A Season of Deja Vu

Déjà vu:  The sensation that you are doing something that you have done before.

It’s almost eerie how much this season mirrored the last one.  Like last year, it ended quite early and I only was able to audition for a couple of shows.

This season actually began unusually early.  Back in March, to be precise.

I had attended the Omaha Playhouse’s announcement of the 2017-18 season and they announced the season premiere would also be a world premiere as they would kick off with an original play called Eminent Domain written by local actress/playwright, Laura Leininger-Campbell.  They further announced that the auditions for this show would take place the next week as the actors would be helping to refine the show.

I managed to get a PDF of the script from Laura and found it to be a fascinating read.  The play explores themes of family with the framing device of a Nebraska farm family being threatened by an oil company claiming eminent domain to annex part of their property to lay a pipeline.

I was especially drawn to the character of the autistic Evan MacLeod whom I found to be a deep well of character acting.  I spent the next week taking a crash course in autism in order to properly present my take on Evan.

When I went to the auditions next week, I found that Laura’s play had really struck a chord with the community.  It seems as if the entire theatre community had come out to audition.  Not only was I up against some of the brightest names in Omaha theatre, but I was also up against much of the original cast who had been part of the show back when it was a staged reading.

My old shipmate, Frank Insolera, was one of the hopefuls and we started catching up on old times.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Christina Rohling, whom you might remember as the director of Elephant’s Graveyard and A Heavy Rain, heading in our direction.  Frank and I reached a pause in our conversation and both looked her way.

Addressing me, she said, “I just want you to know that you made my job (for Elephant’s Graveyard) very difficult.  It just came down to the 2 different energy levels between you and the guy I chose.”

Once more, I felt that strange mixture of pride and melancholy as I added another story to my ever growing pile of “good” rejections.  It only lasted for a moment as I thanked her for the compliment and then found out I would actually be reading with her when I made my stab at Evan.

Christina also happens to be one of the top talents in Omaha, so I was glad for the opportunity to bounce ideas of the scene as I explained to her my vision of Evan.  She seemed surprised at my attention to detail as she said, “It sounds like you’ve done some serious homework.”

We walked into the conference room on the 2nd floor of the Playhouse under the scrutinizing eyes of director Amy Lane and Laura.  Christina and I sat on the floor and I immediately started becoming Evan.  From my research, I decided that Evan was on the more severe side of the autism spectrum and had developed physicality and vocal patterns to suit that.  I adopted an awkward sitting position as I twisted my legs together and thrust my right hand between them, resting my hand on my left knee.  I slightly tilted my head and avoided any eye contact with Christina.  I also adopted a monotone, sing-song cadence for my speech.

I was actually extremely pleased with my take and felt as if I were hitting the right notes.  It also ended up being my best bite at the apple as my second read was for a different character who didn’t have a lot to do in that side.

Intellectually, I knew that I was up against a formidable challenge, but I still hoped against hope that I mustered up enough magic for a callback.

Alas, that hope was dashed shortly afterwards.

For the first time in a long while, I really felt the bitter disappointment of defeat.  I was surprised, yet not surprised at the same time.  With the extra effort I had put into it and with the full power of my heart behind it, I think it would have been more of a surprise had I not felt stung by the rejection.  And, of course, the lack of a callback made me wonder, “Did my efforts make any sort of an impact?”

Nowadays, I don’t dwell on those moments for long and I was quickly back to my old self.

I would next read for the staged readings of Angels in America and In the Heat of the Night, but there isn’t much of a story there.  Solid reads and no casting.  Que sera, sera.

Then came Ripcord.

I knew that I had to read for this show from the moment I read the synopsis.  The thrust of the story is that Abby and Marilyn share a room at the nursing home.  Abby had had the room to herself for a long while and wasn’t particularly keen on getting a new roommate.  Even worse, Marilyn’s sunshiney nature really grates on Abby’s curmudgeonly personality.  When Marilyn claims never to get angry and Abby claims never to get scared, the two women make a bet.  If Abby can anger Marilyn, Marilyn will get another room so Abby can be on her own again.  But if Marilyn can scare Abby, then Marilyn gets Abby’s bed because she likes it better than hers.  The result is an increasingly dangerous game of one-upsmanship.

