians to a pair of solid performances.

Donte Plunkett gives a worthy performance as Martin Luther King, Jr.  His features not only bear a remarkable similarity to the real King, but he also managed to tap into a great deal of his essence.  Plunkett exudes a confidence, authority, and gentleness suiting the great Civil Rights leader.  But he also shows a quiet sense of humor and a tragic vulnerability especially when he has a conversation with God about his mortality.  I was also impressed with how well Plunkett carried off a less than savory aspect of King’s personality, his reported weakness for women, with his charming and eyeballing of Camae.

Catie Zaleski’s take on Camae is a master class in putting on faces.  It’s hard to know what to make of Camae at first.  She seems to be so many things.  She readily flirts with Dr. King.  She curses like a sailor and then apologizes for cursing in front of the famed Baptist minister.  She can be very blue collar and seemingly uneducated in one moment, then start spitting out college level words and improvising a Kingesque speech in the next.  At one moment, she seems fully aligned with King’s mission, then diametrically opposed in the next.

When the truth behind this chameleon like behavior is revealed, Ms Zaleski nails the tragic hopefulness of a character who is looking to expiate her own sins.

I thought the performances could be further enhanced with a brisker pace and a bit more energy to kick off the show.  Volume and diction were also off at a couple of early points in the show.

I was exceptionally impressed with the show’s technical elements.  Jim Othuse has designed a clean and comfortable motel room at the Lorraine Motel.  John Gibilisco’s constant claps of thunder well communicated the oncoming storm in King’s life.  I loved Herman Montero’s use of lighting, especially the starlight at the play’s conclusion.  Amanda Fehlner’s costuming captured the essence of the well-dressed man of God and the blue collar housekeeper.

It takes a little patience to get to the play’s core, but it is worth the wait as it touches on themes of race and equality that are still important today.  We have grown quite a bit as a people, but there is still a lot of growing to do.

The Mountaintop plays at the Omaha Community Playhouse through May 27.  Showtimes are Thurs-Sat at 7:30pm and Sundays at 2pm.  Tickets cost $36 for adults and $22 for students.  For tickets, contact the Playhouse at 402-553-0800 or visit www.omahaplayhouse.com or www.ticketomaha.com.  Due to strong language and some mature themes, this show is not recommended for children.  The Omaha Community Playhouse is located at 6915 Cass St in Omaha, NE.