Lofte Community Theatre Announces 2023 Season

Doublewide, Texas

By Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope, & Jamie Wooten

March 24, 25, 26, 30, 31 & April 1, 2

Auditions: Feb. 13 & 14 @ 7 PM

The inhabitants of one of the smallest trailer parks in Texas—four doublewides and a shed—are thrown for a loop when they realize the nearby town of Tugaloo is determined to annex them. These friends, enemies, and neighbors will need to work together to overcome the oncoming annexation and preserve their way of life. This hilarious, fast-paced comedy, comes with plenty of “down home” humor to go around!

Wit

By Margaret Edson

May 5, 6, 7, 11, 12, 13, 14

Auditions: Feb. 16 & 17 @ 7 PM

*We suggest PG-13 for adult themes- This show discusses cancer and death*

Vivian Bearing, Ph.D., a renowned professor of English who has spent years studying and teaching the brilliant and difficult metaphysical sonnets of John Donne, has been diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer. During the course of her illness—and her stint as a prize patient in an experimental chemotherapy program at a major teaching hospital—Vivian comes to reassess her life and her work with deep insight and humor that are transformative both for her and the audience. Winner of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

9 to 5: The Musical

Music and Lyrics by Dolly Parton; Book by Patricia Resnick

July 15, 16, 20, 21, 22, 23, 27, 28, 29, 30

Auditions: May 15 & 16 @ 7 PM

Pushed to the boiling point, three female coworkers concoct a plan to take the power away from the sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot they call their boss. Based on the 1980 hit movie, 9 to 5 The Musical is a hilarious, outrageous, and thought-provoking story of friendship and revenge in the Rolodex era. Come see these women take control of their office and discover there is nothing they can’t do, even in a man’s world.

The Mousetrap

By Agatha Christie

September 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10

Auditions: July 24 & 25 @ 7 PM

*This show discusses death, murder, and child abuse*

After a local woman is murdered, the guests and staff at Monkswell Manor find themselves stranded during a snowstorm. It soon becomes clear that the killer is among them, as the seven strangers grow increasingly suspicious of one another. A police detective arrives on skis to interrogate the suspects but when a second murder takes place, tensions and fears escalate. This murder mystery features a brilliant surprise finish from Dame Agatha Christie, the foremost mystery writer of her time. The world’s longest-running play comes to the Lofte stage!

The Nerd

By Larry Shue

October 14, 15, 20, 21, 22, 26, 27, 28, 29

Auditions: Aug. 13 @ 2 PM & Aug. 14 @ 7 PM

Aspiring architect Willum Cubbert owes his life to Rick Steadman, a fellow ex-GI whom he has never met but who saved his life when he was wounded in battle. Willum has told Rick that as long as he is alive, “you will have somebody on Earth who will do anything for you.” To Willum’s delight, Rick unexpectedly appears on the night of his thirty-fourth birthday party. However, delight soon turns to dismay as he discovers that Rick is a hopeless “nerd,” —a bumbling oaf with no social sense, little intelligence and less tact. This outrageous comedy will leave you laughing all the way home!

A Doublewide, Texas Christmas

By Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope, & Jamie Wooten

December 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17

Auditions: Oct. 16 & 17 @ 7 PM

Back in one of the smallest trailer parks in Texas, it’s beginning to look a lot like trouble! Not only are the trailer park residents dealing with the stress of the holiday season, but they’ve just discovered that Doublewide is being double-crossed by the County. New problems come up and familiar problems come back as this band of eccentric Texans must band together once more to keep their lifestyle and their holiday spirit! Oh, there’s no place like a good ol’ Texas-sized mobile home for the holidays!

OCP Announces Auditions for ‘Little Shop of Horrors’

Omaha, NE–The Omaha Community Playhouse (OCP) is holding in-person auditions for Little Shop of Horrors at the Omaha Community Playhouse on December 3 and 4 and Latino Center for the Midlands on December 5. To schedule an audition, please visit the website here.

Through upholding high ethical standards, demonstrating respect for all and consciously working to provide diverse representation, OCP is committed to creating an inclusive and safe environment in which all community members feel a sense of belonging and does not discriminate in casting practices on the basis of an individual’s ethnicity, age, gender, physical and cognitive ability, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, country of origin or other factors. Omaha Community Playhouse is committed to diverse and inclusive casting.

Production: Little Shop of Horrors

Credits: Book and Lyrics by Howard Ashman; Music by Alan Menken

Director: Stephen Santa

Choreographer: DJ Tyree

Music Director: Jim Boggess

Show Dates: April 14-May 7, 2023 Omaha Community Playhouse, Hawks Mainstage Theatre

Rehearsals: Begin February 26, 2023

Show Synopsis: Seymour, a nerdy store clerk at Mushnik’s flower shop, is thrust into the spotlight when he happens upon a new breed of carnivorous plant. But his newfound fame comes at a cost when Seymour discovers the sassy seedling has an unquenchable thirst for human blood. Ravenously fun, dripping with camp and nostalgia. Disclaimer: Contains mild adult content and language.

Auditions: Saturday, Dec. 3, 1-4 p.m. (Latino Center for the Midlands, 4937 S. 24th St., Omaha, NE 68107)

Sunday, Dec. 4, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. (Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St, Omaha, NE 68132)

Monday, Dec. 5, 6-9 p.m. (Omaha Community Playhouse)

Callbacks: Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022, 6-10 p.m. (Omaha Community Playhouse)

Notes: Auditions are by appointment only. Please complete the audition form to schedule a time. When arriving to audition at the Playhouse, please enter through the Stage Door entrance on the West side of the building. Those auditioning should be prepared to spend 60-90 minutes at the audition.

Audition preparation: Two 32 bar songs – Pop, R&B, or Contemporary Musicals. Accompanist will be provided.

Roles: Click here for character breakdown.