There were 3 roles for men which included the nurse, Scotty, and two character actors who would play 3 distinct characters apiece.  I felt a little too old to play Scotty and relished the idea of the two character roles as I would get the rare opportunity to go completely over the top.

This play would mark my second reading for Kimberly Faith Hickman, the new artistic director of the Omaha Playhouse.  The first had been Angels in America.

I was surprised when my first side was for Scotty, but figured it was because not many men showed up to that first day of auditions.  Then I stepped inside the dance hall and it happened.

I felt the magic.

This was my most enjoyable audition in several years.  I didn’t care about getting cast.  I just wanted to go in and have some fun and I did just that.  I understood Scotty from the get-go and felt strong as I read the role.

When I finished the read and went back outside, I was given a side for one of the character actors.  After reading this side, I have come to the conclusion that I must project a natural aura of niceness as my side was for one of the regular roles performed by the character actors.  I actually felt a twinge of disappointment as I had been hoping to sink my teeth into one of the broader sides.

Not that the side I had was dull, but it was the same type of character I often find myself reading for and I just wanted to show that I could do more than essentially play myself.

Imagine my surprise when I was asked to stick around for a third read.  Once more I read as Scotty and varied my performance a bit from the first read.  After this read, I was let go, but there was also only one more group to read after I had finished.

Needless to say, I had quite a bit of hope as it had been ages since I had been at an audition from start to finish.  A few days later, my hope was rewarded when I got the call asking me to come to callbacks where I would be considered for the role of Scotty.  I laughed at the irony as the role I thought I had the least chance for ended up being the only role I would be considered for. . .or so I thought.

At the callbacks, I was given a side for Scotty that would FINALLY allow me a chance to go over the top.  I felt so giddy, I nearly broke into a soft shoe routine.  I had been chomping at the bit for this for eons and I let loose for all I was worth when I read the side.  I won’t spoil the scene, but I will say that I unleashed a scream not unlike the one emitted by Daniel Stern when he was mugged by the pigeons in Home Alone 2.

Immediately after finishing the read, Kimberly said, “I know I said I was only considering you for Scotty, but I want you to read this side for Benjamin.”

I was floored by the side.  It was a tremendously powerful and poignant scene as Benjamin is the estranged son of Abby and this was a complete 180 from the previous side and I looked forward to performing it.

When I went back in, I gave the most honest and heartfelt read I could muster and was really feeling Benjamin’s angst and heartache.  Shortly after this read, I was dismissed.

A few days later, I found an e-mail waiting for me from Kimberly.  The fact of the e-mail told me I did not make it in, but the fact that it was from the director told me that it was also something more.  I opened it up and read the following message:

Hi Chris!

I wanted to personally thank you for attending auditions and callbacks for RIPCORD.  I really enjoyed watching you and your work throughout the process.  This was a very difficult play to cast as so many talented people came to the auditions.  I ended up going with another actor for the roles of Scotty/Benjamin, but I wanted to let you know of that decision from me personally rather than a general notification e-mail.  I also want to encourage you to continue auditioning at OCP.  You have tremendous talent and I look forward to the next opportunity we may have to work together.

I was proud of this message and moved it to my scrapbook.  I had no regrets and had thoroughly enjoyed myself and I had made an impact.  You can’t ask for more than that.

We’ll talk again next season.

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Circle Theatre Holding Auditions for “Miracle on 34th Street”

Circle Theatre will hold auditions for the second production of its 2017-2018 season, Miracle on 34th Street. The production will run December 8-17, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m and Sundays at 3 p.m. Audtions, rehearsals, and production will be held at Hanscom Park United Methodist Church (4444 Frances St, Omaha, NE). Rehearsals will begin the last week of October. The production will be directed by Circle Theatre Associate Artistic Director, Angela M. Dashner. For more information, please contact Circle Theatre at circle.theatreomaha@gmail.com

Please note that the role of Kris Kringle has been pre-cast.

OCP Audition Announcements

Omaha, NEOmaha Community Playhouse will hold auditions for all five musicals for the 2017-2018 season, including adult auditions for A Christmas Carol, on Monday, June 5 and Tuesday, June 6 at 6:30 p.m. Actors 16 years and older, of all genders and ethnicities, that are interested in Mamma Mia!, A Christmas Carol, Parade, James and the Giant Peach and Singin’ In the Rain should plan to attend. Youth auditions for A Christmas Carol and James and the Giant Peach will be held at later dates.

