Welcome to Tuna, TX, home of the most eccentric, bizarre, and moronic people you’re likely to find on the planet. Join them for a day in their lives in Greater Tuna which is currently playing at Maples Repertory Theatre.
This play is the first in a series about the peculiar citizenry of Tuna. The shows are constructed as a combination of sketch comedy and soap opera. The characters and situations are over the top and some storylines don’t get wrapped up until future shows. One thing the shows have in common is that only 2 actors play the town’s citizens making it a showcase for character performers.
Marc Liby provides some skillful direction for this production. He keeps the pace going at the speed of a bullet train to rev up the comedy’s momentum and knows how to keep the many individual story arcs bright and interesting. His shaping of the actors’ numerous characters is stellar as each character has his or her own life with a change in costume, voice, and posture.
With only 2 actors to play a town of oddballs, skilled, versatile actors are a must and this show has got them in the form of 2 of MRT’s favorite sons: Michael McIntire and Sean Riley.
McIntire and Riley’s timing is polished to a fine sheen and I think they set a record with their blitzkrieg costume changes. Both also brilliantly essay the many lunatics of this town and are guaranteed to have you laughing from the diaphragm by the time the night is through.
Michael McIntire plays most of the town’s intense characters. Some favorites were his rendition of Bertha Bumiller, a tough as nails morality freak who leads an organization to ban literature such as Romeo & Juliet due to its depiction of teenage sex and Roots because it only presents one side of the story; Elmer Watkins, a conspiracy theory fueled survivalist; and radio host Harold Dean who delights in blaring the town’s issues while dodging a stalker. But his capstone character was Reverend Spikes who gives a rather energetic and lascivious eulogy which had the audience howling.
Sean Riley plays most of Tuna’s dopes and nerds. Some of his classic performances include his take on the dorky Petey Fisk, the head of the local SPCA who often smuggles dogs to the Bumillers through their youngest child; the deadpan and potentially deadly Didi Snavely who runs the local weapons shop; his laconic Arles Struvie who hosts the thrice daily news broadcasts and is one of the few townsfolk with a couple of brain cells. But his most surprising character is Stanley Bumiller, the ne’er do well son of Bertha who takes one of the show’s storylines in a shockingly dark direction with his grudge against a judge who sentenced him to reform school.
Kerri Packard certainly had her work cut out for her with this show, but her costumes suit the personalities of each of the town’s characters with the overalls and flannels of some of the hick characters, the frumpy dresses of the town’s elderly women, the con artist suit of Rev Spikes, and the clothing of Stanley Bumiller which seemed inspired by Mike Myers’ Wayne character from Wayne’s World. Clayton Dombach keeps his set fairly simple with a large friendly sign welcoming people to Tuna and his backdrop depicting a farm community. Mike Ekelburg’s sounds boost the comedy especially with the UFO scene which was influenced by Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Shon Causer’s lights always suit the emotional thrusts of the various scenes.
This is pure escapist comedy which will make you forget about life for a while and provide the healing magic of laughter. Take a night to lose yourself in humor.
Greater Tuna runs at Maples Repertory Theatre through August 1. The show has 2pm showtimes on June 26, July 2-3, 7, 13, 18, 20-21, 30, and August 1 and 7:30pm showtimes on July 9, 17, 23, 28, and 31. Tickets begin at $26 and can be obtained by calling the box office at 660-385-2924 or visiting www.maplesrep.com. Maples Repertory Theatre is located at 102 N Rubey St in Macon, MO.
It’s a tribute to the music of Irving Berlin. It’s I Love a Piano and it’s currently playing at Maples Repertory Theatre.
Yes, the show is a tribute to the works of Berlin, but it’s so much more than that as well. In many ways, it’s one of the most difficult shows I’ve ever seen staged as it’s, essentially, dozens of mini-plays mashed together. As, arguably, America’s greatest composer, Berlin was not only extremely prolific over his 50 year career, but he also possessed rare versatility as he could write standards, comic songs, love songs, heartbreakers, and even patriotic songs. Over 60 of his songs are performed in this production and each is a vignette which requires effective direction and triple threat performers as they need to be able to sing, dance, and, most importantly, act through the songs. And, trust me, this show has that in spades and then some.
