‘Marjorie Prime’ Opening Soon at BlueBarn Theatre

PrimePress

Ruth Rath and Ben Beck star in BlueBarn Theatre’s production of ‘Marjorie Prime’

BLUEBARN THEATRE presents:

 Pulitzer Prize Finalist

Marjorie Prime

By Jordan Harrison

March 19th – April 12th, 2020

Thursdays-Saturdays at 7:30pm*

Sundays at 2pm 

Memories are not the key to the past, but the future.

About the play:

Marjorie’s daughter and son-in-law have purchased Walter Prime (a holographic projection of her husband as he looked in his 30s) to keep her company.  In the near future, ‘Primes’ are available from the good people at Senior Serenity, the latest devices for helping people with their fading memories and loss of companionship. As the Prime is fed memories and conversation, the shape of their lives are revealed, more and more years are covered and recovered, and the nature of memories, the legacy of the past, and the promise of the future are all called into question.

About the production:

Marjorie Prime features performances by Ruth Rath, Julie Huff, Ablan Roblin, and Ben Beck. Directed by Susan Baer Collins. Assistant Direction by Bob Fishbach.  Set Design by Brendan Greene-Walsh.  Costume Design by Denise Ervin.  Sound Design by Bill Kirby. Lighting Design by Steven Williams.  Properties by Amy Reiner.  Stage Management by Christopher Hernandez.

Tickets:

General Admission ($35) and Senior ($30) tickets are available at bluebarn.org. Educator, Military, and BLUCrew tickets are available through the box office (402) 345-1576.

*ASL interpreted performance Friday, March 27th at 7:30pm

Photo provided by BlueBarn Theatre

Blue Barn Conjures Up a Magical Night with “The Grown-Up”

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A ten year old boy discovers a magic crystal doorknob that allows him to jump forward in his own lifespan.  As he experiences the trials, tribulations, and triumphs of adulthood, he finds that he wants nothing more than to return to being a child.  This is The Grown-Up by Jordan Harrison which is the inaugural production for the Blue Barn Theatre at its new home at 10th and Pacific Streets.

The ethereal quality of this show really compels the viewer to watch it with a bit of childlike wonder to fully appreciate its magic.  I could watch this play each and every night of its run and I would come away with a different interpretation each and every time.  Is it really happening?  Is it a story?  If so, whose story?  Kai’s?  The grandfather’s?  The cabin boy’s?  Is it a metaphor?  The reality is that the answer is unimportant as the truth of the story will be what each audience member makes of it and that is the wonder and the beauty of this piece.

Susan Clement-Toberer has done a masterful job of directing this tale.  The staging is some of the finest I’ve seen in an Omaha production.  The pace is spot-on.  Most importantly, Ms Clement-Toberer has cast the play exceptionally well.  This play is the very definition of an ensemble piece, requiring each role to be precisely cast and for each member of the cast to have a specific chemistry with the others.  And, believe me, this cast fires on all cylinders with a group performance that was unerringly accurate.

Matt Karasek makes his Blue Barn debut as Actor A and primarily plays the role of Kai.  His physicality and vocal work is astonishing as Kai ages with each turn of the doorknob.  In one moment he’s a slightly obnoxious ten year old, in another he’s lamenting about his imminent arrival at middle age, finally he’s a crotchety old man bedeviled by the infirmities of old age.  Yet all the while, Karasek’s beautifully sincere delivery brings the audience along on his emotional ride as he desperately wants nothing more than to be a boy again.

I have finally discovered the one thing Megan Friend cannot do.  She cannot give a bad performance.  Ms Friend once again proves she is one of Omaha’s top rising talents with her turn as Actor D.  With a droop in her shoulders and a dash of husk to her voice, she is Kai’s grandmother, calmly stitching away while being slightly exasperated by Grandfather as he tells another of his tall tales.  Suddenly her posture is ramrod straight, her voice bright and perky, and her movements robotically precise as she becomes the secretary to a TV executive.  Her Adderall addiction clearly does not make a dent in her ADHD and, Lord, does she have an ego, though she tries to hide it.  A quick change in hairstyle and she is Paola, the kindly and attentive nurse to the aged Kai.  Ms Friend’s acting was a supreme bit of character work and a highlight of the night.

