Things are Getting Peachy Keen at OCP

Omaha, NE. – James and the Giant Peach, a magical story of adventure and unexpected friends in a family-friendly musical, will run March 2 – 25, 2018 at the Omaha Community Playhouse in the Hawks Mainstage Theatre.

James and the Giant Peach is a brand-new musical guaranteed to mesmerize theatregoers of all ages. A compelling story by beloved author Roald Dahl (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda) and music composed by the award-winning team of Pasek & Paul (La La Land, A Christmas Story, television’s Smash), a young orphan named James accidentally drops magic crystals by an old peach tree. Strange things start to happen and James soon discovers a world of magic and adventure full of friendly insects and learns that love and family can be found in unexpected places.

James and the Giant Peach the musical features a score by the Tony, Golden Globe and Academy Award-winning team of Pasek and Paul (Dear Evan Hansen, Dogfight, A Christmas Story the Musical, La La Land, The Greatest Showman) and a book by Timothy Allen McDonald (Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka, The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley).

Written by Roald Dahl, James and the Giant Peach was the first of Dahl’s well-known children’s stories that he completed, published in 1961. He also authored Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda and The BFG.

To celebrate James and the Giant Peach, Omaha Community Playhouse will hold an opening night celebration from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Friday, March 2 free to that evening’s ticket holders. No reservations necessary. Our friends at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium are helping make opening night special by bringing some special guests…of the insect variety. Take a peek at these fascinating creatures and also grab a treat before the show!

Production:  James and the Giant Peach

Credits:  Words and Music by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul | Book by Timothy Allen McDonald | Based on the book by Roald Dahl

Director:  Kimberly Faith Hickman

Cast

Maddie Smith as James

Jodi Vaccaro as Spiker

Sara Mattix as Sponge

Samantha (Quintana) Zarders as Spider

Kyle Avery as Grasshopper

Sarah Ebke as Ladybug

Zhomontee Wilson as Earthworm

Steve Krambeck as Centipede

Aaron Mann as Ladahlord

Ensemble features Tyson Bentley, Carmen Butler, Lillian Cohen, Justin Eller, Brandon Fisher, Aubrey Fleming, Cody Girouex, Jamie Gould, Elliot Gray, Ryan Laughlin, Tayler Lempke Plank, Isabelle Rangel, Aidan Schmidtke, Joshua Shapiro, Isabella Smith, Cleo Washingtion

Show dates: March 2 – 25, 2018; Wednesdays–Saturdays, 7:30 p.m. and Sundays, 2:00 p.m.

Tickets: Available now at the OCP Box Office, by calling (402) 553-0800 or online at www.OmahaPlayhouse.com or www.TicketOmaha.com. Single tickets start at $24 (Wednesdays) and start at $32 (Thursdays – Sundays) for adults and student tickets are $18(Wednesdays) and $20 (Thursdays – Sundays). Tickets for groups of 12 or more start at $22 for adults and start at $14 for students.

Ticket prices are subject to change based on performance date, seat location and ticket demand. Call the OCP box office for current prices.

Copies of the James and the Giant Peach book are available at the OCP box office for $8. Available only at the OCP box office. Not available online.

DiscountsTwilight Tickets – A limited number of tickets are available at half price after noon the day of the performance at the Box Office. Cash or check only. Subject to availability.

Wednesday Performances – Discounted tickets are available for Wednesday performances only at $24 for adults and $18 for students.

Whatta Deal Wednesday – Discounted tickets for $10 will be available for the first Wednesday performance on Wednesday, March 7, 2018. $10 tickets will be available in person at the box office starting at 4:00 p.m. the day of the show.

Sponsored by: Immanuel Communities (Series Sponsor), Valmont Industries, Inc. (Orchestra Sponsor), Omaha Steaks (Artistic Team Sponsor), Children’s Respite Care Center (Special Effects Sponsor) and Cox Media (Media Sponsor).

Location: Omaha Community Playhouse (6915 Cass Street in Omaha, NE)

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Grave Injustice

On the morning of April 27, 1913 in Atlanta, GA, the body of a 13 year old girl named Mary Phagan was found brutally murdered in the basement of the pencil factory where she had recently been laid off.  In a desperate attempt to close the books on the crime, her boss, Leo Frank, was indicted and convicted for the crime.  Frank was an ideal fall guy due to his being Jewish and a northerner.  This outsider status triggered a bloodlust and savagery in the community of Atlanta that led to the most devastating and tragic results.  This is the story of Parade written by Alfred Uhry with music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown.  It opens tonight at the Omaha Community Playhouse.

