Circle Theatre Holding Auditions for ‘Dracula’

Auditions for Dracula will be June 11-12, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. The auditions will be held at Hanscom Park United Methodist Church, 4444 Frances Street, Omaha, NE. People who audition will be asked to read from the script. Rehearsals will start in August.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula: Oct 19- Nov 3, 2018
Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and a special performance October 31 at 9:00 p.m.

We are excited to bring this classic novel to the stage. This adaptation, by local playwright Ryle Smith, includes all the principal characters from Stoker’s original story. This play tells the story of Dracula through the eyes of Jonathan Harker as in the novel. Much of our current mythology about vampires comes from this great classic novel.

For more information contact the Circle Theatre at 402-553-4715 or www.circletheatreomaha.org

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To Live Again

Elliott Liteman is in a state of living death.  Stricken with Lazarus Syndrome (a type of survivor’s guilt which afflicts some people who are resuscitated after clinical death), Elliott doesn’t want to die, but is afraid to live.  During a horrific blizzard, his family comes to visit and he learns the importance of forgiveness and embracing life.   This is Lazarus Syndrome by Bruce Ward and currently playing at SNAP! Productions.

First and foremost, let me assure you that this isn’t a doom and gloom story.  True, there are moments of weightiness, but this is an excellent slice of life tale full of humor, hope, and even mystery.  Ward’s script focuses on themes such as family, regret, ennui, aging, self-loathing, forgiveness, mortality, and what it means to be alive.  I found myself spellbound by the tale as Elliott’s internal struggle is outwardly manifested as he spars and engages with his family.

M. Michele Phillips has provided a superlative piece of direction to this story as well as an inspired bit of casting. She understands the path of the story well, skillfully navigating the many turns of the tale and capitalizing on every beat. Ms Phillips guides her actors to rock solid performances and you’ll never doubt for an instant that this group is a family.

Brett Foster gives a powerful and poignant performance as Elliott Liteman.  Living death well describes Foster’s essaying of Elliott as he merely goes through the motions of living.  Foster gives a wonderful weariness to Elliott whose guilt and depression are so great that he’s turned away from almost everything that made him happy and lives a life that’s a mundane routine of taking medicine to combat his HIV and wandering around his apartment in his bathrobe.  You can’t help but root for the guy when he finds small bits of happiness and vitality whether it’s through a sweet early morning conversation with his lover or a vigorous debate with his family.

Foster makes you feel the pain of a man who has lost his sense of self and is just seeking a way to end his cycle of nothingness.

Thomas Lowe plays the small, but crucial role of Stephen Bliss, Elliott’s young lover.  Lowe brings a sweetness and innocence to Stephen who has enough energy to live life for the both of them.  Your heartstrings will be tugged as Stephen’s love for Elliott allows Elliott to reclaim small sparks of himself and Stephen’s honesty and plain-spokenness may be the key to Elliott finally living his own life again.

Matt Allen is awesome as Elliott’s younger brother, Neil.  Invoking the essence of younger brothers everywhere, Allen’s Neil is a bit of a thorn in Elliott’s side as he drips melted snow onto Elliott’s floor and scarfs down Elliott’s food while making wry observations on his unique tastes in edibles.  Allen brings an incredible extemporaneousness to Neil’s dialogue as well as a snarky attitude which he carefully modulates to be a pest to Elliott, but not obnoxious or mean, especially when they start having suffering battles or discussing their somewhat fractious relationship.

Brent Spencer is the ideal Jewish father as Jake.  He believes a good meal can solve all ills and that the three things Jewish people do best are eat, suffer, and fight.  He is also clearly a man of his generation as he was brought up to believe that men didn’t show emotions and foul language is inappropriate in polite conversation.  But he also shows that an old dog can learn new tricks as his own losses have taught him the value of emotions and he tries to instill that lesson into Elliott.

Ben Adams has designed a cozy little apartment that feels like a real home.  Taelore Stearns’ lights pack an emotional punch.  They actually feel just as sad as Elliott.  Fred Goodhew’s sounds buoy the show’s emotional beats.  Leah Skorupa’s costuming is just right with the suits worn by Neil and Jake and the hum-drum look of Elliott with muted t-shirt, boxers, and a somewhat colorful bathrobe to offset the drabness of his other garb.