Ray Roderick and Michael Berkeley did a stellar job arranging this show as each song flows naturally into the next and essentially tells the story of America from the turn of the century through the 1950s. I was especially impressed with the framing device of a covered piano and the piano is actually the central character as you follow its journey through the joys and heartaches of America over five decades.
Courtney Crouse’s direction is some of the most nuanced I’ve seen in a show. As I earlier stated, a director really has to be rock solid to direct this production as he or she is, more or less, directing 60 tiny shows and needs to string it all together logically. Crouse’s direction has just that assurance.
His staging is impeccable as he makes full use of the stage and I always had a clear line of vision to every performer and there was never a single moment of upstaging. His knowledge of the beats was dead on target. Doubly crucial as the beat changes came with lightning speed. He guided his troupe to utterly flawless performances and they knew how to hit the song points that made them funnier, sadder, more serious, more gleeful, and just more fun.
Jacob Barton and Taylor Kraft have absolutely unmatched stage chemistry. The real-life couple have the panache and polish of Fred & Ginger combined with the timing of Abbott and Costello. Each just consistently builds on small things the other does, creating something magnetic and mesmerizing in the process. Both have the capability to make you cry such as their touching work in “Blue Skies” or can make you laugh such as their battle of one-upsmanship in “Anything You Can Do”.
Both Barton and Kraft also get their own individual moments to shine. Barton will tickle your ribs as a draftee in World War I who just wants to sleep in as he sings “Oh, How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning” and brings you home for the holidays with his soaring tenor in “White Christmas”. Kraft is equally amusing in “Gee, I Wish I was Back in the Army” as she pines for the plethora of available soldiers and will make you swoon with “They Say it’s Wonderful”.
Cassie Slater and Karl Hamilton were the funniest couple of the afternoon. Both have astonishing comedic chops which they use to fullest potential. Their shining moment was “Let’s Go Slummin” as they delightfully spy on other classes to get their jollies. Hamilton also gets to show off his equally potent dramatic chops with my favorite song “Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep” as he plays an army sergeant trying to help his private get through the fear and loneliness of war. Likewise, Slater will stir your soul with the moving “Russian Lullaby”.
Last, but certainly not least, is the dynamic duo of Andrew Scoggin and Emily Gardenhire. Both also possess the grand gift of comedy and are the most symbiotic twosome as their best moments come in their duets as they usually play a couple who are not quite on the same page. Some of their best moments include the thoroughly entertaining “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” as an arguing couple who literally get caught in the spotlight. They can also be syrupy sweet as in the duet “Isn’t it a Lovely Day”. Or downright intimidating as they glare down an overexuberant bell ringer in “Lazy”.
Jennifer Hemphill’s choreography is elegant, expansive, and utterly perfect. Never is there a wasted bit of energy or step. Clayton Dornbach’s set gives off the sense of a Broadway theatre with is lighted columns and steps. Shon Causer’s lights really enhanced the production especially with emotional blues for some of the sadder numbers and the use of spotlights as police officers breaking up a speakeasy. Darrell Wagner’s costumes will take you on a trip through the decades with coats and tails, three piece suits, lovely dresses, and military fatigues. Mike Ekelburg’s sounds provided a subtle backdrop for the show and Kevin Casey and his band (Katie Hutton, Sophia Indelicato, Jordan Perry, Nick Welker, Jamie Baker) gave full justice to the score.
It truly is a show that has a little something for everyone (comedy, drama, acting, singing, and dancing) and a dandy kickoff to the MRT season.
