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!

Who Am I?

It’s a most unique love triangle.  Alice is in a relationship with Fiona who informs her that she now wants to live as a man and be called Adrian.  Leilani is attracted to Alice.  And Alice is trying to summon the courage to come out to her parents, but all the while is trying to figure out who she truly is.  This is Rotterdam and it is the debut production for Voices in Alliance and is playing at the Flixx Show Bar.

I was honored to be asked to review the inaugural show for this new theatre and I can certainly say that if the quality of future productions matches this one, this theatre will be very successful.

Jon Brittain has written a fascinating script.  It’s completely dialogue driven, yet never drags or becomes a sitting room piece.  Every conversation sparks and crackles with tension, love, questions, philosophy, and emotion.  The play’s dominant theme is searching for that sense of identity and being true to one’s self.  Sometimes that search is much harder than it seems.

Randall T. Stevens provides a top flight piece of direction.  Not only has he led his thespians to shining performances, but he has them use the dialogue with a brutal efficiency.  There’s no lag between the words.  Cue pickups were tight as a drum.  In some of the more intense scenes, words are flung like daggers between characters.  His staging is fairly effective as he uses the lounge’s own bar tables for bar scenes and utilizes spots other than the stage to perform some moments.  The layout is almost like theatre in the round and he may want to adjust some of the blocking to prevent actors from upstaging themselves at certain points, if possible.

Analisa Swerczek has her finest performance to date with her rendition of Alice.  As Alice, Swerczek is skittish and hides that skittishness beneath a veneer of perfectionism.  She’s written 15 drafts to come out to her parents, but can never pull the trigger.  In some ways, she’s very cowardly and Swerczek always has that sense of being hunted about her, never realizing that she is also the hunter that hounds her.  Alice is a lost soul searching for her true self while simultaneously running from it.  And her first brave steps towards claiming her own identity is simplistically and beautifully handled in the finale.

Ang Bennett has a moving performance as Fiona/Adrian.  Unlike Alice, Fiona always had confidence and certainness in who she was and seems to maintain that confidence when she decides to make the transition to Adrian.  Ironically, as Adrian, he begins to lose some of that confidence as he overreacts to not being accepted as a man immediately.  And Alice’s seeming rejection of Adrian causes him to nearly sacrifice his identity out of love.  Bennett handles some difficult scenes gracefully, especially one where Adrian practically begs his brother to physically fight him to feel like a man.  Bennett does need to keep their projection up as certain moments of dialogue were a little faint.

Nick LeMay and Xena Broaden sparkle in the supporting roles of Josh and Leilani.  LeMay’s Josh is in an original situation as he once dated Alice before Alice left him for his sister, Fiona.  Still, he has remained a staunch friend to both and serves as a bedrock for them to lean on as their relationship starts becoming tumultuous.  LeMay brings a genuine kindness and sensitivity to the role and provides some levity in lighter moments.  Broaden’s Leilani is a live life to the fullest kind of girl and wants to drag Alice kicking and screaming into the adventure of life.  But she also gives Leilani an innocent obtuseness as she is sometimes unable to recognize the seriousness of a situation and unwisely inserts herself into deeply personal moments.

Shannon Smay’s sounds really keep the production clipping along, especially his use of the song “Rotterdam”.

It’s a stellar first production for Voices in Alliance and a deep look into that personal sense of identity that’s going to have you really thinking before the night is done.

Rotterdam runs at Flixx Show Bar under the auspices of Voices in Alliance through Nov 19.  Showtimes are 7pm Thurs-Sat.  Tickets cost $25 and can be obtained here. For more information, please call 402-208-0150.  Due to mature language and themes, this show is not suitable for children.  Flixx Show Bar is located at 1019 S 10th St in Omaha, 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

One Man’s Truth

Adam Richardson stars as Malcolm X in Opera Omaha’s X, The Life and Times of Malcolm X

Hardened by anger at racism, personal tragedy, and a criminal lifestyle in his youth, Malcolm Little loses his sense of self and purpose.  He discovers the Nation of Islam while serving a prison sentence and emerges as Malcolm X with an inner fire and a sense of purpose that took the world by storm.  Come discover his life and times in X, The Life and Times of Malcolm X which is playing at the Orpheum Theater under the auspices of Opera Omaha.