In the end, this is a story of life overcoming death and that it can still be lived and enjoyed despite great tragedy if one is only willing to take that chance.

Lazarus Syndrome plays at SNAP! Productions through June 24.  Showtimes are Thurs-Sat at 8pm and Sundays at 6pm.  The final show on June 24 will be at 2pm.  Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for students, seniors (55+), TAG members, and military, and for all Thursday shows.   For tickets, call 402-341-2757 or visit www.snapproductions.com.  Due to strong language and mature themes, Lazarus Syndrome is not recommended for children.  SNAP! Productions is located at 3225 California Street in Omaha, NE.

Singin’ Up a Storm

Singin_4

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

Silent film stars Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont are America’s sweethearts.  Lina is sweet on Don, but he merely tolerates her.  Don falls for a budding young actress named Kathy Selden who has earned the ire of Lina.  Their studio decides to make a talkie which morphs into a musical.  Difficulties arise when Kathy is selected to overdub Lina’s grating voice.  Lina decides to ground Kathy’s career to a halt as a result.  Will her machinations succeed?  Find out in Singin’ in the Rain, currently playing at the Omaha Community Playhouse.

If you like musicals with lavish dance numbers and memorable songs then this is the show for you.  Betty Comden and Adolph Green did a superlative job transcribing this classic movie to the stage.  They managed to retain the entirety of the original tale with very few changes and add a bit of that something extra by adding a song and dance number after every section of the story.  Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed have written a nice little score peppered with snappy, loving, and upbeat tunes.

Kimberly Faith Hickman once again infuses a show with some of her inimitable directing magic.  She hits all of the show’s beats.  Her staging is precise.  Her actors spot on.  The singing is on point.  More importantly, she just makes the show fun.

Kudos to a strong supporting cast who add the little touches that breathe vital reality into this world.  Some memorable featured performances include Mary Trecek in a humorous turn as Lina Lamont’s diction coach; Jason DeLong who shows he’s got acting chops to match his talented feet as Don Lockwood’s diction coach; Don Harris as Roscoe Dexter, a director struggling to transition to talkies; and Boston Reid who shines with his golden tenor voice singing “Beautiful Girls”.

Nate Wasson is truly a triple threat as Don Lockwood.  He can sing, dance, and act with an ease and naturalness that seems to be instinctive.  Wasson has a real knack for making you feel right along with Lockwood.  When he’s happy, you’re happy.  When he’s sad, you’re sad.  Wasson gives Lockwood a needed likability and sensitivity and comes across as a regular guy who just happened to make it very, very big.

And Gene Kelly can eat his heart out when it comes to Wasson’s singing and dancing.  Wasson’s fabulous tenor will grace your ears with sweet tunes such as “You Stepped Out of a Dream”, humorous ones like “Moses Supposes” (a personal favorite), and, of course, the iconic title song.  And his feet will keep you clapping as he skillfully taps his way into your heart in “Good Morning” and his solo work in “Singin’ in the Rain” which is rendered more difficult as he dances in an honest to goodness downpour.

Tayler Plank brings a sweetness and confidence to the role of Kathy Selden.  She plays a little coy with Don in the beginning as she poo-poohs film acting and pretends not to really be aware of his fame until they meet again at a party.  Later they truly bond when she becomes a contract player at Monumental Studios.

Ms Plank possesses a glorious soprano and delighted the audience all night with numbers such as “Would You?” and “You are My Lucky Star”.  She also does some impressive hoofing of her own in “Good Morning” and “All I Do is Dream of You”.

J. Isaiah Smith is definitely the man to watch with a mind blowing turn as Cosmo Brown. Smith has unteachable timing as the joke a minute songwriter and his rubbery face is ideal for comic acting with the wide variety of expressions he was able to conjure, each well suited to the moment. Seldom have I seen such an athletic dancer as Smith especially with his jaw dropping solo in “Make ‘Em Laugh” where he leaps all around as well as on and off the stage.

Cathy Hirsch gives an award caliber performance as Lina Lamont.  She nailed her character to the floor with a whiny, vacuous, New York accented voice that will delightfully grate on your ears.  Ms Hirsch is a primo villain as she is vengeful, egotistical, and just plain old nasty.  But I really tip my hat to her on her solo performance in “What’s Wrong with Me?” as she managed to retain that screechy off-key voice while somehow managing to stay on-key at the same time.

