Community Players to Present ‘Murder On the Orient Express’

The ensemble of “Murder On the Orient Express” (L to R Back Row: Merle Jobman, Jenny Sutphin, Mark Geist, Dylan Warren, Morgan Fox, Ashley Hothan, Vicki Cain. L to R Front Row: Diane Kahnk, Zoe Tien, Scott Clark.)

Community Players Proudly Present:

Murder on the Orient Express
Adapted by Ken Ludwig from a novel by Agatha Christie

Directed by: Rachele Stoops

Venue: Community Players (412 Ella St, Beatrice, NE)
Show Dates: Feb 10-19, 2023
Showtimes: Fri-Sat at 7:30pm. Sundays at 2pm

Synopsis
On the snowbound Orient Express, an American tycoon lies dead in his locked train compartment. With a killer in their midst, detective Hercule Poirot must expose the murderer before tragedy strikes again! Thrills and laughs abound in Ken Ludwig’s adaptation of this classic mystery by Agatha Christie.

Tickets go on sale Jan 30, 2023 and can be purchased at www.beatricecommunityplayers.com.

Cast
Scott Clark as Hercule Poirot
Merle Jobman as Monsieur Bouc
Morgan Fox as Megan Debenham
Mark Geist as Col. Arbuthnot/Samuel Ratchett
Ashley Hothan as Greta Ohlsson
Diane Kahnk as Princess Dragomiroff
Jenny Sutphin as Countess A’ndrenyi
Zoe Tien as Helen Hubbard
Vicki Cain as Michele
Dylan Warren as MacQueen

Ozark Actors Theatre Announces 2023 Auditions

Ozark Actors Theatre Announces Auditions for 2023 Season

In-Person Auditions – February 18th:

Auditions will be held by appointment on Saturday, February 18 at The Cedar Street Playhouse, home of Ozark Actors Theatre. 701 N. Cedar St., Rolla, MO 65401

To schedule an audition time, please follow this link.

Video Recorded Auditions – due February 15th:

Video auditions must be sent to casting@ozarkactorstheatre.org and received by February 15th.

What to prepare:

For your in-person or video recorded audition, please prepare a monologue and short song selection that show off your vocal range and storytelling abilities – no more than 2 mins long. Material from the season is acceptable and encouraged.

​Ozark Actors Theatre and Actors Equity Association’s contracts prohibit discrimination. AEA is committed to diversity and encourages all its employers to engage in a policies of equal employment opportunity designed to promote a positive model of inclusion. As such, AEA and OAT encourage performers of all ethnicities, gender identities, and ages, as well as performers with disabilities, to submit auditions.

​Questions or accommodations:

Please contact casting@ozarkactorstheatre.org

Play Summaries & Character Descriptions

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

Rehearsal: May 30 – June 14

Performance: June 15 – 25

Director: TBD

Music Director: TBD

Choreographer: TBD

Summary:

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 will give one actor the opportunity to die 90 times on the OAT stage in this incredible comedy!

Character descriptions:

  • The D’Ysquith Family -The principal conceit of Gentleman’s Guide is that one actor plays all members of the D’Ysquith family. As such the actor portraying the D’Ysquiths must have a tremendous and transformational acting ability. Actor should have strong physical comedic skills and accent ability to help establish and differentiate multiple characters. Must have stamina to carry the different characters throughout the show and make extraordinarily quick costume changes.
    • Age: 30s to 50s
  • Monty Navarro – charismatic and cunning enough to ingratiate himself with both the audience and his prospective victims. He is a leading man, and often, the straight man, in the show. Monty should also have excellent physical comedy skills to adequately play along with the D’Ysquiths in their various incarnations. Charming and handsome, Monty is not upper class but has no trouble blending in with high society.
    • Gender: Male identifying
    • Age: 20s to 30s
  • Sibella Hallward – A beautiful and flirtatious social climber, Sibella has true affection for Monty but also true affection for social status. Sibella is smart, funny and stylish and, as far as relationships are concerned, she wants to have her cake and eat it too.
    • Gender: Female identifying
    • Age: 20s to 30s
  • Phoebe D’Ysquith – Monty’s cousin. Phoebe was raised high class with idealistic fantasies of love. As beautiful as Sibella, Phoebe foils Sibella in her interest in love over status, and a desire to find the true virtue in people. Though she is smart and earnest, she can also be naive. Must be an excellent singer with a legit, possibly operatic sound. A true soprano.
    • Gender: Female identifying
    • Age: 20s to 30s
  • Miss Shingle – Monty’s unexpected visitor. Sneaky and mysterious, Miss Shingle has an obvious sense of justice. She comes to tell Monty the secret of his D’Ysquith lineage with a pivotal song in Act 1 that sets up the story of the show. Actress should be a supreme and interesting character actress with a vocal style to match.
    • Gender: Female identifying
    • Age: 40s to 60s
  • The Ensemble – A group of strong and dynamic musical theatre performers who all play multiple featured roles. These actors will play 40+ roles including: Lady Eugenia, Miss Barley, Tom Copley, Detective Pinckney, The Magistrate, various clerks, newsboys, ancestors, maids, actors and many others. All Ensemble members are expected to be comfortable with some movement. Expected to work with the directing team to create dynamic characters.
    • Age: 16 to 99
    • Ensemble Vocal Ranges:
      • Soprano (coloratura) Ab4 Bb6
      • Mezzo Bb4 G5
      • Alto Gb3 Gb5
      • Tenor Ab3 B5
      • Baritone Ab3 G#4
      • Bass C2 G#4