What:   2017-2018 Season Musical Adult Auditions

When:  Monday, June 5 at 6:30 p.m. and Tuesday, June 6 at 6:30 p.m.

Location:  Omaha Community Playhouse | 6915 Cass Street | Omaha, NE

Actors attending season auditions who are interested in Mamma Mia! – Callbacks for Mamma Mia! will be held on June 12 and 13.

Requirements:
Actors please be prepared with the following:

  • Sheet music with 16 bars ready to sing (an accompanist will be provided)
  • There will be a dance audition, so actors should be dressed to move (no boots, sandals, flip-flops, etc.)
  • There will be a second dance call specifically for tap dancers. Actors wishing to participate in the second dance call should bring tap shoes or hard sole shoes.
  • You will be asked to fill out an audition form, please have all necessary contact information and schedules available to complete the form.
  • A recent photo to attach to your audition form. Please note, the photos do not need to be professional and will not be returned.

Show Dates:       Mamma Mia!September 15 – October 15, 2017 (Hawks Mainstage Theatre)
A Christmas Carol November 17 – December 23, 2017 (Hawks Mainstage Theatre)
Parade – February 9 – March 11, 2018 (Howard Drew Theatre)
James and the Giant Peach – March 2 – 25, 2018 (Hawks Mainstage Theatre)
Singin’ In the Rain – June 1 – 24, 2018 (Hawks Mainstage Theatre)

There will be additional auditions held throughout the season for the following productions:

Alternative Programming productions – Auditions held June 28 & 29, 2017 for all of the following:

1776

Cry-Baby

Angels in America

In the Heat of the Night

Appropriate (separate auditions at a later date for this title only)

Stupid F@#%ing Bird – Auditions held July 31 and August 1, 2017

A Christmas Carol Youth Auditions – Auditions held August 2017 (specific date TBD)

Ripcord – Auditions held October 14 and 15, 2017

James and the Giant Peach Youth Auditions – Auditions held November 18, 2017

Shakespeare in Love – Auditions held February 12 and 13, 2018

The Mountaintop – Auditions held February 26 and 27, 2018

For more information, contact Jeannine Robertson, jrobertson@omahaplayhouse.com, at (402) 553-4890, ext. 164.

Barn Players to Hold Auditions for ‘Grey Gardens’

Auditions for Grey Gardens at the Barn Players

Music by Scott Frankel

Lyrics by Michael Korie

Book by Doug Wright

Based on the 1975 Documentary Film Grey Gardens, directed by Albert and David Maysles.
Directed by Eric Magnus

Musical Direction by Michelle McIntire

Assistant Direction by Shelly Stewart Banks

AUDITION DATES:

Saturday, June 3rd from 1pm – 4pm

Sunday, June 4th from 6pm – 9pm
at St. Pius School, 55th and Woodson, Mission, KS

EXPECTATION and PREPARATION:

  • Auditions will be an open call both days, and will consist of singing a prepared 32 bar selection of a musical theatre song in the style of the show.
  • Please Provide:  Sheet Music…no CDs & NO ACAPPELLA auditions
  • Headshot/Resume (if available)
  • If you have worked with this Director or Musical Director before, there is no need to come to the open call.  Please email your interest to the director at emagnitude@me.com by Saturday, June 3rd.

Invited Callbacks will be held on Saturday, June 10th from 1:00 – 5:00 pm.  Please be prepared to read scenes and sing songs from the show (sides will be provided). If you are auditioning, please make sure to clear your schedule that afternoon, as callbacks are critical to putting together the strongest ensemble for this ensemble piece. You will be notified by email if you are invited to callbacks.

Rehearsals will begin around June 23rd.  Typical weekly rehearsal schedule will be Sunday through Thursday nights from 7 – 10pm.  Conflicts with the rehearsal schedule must be kept to an absolute minimum during the rehearsal process.  No conflicts will be accepted during dress / tech week (9/10 – 9/14)

PRODUCTION DATES:

September 15 – October 1

Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30pm & Sundays at 2:00pm

Industry Night Performance Monday, September 25th @ 7:30pm

All performances take place at The Barn Players Theatre, 6219 Martway in Mission, KS

SYNOPSIS:

The hilarious and heartbreaking story of Big Edie and Little Edie Bouvier Beale, the eccentric aunt and cousin of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, once bright names on the social register who became East Hampton’s most notorious recluses.