Jerry Longe’s considerable comedic skills are used to their fullest potential as Actor E.  His voice just drips with a charming insincerity when he’s a TV exec listening to Kai’s pitch for a new TV series.  Longe’s turn as an effeminate, overwrought wedding planner had the audience chuckling merrily.  He is even allowed a bit of seriousness as a mysterious caretaker of magic who may or may not be the force behind the crystal doorknob.

Katie Otten delights in her Blue Barn debut as Actor B.  She is primarily featured as Annabelle, Kai’s younger sister.  As the child version of Annabelle, Ms Otten is a hoot with her bratty nature as she repeatedly schools Kai in gin rummy and tattles on him when he tells her to shut up.  Her love for Kai increases with her maturity as she searches for Kai after he’s taken away by the doorknob.  Ms Otten makes for a delightful old lady as she struggles with her walker to give a eulogy for Kai.

Nick Albrecht excels as the enigmatic Actor F.  Albrecht not only has a rich and powerful baritone that is a storyteller’s dream, but he knows how to use it to the utmost.  Albrecht’s primary role is that of a fisherman who was once a cabin boy on a pirate ship and sets the legacy of the doorknob in motion.  Albrecht has a gift for underplaying which makes everything he touches very, very real.  One can feel the loneliness and sadness of the cabin boy when he loses a friend and father figure during a terrible storm.  Albrecht also creates some tender moments with Karasek when they share some pillow talk about Kai’s aging.

I truly do not believe there is a role that Nils Haaland cannot play to perfection.  As Actor C, he plays roles that are as diverse as possible.  He starts the play as a somewhat doddering old grandfather weaving fantastic tales for Kai.  In the blink of an eye, he becomes the first mate of the pirate ship and patiently trains the young cabin boy and takes him under his wing as a surrogate son.  Then he’s Kai’s fiancée, gleefully engaging in banter with him on their wedding day.

This is one of those shows where all of the elements come together to create something truly special.  Not only do the directing and acting hit the marks, but Martin Scott Marchitto’s simple set of boxes and tables with a few everyday objects hanging from the ceiling open the mind to imagination.  Carol Wisner’s lighting not only enhances the story, but is some of the best I’ve seen in a production.  Martin Magnuson’s sound design brings the audience deeper and deeper into the tale, especially with his storm sound effects.

The Grown-Up invites the audience to use their imagination and I would highly recommend to not overthink on what you are watching otherwise you will miss out on its true beauty.

The Grown-Up runs at the Blue Barn Theatre through October 18.  Showtimes are 7:30pm Thurs-Sat and 6pm on Sundays.  Please note there is no performance on September 27.  Tickets are $30 for adults and $25 for students, seniors (65+), TAG members, and groups of 10 or more.  For reservations, call 402-345-1576 from 10am-4pm Mon-Fri or visit their website at www.bluebarn.org.  The Blue Barn Theatre is located at 1106 S 10th St in Omaha, NE.

“The Grown-Up” Raises the Curtain on Blue Barn’s New Home

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The BLUEBARN Theatre is proud to present the regional premiere of The Grown-Up by Jordan Harrison. This will be the inaugural production in the BLUEBARN’s new home at 1106 S. 10th Street.

BLUEBARN Producing Artistic Director Susan Clement-Toberer directs, with set design by Martin Scott Marchitto, lighting design by Carol Wisner, costume design by Jill Anderson, sound design by Martin Magnuson, and properties design by Amy Reiner.

Shows run Sept 24-Oct 18; Thursday-Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Sunday October 4th, 11th, and 18th at 6 p.m. Single tickets for The Grown-Up are $30 for adults; and $25 for students, seniors 65+, TAG members, and groups of 10 or more.

About The Grown-Up

The Grown-Up is BLUEBARN’s Humana Festival Pick and tells the story of Kai, a ten-year-old boy at his grandfather’s knee listening to a story of a magic doorknob. Jump 15 years and he is a young television writer. Jump in time again, and he and his future husband attend their wedding reception. Has Kai run into powerful magic or has he just realized the breakneck speed of an ordinary life and what he might have missed? A funny and honest tale about living in the moment.

