–Footloose celebrates the exhilaration of youth, the wisdom of listening to one another, and the power of forgiveness.
It’s A Wonderful Life: Nov 4-20, 2022
-It’s the gorgeous love story of George and Mary Bailey, a vivid portrait of the Greatest Generation, a descent into the darkest hour of a man trapped by circumstance and a powerful meditation on what makes a meaningful life.
Agatha Christie’s Spider’s Web: Jan 13-29, 2023
-A conscious parody of the detective thriller, Christie delivers a unique blend of suspense and humor in a intricate plot of murder, police, drug addicts, invisible ink, hidden doorways and secret drawers.
A Little Night Music: Mar 10-26, 2023
-Stephen Sondheim’s romantic nineteenth-century waltz whisks us away to a weekend in the country.
Girls’ Weekend: May 5-21, 2023
*Our 250th Production!*
-From the writer of our World Premiere: Temporary Insanity. Karen Schaeffer’s Girls’ Weekend is “Marvelous … successfully punchy … be prepared to laugh”
It’s been a long time since I’ve pumped out one of these. But the pandemic ground my auditioning to a standstill so I haven’t had material with which to work. But I did have one doozy of a tale at the height of the pandemic. A story of rejuvenation.
This year marks an anniversary for me. Mid-July will mark the twentieth anniversary of my audition for The Elephant Man. For those of you unfamiliar with that saga, click here.
At the end of that tale, I had mentioned my belief that God used the play to pull me out of the depression from which I’d been suffering. Little did I know He’d use it again to galvanize me.
One of the last theatre tales I wrote was to address the question of when would I be on stage again. I answered honestly, but I had real time to further analyze that question during the pandemic with the sudden plethora of time I had on my hands.
When I did Leaving Iowa, I finally believed fully in my acting prowess. Even better, I was now able to audition with a greater sense of freedom since I could enjoy being in the moment instead of worrying about whether or not I’d get cast.
Though I was now enjoying the freedom of the audition, the reality was that my fortunes didn’t change all that much. Granted, I was auditioning much less, but I was back to giving great auditions, but unable to land parts. In fact, I’ve only performed twice in the last 9 years and the gap separating those two performances was 5 ½ years.
I no longer doubted my ability to act, but I did start to doubt my ability to get cast. An x factor over which no performer has control.
I was starting to wonder, in my heart of hearts, whether or not my storytelling days were done and if my future involvement would solely be dedicated to writing. I didn’t have any sadness as I could look back on my body of work with a sense of satisfaction, but I did have a sense of melancholy as I felt I had sped through the five stages of acting.
1. Who’s Chris Elston? 2. Get me Chris Elston. 3. Get me a young Chris Elston. 4. Get me a Chris Elston type. 5. Who’s Chris Elston?
In my case, I felt I had skipped steps two and three. And, yet, I also couldn’t say people were asking “Who’s Chris Elston?” The Corner made me an ever present name in theatre. It’s just that I was now far better known for my writing than I ever was for my acting.
But in recent times I began to hear that question more and more. “When are we going to see you on stage again?”
One night I was pondering that question when I was suddenly struck by a powerful desire to break out my copy of The Elephant Man which I hadn’t looked at since the night of the audition back in 2002.
I scooted my coffee table out of the way. Then, purely for my own enjoyment, I began acting out scenes from the play. When I finished, I sank into my couch with a deep sense of satisfaction.
My time as a storyteller was not quite finished yet. Maybe it was just getting started or restarted as the case may be.
This feeling has only continued to grow as theatre has begun to regain some sense of normalcy. I can feel my creativity surging through my veins again. I genuinely want to be back on stage again.
So I don’t know when I’m going to be back on stage again, but I firmly believe it will be soon because I know this much.
Auditions for the final production of the Chanticleer Community Theater 2021 – 2022 season, The 39 Steps, will be held on Sunday, March 13 and Monday, March 14 at 6:30 p.m. at the Hoff Family Arts and Culture Center (1001 South 6th Street, Council Bluffs, IA, 51501).
The 39 Steps is a fast-paced whodunit for anyone who loves the magic of theatre! This two-time Tony and Drama Desk Award-winning treat is packed with nonstop laughs, adventure and some good old-fashioned romance.
Those auditioning will be asked to do a cold reading from the script.
There are 4 roles available: 1 male, 1 female (plays multiple parts), 2 any gender (play multiple parts).
Please bring a list of conflicts from March 14 through May 22. The 39 Steps opens May 13 and runs through May 22, 2022.
Performances are Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30 and Sunday afternoons at 2:00 for two weekends.