 

Character Descriptions

Edith Bouvier Beale/”Little” Edie Beale 

(female, late 40s – mid 50’s, legit soprano or mezzo-soprano to F-sharp 5, mix/belt to D5.)
One actress plays Edith in Act I and Little Edie in Act II. Edith is the eccentric socialite and amateur opera singer who is living in Grey Gardens with her pet accompanist Gould. In the second act, this actress plays the daughter, Edie, living in squalor with her elderly mother as their former life of privilege crumbles around them. Edie is a complicated figure who is inextricably attached to her mother, but also yearns for the life of a performer.

Edith Bouvier Beale 

(female 70’s, character alto E3-C5)
Big Edie is an eclectic woman who fondly recalls her days of glory entertaining guests at lavish parties in the heyday of Grey Gardens. She should be able to play as late 70s. It is recommended that this actress also be familiar with the documentary film.

Young Little Edie Beale 

(female 20s, mix/belt to D5, soprano to B-flat 6)
Referred to as Body Beautiful Beale and is young, full of life, and can’t decide whether she wants a life of fame or family.  She is to be engaged to Joseph Kennedy, Jr.  Should be a strong mover dancer as well.
George Gould Strong

(male 40s, baritone or tenor, C3-F4)
Edith Bouvier Beale’s accompanist. George is a dapper fellow with pomaded hair and an ascot, a drink and a lit cigarette always nearby. Ability to play the piano a plus.

Joseph Patrick Kennedy, Jr./ Jerry

(male 20s, tenor, C3-G4)
Joe Kennedy is a fiercely attractive man and Edie’s intended. The role of Jerry in Act Two is a teen slacker in a painter’s cap and an unruly mop or curls. He is friends to both Big Edith and Little Edie and a sort of handy-man/Jack of all trades.

Brooks Sr./Brooks Jr. 

(male 30s – 40s, African American, baritone, C3-E4)
The African-American butler. He is youthful, spry, and discreet. Brooks Jr in Act Two is the dedicated gardener of Grey Gardens, most likely helping and not getting very well paid, but still dedicated to the women that his father worked for and cared about.

J.V. “Major” Bouvier/ Dr. Norman Vincent Peale 

(male 60-70′s, baritone, C3-E4)
Father to Edith Bouvier Beale. He is a lion-like scion of business in his early seventies. Major Bouvier is staunchy disapproving of his daughter’s lifestyle. Peale was a famous Protestant preacher and a believer in the theory of “positive thinking.”

Jacqueline “Jackie” Bouvier

(female 15, juvenile mix belt, C4-E5)
Edith’s playful and earnest young niece.

Lee Bouvier

(female 10-13, juvenile mix belt, C4-E5)
Edith’s playful youngest niece, a tomboy.

BLT Holding Auditions for Season Finale, ‘All the King’s Women’

Auditions for Bellevue Little Theatre’s production of  All the King’s Women will be held at 7 PM on Monday March 27 and Tuesday March 28 at the Bellevue Little Theatre, 203 W. Mission Avenue in Bellevue, NE.

This theatrical tribute to Elvis Presley showcases women who met and/or influenced ‘The King’. The comedy provides insight into a side of Elvis seldom seen, and helps to portray the man and not the superstar.

A large cast of women of various ages is needed for this production which will open on Friday May 5th and run for three weekends, closing on May 21. Matthew Pyle will direct, with Bette Swanson serving as producer.

Rehearsals will begin on April 3.

For information call the director at 402-238-6788 or producer at 402-292-1920.

