BLT Holding Auditions for ‘CLUE: The Musical’

Auditions for Bellevue Little Theatre’s production of CLUE: The Musical will be held on Sunday, January 22 and Monday, January 23 at 7:00 PM at St. Timothy Lutheran Church (510 N 93rd Street – 93rd and Dodge) in Omaha and will consist of a music audition (1 minute of music appropriate to the style of the show – an accompanist will be provided), a dance audition, and cold readings from the script. Please come dressed to move. 4 Men and 4 Women (of various ages) are needed.


PLEASE NOTE THAT AUDITIONS ARE NOT BEING HELD AT THE BELLEVUE LITTLE THEATRE. Callbacks, if needed, are scheduled for Tuesday, January 24th at 7:00 p.m., also at St. Timothy Lutheran Church. A read thru with the cast is tentatively scheduled for Sunday, January 29th , and rehearsals will begin on Monday, January 23rd (lasting 8 weeks). The show runs from March 24 – April 9, 2017. Please bring a calendar so you can list ALL conflicts from January 15 – April 9, 2017 on your audition form. The show will be directed by Daena Schweiger, with music direction by Chris Ebke and choreography by Kerri Jo Watts. Pam Matney serves as producer. Questions about auditions, the rehearsal process, or the show can be directed to daena.schweiger@gmail.com.

Characters

Mr. Boddy (B Flat 2 to F Sharp 4)

Professor Plum (B Flat 2 to F 4)

Colonel Mustard (B Flat 2 to E Flat 4 (#7))

Mr. Green (G Sharp 2 to F Sharp 4)

Mrs. Peacock (B Flat 3 to D Flat 5)

Miss Scarlet (G Sharp 3 to F 5)

Mrs. White (B Flat 3 to F 5 (#4))

Detective (no set vocal range)

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Blue Barn Holds Auditions for Season Finale, ‘Priscilla Queen of the Desert–The Musical’

The BLUEBARN Theatre is pleased to announce open auditions for the regional premiere of Priscilla Queen of the Desert–The Musical.  Auditions will be held on Saturday, January 14 from 11am-3pm.  Callbacks will be held by invitation on Monday, January 16 from 6pm-9pm.  Auditions will be held at the BLUEBARN located at 1106 S 10th St (10th and Pacific).

Performances for Priscilla Queen of the Desert–The Musical run May 18-July 1, 2017 with rehearsals scheduled to begin early April 2017.  Susan Clement-Toberer directs with musical direction by Doran Schmidt and choreography by Nichol Mason Lazenby.  Please contact Randall T. Stevens for more information at rstevens@bluebarn.org.

Needed:  large cast of men and women of all ages and ethnicities.  Also needed is 1 boy age 8-11.  Those auditioning should prepare 32 bars of an up-tempo contemporary song.  An accompanist will be provided.  Please, no acapella or pre-recorded music.

About Priscilla Queen of the Desert–The Musical

Based on the smash hit movie, Priscilla is the heartwarming, uplifting adventure of three friends, Tick, Bernadette, and Adam, a glamorous Sydney-based performing trio who agree to take their show to the middle of the Australian Outback.  They hop aboard a battered old bus, “Priscilla,” searching for love and friendship and end up finding more than they could have ever dreamed of.

Featuring a hit parade of dancefloor favorites including “It’s Raining Men,” “I Will Survive,” “Hot Stuff,” “Finally,” “Boogie Wonderland,” “Go West,” “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” and “I Love the Nightlife,” this wildly fresh and funny musical is a journey to the heart of FABULOUS!

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.

Barn Players are Ready to Get ‘Big’

Kansas City’s acclaimed youth troupe the Barn Players Jr. are pleased to present Broadway musical hit, Big. Based on the memorable Twentieth Century Fox film written by Gary Ross and Anne Spielberg, this amusing musical has a book by John Weidman, with music by David Shire, and lyrics by Richard Maltby, Jr. The Barn Jr. winter production is directed by community theatre veteran Jason Coats, with musical direction by Todd Gregory-Gibbs.

What magic happens on stage? At a local carnival, awkward young Josh Baskin makes a wish to the mechanical Zoltar fortune teller to become Big. To his amazement, his wish is granted. Before he knows it Josh must do “adult” things, including finding a mentor, getting a job and soon a girlfriend. His rite of passage between boy and man and back includes the discovery that there’s more to being an adult than he bargained for. Lesson? We all must grow up at our own speed.

“Our student actors have done a phenomenal job of bringing this work to life,” says director Jason Coats. “It’s a perfect show for them. It explores what growing up really means. It challenges what they think it may be like to be an adult.”