I’ve seen and been involved with good shows, bad shows, and great shows.  Above these categories lies a fourth category.  To be in this category, the show must transcend the normal theatregoing experience with a uniqueness that can’t be defined.  It’s either there or it isn’t.  But when it’s there, it transforms the show into something truly magical.  After last night’s show, I have added Parade to that fourth category.

Alfred Uhry has written an eminently tragic tale about the trial of Leo Frank.  It is unafraid; boldly tackling ideas such as social justice, racism, anti-Semitism, and blind vengeance.  While it is clearly a drama, it’s also a very realistic show as there are moments of happiness, fun, and laughter mixed in with the grief and tragedy.  Uhry’s script is infinitely strengthened by the score of Jason Robert Brown who has infused the musical with some of the most haunting melodies I have ever heard.

Jeff Horger has helmed what might be the season’s best production with second to none direction and a nearly flawless cast.  What I especially appreciated about Horger’s direction is that the focus is on the community.  Yes, this is Leo Frank’s story, but the community is the central character as it’s the mentality and reactions of the citizenry that drives this series of events.  The audience becomes part of this community through Horger’s staging which has the characters of the play sitting with them, melding them into one unit.

This cast is so loaded with talent that I would like nothing more than to write a 10 page review extolling all of their virtues.  With that being said, some of the remarkable performances you’ll see are Adam Hogston as Brit Craig, a boozy, slimy reporter who sensationalizes the murder to the point where Frank would be unable to get a fair trial; Chloe Irwin who gives a spot on performance as Mary Phagan.  Ms Irwin has an impressive range for one so young as she can be such a kid at one moment and move you to tears with her reactions during Mary’s funeral in the next.

Other mighty performances come from Melissa King as Mrs. Phagan who gives a tortured performance as the grieving mother highlighted by an incredible solo with “My Child Will Forgive Me”; Grant Mannschreck as Frankie Epps, Mary’s friend and suitor.  Mannschreck has a strong, bright tenor that brought tears to my eyes with “It Don’t Make Sense”.  Mike Palmreuter also shines as John Slaton, the governor who sets the chain of events into motion for political reasons, but tries to do the right thing in the end.  Brian Priesman is menacing as Tom Watson, a hypocritical Bible thumper who knows how to stir up the masses.

One of the actors to watch out for is J. Isaiah Smith as Jim Conley.  Smith just bleeds talent and charisma with his take on Conley.  Smith’s Conley is a snarky, conniving piece of human garbage whose testimony is crucial to the conviction of Frank, but he just might be hiding secrets of his own.  Smith darn near steals the show with two showstopping numbers:  “That’s What He Said” and “Blues:  Feel the Rain Fall’”.  The latter song allows Smith to hit some searing and awesome falsettos.

Michael Markey gives a multilayered performance as Hugh Dorsey, Atlanta’s D.A. and prosecutor for Frank’s trial.  Markey gives you the sense that he does want to see justice done, but he’s more worried about the political ramifications should he fail to find and convict a killer.  When Frank is served up to him, he has absolutely no qualms about using coached testimony and suborned perjury to doom him.  Markey also has a facile baritone well used in “Twenty Miles from Marietta” and “The Glory”.

Megan Kelly blew me away as Lucille Frank.  Aptly described as “Jewish and southern”, Ms Kelly is every bit the Southern belle, but with a devout faith as well.  She is also very real as her reactions and fears about Frank’s trial and the public’s reactions to her are dead on the mark.  Ms Kelly also gets to show real strength as she overcomes those fears to stand by her husband’s side, best shown with her lovely alto in “You Don’t Know This Man”.  Not only does she overcome her own fears, but she also overcomes Frank’s pigheadedness which she wonderfully describes in “Do It Alone” to give him the help he so desperately needs to obtain his freedom.

And in midst of all of this chaos is Leo Frank, incredibly essayed by James Verderamo.  Verderamo is uncanny as Frank as he walks that line of making him a decent man, but not a likable man.  Verderamo’s Frank is definitely a square peg in a round hole.  He’s unhappy in Atlanta and would rather be back home in Brooklyn, NY.  He’s a workaholic, anal, a bit arrogant, and easily flustered and frustrated.  He is also smart, a gentleman, and well-mannered.

Verderamo depicts Frank’s high strung nature with a perpetual hunch in his shoulders and a constant massaging of his hands.  He also has a scintillating tenor voice best used in “All The Wasted Time” and “Sh’ma”.

