OCP Announces Auditions for ‘Bloodlines: A Nesting Doll’

Omaha Community Playhouse Announces Auditions for:

Bloodlines: A Nesting Doll by Beaufield Berry
A part of OCP’s Alternative Programming Series

Directed by Dara Hogan

Virtual Auditions
Sat., Feb. 20, 1–3 p.m. | Mon., Feb. 22, 6–8 p.m

Auditions will be by appointment only via Zoom in 20 minute increments. Please email Becky Deiber at bdeiber@omahaplayhouse.com to schedule a virtual audition and to receive audition paperwork and sides.

Cast: 2 Black women, one older, one younger. Both characters play multiple characters, animals and ages.

Synopsis: The egg that created you was formed inside your mother, in the womb of your grandmother. The blood that courses in your veins is the result of your predecessors’ unions. The trauma that was forced upon your ancestors becomes the ghost that haunts their grandchildren becomes the illness that walks invisible in your body. The only way through it is to confront it or force it upon the next generation. Your child. Bloodlines: A Nesting Doll is a ghost story about multi-generational trauma, invisible illness, matrilineality and the strength we inherit from the women we come from.

MORE INFO: https://www.omahaplayhouse.com/…/alt-programming…/

Scottish Midwest: Woodstock Inn

Woodstock Inn

Today the road has brought me to Independence, MO.

For the first time ever, I have returned to a city to review a different inn.  A few years ago, I was in the KC area to review The Crucible for the Barn Players and reviewed Silver Heart Inn while I was in the area and you can read that article here.  Today I was back to review Woodstock Inn owned by Kim Morgan.

The inn holds quite a bit of history as it was originally the home of Morris Short and his family in the 1890s.  Within one hundred yards of the inn, one can find a historical marker designating a Confederate line.  So part of the Civil War was fought almost literally at the doorstep of the inn. 

The inn’s most famous resident was Ruby McKim, the daughter of Morris & Viola Short who was famed quilter who turned the home into McKim Studios which later evolved into Kimport’s Dolls.  In the 1980s, the inn was repurposed into a B & B with each room themed to a different country and changed hands several times before Kim Morgan took over ownership.

I had arranged to arrive at 1pm and was greeted at the door by the innkeeper, Debbie Gardner, who led me to the Scottish King Room.  Inside the room one finds hallmarks of bonnie Scotland including a painting of a Scottie, a pair of bagpipes hanging on the wall and a flat cap akin to the style favored in Scotland also adorns a wall with a cane.

The room is quite large and its sky blue walls and thick off-white carpeting instantly began stoking relaxation.  A gas fireplace is present on the far wall while the king bed sits in the centerish of the room.

Normally, I would have used the additional time to visit sites of interest, but due to a combination of the off-season, renovations and COVID I found that the museums and historic homes were closed.  However, I did enjoy a lengthy walk through the historic neighborhood and spent a bit of time admiring the architecture of the headquarters of Community of Christ.

After my walk I returned to the inn where I caught an online church service before heading out for a bit of dinner at A Little BBQ Joint

The sign is very truthful as it is a little BBQ joint.  And with social distancing protocols, it’s even littler.  But it serves a good meal as I enjoyed a bowl of thick Brisket Chili loaded with plenty of vegetables. 

With dinner digesting, I went back to the inn.  Woodstock Inn has a small commons area which also serves as the dining area.  A large, cozy fireplace is the centerpiece of the room and off to the side is a small area where one can find baked goods in the afternoon and a movie library.

I caught up on a couple of TV shows before calling it an early night.  Such a wonderful sleep.  The heavy blankets combined with what felt like a memory foam mattress put my lights out good and proper and I dreamily remember barely waking up once before turning over to sleep on my stomach.

Thanks to a rejuvenating sleep, I awoke energized and ready for breakfast where I enjoyed a Crème Brule French Toast with yogurt topped with fruit and granola, a lemon/cranberry (I think) muffin and a thin slice of ham.