I Love a Piano runs at Maples Repertory Theatre through July 11. Showtimes are at 2pm on June 27, 29-30, July 9 and 11 and at 7:30pm on June 27, July 2, 7, and 10. Tickets begin at $26 and can be obtained by calling the box office at 660-385-2924 or visiting www.maplesrep.com. Maples Repertory Theatre is located at 102 N Rubey St in Macon, MO.
Macon, MO–After a season off due to COVID-19, Maples Repertory Theatre returns to live performances with its “Looking Forward” season and it has a little something for everyone. The season kicks off with:
I LOVE A PIANO
June 16 – July 11, 2021
Music and Lyrics by Irving Berlin
Conceived by Ray Roderick & Michael Berkeley
This celebration of music and lyrics of Irving Berlin follows the journey of a piano as it moves in and out of American lives from the turn of the century to the present. Along the way, the story comes to vibrant life as the cast sings and dances over sixty of Irving Berlin’s most beloved songs including “Blue Skies”, “There’s No Business Like Show Business”, “Puttin’ on the Ritz”, “Always”, “White Christmas”, and, of course, “I Love a Piano”.
Wed. June 16 – 7:30
Fri. June 18 – 2:00, 7:30
Sat. June 19 – 2:00, 7:30
Sun. June 20 – 2:00
Fri. June 25 – 2:00
Sun. June 27 – 2:00, 7:30
Tue. June 29 – 2:00
Wed. June 30 – 2:00
Fri. July 2 – 7:30
Wed. July 7 – 7:30
Fri. July 9 – 2:00
Sat. July 10 – 7:30
Sun. July 11 – 2:00
Featuring: Cassie Slater Wooley, Karl Hamilton, Emily Gardenhire, Andrew Scoggin, Taylor Kraft, and Jacob Barton
June 23 – August 1, 2021
by Jaston Williams, Joe Sears, and Ed Howard
Two men play the entire cast of over twenty eccentric characters of both genders and various ages who live in the second smallest town in Texas. It’s an affectionate comment on small-town life and attitudes. Two of Maples Rep’s favorite comedic actors, Michael McIntire and Sean Riley, are slated to star.
Wed. June 23 – 7:30
Fri. June 25 – 7:30
Sat. June 26 – 2:00
Fri. July 2 – 2:00
Sat. July 3 – 2:00
Wed. July 7 – 2:00
Fri. July 9 – 7:30
Tues. July 13 – 2:00
Sat. July 17 – 7:30
Sun. July 18 – 2:00
Tues. July 20 – 2:00
Wed. July 21 – 2:00
Fri. July 23 – 7:30
Wed. July 28 – 7:30
Fri. July 30 – 2:00
Sat. July 31 – 7:30
Sun. Aug. 1 – 2:00
Tickets cost $33 for the Main Floor and $26 for the Balcony. Tickets may be purchased at www.maplesrep.com or by calling the Box Office at 660-385-2924. Maples Repertory Theatre is located at 102 N Rubey St in Macon, MO.
Pictures provided through courtesy of Maples Repertory Theatre
Collyn and Emerson are ad agents hoping to land an account for a chain of hotels owned by Samuel Briarwood. To seal the deal Emerson invites Briarwood and his niece to dinner at her home. However, her husband currently goes through a 9 month gestation and delivery every 24 hours due to a hypnotic suggestion. To avoid the embarrassing situation, Emerson gets her husband out of the house and hires an actor to play him. Unfortunately, Emerson’s husband comes home early. You can find out the rest by watching Temporary Insanity, a world premiere production by Karen Schaeffer and currently playing at Bellevue Little Theatre.
Schaeffer’s script has considerable promise. I enjoy the play on the title as it’s a reference to Ted’s daily birthings as well as Emerson’s being a little crazed herself due to her freaking out about the dinner plus the general looniness of the situations that erupt throughout the night. The farcical second act is everything a great high-energy comedy needs to be with slamming doors, mistaken identities, and new plans spun out on the fly. But the first act moves a little too slowly and feels more like a traditional comedy as it spends its duration setting everything up to fall apart in the second act.