About the playwright, Jordan Harrison

Jordan Harrison’s play, Marjorie Prime (2015 Pulitzer Prize finalist), had its world premiere at the Mark Taper Forum and will have its New York premiere this fall at Playwrights Horizons. Harrison’s Humana Festival premieres include Maple and Vine, The Grown-Up, Act a Lady, Kid-Simple, and Fit for Feet. His other plays include Doris to Darlene (Playwrights Horizons), Amazons and their Men(Clubbed Thumb), Finn in the Underworld (Berkeley Repertory Theatre), Futura (Portland Center Stage), and The Museum Play. His children’s musical, The Flea and the Professor, commissioned and produced by the Arden Theatre, won the Barrymore Award for Best Production. Harrison is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and is a graduate of the Brown University M.F.A. program, Harrison is an alumnus of New Dramatists. Harrison currently writes for the Netflix original series, Orange is the New Black.

About the stars of The Grown-Up

The Grown-Up will highlight some of Omaha’ brightest talent including BLUEBARN founding member and award-winning actor Nils Haaland (Our Town, 33 Variations, BLUEBARN Theatre.) Veteran actor Jerry Longe (American Buffalo, Red, BLUEBARN Theatre) also joins the cast. Longe is best known for his perennial performance as Scrooge in the Omaha Playhouse’s A Christmas Carol. Rounding out the cast are Megan Friend (Bad Jews, BLUEBARN Theatre), Nick Albrecht (Spamalot, Omaha Community Playhouse), Matt Karasek (Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays, BLUEBARN Theatre), and Katie Otten in her BLUEBARN debut.

ABOUT THE BLUEBARN THEATRE

The BLUEBARN Theatre has been bringing professionally-produced plays to area audiences since its inception, BLUEBARN has produced over 100 plays and has established itself as Omaha’s professional contemporary theatre company. Striving to bring artistically significant scripts and professional production values to Omaha and the surrounding region, BLUEBARN is known for high-quality entertainment and the fearless pursuit of stories that challenge both theatre artists and patrons.

Auditions for Blue Barn Season Premiere “The Grown-Up”

Auditions at
for the first show of Season 27 and
the first produced in our new home at
1106 S. 10th Street.
The Grown-Up
by Jordan Harrison
Sunday, June 28th from 4 – 6p
Tuesday, June 30th from 6 – 8p
AUDITIONS WILL BE HELD AT THE CURRENT BLUEBARN SPACE
614 South 11th Street

 Auditions will consist of cold readings from the script.

Callbacks (if necessary) will be determined at the audition.

This play will be directed by Susan Clement-Toberer.

  About The Grown-Up  

Performances run September 24th through October 18th

The Grown-Up is BLUEBARN’s Humana Festival Pick and tells the story of Kai, a ten-year-old boy at his grandfather’s knee listening to a story of a magic doorknob. Jump 15 years and he is a young television writer. Jump in time again, and he and his future husband attend their wedding reception. Has Kai run into powerful magic or has he just realized the breakneck speed of an ordinary life and what he might have missed? A funny and honest tale about living in the moment.

Casting needs for The Grown-Up: 

4 male, 2 female actors of various ages (over 18 years of age please.)

Equity and Non-Equity Welcome

For more information contact

Randall T. Stevens at rstevens@bluebarn.org

About The BLUEBARN Theatre

The BLUEBARN Theatre has been bringing professionally-produced plays to area audiences since 1989.  Since its inception, BLUEBARN has produced over 100 plays and has established itself as Omaha’s professional contemporary theatre company. Striving to bring artistically significant scripts and professional production values to Omaha and the surrounding region, BLUEBARN is known for high-quality entertainment and the fearless pursuit of stories that challenge both theatre artists and patrons.

Blue Barn Theatre Announces Season 27: INTIMATE. INTENSE. ADDICTIVE.

The BLUEBARN Theatre is excited to announce its 27th season. This will be the inaugural season in the BLUEBARN’s innovative convertible indoor/outdoor space at 10th & Pacific.