Featured roles in Big are played by: Wes Battey, Anna Berardo, Maria Berardo, Veronica Dervin, Ashley Elliot-Rowe, Sydney Gilman, Paiten Griffith, Alex Leondedis, Phil Licata, Abigail Nottingham, Paige Padgett, Paul Ruf, Claire Segura, Seneca Sims, Margaret Veghlan, and Sam Wise. Ensemble players include: Lucy Alcock, Stella Hughes, Sophia Logan, Ava Moran, Aurelia Power, Jezri Robertson, Sean Ruddy, and Isabelle Simmonds.

WHAT: Big, a Barn Players Jr. Presentation

WHERE: The Barn Players, 6219 Martway, Mission, KS 66202

WHEN: Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30pm, Sunday matinees at 2:00pm. Friday, January 13th through Sunday, January 22nd.

TICKETS: Tickets are $12.00. Buy online at: thebarnplayers.org, via phone at 913.432.9100, or at the box office. Cash / credit cards  are accepted.

The New Year Starts with ‘The Sound of Music’

Omaha, Neb. (December 14, 2016)  The lavish new production of The Sound of Music, directed by three-time Tony Award winner Jack O’Brien will make its Omaha premiere January 24-29 at the Orpheum Theater as part of Omaha Performing Arts’ Broadway Series.  Tickets, starting at $25, are now available at the Ticket Omaha box office located inside the Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas Street, by calling 402-345-0606 or online at TicketOmaha.com

The Sound of Music features music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse, suggested by The Trapp Family Singers by Maria Augusta Trapp.  This new production is directed by Jack O’Brien (credits include Hairspray, The Full Monty, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Coast of Utopia), choreographed by Danny Mefford (Fun Home, The Bridges of Madison County and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson) and music supervision by Andy Einhorn (Bullets Over Broadway, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Brief Encounter, The Light in the Piazza).  The design and production team is comprised of Douglas W. Schmidt, set design (Tony Award nominee, 42nd Street, Into the Woods); Jane Greenwood, costume design (2014 recipient of the Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre), Natasha Katz, lighting design (Five-time Tony Award Winner:  An American in Paris, Once, Aida, The Coast of Utopia, The Glass Menagerie) and Ken Travis, sound design (Aladdin, Newsies, Memphis).  Casting by Telsey + Company/Rachel Hoffman, CSA.

According to director Jack O’Brien, “The Sound of Music has been in our ears for decades, as it deserves to be.  But it might be time to look once more, and more closely, at this remarkable work which, I feel, begins to reveal itself as deeper, richer, and more powerful than ever.  It’s no longer ‘your mother’s’ familiar Sound of Music.  We are tearing off the varnish of the past from one of the great glories of our theatergoing experience and making it fresh!  This is an opportunity to create!”

Producer Beth Williams (Grove Entertainment) said, “It’s a great privilege to bring this beloved Rodgers & Hammerstein musical to theaters across North America.  We hope that people of all ages will continue to fall in love with it for the first time, or all over again, and that it will truly become on e of their ‘favorite things.’  From our distinguished team led by the creative master Jack O’Brien, audiences can expect a truly magnificent production of The Sound of Music.”

In the words of Ted Chapin, President of Rodgers & Hammerstein, “The Sound of Music continues to be the world’s most beloved musical.  When a major national tour was suggested, I not only agreed, but was willing to roll up my sleeves and do whatever i could to fashion a new stage production that would re-engage today’s theatergoing public.  The show was originally created for Broadway, and seeing it on stage only reinforces the power of the story and the score.  And with Jack O’Brien at the directorial helm–well, we simply couldn’t do better.  Landing somewhere between The Coast of Utopia and Hairspray (shows for which Jack won the Tony), his production is smart, focused, and surprising.”

The Sound of Music enjoyed extraordinary success as the first live television production of a musical in over 50 years when The Sound of Music Live! aired on NBC in December 2013; 2015 marked the 50th anniversary of the film version, which continues to be the most successful movie musical in history.  The sprited, romantic and beloved musical story of Maria and the Von Trapp Family will once again thrill audiences with such songs as My Favorite Things, Do-Re-Mi, Climb Ev’ry Mountain, Edelweiss, and the title song.

The Sound of Music will play Omaha’s Orpheum Theater at 7:30pm on Jan 24-26, 8pm on Jan 27-28, 2pm on Jan 28, 1:30pm on Jan 29, and 7pm on Jan 29.