Jon Flower provides some pretty effective direction with the production. His actors are always moving and animated so the show is never static. He developed some great visual gags, though an extended kissing gag will be even funnier once we’re a little further past the pandemic so actors feel safe in actually kissing instead of using body language to simulate the passion. Flower also guided his actors to solid & strong performances and I was especially impressed with the performances he got out of his two youngest cast members.
Some of the entertaining performances you’ll see during the night come from Michael Taylor-Stewart as Ted whose groans of “pregnancy” liven up the second act. Sherry Josand Fletcher is also amusing as Emerson’s mother, Marie, who agrees to play the maid for dinner, but proves to be an atrocious actress with her godawful Cockney accent and constant curtseying. Robert Wagner also provides some chuckles as Ted’s drunken friend who only wants to play with a puppy.
D. Laureen Pickle is a scream as Emerson. She perfectly captures the frazzled ad agent desperate to land the deal with her cockeyed plans to have an elegant dinner that constantly blow up in her face. Pickle’s Emerson gleefully guzzles wine from the bottle, cooks so poorly that she can’t even toss salad (or perhaps tosses too well, depending on one’s point of view), and always seems a half step away from dissolving into a giggling hyena ready for a straitjacket.
Heather Wilhelm shows a mastery of straight man comedy as Collyn. She’s the more level headed of the two ad agents and is clearly the glue holding Emerson together. She can easily toss off a deadpan zinger and then engage in a bit of soap opera style acting as she concocts a tale with the professional actor hired by Emerson to cover his amorous advances on another character.
Don Harris’ performance as Samuel Briarwood was the fuel that kicked this show into hyperdrive. As Briarwood, Harris is a blustering, old-school businessman and his flustered and puzzled reactions to the strange situations swirling about him are always a treat to watch. His romantic tension with Fletcher’s Marie provided some of the funniest moments in the show.
Joey Lorincz creates another classic BLT set with the elegant home of Ted and Emerson complete with the numerous doors needed for a proper farce. Said set is also impeccably dressed by Jon Flower to give it the feel of a home. Todd Uhrmacher’s costumes are right on the mark with the uniform of the pizza delivery boy, the evening gown and suit clothing the Briarwoods, and Marie’s karate gi and maid’s uniform just to name a few.
The energy of the show was at an incredibly low ebb for a great deal of the night which made it feel too naturalistic as opposed to the bombastic, over the top feel required for farce. Once Harris blew onto the stage, the momentum starting kicking up to the proper level. Cue pickups were also a bit off and tightening them up will help to boost the energy.
In the end, this show does provide an enjoyable evening of insanity. It almost has the feeling of an extended episode of I Love Lucy with Emerson’s hare-brained schemes and everything getting tied up in a nice little bow as an end. And who could ask for anything more?
Temporary Insanity runs at Bellevue Little Theatre through June 27. Showtimes are Fri-Sat at 7:30pm and Sundays at 2pm. Tickets cost $20 ($18 for seniors, $10 for students) and reservations can be made at http://bellevuelittletheatre.weebly.com/reservations.html. Bellevue Little Theatre is located at 203 W Mission Ave in Bellevue, NE.
Ouray (pronounced you-ray) is nicknamed the Switzerland of America and is a quaint, mountain village nestled in the Rocky Mountains. I was actually led to this trip by a couple (The Jacksons) whom I met when I visited Racine, WI earlier this year. They told me I had to visit Ouray as it contained the most beautiful B & B they had ever visited: Black Bear Manor owned and operated by Tom and Cyndi Elliston.
The inn was actually on my list, but on the farther end as Ouray is nearly 13 hours away from Omaha. But with the country rapidly reopening and the fact that I hadn’t had a proper vacation in nearly two years, I decided to embark on the biggest road trip I had undertaken.
