Horror Comedy, ‘The Mystery of Irma Vep’, Hits OCP in October

Anna Perilo & Ben Beck star in The Mystery of Irma Vep

Omaha, NE.– The Omaha Community Playhouse (OCP) production of The Mystery of Irma Vep will open on Friday, October 8th, 2021. The show will run in the Howard Drew Theatre through November 7 with performances Thursdays through Sundays. Tickets are on sale now starting at $36 with prices varying by performance. Tickets may be purchased at the OCP Box Office, 6915 Cass St., Omaha, NE 68132, by phone at (402) 553-0800 or online at OmahaPlayhouse.com.


Vampires, werewolves, mummies and an ancient family curse: Two actors take on all of this and more—via dozens of warp-speed quick changes—in this wildly absurd comedy. A feverish spectacle from beginning to end, delightfully campy and dripping with satire, The Mystery of Irma Vep is a farce to be reckoned with!

Directed by: Jim McKain

Cast: Ben Beck & Anna Perilo

Photo provided by Colin Conces

BlueBarn Theatre Holding Auditions for Regional Premiere, ‘Buffalo Women’

BLUEBARN is proud to announce open auditions for the regional premiere of:

Buffalo Women
by Beaufield Berry with Music and Additional Lyrics by J. Isaiah Smith

Directed by Nik Whitcomb

Music Direction by Justin Payne

Saturday October 2nd, 2021: 1pm-4pm
BLUEBARN Theatre, 1106 S. 10th St

Tentative Workshop Dates: January 16th – January 22nd
Rehearsal Dates: April 24th – May 25th
Production Dates: May 26th – June 19th
Compensation: $2,000

For more information, visit bluebarn.org/auditions.

To schedule an audition, contact Chris at: chernandez@bluebarn.org

**All artists working at the BLUEBARN are required to have been vaccinated for COVID-19**

Company members needed:

CATHAY (30s-50s): Alto. Cathay is soft spoken and wise. A lot happens internally before she says anything externally. “Keeping my head down kept me alive.” Cathay is the trained soldier of the group. She knows how to attack and when. And always two steps ahead of their enemies. True historical figure.

BIDDY (30s-60s): Soprano. No-nonsense, intellectual, calculated. Biddy is a natural businesswoman…with big dreams and a rap number. Biddy has been on this type of journey with her own children, she’s the mama, the guider, the financial planner. She’s the Oprah. Hahahaha. True Historical figure.

STAGECOACH MARY (40s-70s): Contralto. Stagecoach is a fearless, cigar smoking, whiskey drinking, rifle carrying, mail carrying bad mamma jamma. She’s Bethulah with experience. True Historical Figure. Mary’s songs range from sexy ballads to high-stepping country.

PLAYWRIGHT (37): The playwright serves as the narrator, the dreamer, the snake, the historian, and the roadmap. Stepping in where context or a new element is needed, the playwright is omnipresent -past, present and future.

The roles of Bethulah and Zadie have already been cast.

The Tracks of Death

A murderer is lurking aboard the famed Orient Express.  Unfortunately for the fiend, the world’s greatest detective is also riding the train.  Will Hercule Poirot be able to solve the baffling killing of a shady businessman?  Find out in Murder on the Orient Express currently playing at the Omaha Community Playhouse.

As I stated in a previous review of this production, I’m not going to delve into plot details as I want the audience to experience the story fresh so they get maximum enjoyment out of it.  However, I can say that Ken Ludwig does an admirable job adapting Agatha Christie’s classic novel.  Ludwig stays fairly close to the source material though he does eliminate several characters which is a salient plot point and clue in the novel, but works around it pretty well.  Though known for farce, Ludwig plays this show pretty straight, yet manages to work a little humor into the story with his vaunted wordplay.

Anthony Clark-Kaczmarek’s direction is, on the whole, very accurate and precise.  He cuts a brutally brisk pace which keeps the audience on the edge of their seats as Poirot peels back the layers of the case.  His staging is spot on, making us feel the enclosed nature of the train and always well placing his performers so you can see their reactions to the goings-on at any given moment.  Clark-Kaczmarek also proves adept at pulling out some truly masterful performances from his thespians.  That being said, it also seemed like he tried to force a little comedy into the production as several of his actors were a little over the top which made them feel like caricatures instead of characters and didn’t always gel with the more grounded performances.

Some of the highlights of the night were Brennan Thomas who is a pretty mean S.O.B. as the murder victim, Samuel Ratchett.  Olivia Howard gives a beautiful, underplayed performance as the governess, Mary Debenham.  Ethan Dragon gives a master class in animation as the affable, and theatrical, Monsieur Bouc.