Creme Brule French Toast, lemon/cranberry muffin, ham and yogurt with fruit and granola

With breakfast tucked away, I headed back to Omaha and reality.

Woodstock Inn is a comfortable inn suitable for a romantic night with your loved one and is just a hop, skip and jump from shopping, restaurants, Community of Christ headquarters and a bit of history and is worthy of a visit.

Until the next time. . .happy travels.

Rave On Productions’ Omaha Series Set to Debut with ‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch’

Rave On Productions Presents:

Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Music and lyrics by Stephen Trask & John Cameron Mitchell

Directed by: Kimberly Faith Hickman

Jesse White as Hedwig
Evelyn Hill as Yitzhak
Matthew McGuigan, Ryan McGuigan, Larell Ware, Max Meyer and Jay Hanson as The Angry Inch

The Story
This groundbreaking Obie-winning Off-Broadway smash also won multiple awards for its hit film adaptation. It tells the story of “internationally ignored song stylist” Hedwig Schmidt, a fourth-wall smashing East German rock ‘n’ roll goddess who also happens to be the victim of a botched sex-change operation, which has left her with just “an angry inch.” This outrageous and unexpectedly hilarious story is dazzlingly performed by Hedwig (née Hansel) in the form of a rock gig/stand-up comedy routine backed by the hard-rocking band “The Angry Inch.” 

Using songs and monologues, Hedwig tells her story, which began in the former East Berlin where as Hansel he meets Luther, an American GI who promises to take the young man to the States on the condition that he switch his sex. After the bungled operation, Luther abandons newly named Hedwig in a Kansas trailer park where she turns to music and meets geeky Tommy Speck, whom she takes under her wing and soon falls for. Tommy steals her songs, achieves rock star fame, and Hedwig is once again cast aside. She decides to demand redress and stalks Tommy’s world tour, performing in the T.G.I. Friday’s that are situated next door to his stadiums. Hedwig describes her life’s search for “The Origin of Love” and her other half. It’s a rocking ride, funny, touching and ultimately inspiring to anyone who has felt life gave them an inch when they deserved a mile. 

Performances to be held at Waiting Room Lounge (6212 Maple St, Omaha, NE 68104). Ticket prices are $35 and can be purchased at https://www.etix.com/ticket/e/1016517/hedwig-omaha-the-waiting-room. Performances will run Feb 19-27 and showtimes are Thursdays at 7:30pm, Fri-Sat at 7:30pm and 10pm and Sundays at 7pm.

Venue will be sold at 25% capacity.
This is a seated event and seats will be assigned on a first come, first serve basis each show.
Parties will be seated a minimum 6-foot distance from other parties.
Masks are required everywhere inside the venue. Masks may be removed only when you are seated at your own table.
All high-touch surfaces are sanitized frequently throughout the night by staff.
Hand sanitizer is provided at all high-traffic areas throughout the venue.

–Public Parking Lot at 2729 N 61st Street
–On street parking with a 2-hour max from 8am – 5pm, no time restrictions from 5pm – 2am.

Business lots available for parking at select times
– Cavanaugh Law Firm, 6035 Binney Street – Evening and Weekends only
– Immanuel Lutheran Church, 2725 N 60th Ave – Mon – Sun between 7pm – 12am

The Price of Courage

I imagine that every child has fantasized about being a superhero at some time or another.  To fly like Superman or run like the Flash or have the cool car and gadgets of Batman sounds like a great deal of fun. 

But there’s another side to being a superhero and that is the secret identity.  Some heroes have gone to great lengths to make certain they will not even remotely be suspected of being their alter-ego in their civilian guises.  Sometimes their efforts to protect their identity cause them to pay a high price in terms of their happiness.

Several years ago I wrote an article on the use of mature themes in theatrical versions of 80s cartoon series.  In that article, I specifically referenced the lengths Prince Adam would go in order to preserve his secret that he was actually Eternia’s greatest hero:  He-Man.  This article will feature an analysis of the price Adam paid to protect his secret identity.