Omaha, NE– The Omaha Community Playhouse (OCP) production of The Color Purple will open Friday, March 4, 2022. The show will run in the Hawks Mainstage Theatre through March 27 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.
Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Alice Walker and the Oscar® nominated film by Steven Spielberg, The Color Purple is an intimate coming-of-age story set in rural Georgia and told through a rich helping of jazz, ragtime, gospel and blues. As Celie grows from a young teenager into a woman, she must overcome the cruelty and hardships that life has dealt to discover her inner strength through love, forgiveness and family. Driven by powerhouse vocal performances, The Color Purple is the ultimate tale of triumph over suffering and empowerment through adversity.
Directed by: Kathy Tyree
TammyRa’ as Celie Brittney Thompson as Nettie Jus B. as Mister Anthony Holmes as Harpo Brandi Smith as Sofia Dara Hogan as Shug Avery Trey Butler as Adam Charity Williams as Olivia Ashari Johnson as Squeak Brendan Brown as Grady Eric Jordan as Ol’ Mister Also featuring: Kerri Forrester, Serena Johnson, Doriette Jordan, Almeda Lopez, Alicia Amedee
Omaha, NE–After a critically acclaimed debut season that blew in with the ferocity of a hurricane and netted a jaw dropping 9 nominations at the Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards, Rave On Productions has announced its second season of The Omaha Series and its guaranteed to have something for everybody.
The brain child of Rave On’s owner, Billy McGuigan, and Rave On’s Artistic and Education Director, Kimberly Faith Hickman, the Omaha Series presents musical productions in traditional and non-traditional venues throughout the Omaha metro area.
The Omaha Series 2022 Season
Rock of Ages April 7-16 Venue: The Waiting Room (6212 Maple Street)
Rock Of Ages is a five-time Tony Award-nominated musical telling the story of a small-town girl, a city boy and a rock ‘n’ roll romance on the Sunset Strip. When the bar where rock reigns supreme is set to be demolished, it’s up to a group of rockers and their band of friends to save the day…and the music! Can Drew, Sherri and the gang save the strip before it’s too late? Only the 80s best rock anthems and power ballads hold the answer!
Rock Of Ages’ electric score features smash, hair band hits like Bon Jovi’s WANTED DEAD OR ALIVE, Poison’s EVERY ROSE HAS ITS THORN, Foreigner’s I WANNA KNOW WHAT LOVE IS, Whitesnake’s HERE I GO AGAIN, Journey’s DON’T STOP BELIEVIN’ and so many more! So grab your aqua net and get ready to rock and roll all night at The Waiting Room!
Don’t Stop Me Now June 9-11 Venue: SumTur Amphitheater (11691 S 108th St in Papillion, NE)
Tonight I’m gonna have myself a real good time. I feel ali–i –i-iiiive celebrating the most popular and acclaimed rock musicals of all time! Don’t Stop Me Now delivers an energetic concert featuring favorites from musicals like Jesus Christ Superstar, Jersey Boys, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Rock of Ages, Dreamgirls, Hair, Rent and more! Everybody cut loose – Footloose – kick off your Sunday shoes and be swept up in a rock musical journey through time. All the strange rock and rollers, you’re know you’re doing all right at Don’t Stop Me Now!
Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka July 22-31 Venue: The Scottish Rite (202 S 20th St)
Roald Dahl’s timeless story of the world-famous candy man and his quest to find an heir comes to life on the Scottish Rite stage July 22 – 31. Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka features a cast of young performers as they take the audience on a fantasy ride into the land of pure imagination! Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka includes classic songs like “Pure Imagination”, “The Candy Man”, “(I’ve Got a) Golden Ticket”, “Oompa-Loompa-Doompadee-Doo”, “I Want It Now” and more! This family-friendly scrumdidilyumptious musical is guaranteed to delight everyone’s sweet tooth!
Billy McGuigan’s Pop Rock Orchestra August 18-20 Venue: SumTur Amphitheater (11691 S 108th St in Papillion, NE)
Like many of us out there, the feeling Billy got from watching big rock bands from the 70s was exhilarating and it’s an energy that is re-created with Billy McGuigan’s Pop Rock Orchestra. His musical influences left an incredible impact on the type of entertainer Billy was to become. Think of 1970’s Jumpsuit Elvis, the Moody Blues who put symphonic interludes in the middle of a rock song, ELO with an electric horn and string section – rock & roll was transformed! As Billy navigates the audience through decades of classic gems, he does so backed by a rock orchestra that can match his energy in force. The set list is as varied and versatile as Billy himself.