Jim Boggess and his orchestra find gold once more with a brilliant rendering of the score, not to mention the clever staging of their being on a balcony over the town to make them a band in the parade.  Tim Burkhart & John Giblisco score with their sounds especially the wavy sound effects of an era microphone.  Lindsay Pape’s costumes evoke the memories of early 1900s southern gear with the long dresses, three piece suits, and old time prison garb.  Jim Othuse has designed a simple town square with lamps, crumbling wall, and balcony.  And his lights suit the play’s emotions down to the ground with sad blues, angry reds, and dark shadows.  Melanie Walters’ choreography shines especially in “Pretty Music” and “That’s What He Said”.

This is what theatre is all about.  When it operates at its pinnacle, theatre is a galvanizing force for action.  In his notes, Jeff Horger called this a historical piece and that is absolutely correct.  For what is history, but a chance to learn from our mistakes so that we don’t repeat them.

Parade plays at the Omaha Playhouse from Feb 9-Mar 11.  Showtimes are Thurs-Sat at 7:30pm and Sundays at 2pm.  Tickets cost $42 for adults and $25 for students.  Due to mature themes, this show is not recommended for children.  For tickets call 402-553-0800 or visit www.omahaplayhouse.com or www.ticketomaha.com.  The Omaha Community Playhouse is located at 6915 Cass St in Omaha, NE.

Life Imitates Art Imitates Life

Thomas is a playwright/director who is holding auditions for his adaptation of the erotic novel, Venus in Furs.  As he is about to leave for the night, Vanda bursts into his auditions, pleading for a chance to read for the show.  Impressed by her choice of costume, he auditions her and then the life of the play begins to bleed into the real world. . .or is it the other way around??  This is Venus in Fur by David Ives and playing at the Blue Barn Theatre.

The best way to describe this play is that it’s a simple story wrapped up in a web of complexity.  On the surface, it seems to be a story of an audition that segues back and forth from the world of the play to the real world, but it is so much more than that as it touches on themes of lust, sensuality, domination, and control.  I actually rank it as one of the most brilliant scripts I’ve seen as Ives has intimate knowledge of Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s controversial novel and expertly weaves it into his own tale.  By doing so, he not only pays homage to the original work, but manages to give it a bit of a twist as well.

Guest director Ablan Roblin has sculpted a show that is surely going to be one of the most talked about of the season.  His staging is sensational as his two performers constantly glide about the stage as the layers of the story are peeled off.  His direction is deep and nuanced which results in powerful performances from the actors who bring the audience deeper and deeper into this rabbit hole of a show.

Matthew Olsen makes an incredible debut at the Blue Barn with his rendition of Thomas.  He begins the show as the elitist writer/director lamenting that he hasn’t been able to find a suitable actress for his show, enumerating all the things the actresses lacked or did wrong.  Then he meets Vanda, his frustration palpable as she is the epitome of all the things he disdained in the other performers.  Once she shows him a proper costume, he gives her a chance and then Thomas’ transformation begins.

Olsen finds dynamic balances in the role of Thomas.  He is the snooty intellectual, but an underconfident actor.  He’s engaged, but doesn’t want to be tied down.  He wants to be in charge, but ends up being led by the nose.  What I found most engaging was that the stronger the character Thomas was playing became, the weaker Thomas became.  Or was Thomas always weak and his character now reveals the truth?  It’s a stimulating and intelligent performance that will leave you enthralled and guessing.

Sarah Carlson-Brown will have you hooked from the moment she enters the room with her Vonda.  Inappropriately dressed as a dominatrix (complete with impressive tattoos) due to a perceived misunderstanding of the story, Ms Carlson-Brown also finds those crucial balances that make her character so compelling.

Though she looks like a dominatrix, she is, in fact, the dominated to start.  She is under the influence of the director who tells her where to stand and how to read.  But as she effortlessly becomes the character she’s reading for, suddenly she’s in control and calling the shots and soon takes over the position of power.  Or was she really in control the whole time?  Ms Carlson-Brown finds wonderful mixtures of sass and submission; strength and begging; power and weakness until her final form thunders in at the finale.

Sound, lights, and set are more crucial to this story than any other I’ve seen.  And the combination of Steven Williams and William Kirby is truly a winning one for this production.  Williams has constructed a fairly simple set of a raised platform with some stage lights, a divan.  But the pieces de resistance are his towering windows complete with the effect of pouring rain.  His lights are also stunning with the complete blackness of brief power outages to soft fluorescent to sensual (and hostile) reds.  Kirby’s sounds go hand in hand with the set and lights with the gentle patter of rain, the booming claps of thunder, and the intense and creepy music as the show heads into the climax.