Sunday in the Park with George

Rehearsals: June 19 – July 5

Performances: July 6 – 16

Director: Blane Pressler

Music Director: TBD

Summary:

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. At OAT it will be under the direction of Artistic Director, Blane Pressler.

Character descriptions:

  • George – In Act 1: George Seurat, a rather cold artist obsessed with his work at the cost of his personal life. Constantly troubled and borderline obsessive. Act 2: Seurat’s burnt-out descendant and inventor-sculpture searching for his purpose.
    • Gender: Male identifying
    • Age: 25 to 40
  • Dot/Marie – As Dot, George’s headstrong mistress and occasional model so discontent with their relationship that she eventually leaves him. Age: 20 to 40. As Marie, George’s elderly wheelchair bound grandmother who helps him connect to his artistry through her grammar book notes.
    • Gender: Female identifying
  • Old Lady – George’s mother. A cranky and rather demanding fixture in the park. She is able to find solace in nostalgia and inspires George to find order in his art. Doubling as BLAIR DANIELS.
    • Gender: Female identifying
    • Age: 60 to 80
  • Nurse – The Old Lady’s attendant. She is calming and assertive. Doublings include HARRIET PAWLING and MRS.
    • Gender: Female identifying
    • Age: 40 to 60
  • Jules – A rival artist. Callous, critical, and ultimately shallow. He forces Frieda to engage in extramarital affairs. Doubling as BOB GREENBERG.
    • Gender: Male identifying
    • Age: 25 to 45
  • Yvonne – Jules’ pampered wife. She is as snippy and snooty as her husband. Doubling as NAOMI EISEN.
    • Gender: Female identifying
    • Age: 25 to 35
  • Boatman – A surly, blue-collared laborer, simple-minded and slovenly. Doubling as CHARLES REDMOND.
    • Gender: Male identifying
    • Age: 35 to 60
  • Celeste #1 – A young shop girl, gossipy and flirtatious. Her friendship with the other Celeste is strained when they fight over the Soldier and his companion. Optional Doubling as A WAITRESS.
    • Gender: Female identifying
    • Age: 18 to 30
  • Celeste #2 – Another young shop girl, gossipy and flirtatious. Her friendship with the other Celeste is strained when they fight over the Soldier and his companion. Doubling as ELAINE.
    • Gender: Female identifying
    • Age: 18 to 30
  • Louise – Jules and Yvonne’s spoiled little girl. She faces neglect and abuse from her parents, despite being honest. Doubling as BOY.
    • Gender: Female identifying
    • Age: 8 to 12
  • Franz – Jules’s German coachman and Freida’s husband. Disgruntled with his job. Has a bit of a temper and secretly yearns for the Nurse. Optional Doubling as DENNIS.
    • Gender: Male identifying
    • Age: 30 to 50
  • Frieda – As Frieda, Jules and Yvonne’s cook and Franz’s wife. Caring and positive as a surrogate nanny to Louise. Forced by Jules into an affair. Doublings include BETTY and YOUNG MAN.
    • Gender: Female identifying
    • Age: 35 to 55
  • Soldier – A French military man, polite and gentlemanly. Close with his companion, though he yearns for a separation. Doubling as ALEX.
    • Gender: Male identifying
    • Age: 20 to 35
  • Louis – A baker who Dot starts seeing to make George jealous. Kind, friendly, and very popular, but a bit dull. Doublings include BILLY WEBSTER and MAN.
    • Gender: Male identifying
    • Age: 35 to 55

Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville

Director: Suzanne Withem

Rehearsals: July 11 – 26

Performances July 27 – August 6

Summary: 

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 our own Suzanne Withem, our intrepid investigators will take the stage at OAT portraying more than 40 characters!

