A Belle of a Good Time

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Timothy Vallier as Beast & Leanne Hill Carlson as Belle

A classic fairy tale comes to life.  A vain and cold hearted prince is transformed into a hideous beast by an enchantress when he fails to show her hospitality.  The only way to break the curse is for him to finally love and be loved in return before the enchantress’ rose sheds its last petal.  When circumstances bring the lovely Belle to the castle of the Beast, will the curse finally be brought to an end or is the afflicted prince doomed to his fearsome shape for all time?  Find out in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast by Linda Woolverton with music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Howard Ashman & Tim Rice, closing the season at the Omaha Community Playhouse.

I’m going to make a confession. . .I have never seen any version of Beauty and the Beast nor have I ever read the fairy tale.  I share that confession with you because I want you to understand that I walked into this show with a completely unbiased pair of eyes and no influences to alter my expectations.  Having said that, I now need to tell you that this was an entrancing and beautiful production, one worthy to be viewed by every man, woman, and child in this city.

Kimberly Faith Hickman works an incredible bit of magic with her direction.  Not only did she lead her actors to a string of dynamite performances, but she also flawlessly paced the show.  So smooth was its running that I was honestly taken aback when it came to an end for it only felt like a few minutes had passed.  Her staging is pluperfect and makes use of the entire theatre and the scene changes were satin slick.

From a technical standpoint this was, bar none, the finest show I have ever seen.  The costumes of Georgiann Regan, Travis Halsey, and Amanda Fehlner are so elegant and eye catching from Belle’s simple blue dress to her opulent yellow gown to the rich oddity of the servants’ garments (they are humans transforming into household objects) to the make-up of the Beast.

Jim Othuse continues to pull from his neverending bag of tricks with his sets, lights, and special effects for this show.  You will travel from a simple, homey village to a dark and foreboding forest to a sprawling, cavernous castle.  John Gibilisco’s sounds help animate every moment and Darin Kuehler’s properties give life to the audience’s imaginations.

Jim Boggess and his orchestra never miss a note of the epic score and Michelle Garrity nails the choreography with lavish dance numbers and I must say that “Be Our Guest” is the single best bit of dancing I have seen in nearly 21 years of theatre.

And the acting?  Well, where does one begin?  Such a universally marvelous cast makes it very, very difficult for me to center on select performances.  But kudos go out to Kyle Wright who is delightfully dorky as Gaston’s lackey, Lefou and Brian Priesman as Belle’s eccentric father, Maurice, and he especially shines with his melodic tenor in “No Matter What”.

However, I would be sorely remiss if I failed to mention the fantastic work done by the actors playing the Beast’s servants.  These include Bob Gilmore as the too tightly wound Cogsworth, the castle’s major-domo; Steve Krambeck as Lumiere, the charming candelabra with an eye for the ladies; Dawn Buller-Kirke as Mrs. Potts, the castle’s cook who also dazzles with her sweet and moving rendition of the title song; and Joey Galda as Madame De La Grande Bouche, the diva wardrobe.

The role of Belle seemed to be tailor made for Leanne Hill Carlson.  She brings intelligence, warmth, sensitivity, and strength to the part.  Ms Hill Carlson well communicates Belle’s outsider status due to her peculiar pater and her love of reading while also bringing nobility when she selflessly volunteers to take Maurice’s place as the Beast’s prisoner.  With expert ease, she carefully undergoes the transformation from fearing and detesting the Beast to falling in love with him.  Her beautiful soprano will keep you mesmerized all evening with such numbers as “A Change in Me”, “Belle”, “Is this Home?”, and “No Matter What”.

Timothy Vallier makes a triumphant debut at the Playhouse with his interpretation of the Beast.  Vallier has a phenomenally well modulated voice, capable of a wide range of nuances ranging from animalistic snorting to cold anger to desperate loneliness to tender love.  He excellently executes Beast’s transformation from his temperamental, arrogant old self to his emergence as a kind and loving man.  Vallier also has a honey sweet tenor which is well utilized in “If I Can’t Love Her” and “How Long Must this Go On?”

Ryan Pivonka rounds out the three leads with his own worthy performance as Gaston.  Gaston isn’t your typical villain as he really isn’t evil.  He’s simply full of himself and his need to win Belle’s heart does drive him to a few dirty deeds.  Pivonka brings a macho swagger to Gaston who routinely roughs up the sycophantic Lefou while singing his own praises in “Gaston”.  He also manages to bring a small touch of sympathy to the role as he does genuinely love Belle, it’s just become twisted due to his overwhelming arrogance and selfishness.

I thought the pratfalls and violence could be smoothed out and punched up a bit, but that did little to dampen a magical night of theatre.  There are tickets still available, but I highly suggest ordering yours right away as I’ve heard they are rapidly dwindling.  Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is fun for the whole family and I promise you a Belle of a good time.