Compensation: Onstage performers 19 and older for this show will be compensated $700 in total.

Contact: For more information, please visit omahaplayhouse.com.

Sister Has a Christmas Mystery to Solve

Mary Zentmyer stars as Sister in Sister’s Christmas Catechism: The Mystery of the Magi’s Gold

Omaha, NE.–Sister’s Christmas Catechism: The Mystery of the Magi’s Gold will open Friday, Nov. 25, 2022 at the Omaha Community Playhouse (OCP). The show will run in the Howard Drew Theatre from Nov. 25 through Dec. 23. Performances will be held Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.

It’s “CSI: Bethlehem” in this holiday mystery extravaganza, from the author of Late Nite Catechism, as Sister takes on the mystery that has intrigued historians throughout the ages—whatever happened to the Magi’s gold? (“We know that Mary used the frankincense and myrrh as a sort of potpourri—they were in a barn after all.”) Retelling the story of the Nativity, as only Sister can, this hilarious holiday production is bound to become a yearly classic. Employing her own scientific tools, assisted by a local choir as well as a gaggle of audience members, Sister creates a living nativity unlike any you’ve ever seen.With gifts galore and bundles of laughs, Sister’s Christmas Catechism is sure to become the newest addition to your holiday traditions.

Tickets start at $35 and are available at the OCP Box Office (6915 Cass St in Omaha, NE) or by calling 402-553-0800.

A local choir will be featured during each performance of Sister’s Christmas Catechism.
•Freedom Choir, Sacred Heart Church – November 25-27
•Omaha North High School Choir – December 2-4
•Omaha Burke High School Choir – December 8-11
•Zion Baptist Church Choir – December 16
•Doan College Choir – December 17-23
•OCP Staff Choir – December 1 & 15

Photo provided by Omaha Community Playhouse

Family Drama

Lon Smith has been offered a promotion that requires him to relocate himself and his family to New York.  Lon’s family, especially his headstrong and troublemaking daughters, are dead set against the move.  In trying to derail the move, Lon’s eldest child, Rose, ends up derailing his job.  To find out how the family copes with this turn of events, watch Meet Me in St. Louis currently playing at Bellevue Little Theatre.

This show is unusual in that it first began life as a series of short stories by Sally Benson called The Kensington Stories in 1942 and these stories were later novelized under the title of Meet Me in St. Louis. Arthur Freed would convince Louis B. Mayer to buy the film rights and the stories were turned into a musical starring Judy Garland in 1944. Later, Christopher Sergel would turn the stories into a straight play. This production happens to be the straight play and it is very much a period piece.  It does seem a bit stronger than others of its ilk as it isn’t quite so draggy as its counterparts.  This production was also aided by a cast who were able to infuse the words and characters with some whimsy and charm.

Newcomer Jackson Newman really does get all that he can out of the script and any director that can manage to keep vibrancy with incredibly talky dialogue is clearly doing something right.  Newman strikes the right emotional beats with his control of the dialogue and gets his cast to project a strong sense of family.  He’s also led his cast to some effective performances and makes good use of the massive living room set.  It never feels empty in any spot and actors are well staged and blocked and can be seen at all points.

There were some exceptional performances in the supporting cast.  Chris Latta is an insufferable toady as Duffy.  Dannika Rees just bleeds snobbery as Lucille Pentard.  Randy Wallace amuses in the dual roles of the eccentric grandfather who claims he was once a king and as Lon’s blustering boss, Mr. Dodge.

This show had a real find in the form of Amy Wagner as Agnes.  Wagner struck all the right notes as the bratty and defiant tomboy who plays some pretty dangerous and mean-spirited pranks.  Wagner’s voice was clear and strong and could be heard throughout the theatre and her articulation was clear as a bell.

Francisco Franco is very sweet and fatherly as the family patriarch, Lon Smith.  Franco brings a real gentleness to Smith who is fully aware that he doesn’t have much control over the behavior of his children.  As such he uses persuasion and reason to convince his children of the soundness of his judgments as opposed to ordering them about.  What I truly admired about his performance was that he didn’t get angry when his kids screwed things up, he got hurt.  And his agony was more of a punishment to his children than his anger ever could hope to be.

Charity Williams imbues her Rose with the right blend of youth and nobility.  Rose has many positive qualities such as determination and forthrightness.  However, due to her youth, she can misuse these positive traits and can act with great idiocy.  Her mouth tends to run away with her and she often acts before she thinks which can lead to a world of trouble.  But sometimes her blitheness can save the day, too.

Joey Lorincz conjures yet another piece of theatrical magic with his gorgeous living room set that looks like it stepped right out of the early 1900s with its red patterned wallpaper and he closes the show with a colorful fireworks display shining through the living room window.  Rebecca Krause has the living room filled with period correct furniture.  Francisco Franco doubles up with sound design work with my favorite being a yowling cat used in a few gags.  Todd Uhrmacher’s costumes suit the period with dapper vests and suits for the men and fancy dresses, hats, and gowns for the ladies.

There were a few squeaks in today’s performance.  Pacing needed to be much quicker and cue pickups were lax.  Some of the movements seemed a little too staged and needed to be more natural.  Still, if you like a good vintage piece, then Meet Me in St. Louis will be right up your alley.

Meet Me in St. Louis runs through Nov 20. Showtimes are Fri-Sat at 7:30pm and Sundays at 2pm.  Tickets cost $25 and can be purchased at the Box Office, at blt.simpletix.com, or calling 402-413-8945.  Bellevue Little Theatre is located at 203 W Mission Ave in Bellevue, NE.