Adam is very fruitful ground for analysis as he is the only hero that I’m aware of who has actually had stories dedicated to the crushing burden of protecting his secret.  Also, unlike most other heroes, the danger consistently comes to Adam as he is part of the royal family so he is usually placed in a position of peril instead of seeking out wrongs to be righted.  Since he is pulled into conflicts on a regular basis, Adam often has to extricate himself briefly in order to switch identities which leads to the risk of his being perceived as a coward by family and allies.

Since he was part of the group often under siege, many have wondered why Adam bothered keeping it a secret that he was actually He-Man.  But there is an excellent reason for keeping his identity under wraps.  If his enemies knew his secret, all they would have to do is hold one of his friends or family members (or really anybody) hostage and threaten to kill them if He-Man ever appeared again.  Or they would simply find a way to get to and eliminate Adam before he could change.

Adam’s longing to share his secret so he could always be his true self was such an interesting study that it actually became a plot point on two separate occasions.  Once in the original 80s series and again in the reboot in the early 2000s.

In the 80s series, the topic was visited in the story “Prince Adam No More” which was written by Paul Dini who would go on to greater fame as the creative force behind Batman:  The Animated Series and he knew how to write a compelling story that would engage both children and adults and was unafraid to throw in an emotional gut punch along the way.

The thrust of the story was that Adam’s father, King Randor, was set to begin the annual tour of Eternia and he always chooses someone to be his royal guard.  Adam hopes, and is fairly confident, that he will be chosen.  While he’s discussing the topic with Man-At-Arms, the court jester, Orko, accidentally gets trapped in an Attak Trak and sets it going.  To save Orko and keep the palace from being destroyed by the rampaging machine, Adam transforms into He-Man to stop the tank.  After saving the day, King Randor comes out and expresses his gratitude that He-Man is always there for Eternia.

Later Adam and Man-At-Arms resume their discussion and Adam, again, expresses his certainty that his father will choose him to be the guard.  Man-At-Arms makes the comment that Randor hasn’t always been pleased with Adam and then Adam said something very telling.  He said, “You know, as Adam, I may act like a goof now and then, but, well, that’s only to keep my secret.  Besides, I’d never really do anything to make my father ashamed of me.”

Think about that.  Sometimes Adam would act a little lazy, be a little clumsy or seem to be a bit unreliable, but his statement makes clear that it is just that. . .an act.  Not only that, but he’s tried to be very careful to show these negative attributes in a way and at points where his father wouldn’t be embarrassed by them.

Eventually Adam and Man-At-Arms are called to the throne room where King Randor announces he has chosen He-Man to be his bodyguard for the royal tour and Adam is stunned.  Immediately, he says, “But, Father, well, I thought that you and I might make this trip together.”

His father responds, “Really, Adam?  But you’ve never shown any interest state affairs.  Sorry, Son.  I’m afraid on this trip I’ll need someone a bit more experienced. . .and reliable.”  To which Adam sadly responds, “I see.”

One can truly sympathize with Adam’s heartbreak.  Not only does it seem like Randor lacks faith in his son, but Adam has also been passed over for himself.  It isn’t He-Man who makes Adam worthwhile.  It’s the other way around.  It’s Adam’s courage. . .Adam’s nobility. . .Adam’s goodness. . .and Adam’s perseverance that makes He-Man a hero. 

It’s also important to remember that despite looking like a man in his early twenties (since Lou Scheimer, the series’ creator worked on the cheap and used the same cels for Adam and He-Man with subtle changes), Adam is only about 16 years old and of an age where he’d want his father to be proud of him.

Later that night, he voices these same thoughts to the Sorceress of Castle Grayskull as he tells her, “For a long time, I’ve had the power of He-Man.  But to keep that power a secret, I’ve had to pretend, you know, to be careless and irresponsible.  More than anything, I want to give up that disguise and make my father proud of me” before the most agonizing look of sadness comes over his face.  The Sorceress reminds him of the very real danger of revealing his secret and Adam realizes that he can’t endanger friends and family, but believes he can earn his father’s respect without revealing the truth.