Auditions for OCP’s 93rd Season Premiere, ‘Eminent Domain’

Eminent Domain (World Premiere)

Aug. 25 – Sept. 17, 2017
Howard Drew Theatre (Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St, Omaha, NE)
By Laura Leininger-Campbell
Director: Amy Lane

Does oil run thicker than blood? Or will a pipeline splitting the prairie tear a family apart? A 2016 Eugene O’Neil National Playwrights Conference finalist, originally conceived for Shelterbelt Theatre’s Before the Boards series, Eminent Domain tells a relevant story of a Nebraska family farm threatened by the construction of an oil pipeline and the ensuing conflict that emerges within. On the surface, Eminent Domain exposes the hard-fought battle between Nebraska farmers and corporate energy. Dig deeper and the greater struggle is revealed: the fight to preserve our Heartland’s farms and the livelihood of the people who live here. Our most crucial resource is not just the land we are privileged to attend with cracked and calloused hands—it is our kin, our clan and our heritage. Join us for this world premiere of an Omaha playwright’s work.

Auditions: Wed. March 22 and Thur. March 23 at 7:00pm
Auditions will consist of cold readings from the script.

Cast of Characters:
ROB MACLEOD (60’s) A rancher and farmer. His farm is threatened with eminent domain.
ADAIR MACLEOD (30’s-40’s) Rob’s daughter, an attorney. She comes home to help Rob fight against the pipeline.
BART MACLEOD (30’s-40’s) Rob’s son, a rancher and farmer, and a writer. He lives and works on the farm.
THERESA MACLEOD (30’s) Bart’s wife. She lives with Bart on his father’s family farm.
CAM MACLEOD (60’s) Rob’s brother. His farm connects with Rob’s, and they share the day-to-day-work.
JANE MACLEOD (60’s) Cam’s wife. She loves her son, Evan, and her niece and nephew Adair and Bart fiercely.
EVAN MACLEOD (30’s-40’s) Cam and Jane’s son. He is autistic. He communicates in different ways.
TRENT NICHOLS (30’s-40’s) An employee of Canadian Energy.
MAT SALINAS (30’s-40’s) An attorney. He represents Rob in his fight against the pipeline.

Auditions Galore at Sioux Empire Community Theatre

Sioux Empire Community Theatre is proud to hold auditions for the following productions:

 

The Fantastic Mr. Fox Auditions

Audition Dates: February  21 and 23 at 7:00 pm

Performance Dates: March 23 – April 2 Thursdays – Saturdays at 7 pm and Saturdays at 2 pm. One school Matinée Tuesday, March 28.

SOME GENERAL GUIDELINES:

PLEASE COME ONLY ONE NIGHT. WE WILL BE SEEING MANY ACTORS SO IN THE EFFORT OF TIME, WE ASK THAT YOU COME ONLY ONE NIGHT. THERE IS NO ADVANTAGE TO COMING BOTH NIGHTS
We are auditioning young actors 5th grade – 12th grade) and Adult Actors (12th Grade +)

AUDITIONS WILL CONSIST OF:
– Reading from the script
– Director led improv exercises
– A small movement audition. We will put you through you a small section of a exercises in small groups. You will then be asked to perform it in front of the production team as a group. Please remember to wear clothing that you can move in and appropriate shoes (i.e NO sandals, flip-flops, etc..)

Synopsis:

Roald Dahl’s much-loved story follows the vain attempts of three farmers, Boggis, Bunce and Bean, one fat, one short, one lean, to get rid of the fox who regularly steals food from their farms.

They try to kill him by any means possible. Outwitted at every turn, the farmer’s ploys backfire. Fantastic Mr. Fox devises a plan which will ensure full stomachs for not only his family, but all his friends, who celebrate with a sumptuous feast.
Cast:

BADGER/NARRATOR – Avuncularly friendly
MR. FOX – Confidently courageous
MRS. FOX – Bravely protective
BOGGIS – A fat farmer
BUNCE – A “pot-belied dwarf” farmer
BEAN – A lean, tall farmer
RAT – Whining parasite
MABEL – Gossipy housekeeper
MRS. BADGER
YOUNG FARMER/MR. MOLE
YOUNG FARMER/MR. WEASEL
YOUNG FARMER/MR. RABBIT
YOUNG FARMER/RAT
YOUNG FARMER
MRS. MOLE
SMALL MOLES
MRS. WEASEL
SMALL WEASELS
MRS. RABBIT
SMALL RABBITS
SMALL BADGERS
SMALL FOXES
LANDGIRLS
LANDGIRL/RAT
CHAPERONES
VILLAGERS

The Amish Project Auditions

February  27  and March 1 at 7:00 pm

Performance Dates: April 6 – April 9 Thursday – Saturday at 7 pm.  This is our AACTfest entry so there is a chance that we could advance on to regional, national and internal tournament.