While I’ve seen a few rock operas, this was my first experience at watching a true opera and it is definitely a very different style of performing.  It’s a bit more stoic and less animated than traditional theatre.  There’s definitely an element of acting, but it gets a bit trickier as nuancing a song is a touch harder than nuancing dialogue due to having to be able to do it on key.  But there’s nothing like music to sweep you away to another world and this cast does a phenomenal job in taking you through the complex life of Malcolm X.

It assuredly takes a village to create an opera and that starts with getting the right music, words, and story together.  This show has a mighty triumvirate in the forms of Anthony Davis, Thulani Davis, and Christopher Davis.  Anthony Davis’ music crackles with an intensity and has the feel of traditional opera from the times of Wagner and Mozart, yet he can also contemporize it when it segues into a light, jazzy feel.  Thulani Davis (librettist) and Christopher Davis (story author) create the structure and words of the tale and I admired the truly honest way they portrayed Malcolm X.  They don’t try to romanticize him.  They paint a realistic picture of who he was and the influences that shaped him.  They even use actual quotations from Malcolm X to paint that real and true portrait.

Robert O’Hara does some amazing direction with the piece.  His staging is so skillful and has some of the most precise placement of performers I have ever come across.  Never was there a moment when I couldn’t see the face of each and every performer.  He makes an opening meeting in the house of the Littles seem relaxed and welcoming.  A scene in prison feels controlled and regimented, especially with the vision of iron bars separating the prisoners.  O’Hara makes certain his actors are fueled with an intensity that just leaps out and grabs you by the throat and hits the emotional beats of the story with deadeye accuracy.

In opera, as in theatre, the value of an ensemble is key as they form the backbone of the staged world.  Each was always in the moment and their beautiful voices added some heavenly harmonies to the show.  But I’d like to especially cite the work of Charles Dennis whose presence is always felt as Young Malcolm Little.  Outside from having to get the show up and running, Dennis also often pops up in scenes with his adult self as a reminder of innocence lost and, perhaps, regained after Malcolm X’s hajj.  Dorse Brown, Christopher Jackson, Corde Young, Jay Staten, and Mikhail Calliste also form a Greek chorus to help move the story along with their lithe and exemplary dancing which was stunningly choreographed by Rickey Tripp.  Whitney Morrison gives a haunting portrayal of Louise Little, Malcolm’s mother, who succumbs to madness after the untimely death of her husband.  You can just see her sense of life and self fade from her body as it sags and goes limp after the news of her husband’s passing.

I was blown away by the work and voice of Victor Robertson.  Robertson shows some true versatility with his disparate performances of Street and Elijah Muhammad.  As Street, Robertson oozes an oily charm as he takes Malcolm under his wing, but leads him down an ill path of drugs and crime.  As Elijah Muhammad, the leader of the Nation of Islam, he exudes authority and an iron fist and woe betide any who disobey his orders.  Robertson is blessed with an otherworldly tenor that can hit and sustain sonic high notes with an effortless ease.

Adam Richardson is a force to be reckoned with as Malcolm X.  His powerful baritone is well suited to the serious and driven Muslim minister and activist.  Richardson captures the intensity of Malcolm X well as he never smiles and rarely reacts to outside stimuli.  By that I mean he never swallowed bait designed to get him angry.  Malcolm X always believed in preaching the truth as he saw it and didn’t shy away from the consequences of doing so.  Richardson presents a man truly committed to his cause and his ability to act with his eyes gives you a glimpse into Malcolm’s thought processes and feelings.  You can see and feel his hurt when he is silenced by the Nation of Islam after speaking on JFK’s assassination.  You understand his disillusionment with Elijah Muhammad when he learns of his less than strict adherence to the Law.  And you can see his inner transformation and sense of peace after his hajj where he comes to believe that Sunni Islam is the key to true brotherhood.

Gil Rose’s conducting is right on the mark and his musicians are always precisely on point with the notes and power of the score.  Clint Ramos has designed a seemingly simple set, yet there’s such detail about it.  He uses a background stage for public talks, battered walls for street corners, and has a banner running across the top of the stage on which Yee Eun Nam is able to project images of the KKK, the names of racism victims, and flashes of lightning.  Dede Ayite’s costumes are elegant and eye-catching from the zoot suits of Malcolm’s younger days to the simple dark suit he often wore to the suit, bowtie, and distinctive hat of Elijah Muhammad.  Alex Jainchill’s lighting added that emotional je ne sais quoi to the opera especially with the softer focus on Malcolm X in his more contemplative moments.