Connie Lee dominates her scenes as the obnoxious Helen Hubbard.  When Hubbard starts talking, one starts looking for her off switch as she never shuts up and has a grating personality that would even rub Mr. Rogers the wrong way.  Whether she’s frustrating passengers with late night singing and dancing or flirting with the conductor in an attempt to nab a new husband, Lee simply lights up the stage with her effervescent presence.

Daena Schweiger displays a superior dry wit as Princess Dragomiroff.  Seldom have I seen such potent hilarity come from such monotone delivery.  Schweiger knows just what words to emphasize or phrasing to utilize to get the fullest effect from Dragomiroff’s lines and her verbal sparring with Lee’s Hubbard was one of the show’s shining moments.

Seth Maisel wows in his Playhouse debut with a superb turn as Hercule Poirot.  Maisel easily conveys Poirot’s uber fastidious (bordering on OCD) personality with his hyper attention to details and the wiping of his hands after shaking with an old friend.  He also well communicates his genius with his rapid-fire deductions and ability to see through red herrings.  Maisel also brought a fantastic intensity to the role which I thoroughly enjoyed.  Maisel’s Poirot kowtows to nobody and has a highly developed sense of justice which is put to the test when that sense of justice is challenged by his dedication to the law.  His realization that, for once, justice and the law may not be one and the same leads to a haunting monologue excellently and subtly delivered by Maisel.

Justin Payne’s score had me ready for a night of mystery with its relentless eeriness.  Jim Othuse surpassed himself with this set as the Orient Express became another character with its luxurious sleeping compartments, elegant dining room, and imposing edifice during a scene done on the back of the train.  Lindsay Pape’s costumes were right on the money with the elegant suit of the impeccably dressed Poirot, the doughty dress of the uber religious Greta Ohlsson, or the spiffy uniform of Michel, the conductor highlighting some of her costuming prowess.  John Gibilisco and Tim Burkhart impressed with their sounds whether it be a gunshot, a chugging and braking train, or the flashback effect used on voices during the denouement.

The show will assuredly hold your attention and perhaps even have you white knuckling your armrests at points.  With its blitzkrieg pace, strong writing, assured direction, and solid performances, Murder on the Orient Express does provide a gripping night of mystery.

Murder on the Orient Express runs at the Omaha Community Playhouse through Oct 10.  Showtimes are Wed-Sat at 7:30pm and Sundays at 2pm. Tickets start at $25 with prices varying by performance. Tickets may be purchased at the OCP Box Office, by phone at (402) 553-0800 or online at OmahaPlayhouse.com. The Omaha Community Playhouse is located at 6915 Cass St in Omaha, NE.

OCP Announces Auditions for ‘Outside Mullingar’

Omaha, NE–The Omaha Community Playhouse (OCP) is holding auditions for the upcoming production of Outside Mullingar on Sunday, September 26 at 1 p.m. at OCP and Monday, September 27 at 6:30 p.m. at OCP.

Through upholding high ethical standards, demonstrating respect for all and consciously working to provide diverse representation, OCP is committed to creating an inclusive and safe environment in which all community members feel a sense of belonging, and does not discriminate in casting practices on the basis of an individual’s ethnicity, age, gender, physical and cognitive ability, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, country of origin or other factors. Omaha Community Playhouse is committed to diverse and inclusive casting.

Director: Susan Baer Collins

Show Dates: Feb. 11–March 13, 2022

Performances are Thursdays – Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. in the Howard Drew Theatre. Actors are called to the theatre one hour before curtain.

Rehearsals: Schedule and Start Date TBD

Show Synopsis: The play Outside Mullingar, by John Patrick Shanley, focuses on Anthony and Rosemary, two introverted, 40-something misfits. Anthony has spent his entire life on a cattle farm in rural Ireland, and – due to his painful shyness – that suits him just fine. Rosemary lives right next door and since she was 6 years old. She’s determined to have him, but as the years slip away, Rosemary has every reason to think they’ll never be together. This very Irish, poetic, and somewhat magical story finds these yearning, eccentric souls fighting toward their own kind of happiness. Oddly funny, heartbreaking, and deeply moving, Outside Mullingar, sparks hope in each of us that it’s never too late to take a chance on love.


Tony Reilly – a willy old Irishman, 75 or so years old

Rosemary Muldoon – In love with Anthony, around 40, plans to stay and work the farm after her father’s death

Anthony Reilly – Tony’s son, an intense dreamer, around 42

Aoife Muldoon – Rosemary’s mother, in bad health, short of breath, walking with a cane, recently widowed, around 70

Those who wish to audition may choose one of the following audition dates:

§ Sunday, September 26, 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m

§ Monday, September 27, 6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St, Omaha, NE 68132

Callbacks: Wednesday, September 29, 6:30 p.m.

Compensation: Onstage performers for this show will be compensated $725 in total.

Auditions are by appointment only. Please contact Becky Deiber at bdeiber@omahaplayhouse.com to schedule an audition appointment and request audition paperwork and sides.