Character descriptions:

  • Sherlock Holmes – The world’s greatest detective is sophisticated, quick-witted, and passionate. He is an English gentleman who is very precise in speech and manner. A strong standard British or RP dialect is required. This actor plays only one role.
    • Gender: The character will be portrayed as male, but all genders will be considered.
    • Age: 25-40

​​

  • Dr. John Watson – A kind amiable doctor and Sherlock Holmes’s faithful sidekick. A man of action, intellect and deep emotion. He is also very British. A strong standard British or RP dialect is required. This actor plays only one role.
    • Gender: The character will be portrayed as male, but all genders will be considered.
    • Age: 25-40

​​

  • Actor 1 – Plays more than a dozen characters – primarily the male-identifying villains and baddies. Must be a versatile character actor adept in physical comedy and various accents and dialects.
    • Gender: Male identifying
    • Age: Any

​​

  • Actor 2 – Plays nearly a dozen characters – primarily male-identifying heroes and gentlemen. Must be a versatile character actor adept in physical comedy and various accents and dialects.
    • Gender: Male identifying
    • Age: Any
  • Actor 3 – Plays more than a dozen characters – primarily female-identifying maids, nurses, and damsels in distress. Must be a versatile character actor adept in physical comedy and various accents and dialects.
    • Gender: Female identifying
    • Age: Any

​​

  • Roustabouts and Foley Artists- These two or three nonspeaking roles will assist with scene changes, participate in comedy bits, and serve as Foley artists providing live sound effects for the production from onstage. They should be creative problem solvers adept at physical comedy and familiar with silent storytelling. They are vital to the success of keeping the “trunk show” design of the production moving forward and creating the world of the theatre in which the play is performed.
    • Any Gender
    • Any Age

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.

The Tracks of Death

A murderer is lurking aboard the famed Orient Express.  Unfortunately for the fiend, the world’s greatest detective is also riding the train.  Will Hercule Poirot be able to solve the baffling killing of a shady businessman?  Find out in Murder on the Orient Express currently playing at the Omaha Community Playhouse.

As I stated in a previous review of this production, I’m not going to delve into plot details as I want the audience to experience the story fresh so they get maximum enjoyment out of it.  However, I can say that Ken Ludwig does an admirable job adapting Agatha Christie’s classic novel.  Ludwig stays fairly close to the source material though he does eliminate several characters which is a salient plot point and clue in the novel, but works around it pretty well.  Though known for farce, Ludwig plays this show pretty straight, yet manages to work a little humor into the story with his vaunted wordplay.

Anthony Clark-Kaczmarek’s direction is, on the whole, very accurate and precise.  He cuts a brutally brisk pace which keeps the audience on the edge of their seats as Poirot peels back the layers of the case.  His staging is spot on, making us feel the enclosed nature of the train and always well placing his performers so you can see their reactions to the goings-on at any given moment.  Clark-Kaczmarek also proves adept at pulling out some truly masterful performances from his thespians.  That being said, it also seemed like he tried to force a little comedy into the production as several of his actors were a little over the top which made them feel like caricatures instead of characters and didn’t always gel with the more grounded performances.

Some of the highlights of the night were Brennan Thomas who is a pretty mean S.O.B. as the murder victim, Samuel Ratchett.  Olivia Howard gives a beautiful, underplayed performance as the governess, Mary Debenham.  Ethan Dragon gives a master class in animation as the affable, and theatrical, Monsieur Bouc.

Connie Lee dominates her scenes as the obnoxious Helen Hubbard.  When Hubbard starts talking, one starts looking for her off switch as she never shuts up and has a grating personality that would even rub Mr. Rogers the wrong way.  Whether she’s frustrating passengers with late night singing and dancing or flirting with the conductor in an attempt to nab a new husband, Lee simply lights up the stage with her effervescent presence.

Daena Schweiger displays a superior dry wit as Princess Dragomiroff.  Seldom have I seen such potent hilarity come from such monotone delivery.  Schweiger knows just what words to emphasize or phrasing to utilize to get the fullest effect from Dragomiroff’s lines and her verbal sparring with Lee’s Hubbard was one of the show’s shining moments.

Seth Maisel wows in his Playhouse debut with a superb turn as Hercule Poirot.  Maisel easily conveys Poirot’s uber fastidious (bordering on OCD) personality with his hyper attention to details and the wiping of his hands after shaking with an old friend.  He also well communicates his genius with his rapid-fire deductions and ability to see through red herrings.  Maisel also brought a fantastic intensity to the role which I thoroughly enjoyed.  Maisel’s Poirot kowtows to nobody and has a highly developed sense of justice which is put to the test when that sense of justice is challenged by his dedication to the law.  His realization that, for once, justice and the law may not be one and the same leads to a haunting monologue excellently and subtly delivered by Maisel.

Justin Payne’s score had me ready for a night of mystery with its relentless eeriness.  Jim Othuse surpassed himself with this set as the Orient Express became another character with its luxurious sleeping compartments, elegant dining room, and imposing edifice during a scene done on the back of the train.  Lindsay Pape’s costumes were right on the money with the elegant suit of the impeccably dressed Poirot, the doughty dress of the uber religious Greta Ohlsson, or the spiffy uniform of Michel, the conductor highlighting some of her costuming prowess.  John Gibilisco and Tim Burkhart impressed with their sounds whether it be a gunshot, a chugging and braking train, or the flashback effect used on voices during the denouement.