Adam is able to reluctantly convince his father to let him be the guard as he needs to learn how to properly rule the kingdom one day.  Randor admonishes Adam that the trip is too important for Adam’s usual antics and Adam promises him that he can be relied upon.

While on the tour, Randor, Adam and Man-At-Arms are ambushed by Beast Man.  Adam bravely tries to stop him, but is overpowered by the far stronger villain and left stunned.  When he recovers, Man-At-Arms asks him why he didn’t transform and Adam admits he wanted to prove that he could be a hero.  Man-At-Arms reminds him that he was give his powers to help others, but that nobody ever said he could use them to make himself happy. 

Realizing his true responsibility, Adam changes into He-Man and rescues his father who actually joins him in the battle and admits he was a bit of a rowdy in his youth, essentially admitting he was a little irresponsible in his younger days.  He also admits he loves his son and, even though he’s a little hard on him, he is proud of him.  Learning this brings a great deal of peace to Adam.

It’s a truly great story that reveals the burden of Adam’s secret.  He has to pretend to be something he’s not to hide the hero that he is and he does it so convincingly that he’s afraid he had truly caused his father to be ashamed of him.  What a burden for a young man. 

I always appreciated the fact that, ultimately, Adam would be able to show himself to be more of a hero to his father in the series’ last hurrah, The Secret of the Sword when he brings his sister, Adora, back to Eternia.  Randor tells him, “Son, today you’ve made me the happiest man in all Eternia” before warmly embracing his son and you know that Adam has finally achieved his goal.

About twenty years later the idea was revisited again in the rebooted He-Man and the Masters of the Universe series in the aptly titled “The Courage of Adam”.

In this conception of the mythos, Adam was a little more deserving of his reputation of not being as princely as he ought.  Not that he was lazy or cowardly, but all he had ever known was peace so he wasn’t in a rush to learn the nuts and bolts of being a good ruler.  However, once Skeletor waged war upon Eternia, Adam unhesitatingly shows his bravery by accepting the mantle of He-Man to defend his planet.

This episode picks off immediately after the pilot. In that story, Adam did appear to run away from battle. But he ran to Castle Grayskull to accept the mantle of He-Man in order to be able to stop Skeletor’s onslaught. This illusion of cowardice causes the character of Teela, the captain of the guards and Man-At-Arms’ adopted daughter, to tease Adam and even his father believes that Adam, in his own words, “chickened out”.

Adam expresses his frustrations to Man-At-Arms who tells Adam he cannot reveal his secret.  As in the previous series, Adam realizes this truth and says, “Yeah, no kidding.  But that’s no reason that I, me, Prince Adam, can’t show that I’ve got what it takes also.  And who knows?  If I step up in battle, I mean REALLY step up. . .I’m no He-Man, but maybe he won’t be needed.”  And this is important because this statement shows that this isn’t about Adam earning his father’s respect as in the previous story.  This time, it’s about proving himself worthy to his family, friends and allies.

Man-At-Arms is quick to point out that as long as evil exists, He-Man will be needed.  However, Adam simply shrugs and walks away with a smile.  In his youthfulness, he’s clearly convinced that he can prove Man-At-Arms wrong.  But it also shows another facet of his bravery, albeit flawed by the impetuousness of youth.  So determined is he to prove himself an asset in his true form that he’s willing to sacrifice his awesome gift to do it which also puts his life infinitely more at risk.

Eventually he gets his chance when a character named Stratos seeks leave from King Randor to help his people negotiate with a difficult group of rivals.  Randor offers the services of one of the Masters to accompany Stratos and Adam immediately seizes the opportunity to volunteer.  Randor is quite pleased by this as he tells Adam, “It heartens me to see you showing some initiative, Son.  You have my permission to accompany Stratos.”  And the smile on Adam’s face tells you the satisfaction he gets from making his father proud.