Great Plains Theatre Announces Auditions for Season 29

Auditions for Season 29 for Great Plains Theatre open December 1st, 2023! Artistic Director, Mitchell Aiello, will be holding in person auditions, and accepting virtual audition submissions for this season. All shows and roles are listed below. Please see details and information on which contracts have already been offered. In person details and virtual submission information is listed below. If you would like to be considered for any shows in the next season (2023) or would like to be acknowledged for a possible replacement track, please email Mitchell at mitchell@greatplainstheatre.com.

IN PERSON AUDITION

Saturday, January 7th

9:00am – 12:00pm & Dance Call at 1:00pm

Please bring one current head shot and resume and prepare a 32-bar cut of a song that showcases you, a 60-second monologue, and be ready with extra materials should Mitchell need to see it. The dance call will be held after lunch at 1:00pm. Please bring clothes to move in. All callback materials will be sent via e-mail and accepted by video.

To sign up for in person auditions (adult and youth slots), please click the link below!

VIRTUAL AUDITION SUBMISSIONS

Please send a current head shot, resume, and an audition video package for consideration. Your audition video package should contain a 32-bar song cut, 60-second monologue, and any dance/movement footage for consideration. All videos MUST be sent via an unlisted YOUTUBE link. All materials required should be e-mailed directly to the Artistic/Education Director, Mitchell Aiello, at mitchell@greatplainstheatre.com. If needed, callback materials will be sent out by the end of February 2023. Thank you for your time, talent, and commitment! 

VIRTUAL AUDITION SUBMISSION DEADLINE: January 27, 2023

Thank you and happy auditioning!

Great Plains Theatre’s 28th Season (Main Stage):

The Wedding Singer (Rehearsals: May 22-June 1, Performances: June 1-11)

Oliver! (Rehearsals: June 12-22, Performances: June 23-July 2)

Nunsense (Rehearsals: July 3-13, Performances: July 14-30)

Around the World in 80 Days (Rehearsals: August 28-September 7, Performances: September 8-24)

Miracle on 34th Street (Rehearsals: November 19-30, Performances: December 1-17)

Great Plains Theatre’s 28th Season (Live Literature Series):

Pinocchio (Rehearsals: February 14-28, Performances: March 1-11)

Around the World in 80 Days (Rehearsals: August 28-September 7, Performances: September 8-24)

Questions? Contact Artistic Director, Mitchell Aiello, at mitchell@greatplainstheatre.com

Click Here to SIGN UP for Season 29 Auditions

Season 29 Main Stage/Live Lit AUDITION – Breakdown

**ALL ROLES listed below are available EXCEPT for the roles notated. Mitchell receives thousands of virtual and in person auditions each season and is astounded with all of the talent and dedication. Thank you for your patience. GPT is excited to continue sharing the magic of live theatre through the sensational talent and outstanding shows presented.

PINOCCHIO

Pinocchio – The most famous puppet

Blue Fairy – Guiding Light for Pinocchio

Geppetto – Older man who builds Pinocchio

Fox/Mr. Big/Mr. Bunksterburger – Multiple-character track

Cricket/Whale/Talking Piece of Wood – Multiple-character track

THE WEDDING SINGER

Robbie Hart – Tenor. The lead singer of a band. Handsome and charismatic. A truly ‘nice’ guy that has the classic lead singer aura and personality. Also, a bit of a dreamer. In love with love until Linda leaves him at the altar and breaks his heart. Ability to play instruments a plus.

Julia Sullivan – Mezzo-Pop. Waitress. The pretty “girl next door” in looks and personality. Engaged to Glen but falls in love with Robbie and is conflicted as to who to choose. Empathetic, caring, and brave.

Holly – Mezzo-Pop. Julia’s cousin. Sexually promiscuous and always up for a good time but wants to be loved and is looking for romantic fulfillment in all the wrong places. She is in love with Sammy. Must be strong belter

Sammy – Tenor. The bass player in the wedding band and one of Robbie’s best friends. A total guy’s guy, but beneath his pretending to love being a bachelor he is actually in love with Holly.

George – Tenor. The wedding band’s keyboardist and one of Robbie’s best friends. He is sensitive and somewhat flamboyant. The foil to Sammy’s super guy attitude.

Glen Guglia – Tenor. Julia’s fiancé. A Wall Street broker. He is rich, shallow, and materialistic. Constantly tries to buy Julia’s love with money. He is a bit of a womanizer.

Rosie – Alto. Robbie’s grandmother who raised him. Motherly but adventurous and always trying to remain “hip” despite her age.

Linda – Mezzo. Robbie’s fiancé who leaves him at the altar. Keeps Robbie around as a back-up plan. Is more in love with the idea of Robbie being a rock star than she actually is with Robbie.

FEATURED ENSEMBLE INCLUDING:

(Many of these roles will be combined into multi-track ensemble roles)

Harold & Debbie Fonda – First bride & groom in the show.

David Fonda – Drunk brother of the groom at the first wedding; gives the worst speech ever.

Priest – Priest at Robbie and Linda’s wedding

Angie – Julia’s mom. Divorced and still bitter about it. Good Singer.

Crystal & Mookie – A stereotypical Jersey guy and girl. Mookie is very macho and Crystal loud and pushy. Crystal should be a good singer

Tiffany & Donnie – Another couple who gets engaged at the restaurant. Tiffany should sound like Janice from “Friends”

Waiters 1 & 2 – Waiters at restaurant where Glenn proposes to Julia

Donatella & Shane McDonnough – Bride and groom at the second (disastrous) wedding. Donatella speaks in an obnoxious baby‐talk voice.

Donatella’s Mother – A very assertive woman

Sales Clerk, Ricky, Bum, Agent – Good singers throughout show with solo lines

Impersonators – Billy Idol, Cyndi Lauper, Mr. T, Ronald Reagan, Tina Turner, Nancy Reagan, Imelda Marcos

OLIVER!

Fagin – Baritone. Middle aged leader of a children’s band of thieves. Cockney accent. Described as devious, a user, sly fox, con man, very personable. Must work well with young actors.