The show will assuredly hold your attention and perhaps even have you white knuckling your armrests at points.  With its blitzkrieg pace, strong writing, assured direction, and solid performances, Murder on the Orient Express does provide a gripping night of mystery.

Murder on the Orient Express runs at the Omaha Community Playhouse through Oct 10.  Showtimes are Wed-Sat at 7:30pm and Sundays at 2pm. Tickets start at $25 with prices varying by performance. Tickets may be purchased at the OCP Box Office, by phone at (402) 553-0800 or online at OmahaPlayhouse.com. The Omaha Community Playhouse is located at 6915 Cass St in Omaha, NE.

P.S. I Love You

Josh Peyton and Sarah Schrader star in “Dear Jack, Dear Louise”

During World War II, Cpt. Jacob “Jack” Ludwig, an Army surgeon, began a correspondence with aspiring actress, Louise Rabiner.  Over the course of 3 years, their trading of messages blossomed into true love.  Follow the evolution and the ups and downs of their relationship in Dear Jack, Dear Louise currently playing at the Omaha Playhouse.

Ken Ludwig called this show a love letter to his parents as it is based on the true story of their courtship.  I don’t know if he used the actual letters written by his parents, but if he didn’t, he certainly managed to replicate the feel of a mail correspondence.  The dialogue of the letters perfectly captures that initial spark of interest, the getting to know each other, even the difficulties and squabbles every relationship undergoes, and the glow of real love.  It is also laced with the trademark wit and humor of Ludwig, but also shows his skills as a dramatic writer as he features some heavy moments that have all the subtlety of kissing a runaway freight train.

Susie Baer-Collins provides an outstanding piece of direction with the production, possibly one of her very best and that is saying something.  Her sure hand deftly handles this variation on the duologue and the conversations always snap and sparkle with realism and vitality.  I absolutely loved the staging with one character always slightly in front of another to show that they were in two different places.  Baer-Collins also pulled an extraordinary pair of performances from her two thespians.  If the quality of this show is an indicator of the rest of the season, it’s going to be an amazing ride at the Playhouse this year.

Over the past few seasons, Josh Peyton has established himself as one of the most believable actors in Omaha.  There is an extemporaneousness and naturalness to his performances that makes it seem like he is never acting, just being.  And this show is certainly no exception.  Peyton is sensational in the role of Jack Ludwig.  He reminded me of my own pop (who courted my mother through letters and tapes during the Vietnam War) with his quiet nature and dry wit.  His timidity in his early letters is so sweet and it was a joy to watch his confidence grow in proportion to his burgeoning love for Louise.  Peyton’s reactions are always just right and equal parts hilarious and haunting when the moment calls for them.  He also has a superb physicality which not only strengthen those expressions and reactions, but tells stories of their own such as dodging bullets and bombs and crawling through the dirt during hellish battles of the war.

I see great things in store for Sarah Schrader’s theatrical future after her phenomenal debut in this show. She is an absolute dynamo as Louise Rabiner and just seemed to quiver with energy.  Schrader was a perfect blend of sweet and tart as she could write very sensitive letters and then drop an epithet or pitch a mild fit in the blink of an eye.  Her animation blew out the scale and was always appropriate for the high energy actress with an obvious joie de vivre.  Schrader was equally impressive in the show’s heavier moments as she deals with the heartaches and fears of courting a soldier.

John Gibilisco’s usage of sound was some of the best I’ve heard in a show especially with the explosion of bombs and the belching of gunfire.  Jim Othuse created a simple set of tables, wardrobe, and shelves that provide the audience an opportunity to fill in the rest of the details with their own imaginations.  Othuse’s lights were remarkable with the flashing lights of rockets, the solo spotlights of sadder moments, and the lighting up of the theatre for VE Day.  Lindsay Pape’s costumes were spot on with Ludwig’s period military uniform and fatigues and the elegant 40s style dresses for Louise.

This was one of the most personally satisfying shows I’ve seen in recent years and, though the season be young, I think Peyton & Schrader have set an awfully high bar in terms of performances.  Get a ticket and you’ll see what I mean.

Dear Jack, Dear Louise runs at the Playhouse through Sept 19.  Showtimes are Thurs-Sat at 7:30pm and Sundays at 2pm.  Tickets stat at $36 and can be purchased at the OCP Box Office, by calling 402-553-0800, or visiting www.omahaplayhouse.com.  The Omaha Playhouse is located at 6915 Cass St in Omaha, NE.