For more information, please visit www.ticketomaha.com or www.TheSoundOfMusicOnTour.com, www.facebook.com/TheSoundOfMusic, www.twitter.com/SoundOfMusic, www.instagram.com/SoundOfMusicOnTour

It’s Going to be ‘Beautiful’

BROADWAY’S NEWEST SMASH HIT

BEAUTIFUL – THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL

TICKETS GO ON SALE DECEMBER 9 FOR OMAHA’S ORPHEUM THEATER PREMIERE APRIL 4-9

OMAHA, Neb. (November 16, 2016) – Producers Paul Blake and Sony/ATV Music Publishing have announced that the Tony® & Grammy® Award-winning Broadway hit Beautiful—The Carole King Musical, will make its Omaha Premiere at the Orpheum Theater, April 4 – 9, 2017 as part of Omaha Performing Arts’ Broadway Series. Tickets for the musical, about the early life and career of the legendary and groundbreaking singer/songwriter, go on sale December 9. To purchase tickets, visit TicketOmaha.com, call 402.345.0606 or visit the Ticket Omaha* Box Office inside the Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. Ticket prices start at $30.

“Carole King might be a native New Yorker, but her story of struggle and triumph is as universal as they come – and her music is loved the world over,” producer Paul Blake said. “We know that audiences throughout the country will embrace this show just as Broadway and London audiences have.”

Long before she was Carole King, chart-topping music legend, she was Carol Klein, Brooklyn girl with passion and chutzpah. She fought her way into the record business as a teenager and, by the time she reached her twenties, had the husband of her dreams and a flourishing career writing hits for the biggest acts in rock ‘n’ roll. But it wasn’t until her personal life began to crack that she finally managed to find her true voice.  Beautiful tells the inspiring true story of King’s remarkable rise to stardom, from being part of a hit songwriting team with her husband Gerry Goffin, to her relationship with fellow writers and best friends Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, to becoming one of the most successful solo acts in popular music history. Along the way, she made more than beautiful music, she wrote the soundtrack to a generation. Beautiful features a stunning array of beloved songs written by Gerry Goffin/Carole King and Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil, including “I Feel The Earth Move,” “One Fine Day,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” “You’ve Got A Friend” and the title song.

For more information and a video sneak peek, please visit www.BeautifulOnBroadway.com

www.beautifulonbroadway.com

www.twitter.com/beautifulonbway

www.ticketomaha.com

ABOUT OMAHA PERFORMING ARTS

Omaha Performing Arts is dedicated to providing the best Broadway, jazz, blues, dance, comedy, family and popular entertainment to the citizens of Omaha at the Orpheum Theater, Holland Performing Arts Center and beyond. As Nebraska’s largest arts organization, we also provide education opportunities and free community events to expand arts appreciation.  Ticket Omaha is our official ticket provider. We are grateful for support from the Nebraska Arts Council, Nebraska Cultural Endowment, National Endowment for the Arts, the City of Omaha and Douglas County. We also rely on corporate sponsors, donors and foundations.

ABOUT BROADWAY ACROSS AMERICA

BROADWAY ACROSS AMERICA is part of The John Gore Organization family of companies, which includes Broadway.com and is operated by John Gore (Owner & CEO).BAA is the foremost presenter of first-class touring productions in North America, operating in 38 markets. Current and past productions include Beautiful, Chicago, Fiddler on the Roof, Finding Neverland, Million Dollar Quartet, Hairspray, On Your Feet!, The Producers, and Shuffle Along.  Broadway.com is the premier theater website for news, exclusive content and ticket sales. For more information please visit BroadwayAcrossAmerica.com and Broadway.com

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Pretty Powerful Poison

Molina and Valentin are as different as night and day.  Molina is a flamboyant homosexual imprisoned for corrupting a minor.  Valentin is a young revolutionary full of piss and vinegar.  Yet an unlikely friendship grows between them which will be tested by a cruel warden.  And over all of this looms the specter of the Spider Woman in Kiss of the Spider Woman currently playing at the Barn Players.

Turning Manuel Puig’s heavily dramatic novel into a musical is certainly a tall order.  But Terrence McNally’s script combined with the incredible score of John Kander and Fred Ebb and the amazingly talented cast of the production makes for much much more than an effective musical.  It makes for one of the best shows I’ve seen in over 20 years of being involved with theatre.

Eric Magnus doesn’t miss a trick with a masterful piece of direction.  The staging is the strongest I’ve ever seen with Magnus’ cast making full use of Doug Schroeder’s simple and beautiful set of bars and stairs.  Magnus has pulled nearly perfect performances out of his entire cast and decisively navigates the multiple twists and turns of the plot with pinpoint accuracy.