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast plays at the Omaha Community Playhouse through June 25.  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.

Be Their Guest

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Disney’s Beauty and the Beast Themed Events

Opening Night Celebration and Sunday Tea Parties

Omaha, Neb.— In celebration of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Omaha Community Playhouse’s first  Disney production running in the Hawks Mainstage Theatre May 26 – June 25, 2017, OCP will host several themed events for ticket holders, including an Opening Night Enchanting Extravaganza on Friday, May 26 with free pre-show activities for ticket holders beginning at 6:00 p.m.

Pending weather and availability, opening night activities will include a “provincial village” mini-petting zoo outdoors featuring small farm animals; “Gaston’s Strength Challenge” high striker game; and “Belle’s Beauty Boutique” hair styling for boys and girls. Complimentary desserts and beverages will also be available. Activities take place from 6:00 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. for ticket holders of that evening’s performance. No separate registration is required for these activities, which are generously supported by Great Western Bank.

Omaha Community Playhouse will also host Beauty and the Beast Royal Teas before all Sunday matinee performances May 28 – June 25, 2017 beginning at 12:45 p.m. Guests will enjoy a dessert and beverage, participate in a themed craft, and be visited by a special guest before attending the 2:00 p.m. performance. Space is limited to 30 people per date and advance registration is required for these events  at $15 per guest. The May 28 Royal Tea is sold out and there is limited seating for the June 11 event. For questions, contact Jana Coburn at (402) 553-4890, ext. 147 or jcoburn@omahaplayhouse.com.

Additionally, 20 minutes prior to the start of each performance an actor from the show will lead the children in the audience in educational warm-ups. Children in the audience will also receive a child-friendly printed program with activities. This is in conjunction with OCP’s educational wing, the Henry Fonda Theatre Academy.

Production: Disney’s Beauty and the Beast

Show Dates: May 26 – June 25, 2017 (Wednesdays – Sundays)

Director: Kimberly Faith Hickman

Step into the enchanted world of the beloved musical, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. This classic story of Belle, a young woman in a provincial town, and the Beast, a young prince trapped under the spell of an enchantress, is guaranteed to entertain all audiences.  If the Beast can learn to love and be loved, the curse will end and he will be transformed to his former self — but time is running out. If the Beast does not learn his lesson soon, he and his household will be doomed for all eternity. This “tale as old as time” is filled with spectacular costumes and sets and is a must-see for the whole family.

Show dates: May 26 – June 25, 2017; Wednesday–Saturday, 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, 2 p.m.

There will be two Saturday matinees at 2 p.m. on June 17 and June 24, 2017 only.

Tickets: At the OCP Box Office, by calling (402) 553-0800 or online at www.OmahaPlayhouse.com or www.TicketOmaha.com. Single tickets are $42 for adults (Thursdays – Sundays) and $25 for students (Thursdays – Sundays). Wednesday prices are $32 for adults and $20 for students. Tickets are $32 for groups of 12 or more. Single ticket discounts do not apply to this show

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

OCP Closes Season with ‘Beauty and the Beast’

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast Tickets On Sale to the Public At Omaha Community Playhouse May 26 – June 25 2017

Omaha, Neb.— Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, the first Disney production produced at the Omaha Community Playhouse, will run in the Hawks Mainstage Theatre at OCP May 26 – June 25, 2017. Tickets are available now at the OCP box office or online at OmahaPlayhouse.com

Step into the enchanted world of the beloved musical, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. This classic story of Belle, a young woman in a provincial town, and the Beast, a young prince trapped under the spell of an enchantress, is guaranteed to entertain all audiences. If the Beast can learn to love and be loved, the curse will end and he will be transformed to his former self — but time is running out. If the Beast does not learn his lesson soon, he and his household will be doomed for all eternity. This “tale as old as time” is filled with spectacular costumes and sets and is a must-see for the whole family.

Production:      Disney’s Beauty and the Beast

Show Dates:     May 26 – June 25, 2017 (Wednesdays – Saturdays at 7:30pm & Sundays at 2pm)

Director:           Kimberly Faith Hickman

Cast

Cork Ramer as Narrator

Leanne Hill Carlson as Belle

Tim Vallier as Beast/Prince

Brian Priesman as Maurice

Ryan Pivonka as Gaston

Kyle Wright as Lefou, Cheesegrater

Kevin Olsen as Baker, Monsieur D’Argue, Silverware

Steve Krambeck as Lumiere

Bob Gilmore as Cogsworth

Melissa King as Babette

Dawn Buller-Kirke as Mrs. Potts

Sasha Denenberg and Maddie Smith as Chip

Joey Galda as Madame De La Grande Bouche

Ensemble features:  Leonna Blake, Megan Ingram, Sierra Lancaster, Cadie Jochum, Isabelle Rangel, Jordan Smith, Cody Girouex, Emma Powell, Julia Ervin, Megan Kelly, Alex Nilius, Jonathan Smith, Juliana Angel, Tabor Cross, Brandon Fisher, Megan Morrissey, James Verderamo, Debbie Trecek Volkens, Jennifer Bonge, Stella Clark-Kaczmarek, Judson Cloudt, Drew Cota, Samantha Gillotte, Jude Glaser, Andrew Hedin, Tessa Priesman, and Amina Teri