OCP Needs Some Passengers for the Locomotive of Death

Omaha, NE.–The Omaha Community Playhouse (OCP) is holding auditions for the upcoming production of Murder on the Orient Express on Saturday, July 10 at 10:30 a.m. at Revive! Center Omaha, Sunday, July 11 at 1 p.m. at OCP and Monday, July 12 at 1 p.m. at OCP.

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: Murder on the Orient Express

Adapted by: Ken Ludwig

Director: Anthony Clark-Kaczmarek

Show Dates: Sept. 17 – Oct. 10, 2021

Omaha Community Playhouse, Hawks Mainstage Theatre

Performances are Wednesdays – Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. in the Hawks Mainstage Theatre. Actors are called to the theatre one hour before curtain.

Rehearsals: Begin August 1, 2021

Show Synopsis: A thrilling whodunit set aboard the world’s most famous luxury locomotive, Murder on the Orient Express will keep you guessing until the very end. When the Orient Express becomes stranded by a snowstorm, a passenger is found stabbed to death in his private room. With the murderer still on board, a detective must solve the crime before the train reaches its destination.

Roles: Hercule Poirot – Male identifying, all ethnicities: A famous Belgian

Monsieur Bouc – Male identifying, all ethnicities: A Belgian man

Mary Debenham – Female identifying, all ethnicities: A governess

Hector MacQueen – Male identifying, all ethnicities: Rachett’s personal secretary

Michel and Conductor/Marcel – Male identifying, all ethnicities: one actor will play two roles

Princess Dragomiroff – Female identifying, all ethnicities: A Russian dowager

Greta Ohlsson – Female identifying, all ethnicities: Princess Dragomiroff’s traveling companion

Countess Andrenyi – Female identifying, all ethnicities: A countess through marriage

Helen Hubbard – Female indentifying, all ethnicities: an outspoken and flamboyant American from the Midwest

Colonel Arbutnot – Male identifying, all ethnicities: Scotsman

Samuel Rachett – Male identifying, all ethnicities: middle aged American businessman

Auditions: Those who wish to audition may choose one of the following three audition dates:

§ Saturday, July 10, 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Revive Center Omaha, 2402 Lizzie Robinson Ave. (24th & Lake), Omaha, NE. 68111

§ Sunday, July 11, 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St, Omaha, NE 68132

§ Monday, July 12, 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St, Omaha, NE 68132

Callbacks: Monday, July 19, 7:00 p.m.

Notes: Auditions are by appointment only. Please contact Becky Deiber at bdeiber@omahaplayhouse.com to schedule an audition appointment and request audition paperwork and sides.

Those auditioning will be asked to read from the script provided at auditions.

When arriving to audition at the Playhouse, please enter through the Stage Door entrance on the West side of the building.

Please Bring: All contact information, personal schedules and a list of rehearsal conflicts with which to fill out an audition form. To expedite the check-in process, please bring a recent photo if you have one available. Please note, photos will not be returned.

COVID-19 In accordance with the CDC, if an individual is not vaccinated, they must wear a face mask. If

Protocols: an individual is vaccinated, they can decide whether to wear a face mask or not. All performers are required to be fully vaccinated. Proof of vaccination will be required upon casting.

Contact: For more information, contact Becky Deiber at bdeiber@omahaplayhouse.com or (402) 553-4890.

OCP Announces Auditions for Season Premiere, “Dear Jack, Dear Louise”

Omaha Community Playhouse Announces Auditions for:

Dear Jack, Dear Louise

by Ken Ludwig

Directed by Susan Baer Collins

Rehearsals Begin: Sunday July 11, 2021

Production Dates: August 20 – September 19, 2021
Performances are Thursdays – Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. in the Howard Drew Theatre. Actors are called to the theatre one hour before curtain.

Auditions:
Saturday, June 12, 11:00 – 2:00 p.m.
Revive Center Omaha 2402 Lizzie Robinson Ave., Omaha, NE 68111

Sunday, June 13, 2:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St., Omaha, NE, 68132

Monday, June 14, 6:30 – 9:30 p.m.
Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St., Omaha, NE 68132

Callbacks: Wednesday, June 16, 6:30 p.m.

For those auditioning at Revive Center Omaha: Auditioners may enter through the glass doors on the south side of the building along Lizzie Robinson Ave. Parking is available in the parking lot west of the building, adjacent to the Family Housing Advisory Services building. Face masks are required while inside the building.

For those auditioning at Omaha Community Playhouse: Please enter through the Stage Door entrance on the West side of the building.

Please contact Becky to schedule an audition appointment and request audition paperwork and sides.

The Story: U.S. Army Captain Jack Ludwig, a military doctor stationed in Oregon, begins writing to Louise Rabiner, an aspiring actress in New York City, hoping to meet her someday if the war will allow. But as the war continues, it threatens to end their relationship, before it even starts. Tony Award-winning playwright Ken Ludwig tells the joyous, heartwarming story of his parents’ courtship during World War II and the results are anything but expected.