This was truly a tale of two drives. The first day of the drive was pretty flat as once you get past Lincoln, the state of Nebraska is pretty flat and sightless. Around Kearney, the route veered off the interstate and became mostly a highway drive which broke up the monotony as I at least was able to drive through small towns.
Around noon, I found myself in the tiny town of Alma, NE and I decided I could use a lunch break to stretch my legs and stopped into KJ’s Café for a bite to eat.
It was a pretty decent little diner where I enjoyed a Special Hamburger (it’s uniquely seasoned) along with some fries while I continued working through my latest volume of Sherlock Holmes pastiches. After a restful meal, it was back on the road.
The lack of scenery continued to be broken by occasional forays through small towns as I passed from Nebraska into Kansas and eventually into Colorado.
After 7.5 hours, I finally found myself at my stopping point of Limon, CO. It’s a town of only 1,000 people yet actually has a Holiday Inn. I was weary and truly grateful for the free upgrade to a suite as I was darn near ready to collapse after the grueling drive.
A couple hours of relaxing did rejuvenate me enough to attend an evening service at Our Lady of Victory. Most surprising to me was that the service was at 7pm as, historically, most Catholic services tend to be held between 4 to 5:30pm on Saturdays.
It was a very nice service as Father shared a great sermon about witnessing and the best way to do it was to tell people about why Jesus was my friend. After the service I returned to the hotel where I read for a bit before finally answering the calls to the land of Nod.
The next morning, I was out the door by 8am for another long drive. But the scenery began to change around Colorado Springs when I saw the Rockies looming in the distance. Soon I was enjoying a picturesque drive through the mountains and forests and I just drank in the scenery as well as watching numerous rafters shoot the rapids.
Around 3pm, I finally arrived in Ouray and felt like I was transported back in time. The town definitely has the feeling of another era with its older building designs and a Main Street where all the major businesses are located. And everything is within walking distance.
Soon I found myself at Black Bear Manor which is one of the most interestingly constructed houses I had seen and I suspect the building had been a traditional hotel once upon a time. Before I could dial the inn’s number, Tom opened the door, introduced me to Cyndi, and gave me the nickel tour of the inn before leading me to lucky number 7, Cliffside King.
The room is small, yet comfortable, with a soft king-sized bed and a private balcony which has a view of the Rockies. I got settled in, wandered about the inn, and then took a walk through town.
Ouray has a semi-boxed in feeling as it’s surrounded by mountains on all sides and only has two ways in and out. One from the north and one from the south. The southern entrance/exit is actually the start of the Million Dollar Highway. This highway is a 20ish mile stretch of road considered the most beautiful drive in America. The flip side is that it’s also considered one of the most dangerous with its narrow roads, hairpin turns, and lack of guardrails. The speed limit never exceeds 25 mph on this road that connects Ouray with Silverton.
I had a relaxing walk through town (though it is very steep) and stopped in at Ray’s Jerky where I bought some jalapeno jerky for my hikes the next day and snacked on an old-fashioned hot fudge sundae complete with whipped cream, sprinkles, and a cherry at The Yankee Girl Café & Sweets before going back to the inn.
I decompressed for a bit before heading out to dinner at the Ouray Brewery. Only rooftop dining is currently available, but it was a cool evening and I supped on a Green Chile Cheeseburger while sipping on a Box Canyon Brown (most beer in Ouray is brewed locally or regionally) which was quite flavorful and tasted closer to a black beer without the bitterness. After a satisfying meal, I returned to the inn and spent some time in the hot tub where the churning water massaged and soothed aching muscles. I then went back to my room where I forced myself to stay up late to compel my body to adapt to Mountain Time.
The plan worked as I woke up at 6am. I then lazed about watching some TV and catching up on the news. At 9am I headed down to breakfast.
Black Bear Manor is unique in that it offers two breakfasts. At 7am a continental breakfast is laid out and then a hot meal is served at 9am.