Eventually Skeletor and his goons get involved and Adam fights against them as himself and acquits himself admirably until Skeletor conjures up an enemy so powerful that Adam must become He-Man to stop it.

The ending of this story is rather bittersweet as Adam looks sadly on the vista as Man-At-Arms seems to voice his thoughts, telling him, “You fought well, Adam.  But I think you now see that He-Man will always be needed.”

The episode ends with Adam continuing to look on the vista with a haunted look and one knows that he does understand, but the reality of having to hide his true self saddens him.

Being a superhero could be a great deal of fun.  But as we’ve seen, a lot of sacrifice goes into the decision to be a hero, especially when one’s identity must remain a secret.  Truly, there is a price for courage.

OCP Announces Auditions for ‘The Drawer Boy’

Omaha Community Playhouse Proudly Announces Auditions for:

The Drawer Boy
By: Michael Healy

Directed by: Anthony Clark-Kaczmarek

Production Dates: April 9–May 2, 2021 | Hawks Mainstage Theatre (6915 Cass St, Omaha, NE)

Callbacks: Saturday, Jan. 30 from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Audition In-Person

Sunday, Jan. 24 at 2 p.m. By appointment only. Enter through the stage door on the west side of the building.

Audition via Zoom
Monday, Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. By appointment only. A link will be sent to those who choose this option.

Details & Instructions
–All those auditioning must schedule an appointment in advance. To schedule an audition and to request paperwork, please email Becky Deiber at bdeiber@omahaplayhouse.com

–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. In-person auditions will be in groups of no more than 10. Auditioners will be required to wear a face-mask. 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 stage door on the west side of the building.

–All auditioners are encouraged to select one of The Drawer Boy sides or another piece of literature that speaks to them to prepare for the virtual general auditions. Alternate pieces of literature could originate from fiction, poetry, music, film or any other source. Actors may choose to read or memorize their selection. Actors should demonstrate their ability to make strong character choices and maintain realism in performance. Actors are encouraged to keep the total time of the general audition selection to four minutes or less.

Show Synopsis
Seeking inspiration for his new play, Miles, a young actor from Toronto, moves in with Angus and Morgan, two aging bachelor farmers, in rural Ontario. Angus, who suffered a brain injury during World War II, finds joy and solace hearing Morgan retell stories from days gone by. But when Miles includes one of these stories in his play, he sets off a chain of events that will leave all three of the men forever changed. Witty and touching, The Drawer Boy is a testament to the transformative power of storytelling.

We are seeking diverse representation in casting. Actors of all abilities, races, gender identities, sexual orientation, shapes, countries of origin, and experiences are encouraged to audition. Age noted in the script and character descriptions will not be determining factor in casting. Actors of all ages are encouraged to audition. To read character descriptions, visit https://www.omahaplayhouse.com/…/view/season-productions/. All those auditioning must schedule an appointment in advance. To schedule an audition and to request paperwork, please email Becky Deiber at bdeiber@omahaplayhouse.com

MORE INFO: https://www.omahaplayhouse.com/…/view/season-productions/

An Added Dose of Christmas: Fulton, MO & Loganberry Inn

Loganberry Inn

Today the road has brought me to Fulton, MO.

But I did take my sweet time in getting there.  Ultimately my goal was to reach Loganberry Inn for a bonus Christmas review, but I had to stretch my trip out a bit to do it.

Omaha was set to be walloped by a snowstorm the day I originally intended to leave so I rearranged my plans and arranged to do 2 nights in St Joseph, MO at their Holiday Inn so I could get out of its path.  Thanks to my Platinum status, I was upgraded to a free suite so I had plenty of room to stretch out for a few nights.