Rarely have I seen a nuanced performance the likes of the one supplied by Joell Ramsdell as Molina.  As Molina, Ramsdell is unabashedly and unashamedly gay.  But his flamboyance covers a desperate loneliness.  All he wants is a friend.  He survives the hell of this prison by escaping into fantasy.  He thinks of his mother.  He fondly recalls the numerous movies he’s seen.  He remembers lavish musical numbers with his favorite actress, Aurora.  But he fears Aurora’s character of the Spider Woman who is Death incarnate and that character he often sees in his daily life.

The depth and range of Ramsdell’s acting is truly astonishing.  Starting off as a coward, he shows small signs of strength as he helps Valentin survive his imprisonment.  A strength that grows as his friendship with Valentin blossoms.  This leads to some of the show’s best scenes as Ramsdell shows the intense agony of a man forced to choose between his friend and his mother before making a choice that shows the meaning of courage.

Ramsdell also has a fabulous tenor which he adapts easily to comedy in “Dressing Them Up” or heart-wrenching drama in “Mama, It’s Me”.

Paul Brennan III matches Ramsdell step for step with his stirring rendering of Valentin.  Valentin is an angry revolutionary who fully believes in his cause and wants nothing to do with his new cellmate at first.  As he slowly accepts Molina’s friendship, Brennan beautifully evolves his character to show him capable of love, humor, and a bit of shocking Machiavellism.  Up until the end of the show, Valentin’s cause and desires still are the most important things in his life and he manipulates Molina’s feelings for him with an act that is both tender and selfish to get him to do what he wants.  But Molina’s choice at the play’s climax finally pushes Valentin to look beyond himself.

Brennan’s tenor will make your insides turn to jelly with a velvet voice that effortlessly knocks emotional pitches out of the park with numbers such as “Marta”, “Anything for Him” and “The Day After That”.

JC Dresslaer gets the show’s most interesting character in the form of Aurora/Spider Woman.  She’s mostly a fictional character in this world whose purpose is to help Molina, later Valentin, maintain sanity in the nightmare world in which they live.  But this allows her to do some brilliant character acting as she portrays Aurora’s various characters.  Most notably a wild rumba number (“Gimme Love”) to close out Act I and a hilarious piece of melodrama complete with over the top Russian accent to open Act II.

But Ms Dresslaer’s character of the Spider Woman haunts the world of the show with a most eerie reality and finality.  Dressed in a simple black dress, the Spider Woman exudes menace and, dare I say, gentleness with every appearance.  Yes, her appearances mean death, but she also wants to show that death is not something to be feared.

Ms Dresslaer’s dancing is so silky smooth, it makes all of her musical numbers showstoppers.  She also has a pitch-perfect alto used to excellent effect in “Come” and “Kiss of the Spider Woman”.

I was extraordinarily impressed with the mileage Emerson Rapp got out of the role of the Warden.  It’s not a big role, but the evil which Rapp imbued into the character made sure the audience was spellbound each time he appeared on stage.  He clearly considers the prisoners animals suitable for torture and murder.  He will do anything and I mean ANYTHING to get what he wants.  Poisonings, beatings, emotional manipulation, bribery. . .it’s all fair game to one of the most insidious characters I’ve seen brought to life on stage.

Paul Secor Morrel and his orchestra deftly handle the varied score with an evening of precise instrumentation.  The costumes of Fran Kapono-Kuzila are well suited to the show from the tattered rags of the prisoners to Molina’s kimono and scarves to Aurora’s numerous costumes for her numbers.  The ensemble cast also stayed in every moment to add crucial life to the story as well as adding strong voices to the chorus.

Musicals often get flak for being shallow on substance, but Kiss of the Spider Woman proves that a musical can be just as challenging and deep as straight theatre if given a chance.  If you love great theatre then you need to go and see this show.  Then you need to tell others to go get a ticket so they can see this show as it deserves a sold out run.

Kiss of the Spider Woman plays at the Barn Players through October 2.  Showtimes are Fri-Sat at 7:30pm and Sun at 2pm. There will be an Industry Night performance on Sept 26. Tickets cost $18 for adults, $15 for seniors, and $12 for students (w/ID), and groups of 10 or more.  Industry Night tickets will be $12 at the door.  To order tickets, visit the website at www.thebarnplayers.org or call 913-432-9100.  Due to sensitive thematic material and some strong language, this show is not suitable for children.  The Barn Players is located at 6219 Martway in Mission, KS.

These Sisters Got Soul

Struggling singer Deloris Van Cartier witnesses her gangster boyfriend commit murder.  To protect her until the trial, Deloris is placed in a convent under the guise of Sister Mary Clarence.  Her antics and personality bring her into conflict with the staid, old school Mother Superior as well as inspires the other nuns to get their Jesus on by jazzing up their lousy and archaic singing.  This is Sister Act written by Cheri & Bill Steinkellner with music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Glenn Slater and currently playing at the Omaha Community Playhouse.  It is inspired by the hit comedy starring Whoopi Goldberg.