Those auditioning will be asked to read from the script provided at auditions.

Please bring all contact information, personal schedules and a list of rehearsal conflicts with which to fill out an audition form. To expedite the check-in process, please bring a recent photo if you have one available. Please note, photos will not be returned.


Protocols: Masks are required for everyone inside of the Omaha Community Playhouse. No exemptions. All performers are required to be fully vaccinated by the first date of rehearsal. Proof of vaccination will be required upon casting.

For more information, contact Becky Deiber at bdeiber@omahaplayhouse.com or (402) 553-4890.

Stephen Santa Named Artistic Director of Omaha Community Playhouse

Omaha, NE–The Omaha Community Playhouse (OCP) is excited to announce that Stephen Santa will be joining the organization as the new artistic director beginning on November 1, 2021. Susan Baer Collins, former OCP associate artistic director, has been acting as interim artistic director since January. Collins will work with Santa during the transition.

Santa, currently based out of Pittsburgh, PA, is a seasoned director, educator and arts advocate who has dedicated much of his career to creating accessible theatre experiences for neurodivergent youth. He founded, and currently serves as the artistic director of, Jumping Jack Theater, a children’s theater company that produces new works for audiences with developmental disabilities and sensory sensitivities. In 2019, Santa received the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC) Standout Moment Award for his work with Jumping Jack Theater, a national honor that recognizes outstanding contributions to the advancement of equity, diversity and inclusion in the theatre industry.

An alumni of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy of New York, Santa has directed over 50 musicals and numerous plays, including international festivals, off-Broadway, national tours, and regional theatre productions across the country. He was named one of Pittsburgh’s Top Directors by CBS Pittsburgh and has received awards and accolades for his productions of Avenue Q (Best Musical, BroadwayWorld Regional Awards; Best Local Stage Production, Pittsburgh City Paper), Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Best Local Stage Production, Pittsburgh City Paper) and Dani Girl (Five Stars, BroadwayBaby).

Santa’s international credits include work with Edinburgh Fringe. Off Broadway and New York City credits include work with Arts Nova and the New York Musical Theatre Festival. Regional credits include Pittsburgh Musical Theatre, Split Stage Productions, Sheboygan Theatre Company, Front Porch Theatricals, Park Productions, Throughline Theatre Company, The Gilbert Theatre, The Bald Theatre Company, The Cresson Lake Playhouse, Stage 62, South Park Theater, Mon River Arts, Little Lake Theatre, The Old Schoolhouse Players, and The Theatre Factory.

Santa served as assistant director for the national tour of Flashdance the Musical (directed by Sergio Trujillo), the North American premier of The Monster in the Hall (directed by Tracy Brigden), and Pop! (directed by Brad Rouse/choreographed by Billy Porter).

“We are so thrilled to have Stephen Santa joining our team,” said OCP Executive Director Katie Broman. “In addition to his exceptional resume, Stephen is incredibly passionate about serving his community through the arts.”

“I’m truly honored to join the Omaha Community Playhouse family as we blaze a new path into the future while honoring the exceptional legacy forged over the last century.” said Santa. “As the new artistic director, I am committed to a strong focus on DEIA progress, innovative educational pathways for all members of the community and producing entertaining, thought-provoking and memorable productions on our stages. We will continue to inspire all who step through the doors by immersing them in beautiful storytelling where every audience member can attend a production and see a reflection of themselves on stage.”

Murder Most Foul Coming to OCP

Seth Maisel stars as Hercule Poirot in “Murder on the Orient Express”

Omaha, NE– The Omaha Community Playhouse (OCP) production of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express will open Friday, September 17, 2021. The show will run in the Hawks Mainstage Theatre through October 10 with performances Wednesdays through Sundays. Tickets are on sale now starting at $25 with prices varying by performance. Tickets may be purchased at the OCP Box Office, 6915 Cass St., Omaha, NE 68132, by phone at (402) 553-0800 or online at OmahaPlayhouse.com.


A thrilling whodunit set aboard the world’s most famous luxury locomotive, Murder on the Orient Express will keep you guessing until the very end. When the Orient Express becomes stranded by a snowstorm, a passenger is found stabbed to death in his private room. With the murderer still on board, a detective must solve the crime before the train reaches its destination.

Directed By: Anthony Clark-Kaczmarek


Seth Maisel as Hercule Poirot
Brennan Thomas as Samuel Ratchett
Daena Schweiger as Princess Dragomiroff
Connie Lee as Helen Hubbard
Roz Parr as Greta Ohlsson
Billy Ferguson as James Arbuthnot
Jennifer Gilg as Countess Andrenyi
Olivia Howard as Mary Debenham
Brian Priesman as Hector Macqueen
Ethan Dragon as Monsieur Bouc
Jay Srygley as Michel, the Conductor
Adam Bassing as Head Waiter