Omaha was fortunate to host the Midwest premiere of this opera and the New York Met better ready itself because this opera is going to go nova and have people coming in droves.  You still have one last chance to see it locally before it heads out, but act fast as the Sunday show is nearly sold out.

The final show of Opera Omaha’s X, The Life and Times of Malcolm X takes place on Nov 6 at 2pm at the Orpheum Theater.  Tickets range from $19-$99 and can be purchased at Ticket Omaha or by calling the Box Office 90 minutes before showtime at 402-345-0606 or 866-434-8587.  The Orpheum Theatre is located at 409 S 16th St in Omaha, NE.

Photo by Opera Omaha-Tom Grady

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 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.

It’s Your Constitutional Right to Audition for this Show

BlueBarn Theatre Announces Auditions for:

What the Constitution Means to Me

About the Play: Fifteen year old Heidi earned her college tuition by winning Constitutional debate competitions across the United States. In this hilarious, hopeful, and achingly human new play, she resurrects her teenage self in order to trace the profound relationship between four generations of women and the founding document that shaped their lives. Hailed as the best play of the year in 2019 by the New York Times and earning two Tony Award nominations, this boundary-breaking play breathes new life into our Constitution and imagines how it will shape the next generation of Americans.

Audition Dates: Nov 5 from 10am-12:30pm and Nov 7 from 5pm-7:30pm at BlueBarn Theatre (1106 S 10th St, Omaha, NE)

Director: Susan Clement

Rehearsal Dates: January 1 – February 1
Production Dates: February 2 – February 26

***All artists working at the BLUEBARN are required
to have been vaccinated for COVID-19***

Roles

Heidi Schreck: Woman, age 35-50 (possible double cast role).  A former teen debate champion who travelled the country giving speeches about the Constitution who is now reflecting upon those speeches and her present views. Engaging, dynamic, smart, and witty.

American Legionnaire: Man, age 35-50.  An American Legionnaire monitoring the speech and debate who is also a friend of Heidi and a positive male energy. Commanding, in-charge, yet reflective and genuine.

Debater: Young Woman, age 14-17  (this role will be double cast).

Auditions will consist of prepared sides, and cold readings from the script. Prepared monologues under 2 minutes are welcome, though not required. Tell us a joke! For more information on auditions or to request a copy of the script and sides, contact Amy Reiner at areiner@bluebarn.org

Ozark Actors Theatre Announces 2023 Season “ACROSS THE POND”

Rolla, MO–Ozark Actors Theatre has announced its 2023 season. Titled “ACROSS THE POND”, the season features the following productions:

A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER won 4 Tony Awards, 7 Drama Desk Awards, AND it was nominated for a Grammy! This production is a hilarious farce following a young man’s luck at the prospect of inheriting a fortune, but he has 9 relatives ahead of him in the inheritance. This production directed by OAT alum Brittany Proia, will give one actor the opportunity to die 90 times on the OAT stage in this incredible comedy!

SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE follows the story of the famous pointillist painter Georges Seurat. A fictional retelling of the painter and his immersive existence in creating a masterpiece. One of only 8 musicals ever to have won the Pulitzer Prize for drama. It was also nominated for 10 Tony awards and has had two major Broadway revivals. Directed by Artistic Director, Blane Pressler.

BASKERVILLE A SHERLOCK HOLMES MYSTERY comes from multi-award-winning playwright Ken Ludwig and follows Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson cracking the mystery of “The Hound of the Baskervilles.” With an original piano score by Jeff Horger and direction by Suzanne Withem, our intrepid investigators will take the stage at OAT portraying more than 40 characters!

Audition information to be released in December.

OCP Serving Up a Dessert of a Play

Omaha, NE.– The Cake opens at the Omaha Community Playhouse on Friday, October 7. A celebrated North Carolina baker is thrilled to finally design a wedding cake for her goddaughter. But when she learns the marriage is between two women, she begins to feel conflicted. A surprising and sweet take on a modern-day controversy, seeped in humor and warmth. Disclaimer: Contains adult language and brief nudity.

The show will run on the Howard Drew Stage from October 7 – November 6, with performances Thursdays through Sundays. Tickets are on sale now, starting at $36, with prices varying by performance. Tickets may be purchased at the OCP Box Office, 6915 Cass St., Omaha, NE 68132, by phone at (402) 553-0800 or online at OmahaPlayhouse.com.

Directed by: Kim Clark-Kaczmarek

Cast
Kathleen Combs as Della
Doug Rothgeb as Tim
Roz Parr as Jen
Delaney Jackson as Macy