The hot breakfast is served buffet style so you can have as much or as little as you please. The place was packed as the inn was actually sold out (the first I’ve experienced since starting this project back in 2013). I filled my plate with a smidge of everything so I was able to enjoy a taste of French Toast Souffle, ham, fried potatoes, scrambled eggs, and fruit. It was such a nice day that I ate outside and enjoyed some conversation before heading off to commune with nature.
I began my day at Cascade Falls Park and I certainly got my exercise in. It’s not an extremely difficult trek, but it is steep and one has to take the much higher altitude into consideration so be sure to pace yourself. Interestingly enough, the trek actually starts at the waterfall and it is an awesome sight, not to mention a quite refreshing one as cool air buffets you from the thundering falls. I spent nearly two hours hiking around and keeping my strength up with water and jerky.
When I was through with Cascade Falls, I made my way over to Box Canyon Park which included a brief, and I do mean brief, drive on the Million Dollar Highway. Box Canyon contains two treks. An easy 500 foot walk to Box Canyon Falls and a difficult trek up to a high bridge overlooking the falls. With the sun beating down on my head and my protein supply depleted, not to mention the few hours I had just done, I decided to simply visit the falls.
The roar of the falls in deafening and one wouldn’t even be able to have a shouted conversation. As I gazed upon this force of nature, I suddenly realized how the battle between Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty would have played out in reality.
I then returned to Black Bear Manor where I organized photos and caught a small nap. Around 4pm, I took a walk down to Ouray Hot Springs and back and partook of Black Bear Manor’s happy hour where I enjoyed some regionally brewed beer.
About 6pm, I headed over to an Ouray institution, The Outlaw, for dinner. The restaurant has a rustic feel, but is actually a fine dining establishment. I entered the restaurant and smiled as I listened to the piano player deal up a bevy of standards and movie tunes. I was led to a table at the back where I ordered a New York Strip with garlic mashed potatoes and mixed vegetables. I had a side salad added on and the meal came with a small loaf of freshly baked garlic bread.
In fairness I didn’t think the salad merited the extra $5, but that was countered by the steak which was tender and delicious and seemed a bit bigger than the 10 oz advertised on the menu. The potatoes were fluffy and light and the vegetables were nice and crisp.
From there it was back to the inn for another session with the hot tub and a quiet, peaceful evening.
Breakfast the next morning consisted of a breakfast casserole, personal quiches, bacon, eggs, and fruit. I had another round of great conversation with fellow guests before embarking on my day.
For $25 per two hours, day guests can enjoy a soaking session in the famed caves. The mineral water that comes from the springs is a constant 104-108 degrees and is not recirculated. The water is completely chemical free and is known for its restorative and therapeutic properties. The cave acts as a natural sauna so you’ll really sweat out the impurities. Sections of the cave also drip much cooler water which helps to cool down the body after a session in the springs.
From there I returned to Cascade Falls where I just admired the waterfall while engaging in a conversation with my best friend. Afterwards, I headed down to the riverbank by Black Bear Manor where I pondered life for a little while.
In hindsight, I think I made the day too relaxing. By mid-afternoon, I was itching for another activity, but some nearby museums had not yet reopened and the local historical museum was about ready to close. Should I ever find myself this way again, I’ll be sure to visit them as well as schedule a jeep tour, another local highlight.
Instead I took a little walk and then enjoyed the happy hour where Tom serenaded the guests with some solo guitar work and songs. He even takes requests and I joined him for some two man harmony on Jim Croce’s “Operator (That’s Not the Way it Feels)”.
Then I made my way to The Mineshaft & Tiki Bar. This completely outdoor restaurant provides a comfortable eating experience under the sun and I enjoyed a Philly Steak for the evening repast before returning to Black Bear Manor for a bit of writing and photo organizing.
What a way to close the trip! Today I had what is easily one of the best breakfasts I’ve enjoyed since starting this project. This morning I enjoyed Chile Relleno Casserole, breakfast enchilada (with some red and green salsa), country potatoes, and a cinnamon roll that just melted in my mouth. Braced for the long trip, I wrapped up this article and said my good-byes.