Nancy – (Offer Pending) Mezzo. When she was younger worked for Fagin, now a “barmaid” at the Three Cripples Bar. Cockney accent. She lives with and loves Bill Sykes, pretty, intelligent, longs for a better life. Must be a belter and move well. Must work well with young actors.

Bill Sykes – Baritone. Also worked for Fagin as a youth now a feared master criminal. Cockney accent. Good looking in a rough sort of way, sociopath, a killer who only looks out for himself

Mr. Bumble/Others – Baritenor. The Master of the Workhouse. Cockney accent. A large, pompous and corrupt bureaucrat. Must work well with young actors. Will be other small roles throughout the show.

Widow Corney/Others – Mezzo-Soprano. The Mistress of the Workhouse. Cockney accent. Sharp tongued widow, also corrupt. Must work well with young actors. Will be other small roles throughout the show.

Bet – Mezzo. Nancy’s friend, may also have worked for Fagin. Cockney accent. She idolizes Nancy. Must move well and work well with young actors.

FEATURED ENSEMBLE INCLUDING:

(Many of these roles will be combined into multi-track ensemble roles)

Mr. Sowerberry – The undertaker. Cockney accent. Kind of creepy, “buy” Oliver from Bumble to work in the funeral home as a coffin follower. Good Singer.

Mrs. Sowerberry – The undertaker’s wife. Cockney accent. More business savvy than her husband. Good Singer.

Noah Claypole – Undertaker’s apprentice. Cockney accent. May have also come from Workhouse. Feels threatened by, dislikes and torments Oliver.

Charlotte – Sowerberry’s daughter. Cockney accent. Attracted to Noah, kind of flirty.

Mr. Brownlow – Older gentleman. British (not cockney) accent. Kind upper class gentleman, Oliver’s grandfather.

Dr. Grimwig – A doctor. British (not cockney) accent. Upper class, friend of Mr. Brownlow.

Mrs. Bedwin – A housekeeper. British (not cockney) accent. Works for Mr. Brownlow. Warm personality.

Solo Singing Roles – The Rose Seller (mezzo), Strawberry Seller (soprano), Milk Maid (soprano), Knife Grinder (baritone) and Long Song Seller (Tenor)

NUNSENSE

Sister Mary Regina (Mother Superior) – Mezzo-Belt. A feisty, Sophie Tucker-type who can’t resist the spotlight. The head of the convent, she is respected greatly by the sisters. While she is strict, she has a hard time keeping the craziness of the convent at bay. She keeps her guard up in front of the nuns but has an extroverted side. Role requires some very physical humor. Must be able to move well.

Sister Mary Hubert (Mistress of Novices) – Mezzo-Belt. Hubert is in charge of novices but fancies herself a Mother Superior and is constant competition with Mary Regina. She exudes maternal wisdom to novices, but also likes to let loose. Must be able to move well and tap.

Sister Robert Anne – Mezzo-Soprano Belt. Once a child delinquent herself, this rough tough nun is a jokester and constantly challenging authority. She speaks with a thick Brooklyn accent and constantly displays her lack of refinement. Must be able to move well and tap.

Sister Mary Amnesia – Soprano Belt (classical and Country). As the name suggests, she has lost her memory and does not know who she is except that she is a nun. She is spacey and incoherent, often slipping into displays inappropriate for a nun. Must be able to move well and tap. Extra: puppetry and ventriloquism a plus.

Sister Mary Leo – Soprano. Leo is the novice nun who has entered the convent with the firm desire to become the first nun ballerina. Still learning the way and coming to terms with her decision to give up “civilian” life, she deems herself quite the ballerina and displays her talents through much of the show. She is easily swayed to join in mischief. Must be able to move well, tap, and pointe ballet.

AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS

Phileas Fogg

Actor 1 – Plays multiple roles.

Actor 2 – Plays multiple roles.

Actor 3 – Plays multiple roles.

Actor 4 – Plays multiple roles.

(All actors may be played by any gender.)

MIRACLE ON 34th STREET

Doris Walker – Mezzo-Soprano. Special Event Coordinator for Macy’s Department Store. She is a driven career woman and free thinker who has recently divorced. Hard-working and cynical. Must work well with young actors.

Fred Gaily – Baritenor. A handsome Military Captain mustering out into civilian life. Smart, hopeful and warm. Must work well with young actors.

Kris Kringle – Baritone. Kind old man who believes he is Santa Claus. He embodies all of the classic characteristics of the jolly, friendly, warm-hearted icon. Must work well with young actors.

Marvin Shellhammer – Baritone. An aggressive but somewhat bungling junior executive and the head of Public Relations.

R.H. Macy – Baritone. The boss of Macy’s. Very concerned with public opinion.

FEATURED ENSEMBLE INCLUDING:

(Many of these roles will be combined into multi-track ensemble roles)

Judge Harper – Presides over Kringle’s hearing; Judicial; likeable; a bit political.

Dr. Pierce – -Physician at Maplewood Home; warm, caring

Sawyer – Macy’s vocational guidance counselor; character role requiring great comic timing.

Mara – Prosecuting attorney; somewhat jaded; sticks to the letter of the law.

Halloran – Judge Harper’s political campaign manager.

Finley – Bailiff in Judge Harper’s court.

Bloomingdale – Owner and manager of Bloomingdale’s Department Store

ENSEMBLE

Season 29 YOUTH Main Stage AUDITION

Saturday, January 7th

9:00am – 12:00pm & Dance Call at 1:00pm

Please bring one current head shot and resume and prepare a 32-bar cut of a song that showcases you, a 60-second monologue, and be ready with extra materials should Mitchell need to see it. The dance call will be held after lunch at 1:00pm. Please bring clothes to move in. All callback materials will be discussed with Mitch after the dance call.