SOME GENERAL GUIDELINES:

PLEASE COME ONLY ONE NIGHT. WE WILL BE SEEING MANY ACTORS SO IN THE EFFORT OF TIME, WE ASK THAT YOU COME ONLY ONE NIGHT. THERE IS NO ADVANTAGE TO COMING BOTH NIGHTS

We are auditioning young females 6-8, Young females 16, Women 25  – 60.  Men 30 – 60.

AUDITIONS WILL CONSIST OF:
– Reading from the script
– Director led improv exercises
– A small movement audition. We will put you through you a small section of a exercises in small groups. You will then be asked to perform it in front of the production team as a group. Please remember to wear clothing that you can move in and appropriate shoes (i.e NO sandals, flip-flops, etc..)

Synopsis:

The Amish Project is a fictional exploration of the Nickel Mines schoolhouse shooting in an Amish community, and the path of forgiveness and compassion forged in its wake

Cast:

ANNA – Amish girl, age 14. Victim of the shooting.
CAROL STUCKEY – Widow of the gunman, age 31. English/non-Amish.
VELDA – Amish girl, age 6. Sister of Anna. Victim of the shooting.
BILL NORTH – English/non-Amish man, 50s. Scholar and professor on Amish culture, as well as friend and spokesman to several Amish families affected by the shooting.
AMERICA – Hispanic girl, age 16. Pregnant. Works in the local grocery store.
EDDIE STUCKEY – The gunman of schoolhouse shooting, age 33. English/non-Amish. Killed himself at the end of the schoolhouse attack.
SHERRY LOCAL – English, age 53. Resident of Nickel Mines, PA.

Jesus Christ Superstar Auditions

February 28 and March 2 at 7:00 pm.

Performance Dates: May 5 – May 21 Thursdays – Saturdays at 7 pm and Saturdays at 2 pm. One school Matinée Tuesday, May 9.

PLEASE COME ONLY ONE NIGHT. WE WILL BE SEEING MANY ACTORS SO IN THE EFFORT OF TIME, WE ASK THAT YOU COME ONLY ONE NIGHT. THERE IS NO ADVANTAGE TO COMING BOTH NIGHTS

We are auditionimg actors: 16+

AUDITIONS WILL CONSIST OF:
– singing 32 bars of contrasting piece one upbeat contemporary and one more classical broadway ballad.  An accompanist will be provided for you.  Please do not accompany yourself.
– Reading from the script
– Director led improv exercises
– A movement audition. We will put you through you a small section of a exercises in small groups. You will then be asked to perform it in front of the production team as a group. Please remember to wear clothing that you can move in and appropriate shoes (i.e NO sandals, flip-flops, etc..)

Synopsis:

It seems especially fitting that the first rock opera, created as a concept album at the end of the turbulent ’60s, should have at its center a social and political rebel. Jesus’ meteor-like rise in renown provides, as the title suggests, a parallel to contemporary celebrity worship. As his radical teachings are evermore embraced, Judas increasingly questions the enlightened motives of this new prophet, resulting in betrayal. Christ’s final days are dramatized with emotional intensity, thought-provoking edge and explosive theatricality. Propelled by a stirring score, by turns driving and majestic, satirical and tender, JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR illuminates the transcendent power of the human spirit with a passion that goes straight to the heart.

Cast:

PRINCIPALS
1 Woman
2 Men FEATURED
6 Men ENSEMBLE
Large singing ensemble consisting of Lepers, Cured Lepers, Merchants, Apostles, Soldiers, Judas’s Tormentors, Reporters, Temple Ladies, and Soul Girls.

CHARACTERS
Mary Magdalene
Jesus of Nazareth
Judas Iscariot
King Herod
Caiaphas
Peter
Pontius Pilate
Simon Zealotes
Annas
3 Priests
Lepers
Cured Lepers
Merchants
Apostles
Soldiers
Judas’s Tormentors
Reporters
Temple Ladies
Soul Girls

If you have any questions please send them to patrick@siouxfallstheatre.com

Hope to see many of you there!

Sioux Empire Community Theatre is located at 315 N Phillips Ave in Sioux Falls, SD.