Show dates:     May 26 – June 25, 2017; Wednesday–Saturday, 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, 2 p.m.  There will be two Saturday matinees at 2 p.m. on June 17 and June 24, 2017 only.

Tickets:            At the OCP Box Office, by calling (402) 553-0800 or online at www.OmahaPlayhouse.com or www.TicketOmaha.com. Single tickets are $42 for adults (Thursdays – Sundays) and $25 for students (Thursdays – Sundays). Wednesday prices are $32 for adults and $20 for students. Tickets are $32 for groups of 12 or more.

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

 

OCP Holding Auditions for Season Finale

Omaha Community Playhouse presents

DISNEY’S BEAUTY AND THE BEAST Auditions

Auditions:
YOUTH AUDITIONS – Saturday, March 4 at Noon
ADULT AUDITIONS – Monday, March 6 at 7:00 p.m. and Tuesday, March 7, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.
Enter through the west “Stage Door” entrance and proceed to the check-in table. High turnout expected for these auditions, so plan accordingly.

Synopsis: Step into the enchanted world of the beloved musical, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. This classic story of Belle, a young woman in a provincial town, and the Beast, a young prince trapped under the spell of an enchantress, is guaranteed to entertain all audiences. If the Beast can learn to love and be loved, the curse will end and he will be transformed to his former self — but time is running out. If the Beast does not learn his lesson soon, he and his household will be doomed for all eternity. This “tale as old as time” is filled with spectacular costumes and sets and is a must-see for the whole family.
Director: Kimberly Faith Hickman

Roles: Seeking a diverse cast of singers, dancers and actors! All ages, ethnicities and genders.
Children must be of an independent reading level.

Note From the Director:
**Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is a family friendly production in partnership with OCP’s Henry Fonda Theatre Academy. The cast of Beauty and the Beast should expect to interact with children during the run of this production.

Cast of Characters
BELLE – (Mezzo Soprano) a highly intelligent, plucky young woman from a provincial town. Actor must like interacting with children! There are going to be occasional special appearances made by Belle at pre-show Royal Tea parties, as well as post show photo ops.
BEAST – (Baritone/Tenor II) master of the castle who used to be a prince. Actor must feel comfortable wearing some form of prosthetic makeup.
MAURICE – (Bari/Bass) an inventor and Belle’s father
GASTON – (Baritone) a pompous “ladies man” who thinks he is the greatest man alive.
LEFOU – (Bari/Tenor) Gaston’s sidekick
LUMIERE – (Bari/Tenor II) a French maitre d’ who has become a candelabra
COGSWORTH – (Bari/Tenor II) an English major-domo of the castle who has become a mantle clock
BABETTE – (Soprano) a maid who has become a feather duster
MRS. POTTS – (Mezzo Soprano) a cook who has become a teapot
CHIP – (Mid range cambiata (unchanged) voice) Mrs. Potts’ son, who has become a teacup. This role will be shared between two children. Actors must feel comfortable sitting inside a cart.
MADAME DE LA GRANDE BOUCHE – (Mezzo Soprano) an opera singer who has become a wardrobe
MONSIEUR D’ARQUE  – (Tenor) proprietor of the lunatic asylum
MANY other various roles: Narrator, Young Prince, Beggar Woman / Enchantress, Townspeople, Silly Girls, Gaston’s Cronies, Wolves, Servants (Napkins, Silverware, Plates, Salt and Pepper, Carpet, etc.). There will also be a children’s ensemble who play Townspeople, Servants, etc.

Requirements:

What to Bring:

  • Please come prepared with 16 bars of music prepared to sing. An accompanist will be provided.
  • There will be a dance audition, pleased come dressed ready to move or bring a change of clothes with you. Boots, sandals, flip-flips, slick shoes, etc. should not be worn during the dance audition.
  • You will be asked to fill out an audition form, please have all necessary contact information and personal schedules handy in order to complete the form.
  • A recent photo if you have one available. Please note, photos will not be returned.

Show Dates: May 26 – June 25, 2017
Location: Omaha Community Playhouse | Hawks Mainstage Theatre | 6915 Cass Street | Omaha, NE 68132
Contact: For more information, contact Jeannine Robertson, jrobertson@omahaplayhouse.com, at (402) 553-4890, ext. 164.