The singing and dancing are worth the price of admission on their own.  Menken’s peppy music is enhanced by another stellar performance from Jim Boggess (who also has a nice cameo as Pope Paul VI) and his orchestra who deftly handle the 70s style soul and gospel rock score.  Melanie Walters surpasses herself with choreography that was original, perfectly precise for the show’s era, and utterly flawless.  No dancer missed a step and they were so skillful and smooth, you’d think you were watching a professional troupe.

Kimberly Faith Hickman nails her debut as the Playhouse’s Artistic Director to the floor with her directorial work for this piece.  Scene changes were smooth as silk.  The energy of the cast was sky high.  She managed to cull the very best work out of her performers from the experienced veterans to the fresh newbies and misses nary a beat in her coaching.

Ms Hickman’s directing is especially impressive as the script did not give her a lot to work with.  I’m not sure what the Steinkellners were thinking when they wrote this show, but they took the story of the movie and shaved it to its barest bones.  Important supporting characters had their roles cut to next to nothing and so much of the story was stripped away that the show’s second act is, more or less, a sung through musical with just a touch of dialogue here and there.  For those who know the movie and are expecting rocked up hymns, expel that notion.  None of those songs are in the play.

Zhomontee Watson stuns as Deloris Van Cartier/Sister Mary Clarence.  In Act II, she is everything that you’d expect Deloris to be.  She’s got sass, swagger, and razzmatazz.  She also does a nice job showing Deloris’ transformation from diva loner to soul sister.  Ms Watson has a really strong alto voice which she uses well in “Take Me to Heaven” and in a fine dramatic turn in “Sister Act”.  Now Ms Watson just needs to do all the things she did in Act II and move it to Act I.

Likely due to opening night nerves, Ms Watson was a little slow getting out of the gate.  Her diction was a bit mushy and she needed to project more.  But that improved markedly as her confidence grew and had mostly vanished by Act II.  I’d also suggest for her to be even bigger and take things just a little bit farther in her interpretation of the role.

Even with some time to think, I’m not sure how I feel about Judy Anderson as the Mother Superior.  Not that she was weak.  From a technical standpoint, her work was quite solid.  Her own alto voice did justice to showing Mother Superior’s fears about the world in “Here Within these Walls” and her frustration with Deloris shaking up the convent in “Haven’t Got a Prayer”.  But something about her character seemed off.  As an old schooI nun, I thought the role needed to be more of a straight man and it seemed too jokey and I’m not sure if the problem lies in the writing or the acting choices, but I tend to lean towards the former.

Brian Priesman milks the role of Curtis for everything that it’s worth.  As Deloris’ gangster boyfriend, Priesman is a bullying brute who easily cows his underlings.  Priesman’s diction and projection are of excellent quality and his light tenor easily handled the show’s best number “When I Find My Baby” with just the right touch of grim humor.

Marcel Daly does a pretty serviceable job as Eddie, the police officer who protects Deloris.  He needs to loosen up a bit as some of his dialogue sounded stiff and memorized, but he did have a nice meekness to him.  He also fakes bad dancing really well in “I Could Be That Guy” which is also strengthened by his beautiful tenor.

The supporting cast does terrific work in bolstering the story by always staying within the thick of the action.  Special notice goes to Sally Neumann Scamfer who is delightfully acidic and acerbic as Sister Mary Lazarus and Sara Mattix who is just so sweet and innocent as Sister Mary Patrick.  But I want to stand up and bow to Justin Eller, Jonathan Smith, and Adam Fulbright who steal every scene that they are in as Curtis’ lackeys Joey, TJ, and Pablo.  Their comedic timing is spot on.  Their dancing is so effortless.  And I was extremely pleased by the falsetto work of Smith and Fulbright.

I think the light and scenic work of Jim Othuse for this show ranks among his best.  I loved the gorgeous church interiors with its wood textures and the red light district of Philadelphia.  Georgiann Regan should be proud of her costumes especially the performing habits of the nuns.

I’d highly recommend getting a ticket as quick as you can because the Playhouse has another hit on its hands as evidenced by a nearly full house for this preview night performance.  Any shortcomings in the story are more than overcome by the songs and presentation and you’ll want to get your praise on before the night is done.

Sister Act plays at the Omaha Community Playhouse through October 16.  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 Playhouse is located at 6915 Cass St in Omaha, NE.