To sign up for in person auditions (adult and youth slots), please click the link below

Click Here to SIGN UP for Season 29 Auditions

Season 29 YOUTH Main Stage AUDITION – Breakdown

Seeking the following youth roles for the 2023 Main Stage Season

TEEN ENSEMBLE – The Wedding Singer – Male & Female, 13-18

FEATURED ENSEMBLE – The Wedding Singer – Male & Female, 13-18

OLIVER TWIST – Oliver! – Male, 7-13, An orphan workhouse boy. British (not cockney) accent, bright and innocent. Must be strong singer and actor. Must be good at memorizing.

ARTFUL DODGER – Oliver! – Male or Female, 8-15, A street kid. Cockney accent. Very energetic, highly personable, intelligent and savvy beyond his/her years.

ORPHANS – Oliver! – Male & Female, 6-15

FAGIN’S CREW – Oliver! Male & Female, 8-18

SUSAN WALKER – Miracle on 34th Street – Female, 7-13, Daughter to Dorris. She is wise beyond her years and a self-sufficient city girl. Must be good actor and singer.

YOUTH ENSEMBLE – Miracle on 34th Street – Male & Female, 8-18

Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre Announces 2023 Season

Arrow Rock, MOArrow Rock Lyceum Theatre has announced its 2023 season.

The Addams Family
June 9-23

Book by MARSHALL BRICKMAN and RICK ELICE
Music and Lyrics by ANDREW LIPPA
Based on Characters Created by Charles Addams

They’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious, and spooky—and now they are the stars of a hilariously ghoulish musical! Storm clouds are gathering over the Addams family’s mansion as Gomez faces every father’s nightmare: his daughter, Wednesday, the ultimate princess of darkness, has fallen in love with a sweet, smart young man from a respectable family. And if that wasn’t upsetting enough, Gomez must do something he’s never done before– keep the secret from his beloved wife, Morticia. Everything will change for the whole family on the fateful night they host a dinner for Wednesday’s “normal” boyfriend and his parents. One thing is certain: the Addams family will never be the same.

Beautiful–The Carole King Musical
June 30-July 9

Book by Douglas McGrath
Words and Music by Gerry Goffin & Carole King, Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil
Music by Arrangement with Sony/ATV Music Publishing
Orchestrations, Vocal and Incidental Music Arrangements Steve Sidwell
Originally Produced on Broadway by Paul Blake, Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Mike Bosner

Before she was hit-maker Carole King — she was Carole Klein, a spunky, young songwriter from Brooklyn with a unique voice. Beautiful tells the inspiring true story of one woman’s remarkable journey from teenage songwriter to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. From the string of pop classics Carole King wrote for the biggest acts in music, to her own life-changing, chart-busting success, Beautiful takes you back to where it all began—and takes you on the ride of a lifetime. Featuring over two dozen pop classics, including “You’ve Got a Friend,” “One Fine Day,” “Up on the Roof,” “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling,” “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” and “Natural Woman,” this crowd-pleasing international phenomenon is filled with the songs you remember—and the story you’ll never forget.

State Fair
July 21-30

Music by Richard Rodgers
Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Book by Tom Briggs and Louis Mattioli
Based on the screenplay by Oscar Hammerstein II and the Novel by Phil Stong

Rodgers & Hammerstein’s only musical written directly for the screen is now a Broadway musical! Set against the colorful backdrop of an American heartland tradition, State Fair travels with the Frake family as they leave behind the routine of the farm for three days of adventure at the annual Iowa State Fair. Mom and Pop have their hearts set on blue ribbons, while their children Margy and Wayne find romance and heartbreak on the midway. Set to the magical strains of an Academy Award-winning score and augmented by other titles from the Rodgers and Hammerstein songbook, State Fair is the kind of warmhearted family entertainment only Rodgers & Hammerstein could deliver!

Laughter On the 23rd Floor
Aug 18-27

By Neil Simon

A love letter to his early career as a TV writer on Sid Caesar’s Your Show of Shows alongside the likes of comedy legends Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks, Neil Simon’s Laughter on the 23rd Floor follows the roller coaster antics of a not-your-average 1950s writers’ room, as they frantically attempt to please their larger-than-life boss. Frantically scrambling to top each other with hilarious gags while battling with studio executives who fear the show’s humor is too sophisticated for Middle America, the writing and fighting of the team expose the social and political undercurrents of the 1950s.

The Mousetrap
Sept 8-17

By Agatha Christie

From the Grand Dame of mystery, Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap holds the world record for the longest running production, mesmerizing audiences for more than sixty years. Monkswell Manor welcomes a group of strangers in the midst of a snowstorm and on the heels of a murder in town. It soon becomes clear that the killer is among them, and the strangers grow increasingly suspicious of one another. A police detective, arriving on skis, interrogates the suspects: the newlyweds running the house; a spinster with a curious background; an architect who seems better equipped to be a chef; a retired Army major; a strange little man who claims his car has overturned in a drift; and a jurist who makes life miserable for everyone. When a second murder takes place, tensions and fears escalate. Will the identity of the murderer be revealed before they strike again?! The Mousetrap’s riveting plot will have you on the edge of your seat from start to finish!

Bright Star
Sept 29-Oct 8

Music, Book & Story by Steve Martin
Music, Lyrics & Story by Edie Brickell

Inspired by a true story and featuring the Tony®-nominated score by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell, Broadway’s Bright Star tells a sweeping tale of love and redemption set against the rich backdrop of the American South in the 1920s and ’40s. When literary editor Alice Murphy meets a young soldier just home from World War II, he awakens her longing for the child she once lost. Haunted by their unique connection, Alice sets out on a journey to understand her past—and what she finds has the power to transform both of their lives. With beautiful bluegrass melodies and powerfully moving characters, Bright Star unfolds as a rich tapestry of deep emotion. An uplifting and nostalgic theatrical journey that holds you tightly in its grasp, Bright Star is as refreshingly genuine as it is daringly hopeful.