THE GROWN-UP By Jordan Harrison (September 17 – October 11, 2015)

Humana Festival Pick

Kai is a ten-year-old boy at his grandfather’s knee listening to a story of a magic doorknob. Jump 15 years and he is a young television writer weathering the humiliations of the Hollywood rat race. Jump in time again, and he and his future husband watch the caterer streak through their wedding reception. Has Kai run into powerful magic or has he just realized the breakneck speed of an ordinary life and what he might have missed? A funny and honest tale about living in the moment.

LITTLE NELLY’S NAUGHTY NOËL By Tim Siragusa; Songs by Jill Anderson (November 27-December 20, 2015)

Back by popular demand!! Little Nelly’s Naughty Noël is a Blue Barn perversion of all we hold dear, at that holliest, jolliest time of the year! With a mad gang of varmints both bawdy and bold, the play takes a wild, woolly romp through Nebraskee of old in an evening that can be described as “Willa Cather on crack” or “The Gift of the Magi”; laid out on a rack!

FROST/NIXON By Peter Morgan (February 4-28, 2016)

Richard M. Nixon has just resigned the United States presidency in total disgrace over Vietnam and the Watergate scandal. British talk-show host David Frost has become a lowbrow laughing-stock. Determined to resurrect his career, Frost risks everything on a series of in-depth interviews in order to extract an apology from Nixon. The cagey Nixon, however, is equally bent on redeeming himself in his nation’s eyes. In the television age, image is king, and both men are desperate to outtalk and upstage each other as the cameras roll. The result is the interview that sealed a president’s legacy.

THE CHRISTIANS By Lucas Hnath (March 24-April 17, 2016)

Humana Festival Pick

Twenty years ago, Pastor Paul’s church was nothing more than a modest storefront. Now he presides over a congregation of thousands, with classrooms for Sunday School, a coffee shop in the lobby, and a baptismal font as big as a swimming pool. Today should be a day of celebration. But Paul is about to preach a sermon that will shake the foundations of his church’s belief. A big-little play about faith in America—and the trouble with changing your mind.

HEATHERS – THE MUSICAL Music, Lyrics, and Book by Laurence O’Keefe and Kevin Murphy (May 19-June 19, 2016)

The darkly delicious story of Veronica Sawyer, the brainy and beautiful misfit who hustles her way into the most powerful and ruthless clique at Westerberg High: the Heathers. But before she can get comfortable atop the high school food chain, Veronica falls for the dangerously sexy new kid, J.D., who plans to put the Heathers in their place – six feet under.

OUT OF THE BLUE, a new Special Event series:

WALK THE NIGHT: The highly successful immersive theatre event returns in October to explore the world of one of an original Shakespearean ghost tale. Location and more information to be announced.  October 21 – November 14

PORCHYARD READINGS: 4 staged readings of contemporary plays that entice audiences to embrace risk and celebrate discovery. New works. New voices. New adventures.

* WELL by Lisa Kron – September 21

* STRAIGHT WHITE MEN by Young Jean Lee – December 7

* RAPTURE, BLISTER, BURN by Gina Gionfriddo – February 15

* MR. BURNS: A POST-ELECTRIC PLAY by Anne Washburn – April 4

 About The BLUEBARN Theatre

The BLUEBARN Theatre has been bringing professionally-produced plays to area audiences since. Since its inception, BLUEBARN has produced over 100 plays and has established itself as Omaha’s professional contemporary theatre company.  Striving to bring artistically significant scripts and professional production values to Omaha and the surrounding region, BLUEBARN is known for high-quality entertainment and the fearless pursuit of stories that challenge both theatre artists and patrons.

The BLUEBARN Theatre’s season is generously supported by HOLLAND FOUNDATION * MAMMEL FOUNDATION *  SHUBERT FOUNDATION INC. * PETER KIEWIT FOUNDATION * NEBRASKA ARTS COUNCIL* NEBRASKA CULTURAL ENDOWMENT* DOUGLAS COUNTY

To provoke thought, emotion, action, and change through daring and innovative theatre…