The Rocky Horror Show Oct 21-29 Venue: The Slowdown (729 N 14th St)
One fateful night, Brad and Janet – a wholesome, well-behaved, utterly normal young couple in love – innocently set out to visit an old professor. A thunderstorm and a flat-tire force them to seek help at the castle of Dr. Frank ‘N’ Furter, an alien, transvestite scientist with a manic genius and insatiable libido played by glam rocker, Benn Sieff. Brad, Janet and Frank ‘N’ Furter’s cohorts are swept up into the scientist’s latest experiment. A loving homage to the class B sci-fi film and horror genres with an irresistible rock ‘n’ roll score is a hilarious, wild ride that no audience will soon forget.
Yesterday and Today: The Interactive Beatles Experience Nov 25-Dec 30 Venue: The Slowdown (729 N 14th St)
Yesterday and Today: The Interactive Beatles Experience is the nation’s most innovative and unique show utilizing the works of The Beatles. This amazing band, anchored by brothers Billy, Matthew and Ryan McGuigan perform as themselves and leave the song choices completely in the hands of the audience. This is done through request cards that audience members fill out prior to the show. On those cards, the audience member only needs to fill out three things: their name, their favorite Beatles song and the reason why they chose that song. The cards are collected and two minutes before the show begins, a set list is created based upon the songs chosen by that particular audience. As an added treat, the reasons that the audience members chose those songs make up the narrative of the evening. Every show is different, every show is interactive, and every show Yesterday and Today: The Interactive Beatles Experience proves that The Beatles’ music truly is the soundtrack to our lives.
Do you like the arts? Do you like the theatre? Do you like podcasts?
If the answer to any and all of these questions is yes, then follow the Platte River Bard Podcast today. Hosts Chris and Sheri Berger will keep you up date on all the happenings in the theatre and the arts in Nebraska and beyond while having conversations with the artists.
Omaha, NE.– The Omaha Community Playhouse production of Outside Mullingar will open on Thursday, February 17, 2022. The show will run in the Howard Drew Theatre through March 13 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.
This charming romantic comedy follows Anthony and Rosemary, two introverts who grew up on neighboring farms in rural Ireland. Rosemary secretly fell in love with Anthony at age six, but after a bout with heartbreak, Anthony swore off women forever. The now middle-aged pair must overcome their own aloofness — as well as a family property dispute — to finally find their way to one another.
Directed By: Susie Baer-Collins
Judy Radcliff as Aoife Muldoon Laura Beeghly as Rosemary Muldoon Don Keelan-White as Tony Reilly Chris Shonka as Anthony Reilly
Alice Murphy is the tough as nails, hard nosed editor of a literary magazine who takes an aspiring writer, Billy Cane, under her wing. But. . .if you only knew her story. And know it you shall once you watch Bright Star which is currently playing at the Omaha Community Playhouse.
This show has had quite the odyssey. It was just getting ready to open at the Playhouse in March 2020 before things took a turn. Finally, it was set to open in January 2022 when the pandemic again caused a delay due to a new surge in infections. But, at long last, it has opened and, believe me, it was well worth the wait. It may be getting a shortened run, but this show deserves to be seen whether you come in person or stream it.
I don’t know what it is about bluegrass musicals, but they really get a hold on me. The scores tend to be fun and emotional and the storytelling seems to be of an unusually high quality and this show is no exception.
While this show is co-written by famed comedian Steve Martin, don’t expect the slapstick comedy that made him famous. Martin and his writing partner, Edie Brickell, churned out a very sophisticated, mature piece of entertainment that will have you laughing, cheering, crying, and maybe even your blood boiling at certain points. In the hands of this talented cast and crew, your appetite for satisfying entertainment will be thoroughly satiated.
If there was any good that came out of such a long delay for the show, it is that it allowed Roxanne Wach the opportunity to make certain she had everything just right for the production. Her directing is splendid. No false note is struck. Her actors know how to emote and perform through the songs instead of just singing them. Her guidance of the actors is dead on target. Every emotional beat is true and every nuance of the story is completely analyzed and excavated.
The ensemble of this show has been one of my favorites to watch. They created an entire world by always being in the moment. Nobody ever stood around. They were always busy with vital pieces of business that just fleshed out the story’s reality so beautifully. And their harmonies? Oh, heavenly!