The Show is Redux, But the Cast is Brand New!

BLUEBARN Theatre Proudly Presents:

Every Christmas Story Ever Told (and then some!)

By Michael Carleton, James FitzGerald, and John K. Alvarez

Omaha, NE: Instead of performing Charles Dickens’ beloved holiday classic for the umpteenth time, three actors decide to perform every Christmas story ever told –plus Christmas traditions from around the world, seasonal icons from ancient times to topical pop-culture, and every carol ever sung. A madcap romp through the holiday season, this laugh-out-loud. Comedy offers a hilarious alternative to anthropomorphic Nutcrackers and singing Victorian children.

Directed By: Bill Grennan
Starring: Jonathan Purcell, Jimmy Nguyen, and Joshua Orsi

Performances & Tickets: Nov. 25 –Dec. 18, 2022 | Thurs-Sat @ 7:30pmSun., Nov. 27, Dec. 4, 11, 18 @ 2:00pm; Sun., Dec. 4 @ 6:00pm *ASL Performance Thurs., Dec. 1

General Admission($37) and Educator | Healthcare | Military($32)

Tickets are available at bluebarn.org or through the box office @ 402.345.1576

The Night I Returned

Well, I’ll be dipped, I actually have another theatre tale for you.

As you may remember, I finally got my theatre mojo back after it being in abeyance for quite a while.  Of course, in true comedic fashion, the universe decided to answer my renewed mojo by either not having plays with suitable roles for me or the double whammy of having the rear end of my car redesigned by a truck and the conflict of my annual Christmas B & B review interfering with shows that did.

Then fate finally tossed me a bone.

Last year, BlueBarn Theatre began a new series called Musing which is a storytelling series where people (not necessarily actors) tell a true story based on the theme of the night.  The series has been wildly successful with routine full houses.  Now I’ve lived a story or two, but I knew this one would be dynamite for the show once the proper theme night was available.

In August, Musing announced that two sessions would be held during the 2022-2023 season and the theme for both would be Storyteller’s Choice.

Bingo!

I contacted Seth Fox, Musing’s curator, and sent him the link to Devastation for a pitch.  In less than an hour, I had a reply from him saying that he loved the story and that he had a spot open in the October session and offered it to me.  I accepted without batting an eye.

While not a role, it was my first performance in a very long time and I was glad that I’d be sharing the tale of my audition for The Elephant Man.  For starters, we had just passed the 20th anniversary of that audition so it seemed a bit of poetic justice to commemorate it in some way.  But more importantly, it was the most honest and dramatic work I could present.

I’ve had a pretty good body of work, but, in my regular acting days, I got typed/perceived/what have you as a light-hearted actor.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love doing comedy and bits and I enjoy watching them.  But my first love in theatre has always been dramas and my dramatic moments on the stage have been few and far between.

So if Musing was going to begin a regular return to the stage, it was important to me to be able to present myself in a new light so that those who knew me would see me differently and to introduce myself to those who only know me as the writer in the boldest way possible.

So I went about cutting my story down to the 10-12 minutes I would need for Musing and began to polish it up.  I started performing it simply so I could get a feel for the words.  Then I started preparing it the way I knew best:  as an actor.  I added the emotion and interpretation and began shaping it into a performance piece.

Now the preparation for Musing was closer to reader’s theatre.  Seth and I met twice virtually to work on my story and then we had 2 full group rehearsals before the performance.

Our first group meeting was at Sozo’s Coffeehouse where Seth had rented a study room and we presented our stories publicly (more or less) for the first time.

Other storytellers were Ralph Kellogg who had a moving and brutally honest story of how he dealt with a most unwelcome houseguest; Teresa Conway had the funniest story of the group with how she took an advanced ballet class with a group of kids; local beat poet, Fernando Antonio Montejano, kept eyes pinned to him with his well spokentale about returning to his hometown for the funeral of his sister, Bianca; and Sara Strattan closed things with the sweet, but sad, tale about her relationship with her husband who had died from cancer.

All of them did a wonderful job with only minor changes needed.  I just loved their honesty and their sincerity and it just reached out and grabbed you.

Then there was me.

No, no, I’m not about to beat myself up.  But I presented the story through the lens of an actor.  And, as a performance piece, it wasn’t too shabby.  But it was the wrong take.

I remember my late friend, Kay McGuigan, once saying my acting style reminded her of Val Kilmer due to its intensity.  I never really understood that until after I did this piece, but I finally got it.  I do put serious oomph into my performances which makes for good acting.  But acting was not what was needed here.

Seth told me to take Kevin’s advice of not being so earnest and to tell the story as if I were telling it to friends over coffee.  With those words and the vision of the works of the others flashing through my mind, my path lit up clear as day.

There was no need to enhance the emotion of the story.  It was there, naturally.  I didn’t need to perform the story, I just simply needed to tell it.

I literally got into my car and did the story again, but removed the theatre from it.  And I knew I had something magical.  I chuckled at the way life seemed to be repeating itself.  Back in 2002, Kay had helped me get Merrick on the correct course.  Now with Seth’s mentoring, a story about Merrick was now set on the proper course.

Each time I practiced my piece from thenceforth, I could feel the momentum building and I was ready for the dress rehearsal on Monday.

On Monday, it was a completely different ballgame.  I felt the power of the simple delivery and when I wrapped up, I knew I had struck pay dirt with the entranced looks and thumbs up coming from my fellow readers.  Seth’s compliment of, “That was some great fine tuning” left me with a profound feeling of satisfaction.

Then came the real deal.