Characters:

Jack Ludwig – Male identifying, early to mid-thirties, all ethnicities. An Army medical officer serving in the Second World War, stationed in Portland, OR. A bit reserved.

Louise Rabiner – Female identifying, mid-twenties to early thirties, all ethnicities. An aspiring actress from Brooklyn, living in New York City. Outgoing and stylish.

Please bring all contact information, personal schedules, a list of rehearsal conflicts and resume if available. To expedite the check-in process, please bring a recent photo if you have one available. Please note, photos will not be returned.

Face masks are required for all auditioners, staff and volunteers while indoors during the audition process. All masks must be worn properly in accordance with CDC guidelines, covering both the nose and mouth. All performers are required to be fully vaccinated. Proof of vaccination will be required upon casting.

For more information, please contact Becky Deiber
____________________________________________

OCP Needs Some Sleuths to Solve a Murder

Omaha Community Playhouse Announces Auditions for:

Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express
Adapted for the stage by Ken Ludwig


Directed by Anthony Clark-Kaczmarek


Production Dates: Feb. 26–March 21, 2021 | Hawks Mainstage
Rehearsals: Begin Jan. 17, 2021

In-Person, by appointment only Auditions
Sunday, Nov. 29 | 2 p.m. in Dance Studio at OCP (6915 Cass St, Omaha, NE)

To schedule an audition time and to receive paperwork, email Becky Deiber at bdeiber@omahaplayhouse.com

Enter through the Stage Door on the West side of the building. For those auditioning in person: Temperatures of auditioners will be taken upon arrival. Auditioners will be required to wear a facemask. Auditions will be held individually. Callbacks may include small groups. Provided seating will be plastic or metal chairs only, no fabric upholstery. The audition space will be appropriately sanitized. When arriving to audition, please enter through the Stage Door entrance on the West side of the building.

Virtual Auditions via Zoom
Monday, Nov. 30 | 6 p.m.
—Email Becky Deiber at bdeiber@omahaplayhouse.com to schedule a virtual audition via Zoom. Video Submission Auditions being accepted now through Nov 29. You can also submit a vocal audition video to Becky Deiber.


Omaha Playhouse Announces 96th Season

Omaha, NE.–The Omaha Community Playhouse (OCP) has announced the titles to be produced during their 96th season, which will run from August 2020 through June 2021. Subscriptions for OCP’s 2020/21 season are now available for purchase through the OCP Box Office at 6915 Cass Street, Omaha, NE 68132, by phone at (402) 553-0800 or online at OmahaPlayhouse.com.

OMAHA COMMUNITY PLAYHOUSE 2020/21 SEASON PRODUCTIONS

*Billy McGuigan’s Pop Rock Orchestra

Aug. 7–16, 2020

Hawks Mainstage Theatre

Featuring Billy McGuigan | Music Director Steve Gomez | ©2007 by Rave On Productions

Billy McGuigan’s Pop Rock Orchestra is a high-energy concert experience packed with rock ‘n’ roll mega hits from the 50s, 60s and 70s. Led by international touring artist Billy McGuigan and backed by the 14-piece Pop Rock Orchestra, these all-star musicians serve up fresh, original arrangements covering everything from the Beach Boys to Billy Joel, and everything in between.

*Special Event—Not part of the regular season series.

Clybourne Park

Aug. 21–Sept. 20, 2020

Howard Drew Theatre

By Bruce Norris

Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award®-winning comedy Clybourne Park serves as prequel and sequel to A Raisin in the Sun. A 1950s couple faces sharp backlash from neighbors for selling their home in the all-white Clybourne Park to a black family. Fifty years later, a white couple attempts to purchase the same home in the now predominantly black neighborhood, igniting fears of gentrification.

Disclaimer: Contains adult language and themes of racial tension.

Kinky Boots

Sept. 25–Oct. 25, 2020

Hawks Mainstage Theatre

Book by Harvey Fierstein | Music and Lyrics by Cyndi Lauper

Original Broadway Production Directed and Choreographed by Jerry Mitchell

Based on the Miramax motion picture Kinky Boots

Written by Geoff Deane and Tim Firth

Flashy, inspiring and downright fun, Kinky Boots is the Tony Award®-winning musical warming hearts around the world. After returning to his hometown to manage his late father’s failing shoe factory, Charlie meets Lola, an outspoken and unapologetic drag queen in need of a sturdy pair of exotic boots. Together, the unlikely pair cobble a heartwarming tale of acceptance and friendship.

Orchestra Sponsor: Woodmen Life

Hawks Series Sponsor: Immanuel Communities

Water by the Spoonful

Oct. 16–Nov. 8, 2020

Howard Drew Theatre

By Quiara Alegría Hudes

Winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Water by the Spoonful follows Elliott, an Iraq war vet struggling to care for his dying aunt, and Odessa, a recovering drug addict fighting to stay sober with the support of her online companions. When their two worlds unexpectedly collide, everyone’s progress comes crashing down in this thought-provoking and beautifully human tale.