Jim Boggess and his orchestra once again fail at failing with yet another brilliantly performed score.  Roxanne Nielsen returns to the Playhouse to add another laurel to her long list of legendary pieces of choreography, especially with the work done by the three leads.  Lindsay Pape’s costumes evoke a sense of 1920s elegance with double breasted suits and gorgeous gowns.  Jim Othuse’s sets will take you from Don’s apartment to Grauman’s Chinese Theater to a certain memorable rainy street.  The OnPxl team of Matt Bross & Chad Eacker provide some impressive special effects especially with a stunning replication of old time silent films and talkies.  Tim Burkhart and John Gibilisco team up to make some impressive sounds especially the foibles of recording sound movies for the first time.

The best way to sum up this show is to borrow from the title song:

 

They’re singin’ in the rain.

Just singin’ in the rain.

What a glorious feelin’.

You’ll be happy again.

Everyone in the place

Have a smile on your face.

As they’re singin’ and dancin’ in the rain.

 

Singin’ in the Rain plays at the Omaha Playhouse through June 24.  Showtimes are Wed-Sat at 7:30pm and Sundays at 2pm.  Tickets cost $42 for adults and $25 for students.  Wednesday night shows are $32 for adults and $20 for students.  For tickets call 402-553-0800 or visit www.omahaplayhouse.com or www.ticketomaha.com.  The Omaha Community Playhouse is located at 6915 Cass St in Omaha, NE.

Camille Metoyer Moten to Perform at OCP

Camille songbook

The Camille Metoyer Moten Songbook

June 8 – 10 at Omaha Community Playhouse

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

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

Production:    The Camille Metoyer Moten Songbook

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

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

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

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

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

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

The beloved movie musical Singin’ in the Rain comes to life on stage with charm, humor and stormy weather that has made it an enduring classic. This tale of a famous on-screen couple from the silent films who prepare to transition to the age of “talking pictures” combines the best of Hollywood and Broadway with music that will keep you smiling, dances that will keep your toes tapping and special effects that will take your breath away. Songs such as “Make ‘Em Laugh,” “Fit as a Fiddle,” “Good Mornin’” and of course “Singin’ in the Rain” will whisk you away to a simpler time.

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

Production:        Singin’ In The Rain

Credits:   Theatre Screenplay by Betty Comden and Adolph Green | Songs by Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed | By special arrangement with Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures, Inc. | Music published by EMI, all rights administered by Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC | Based on the Academy Award-nominated MGM film starring Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds

Director:              Kimberly Faith Hickman

Cast

Nate Wasson* as Don Lockwood

J. Isaiah Smith as Cosmo Brown

Tayler Lempke Plank as Kathy Selden

Cathy Hirsch as Lina Lamont

Andrew Karolski as Young Don

Brohdi McClymont as Young Cosmo

Rob Baker as RF Simpson

Don Harris as Roscoe

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

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

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

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

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

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

Discounts:           Twilight Tickets – A limited number of tickets are available at half price after noon the day of the performance at the Box Office. Cash or check only. Subject to availability.

Wednesday Performances – Discounted tickets are available for Wednesday performances only starting at $24 for adults and $18 for students.

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

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

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

Running Towards/Away

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blue Barn Closes Season with Midwest Premiere

BLUEBARN THEATRE presents

The MIDWEST PREMIERE of a Bold New Play

THE CITY IN THE CITY IN THE CITY

By Matthew Capodicasa

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

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

ABOUT THE CITY IN THE CITY IN THE CITY

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

Performance dates:

May 17 – June 17, 2018

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

Sundays, June 3 & 17 at 6:00 pm

Sunday, June 10 at 2:00 pm

Tickets are on sale now!

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

Or visit www.bluebarn.org

Ticket prices:

Adults                   $30

Seniors 65+        $25

Students              $25

About the BLUEBARN Theatre

The BLUEBARN Theatre has been bringing professionally-produced plays to area audiences since 1989. Since its inception, BLUEBARN has produced over 100 plays and has established itself as Omaha’s professional contemporary theatre company.  Striving to bring artistically significant scripts and professional production values to Omaha and the surrounding region, BLUEBARN is known for high-quality entertainment and the fearless pursuit of stories that challenge both theatre artists and patrons