The one downside to the whole process was how little bonding time I had with these people.  Still we did have a sense of camaraderie as we all shared the same vision of blowing the socks off the audience with our tales.  We did enjoy a little fun time as Sara and Teresa battled Ralph and myself in the game, I Should Have Known That.  (We lost).

Then it was time to go to work.  Seth had changed the lineup.  Originally, I was to be the fourth reader, but ended up swapping places with Fernando to become the third reader and the flow made perfect sense.  Most of our stories were heart tuggers, but there was definitely a different energy and feel to each.  Ralph’s tale was a hard hitting intro that segued into Teresa’s lighthearted fare.  I became the bridge from Teresa to Fernando as my piece was certainly sad, but ends on a positive note.  From there Fernando broke the hearts of the audience while Sara certainly had the audience sobbing, but its sweetness helped to buoy them.

For my own work, I was extremely pleased.  I don’t normally take much stock in my own voice, but this time it was like a part of me disengaged and I heard myself telling the story as I was telling the story and I thought, “Dang, this is gripping.”  It was the storytelling equivalent of forgetting I was acting which is the peak that an actor can hit.  I had forgotten I was telling the story.  I was that lost in it.

All too soon, it seemed like the show had come to an end.  We took our final bows in front of a standing ovation, mingled with the audience, took a group photo, and went our separate ways. 

My only regret of the night is that we couldn’t do it a few more times, but I was glad for the brief time and truly enjoyed my return to the stage.

The good news for those you reading this who now wish they could have seen it, you will get your wish.  The show was recorded and I shall be posting the link to the Corner once the show is posted.

Until the next time.

And Then There Was Fun

Six people are invited to the retreat of Col. Rancour with a request for the Colonel to visit each of them individually.  However, when a storm washes out the bridge to freedom and guests start dropping dead, it becomes clear that among the guests, help, and trapped college student lies a murderer.  This is Something’s Afoot and it is currently playing at Maples Repertory Theatre.

It is really difficult to engage in an analysis of the script without revealing a salient plot point of this mystery, so I’m just going to leave things lie with my opening paragraph and you’ll just have to come watch.  What I can say is that James McDonald, David Vos, and Robert Gerlach definitely did a deep dive into detective fiction in general and Agathe Christie mysteries in particular to come up with the plot of this story.  In fact, it’s a good combination of the plotting of Agatha Christie and the presentation of Rex Stout (in the sense that the solution to the mystery is secondary to the colorful characters).  Wrapped in the stylings of an old-time British music hall performance, this show provides a unique twist to the musical genre and a fun night of theatre.

Colton Pometta gets this show.  This show is a very satirical poke at mysteries and Pometta rides that wave for all it’s worth.  He lets his characters go over the top just enough so that they’re larger than life and amusing, but keeps them away from the point where it would become farcical and gauche.  Pometta’s timing is spot on as his performers picked up cues like lightning and kept driving this show along.  His staging is strong with full use of the space and ratcheting up the tension once it’s clear the murderer is somewhere in the house.  Pometta has also led his actors to well-defined characters and tight performances.

There isn’t a weak link in the cast and each is a vital part of the machine.  Roger Williams has a very stiff upper lip as the very proper butler, Clive.  Justin Barron is a solid caretaker and a bit of a lech with his pinching of ladies’ glutes.  Deanna Mazdra is humorous as the very Cockney maid whose sense of self-preservation is exceeded only by her greed.  Bob Wearing invokes the spirit of Terry Thomas with his take on the slimy, money-grubbing nephew of Col Rancour.  Todd Davison is clinical as the family doctor.  Mike Ott is a scream as the blustering Col. Gillweather with some of the best extemporaneous asides I’ve ever heard and the funniest death scene I’ve ever seen.  Kim Braun is appropriately snooty as the grand dame, Lady Grace Manley-Prowe.

Licia Watson tickles the funny bone as Miss Tweed, the artist/amateur sleuth.  Clearly she is meant to be a combination of Agatha Christie and her creation, Miss Marple.  Most of her humor comes from the fact that she lacks the deductive prowess of Christie’s famed sleuth, though the dimes do eventually drop.  Watson’s Tweed definitely isn’t lacking in courage as she confidently stumbles her way through the investigation.  Watson also has a potent singing voice as she invokes British fortitude in “Carry On” and explains the secret to her deductive “brilliance” in “I Owe It All”.

Jacob Sefcak’s take on Geoffrey reminded me of a young Michael Crawford as Geoffrey definitely has that charming idiot vibe.  Sefcak nails the puppy dog loyalty and looks of young love and is clearly not the brightest of bulbs.  Sefcak also has a dandy tenor that captures every ounce of sap needed for “I Don’t Know Why I Trust You (But I Do)” and “New Day”.

Abigail Becker is darling as Hope Langdon.  Becker’s Langdon operates on the same intellectual plane as Geoffrey, but is such a ray of sunshine.  She is exactly what she appears to be (or is she?) and has a crystal clear soprano that joyously welcomes the guests in “A Marvelous Weekend” or moons over Geoffrey in “You Fell Out of the Sky”.

I was particularly impressed with the sound work of this production as Madison Phillips’ thunderclaps, creaks, and sounds of death traps add the proper atmosphere to the story.  Todd Davison has designed an elegant retreat for the wealthy Rancour with its purple walls and use of outlines and light to depict a large window.  Jenna Alley’s props help to flesh out the world, especially with the large portrait of Rancour.  Kelby King’s costumes suit the class statuses of the characters as well as the time period with accurate dresses and suits.  I also tip my hat to the lights which were suitably eerie when power was knocked out or the chandeliers were lit.  The band also effortlessly handled the music hall score.

Trust me, you don’t need to be a fan of murder mysteries to enjoy this show.  If you like comedy and some old-fashioned tunes, then you’ll like this show, too.  But accept the challenge of trying to solve the mystery and you’ll find yourself most thoroughly engaged.