If you ever find yourself in Ouray, rest assured you’ll find plenty to do. It’s a popular tourist site with activities for all seasons (famed for ice climbing and skiing in the winter). And if you want some real hospitality, make sure to visit Black Bear Manor. Tom and Cyndi will treat you right and you’ll enjoy comfortable rooms and food that will knock your socks off.
What happens when a subpar playwright teams up with an inept songwriter to write a show about a historical figure about whom no history is known? You get the musical nobody was waiting for. It’s Gutenberg! The Musical! and it’s currently playing at the Omaha Community Playhouse under the auspices of The Candy Project.
I’ve long said that you have to be really great at something in order to pretend to be really bad at it and Anthony King and Scott Brown prove that belief with a rollicking, laugh yourself hoarse comedy. This show takes the idea of the story within a story and turns it on its head with what I’ll call a summary in a frame.
The framing device for the show is that Doug and Bud are testing their new musical about Gutenberg, inventor of the printing press, in front of an audience with Broadway producers in hopes to get their show on the Great White Way. To that end they give a reading of their show complete with songs and it’s the tops in lows. One wonders what is more appalling: their grasp of history, their knowledge of dialects (German characters speak with British, or Texan in one case, accents), or their complete inability to write, even accidentally, one quality word or song lyric.
Kaitlyn McClincy’s direction conjures some real magic in this production. Her eye for a gag is splendid and she has some beauts such as one of her performers being blasted in the face with water from a spray bottle to emulate a storm or another having a wrestling match with a tarp. She keeps the pace snappy and has molded two top of the line performances with her pair of thespians.
This show really needs a dynamic duo as there’s a symbiotic relationship between the two of them that makes it next door to impossible to separate the performances. Luckily this show has just such a duo in the forms of two of Omaha’s finest comedic talents: Steve Krambeck and Dan Chevalier.
Their chemistry and timing are things of beauty and their energy is staggering as the show is the equivalent of running a sprint. Krambeck and Chevalier’s Doug and Bud really come off like old friends who truly love the theatre, but just lack any particular talent in that area, though Bud can at least write a melody.
Both men get multiple chances to shine as they morph into the myriad characters of their show with some personal favorites being Krambeck’s portrayal of the slightly arrogant title character and the abused Young Monk who believes his love has the power to transform Monk (the show’s villain) into a better person. Chevalier’s Texan Monk and his Anti-Semitic Flower Girl are also massive rib ticklers.
Their “real” selves are also the source for plenty of amusement as Doug clearly has some unrequited feelings towards Bud and Bud is a lonely virgin which reflects in some of his song lyrics.
Both actors are also gifted tenor singers who nail their numbers especially with Chevalier’s renditions of “Haunted German Wood” which tells the origin story of Monk’s evil and was my personal favorite song and “Monk With Me” where he tries to corrupt Gutenberg into giving up his dreams of a literate society. Likewise Krambeck soars with Act I’s rocking finale “Tomorrow Is Tonight” and my other favorite song, “Might As Well (Go To Hell)” which somehow finds the humor in the unsavory topic of suicide.
Tim Vallier’s musical direction is right on the mark as he understands the humor and beats of the songs and they are excellently performed by Sara Collins on piano.
In many ways, this show is theatre in its purest form. No costumes (except for a series of ball caps). No set. No lights. No sound. Just two storytellers and a pianist giving the wonderful gift of laughter in a show guaranteed to chase the blues away.
Gutenberg! The Musical! runs at the Omaha Community Playhouse through June 27. Showtimes are Thurs-Sat at 7:30pm and Sundays at 2pm. Tickets start at $30 and can be purchased at the OCP Box Office or by calling 402-553-0800 or visiting www.omahaplayhouse.com. The Omaha Community Playhouse is located at 6915 Cass St in Omaha, NE.