Some truly wonderful supporting performances come from Mike Markey whose bosslike mayor clearly has ice water in his veins with some of his heinous and monstrous actions to keep a grip on his legacy and power; Kevin Olsen provides some terrific humor as a snotty, struggling writer; Analisa Swerczek is sweet as a bookstore owner whose friendship with Billy Cane blossoms into love; Mackenzie Zielke is stellar as a hard drinking party girl with a lustful eye on Billy.
If I’m sure of one thing about Angela Jenson Frey’s portrayal of Alice Murphy is that it will make her a top contender for this season’s Fonda-McGuire prize. Frey nails the role of Alice in both the present and the past. In the past, her Alice has a bit of an arrogant air about her as she’s fully aware of her intellect and that she’s built for bigger and better than her little town of Zebulon and she joyously engages in verbal jousting with her paramour, Billy Ray Dobbs. But she also has a heart of gold. In the present, she has the toughness needed for an editor and a bit of a shell due to her painful past, but still retains her goodness and decency.
Her angelic alto easily batted all emotional pitches out of the park. Some of my favorite numbers of hers were the heart tugging “I Can’t Wait”; the tragic “Please, Don’t Take Him”; and “So Familiar/At Long Last” which had me shedding real tears by its end.
Jay Srygley is truly a good man as Jimmy Ray Dobbs. He loves his father, but disagrees with his pursuit of power. He is kind and honorable and his love for Alice is palpable. And, man alive, has Srygley got a youthful tenor. He also wields it well, whether it’s the toe tapping “Whoa, Mama”; pointedly arguing with his father in “Firmer Hand/Do Right”; or sadly pining for what might have been in “I Had a Vision”.
Matt Karasek is spot on as Billy Cane. Karasek has the drive of youth with Billy’s determination to make it as a writer and the folksy manners and politeness of a well brought up small town country boy. He also has a fine tenor voice best displayed in “Bright Star” where he dreams about making it big or making you laugh out loud when he drinks for the first time in “Another Round”.
The handling of the score by Jennifer Novak Haar and her band is nothing short of genius. Not only do they play it perfectly, but they infused some real soul into it. You won’t just hear the music. It’s going to reach inside of you and shake your soul. Jim Othuse has designed a, for him, surprisingly bare bones set. Bits of furniture and modest backgrounds slide and drop in to change locales from the magazine office to the simple home of the Canes and the occasional outlines of trees for a romp in the woods. Tim Burkhart & John Gibilisco supply subtle sounds that enhance the story while Julian Adair adds some wonderful choreography. Her dancers are always in step and on beat and two of the best numbers are the hoedown in “Whoa, Mama” and the rambunctious moves in “Another Round”. Lindsay Pape’s costumes always suit the characters and the times from Alice’s sunny yellow dress in her youth to Daddy Cane’s overalls and the three-piece suit indicating the wealth and power of Mayor Dobbs.
The cast seemed to be holding back just a bit, but I think that was due to having waited so long to perform. After the standing ovation they justly earned, I think the floodgates of their energies have been opened and they are really going to start turning up the heat.
I truly can’t say enough good things about this show. It’s beautifully acted and splendidly sung and you will lose yourself in it. Give this cast and crew its due and see it.
Bright Star runs at the Omaha Community Playhouse through Feb 13. Showtimes are Wed-Sat at 7:30pm and Sundays at 2pm (bonus show at 6:30pm on Feb 13) both live and streaming. Tickets start at $25 and can be purchased by calling 402-553-0800, visiting www.omahaplayhouse.com, or at the box office. The Omaha Community Playhouse is located at 6915 Cass Street in Omaha, NE.
Directed by Kathy Tyree Production Dates: June 10 – 26, 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.
Audition Dates: Saturday, March 19, 2022 2:30-5:30pm by appointment Revive Center Omaha 2402 Lizzie Robinson Ave (24th & Lake) Omaha, NE 68111
Sunday, March 20, 2022 5:00-8:00pm by appointment Omaha Community Playhouse 6915 Cass St. Omaha, NE 68132
Monday, March 21, 2022 6:00-10:00pm by appointment Omaha Community Playhouse 6915 Cass St. Omaha, NE 68132
Respect…is the acknowledgment of various influential female recording artists for their valuable contributions to the music industry. Respect is a journey that spans the 1960-1980’s music era honoring some of the most iconic women of our time. Together we will travel deeper into their stories and how their dedication and sacrifice paved the way for many who followed in their footsteps and will continue to empower for many years to come.
Characters: 6 singers (not gender or race specific)
Those auditioning should come prepared to sing 16 bars of music from any genre. Auditions may be done acapella or with sheet music. Please bring the sheet music to the audition. Those auditioning should also come prepared to present a 60 second monologue of their choosing.