Something’s Afoot runs at Maples Repertory Theatre through Nov 6.  Showtimes are 2pm on Oct 22-23, 25-26, 29-30 and Nov 1-2 and 4-6 and at 7:30pm Oct 23, 28, 30, and Nov 2. Tickets cost $33 for the Main Floor and $26 for the balcony and can be obtained at the Box Office or by visiting www.maplesrep.com or calling 660-385-2924. Maples Repertory Theatre is located at 102 N Rubey St in Macon, MO.

A Comedy of Calamitous Proportions

It’s the actor’s nightmare come to life and put on full display.  Join a sub-sub-subpar acting troupe as they flail and flop their way through a rehearsal and a couple of performances of the farce, Nothing On, in Noises Off! currently playing at Lofte Community Theatre.

Michael Frayn’s farce within a farce has often been called the funniest play ever written.  I find it hard to disagree with that statement as it has all the elements which make for great hilarity:  slamming doors, breakneck pace, mistaken situations, and over the top characters.  This play is also one of the most technically difficult plays ever written as most of the script’s pages are split in two (half dialogue/half stage directions) and its second act is mostly a silent film brought to life as it is sight gag placed upon sight gag with nary a bit of dialogue outside of the show in the show.  In fact, the play’s lone weakness is that it fails to complete the story arcs of the “real” people that get set up during the story.

Kevin Colbert has a real flair for comedy.  He truly understands bits and beats and his direction especially shines in the nearly silent second act when countless sight gags and moments battle for your attention. The jokes are executed with military precision and are so funny, even Buster Keaton would crack a smile.  Colbert’s staging is right on the money as Act I feels like an exhausting late night tech rehearsal that we actors know so well while Act II gives a farcical, yet surprisingly truthful look at what actors do while waiting for their cues and Act III is the legendary actor’s nightmare where everything that can go wrong does.  Colbert also has some nice meta moments such as showing a supposedly botched scene change when Act II segues into Act III and malfunctions such as actors being on the wrong side of the curtain when it closes.  Colbert has also crafted sterling performances from his actors, creating well defined and unique characters.

This play is an ensemble in the truest sense of the word.  There is no leading role.  The weight of this show is evenly distributed on the shoulders of each cast member who all get moments in the spotlight as their personal relationships shift and fray resulting in the riotous dismantling of their performances.

This review would form a novella if I waxed poetic on every cast member, but golden performances are given by one and all.  Nathan Wilson is a riot as the put upon set designer/understudy/gofer who is always either a half step behind or ahead of the others depending on the crisis.  Adam Kovar is a master of physical comedy as the hot-tempered Garry Lejeune with falls so believable I actually thought he had hurt himself on a few occasions.  Anne Pope is a steady hand as the troupe’s most level headed performer, Belinda Blair, who is overly optimistic and a bit of a gossip.  Alyssa Rosecrans is hysterical as the stupider than a brick, Brooke Ashton, who constantly loses her contact lenses, meditates and practices yoga when stressed out, and obliviously continues with her role despite it not making sense as things fall apart around her.  Deanna Walz is hilarious as the actor/producer who can never remember her stage actions and lights the fire that is Act II with her relationship troubles with Garry.  Natalie McGovern is wonderful as the stage manager/understudy, Poppy, whose sweetness is matched only by her poor acting.

I was particularly taken in by Jon Kruse’s interpretation of Selsdon Mowbray.  Kruse underplays the role beautifully and I envision his Selsdon as a once capable actor who has been betrayed by age and his addiction to the bottle.  Kruse is very convincing as the nearly deaf thespian who can’t remember his lines and can’t recite them properly when prompted and never met a bottle of booze he didn’t like.

Mick Kovar spins some theatrical gossamer with his take on Frederick Fellowes.  Kovar’s Fellowes is a likable guy, but, man, he can also get on your nerves in a hurry as his obtuseness about motivations and plot prevent him from simply acting.  Kovar is a hoot as the hapless sad sack who spontaneously bleeds from the nose when violence occurs or at the sight of blood.  He is an impressive physical comic in his own right as he gets tangled in sheets and waddles around with his pants around his ankles.

Somewhere I imagine Kermit the Frog is pointing at Lloyd Dallas and laughing his head off as he handles his Muppets far better than Dallas manages his.  Neal Herring gives his Dallas a certain air of superiority because he seems more concerned with directing Richard III than he does about getting Nothing On off the ground.  He’s also a bit of a cad as he sleeps with a couple members of the cast and crew.  However, he’s also a shrewd master of diplomacy as he knows how to navigate the relationships and shortcomings of his actors even if the massive stress of doing so causes him to force a grin so tense I thought his teeth would shatter.

Kevin Colbert and Don Larew at Scenographics team up to design the massive great room of a mansion with a circular couch at the center and 8 doors and a set of windows suitable for slamming and frenetic entrances and exits.  Tim Sorenson’s sounds enhance the comedy especially with the delayed window breaking cues of the third act when too many actors try to play the same part.  Janet Sorenson’s costumes are realistic and natural.

Act I could have used a snappier pace, but I believe it was slowed by a quieter audience not giving the cast the needed fuel.  But once the pantomime started in Act II. . .whoa Nellie!!!  The cast just poured gasoline on the fire and their energy and animation would have lit Las Vegas and it didn’t wane until the final curtain fell.

There’s no depth to this show.  It’s just an unbridled, free for all of fun.  A viewing of this show will take care of your ab exercises for a week, so get a ticket and ready yourself to howl yourself hoarse.

Noises Off! runs at Lofte Community Theatre through October 30. Showtimes are Thurs-Sat at 7pm and Sundays at 2pm. Tickets cost $24 and can be purchased at www.lofte.org or by calling the box office at 402-234-2553. Lofte Community Theatre is located at 15841 Manley Road in Manley, NE.