Disclaimer: Contains adult themes and language.

Presenting Sponsor: Conagra Brands Foundation

*A Christmas Carol

Nov. 20–Dec. 23, 2020

Hawks Mainstage Theatre

Written by Charles Dickens | Adapted by Charles Jones

Musical Orchestration by John J. Bennett

It just isn’t Christmas without A Christmas Carol! Experience Omaha’s favorite holiday tradition as Ebenezer Scrooge takes us on a life-changing journey to discover the true meaning of Christmas. Filled with stunning Victorian costumes, festive music and crisp, wintry sets, A Christmas Carol is a beautiful reminder that love and generosity are the heart of the Christmas holiday.

*Special Event—Not part of the regular season series.

Presenting Sponsor: First National Bank

Artistic Team Sponsor: Omaha Steaks

Orchestra Sponsor: KPMG

Bakery Shoppe/Special Effects Sponsor: Rotella’s Bakery

*Yesterday and Today:  An Interactive Beatles Experience

Nov. 27–Dec. 31, 2020

Howard Drew Theatre

Featuring Billy McGuigan | Music Director Matthew McGuigan | ©2007 by Rave On Productions

Cap off 2020 with a shot of Beatlemania! Yesterday and Today is the smash hit, all-request Beatles show controlled by the audience. Share your favorite stories and relive your fondest memories with the songs that defined a generation. With no two shows the same, fans will be dancing in the aisles and singing along to all their favorite hits.

*Special Event—Not part of the regular season series.

The Miracle Worker

Jan. 15–Feb. 7, 2021

Hawks Mainstage Theatre

By William Gibson

The Miracle Worker is the incredible true story of Helen Keller, deaf and blind since age one, and the extraordinary woman who changed her life. Unable to communicate with their daughter, the Keller family enlists the help of Annie Sullivan, a woman determined to rescue Helen from the dark, tortured silence imprisoning her mind. A story that has inspired audiences for generations.

Hawks Series Sponsor: Immanuel Communities

The Scottsboro Boys

Feb. 12–March 14, 2021

Howard Drew Theatre

Music and Lyrics by John Kander & Fred Ebb

Book by David Thompson

Original Direction and Choreography by Susan Stroman

The Scottsboro Boys follows the wrongful conviction of nine black teenagers in Scottsboro, Alabama in the 1930s—an infamous case that helped ignite the modern civil rights movement. From the composers of Chicago and Cabaret, this 12-time Tony® Award nominee alternates toe-tapping musical numbers with heart-wrenching ballads to tell a harrowing tale of bravery and strength in the face of great adversity.

Disclaimer: Contains themes and language related to racial tension.

In the Heights

Feb. 26–March 21, 2021

Hawks Mainstage Theatre

Music and Lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda

Book by Quiara Alegría Hudes

Before there was Hamilton, there was In the Heights. From the revolutionary musical mind of Lin-Manuel Miranda, this Tony® Award-winning musical recounts three days in the vibrant Latino neighborhood of Washington Heights, NYC, where the Spanish-speaking residents chase American dreams. This bubbly fusion of rap, salsa, Latin pop and soul music boasts an infectious enthusiasm from beginning to end.

Presenting Sponsor: Heider Family Foundation

Producing Partner: Physicians Mutual

Hawks Series Sponsor: Immanuel Communities

*THE CANDY PROJECT PRESENTS:

Gutenberg!  The Musical!

March 18–21, 2021

Howard Drew Theatre

By Anthony King and Scott Brown

Starring Steve Krambeck and Dan Chevalier

Join The Candy Project, friends of OCP, for a special presentation of Gutenberg! The Musical! A pair of aspiring playwrights audition their newest work—a big, splashy musical about the inventor of the printing press—for an audience of potential investors. This two-man musical spoof offers an unending supply of enthusiasm and laughs.

*Special Event—Not part of the regular season series.

Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express

April 16–May 9, 2021

Hawks Mainstage Theatre

Adapted for the stage by Ken Ludwig

A thrilling whodunit set aboard the world’s most famous luxury locomotive, Murder on the Orient Express will keep you guessing until the very end. When the Orient Express becomes stranded by a snow storm, a passenger is found stabbed to death in his private room. With the murderer still on board, a detective must solve the crime before the train reaches its destination.

Producing Partner: UNMC

Hawks Series Sponsor: Immanuel Communities

Outside Mullingar

May 7–30, 2021

Howard Drew Theatre

By John Patrick Shanley

This charming romantic comedy follows Anthony and Rosemary, two introverts who grew up on neighboring farms in rural Ireland. Rosemary secretly fell in love with Anthony at age six, but after a bought with heartbreak, Anthony swore off women forever. The now middle-aged pair must overcome their own aloofness—as well as a family property dispute—to find their way to one another.

Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka

May 28–June 27, 2021

Hawks Mainstage Theatre

Music and Lyrics by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley

Adapted for the Stage by Leslie Bricusse and Timothy Allen McDonald

Based on the Book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Oompa-Loompa-Doom-Pa-Dee-Doo! We’ve got a family favorite for you! Grab your golden ticket as Willy Wonka takes your family on a whimsical tour of the chocolate factory—with Charlie Bucket, Augustus Gloop, Veruca Salt, and all of your favorite characters. Featuring songs from the hit film, Willy Wonka will open up a world of pure imagination.

Presenting Sponsor: Mutual of Omaha

Orchestra Sponsor: Kiewit

Hawks Series Sponsor: Immanuel Communities

Pardon Me, Boys, is that the Murdering Choo-Choo?

A shady businessman is found murdered in his locked sleeping compartment on the Orient Express.  Will the famed Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot, be able to solve the mystery with his formidable “little gray cells” or has he finally met a killer too cunning for him?  Find out in Murder On the Orient Express adapted by Ken Ludwig from a novel written by Agatha Christie.  It is currently playing at the Bellevue Little Theatre.

It’s awfully hard to write about the plot without being too spoilery so I’ll simply say that Ludwig does an admirable job hitting the essential points of the classic mystery.  With his involvement, I was expecting more of a comedy, but Ludwig plays this script surprisingly straight, though he does leave room open for a bit of over the topness with some of the characters.  The mash-up of comedy and drama weaken the first act slightly, but he sticks the ending on the second act as he seems to have decided to be almost totally dramatic with that act.

Todd Uhrmacher provides a solid piece of direction for the production, handling the dual natures of comedy and drama in the first act quite well and excelling with the nearly purely dramatic second act.  I liked the staging of his show as he placed his actors well in the cramped confines of the train without the actors ever seeming bunched up or blocking each other.  Uhrmacher guided his actors to well-defined performances as each imbued a distinct character.

Some enjoyable performances were supplied by Michael Taylor-Stewart who comes off as somewhat off-kilter and creepy as the secretary of the murder victim and Gene Hinkle as the genial CEO of the company that owns the Orient Express.  But Jeff Garst deserves special notice for an exceptional performance as the conductor, Michel.  He gives Michel a very efficient nature and he nails a brief, heart-wrenching moment at the show’s finale.

Jon Flower is an extremely worthy Hercule Poirot.  He has a firm grip on the sleuth with a flawless Belgian accent, well communicating Poirot’s genius with his deductions, displaying a very gentlemanly and cultured nature, and demonstrating Poirot’s fastidious personality with the care he gives to Poirot’s signature moustache.  Flower also brings a certain weightiness to Poirot who has to wrestle with a choice between his devotion to the law and his dedication to justice which, for the first time in his career, may not be one and the same.

D. Laureen Pickle is utterly obnoxious as Mrs. Hubbard. Almost from the get-go one begins looking for a muzzle to clamp shut the mouth of the man-hungry, stuck-up, grating American snob. Pickle plays this character slightly over the top, but always keeps it in the realm of believability.  She also deftly handles the character’s more dramatic moments when certain secrets begin to come to light.

I don’t think Joey Lorincz could design a bad set even if he was working blindfolded.  He has created one of the most ambitious sets I’ve seen on the Bellevue stage with a three room revolving set that shows an elegant dining room, an office/rear of the train, and the tiny, sleeping compartments one would expect to find on a train.  Lorincz does double duty on lights which were also quite effective, especially the dark blue of the recalling of clues during the denouement.  Todd Urhmacher also pulls double duty with his designing of the costumes which evoke memories of the 1930s with the elegant dresses of the ladies and the snappy suits of the men and the classic conductor’s tunic for Michel.  My program lacked a credit for sound effects, but liked the sounds of the train whistle and the rumble of the wheels on the track.

I thought the pace of the first act could have had a snappier pace and there were a few moments when speaking actors were in darkness.  Volume and projection could have been a bit stronger on the parts of some of the actors and accents were a bit of a mixed bag.

Ultimately, this show is a very pleasant theatre experience with the combination of a faithful telling of a legendary mystery and compelling characters making for a respite from the real world for a few hours.

Murder On the Orient Express plays at Bellevue Little Theatre through Feb 2.  Showtimes are 7:30pm Fri-Sat and 2pm on Sundays.  Tickets cost $20 for adults, $18 for seniors, and $10 for students.  Tickets can be obtained at bellevuelittletheatre.weebly.com or calling 402-291-1554 during the hours of 10am-4pm Mon-Sat.  Bellevue Little Theatre is located at 203 W Mission Ave in Bellevue, NE.