I didn’t do much in St Joseph though I did get to scratch my Christmas itch a bit as I visited Krug Park on the first night to view their 1.5 mile trek of Christmas lights and displays.  But mostly it was just kicking back in the suite reading, watching TV and especially enjoying watching the Iowa Hawkeyes put a thrashing on the Northwestern Wildcats in basketball.

Wednesday I finally headed off to Fulton.  St Joseph was out of the path of the blizzard that drilled Omaha, but it did get a generous portion of freezing rain that crystallized the trees and power lines as well as wrapped my car in a cocoon of ice.  The ice broke readily off my car and I heard its remnants crack and slough off the car as I continued further south.

By the time I arrived in Fulton, my car had been fully deiced and I found my way to Loganberry Inn.

Loganberry Inn is a Grand Victorian mansion built in 1899 and had been one of my choices for my annual Christmas review back at the start of December.  The inn has actually been graced by quite a few famous people over the years. Margaret Thatcher, Mary Soames (daughter of Winston Churchill) and Polish President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Lech Walesa are just some of the luminaries who have stayed at the inn.

The town itself also packs a bit of history and renown.  Westminster College and William Woods University have their homes here.  The former also has a museum which houses a piece of the Berlin Wall.  Fulton is also close to several major cities including Jefferson City and Columbia as well as being near to the Katy Trail.  The downtown area also houses several antique shops, an old-fashioned soda fountain and the Brick District Playhouse.

I was greeted at the door by Loganberry Inn’s innkeeper, Monique.  She led me to the Garden Room which would be my secluded headquarters and I stress, secluded. 

The Garden Room has its own private entrance at the rear of the mansion and contains a king-sized bed with a memory foam topper, a decorative fireplace and an easy chair couch. 

After settling myself, I headed back into the mansion proper to look around the place.  The inn is still decorated for the holidays and has the feel and look of a traditional Victorian Christmas.  After finishing my explorations, I took a walk over to Westminster College to wander about its campus. 

From there it was back to the inn where I kicked back for a bit before heading out for a bite to eat at Fontenot’s Po’Boys.  This little Cajun eatery is noted for its in-house gumbo and a bowl (or cup) is well worth a taste.  I had a cup of it along with a ½ fried shrimp po’boy. 

With dinner digesting, I made a stop over at Veteran’s Park to experience Fulton’s Festival of Lights.  It’s quite an impressive display of Christmas cheer.  Aside from the festive displays of Santa, elves, snowmen and other Yuletide delights, the park has also its Field of Joy which is a wide array of Christmas trees.  And if you look just past the trees, you can see Santa playing a bit of baseball with one of his elves.

With my heart full of Christmas spirit, I returned to the inn where I posted some photos and then went to bed.

And what a sleep! For me, I slept late, not rising until 7:30am.  I took a bath in my jetted tub and watched the heat escape from the water.  I mean I actually saw the steam float out of the water and hover in the air.  Once cleaned up, I headed to the dining room for breakfast.

The inn alternates between 3 course savory days and 2 course sweet days.  Today was a sweet day.  I had an appetizer of Peach Napoleon followed by an entrée of banana-blueberry pancakes with hot maple syrup and cheddar encrusted sausage balls.  Superb!

After a fine meal, I watched the Robin Williams movie, Man of the Year before taking a walk around the neighborhood and downtown area.

Dinner that night was at the Fulton Diner where one can get some homestyle cooking.  I enjoyed a Patty Melt along with a salad and some fries before returning to the inn for some writing and puttering around before retiring for the night.

For savory day, Monique opened things up with a dessert course of baked apple with brown sugar and ice cream.  That was followed by orange bread and then the main entrée of Southwestern frittata which had tomatoes, sausage, egg, cheese, and tortilla.  Conversation with a lovely couple from Columbia, MO only added to the enjoyment.

And that brings us to the end of this little write-up.  Fulton, MO is a fine little town to visit if you like history and antiques and a visit to Loganberry Inn will make for a thoroughly relaxing stay and a bit of the holiday spirit if you time it right. 

Until the next time. . .happy travels.