Georgiann Regan’s costumes are a perfect fit (pun intended).  Most striking are Ms Carlson-Brown’s leather and lace outfit for Vonda and her elegant dress as Wanda.  Olsen is costumed in the elegant rich as the character Kusiemski, but later switches to a footmen’s coat as  Kusiemski falls into servitude.  Or does he??

This play is going to get people talking as I heard numerous conversations taking place after the opening night performance.  The play is a dandy little mindbender anchored by stellar direction and a pair of stellar performances from its two actors.

Venus in Fur plays at the Blue Barn through Feb 25.  Showtimes are Thurs-Sat at 7:30pm and Sundays at 6:30pm (the Feb 18 show will be a 2pm matinee).  There is no performance on Feb 4.  Tickets cost $30 for adults and $25 for seniors (65+), students, and TAG members.  For reservations, call 402-345-1576 or visit www.bluebarn.org.  Due to strong language and mature themes, this show is not suitable for children.  The Blue Barn is located at 1106 S 10 St in Omaha, NE.

A Tragic ‘Parade’ Performs at OCP

PARADE

Opens February 9, 2018 at the Omaha Community Playhouse

Omaha, Neb. – Parade, the true story of a Jewish man wrongfully accused of murdering a young girl in a small Southern town, will run at the Omaha Community Playhouse February 9 – March 11, 2018 in the Howard Drew Theatre.

Parade is the Tony Award-winning musical based around the trial of Leo Frank, a Jewish man wrongfully accused of murder in Marietta, Georgia in 1913. Religious intolerance, political injustice and racial tensions are already prevalent in this small Southern town, and when reporters begin to sensationalize the case, the likelihood of a fair trial is put in jeopardy. With a book by Alfred Uhry (Driving Miss Daisy) and music by Jason Robert Brown (The Last Five Years, The Bridges Of Madison County), this true story reveals the beauty of the human condition, even when faced with tragedy.

Disclaimer: Contains language and situations related to racial tension and mob violence.

The events surrounding the investigation and the trial of Leo Frank led to the birth of the Jewish civil rights organization, the Anti-Defamation League.  Following the Sunday, February 25 performance, staff members from the Omaha chapter of the Anti-Defamation League will participate in a post-show discussion about the history of the ADL. Open to all attendees of that day’s performance

Production:  Parade

Credits:  Book by Alfred Uhry.  Music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown.  Co-conceived and directed on Broadway by Harold Prince.

Director:  Jeff Horger

Cast

Brendan Brown as Riley

Breanna Carodine as Minnie

Brooke Fencl as Essie

Adam Hogston as Brit Craig

Chloe Irwin as Mary Phagan

Megan Kelly as Lucille Frank

Melissa King as Mrs. Phagan

Nelson Lampe as Judge Roan

Grant Mannschreck as Frankie Epps

Michael Markey as Hugh Dorsey

Rebecca Noble as Sally Slaton

Mike Palmreuter as John Slaton

Joshua Lloyd Parker as Ivey

Brian Priesman as Tom Watson

Tony Schneider as Mr. Turner

Christopher Scott as Luther Rosser

Jonathan Smith as Jim Conley

Jill Solano as Lizzie Phagan

Grace Titus as Iola

Scott Van Den Top as Starnes

Catherine Vazquez as Monteen

James Verderamo as Leo Frank

Randy Wallace as Mr. Peavey

L. James Wright as Newt Lee

Show Dates:  Feb 9-Mar 11, 2018; Thurs-Sat at 7:30pm and Sundays at 2pm

Tickets:  At the OCP Box Office, by calling (402) 553-0800 or online at OmahaPlayhouse.com or www.TicketOmaha.com. Single tickets start at $42 for adults and $25 for students. Ticket prices are subject to change based on performance date, seat location and ticket demand. Call the OCP box office for current prices. For groups of 12 or more, tickets are $30 for adults and $20 for students.

DiscountsTwilight Tickets – A limited number of tickets are available at half price after noon the day of the performance at the Box Office. Cash or check only. Subject to availability.

Sponsored by:  Carter and Vernie Jones

Location:  Omaha Community Playhouse, Howard Drew Theatre (6915 Cass St, Omaha, NE  68132)

Age in the Cage

Ladies and gentlemen!  This is it.  The battle for the heavyweight championship of the room.  In the house right corner, wearing the muted colors, she is known as the Brooding Brawler. . Abby!!!!  Her opponent, fighting out of house left, wearing the light, bright colors, she is called Sinfully Sweet. . .Marilyn!!!  And now. . .LET’S GET READY TO RIPCORD!!!!!!!! at the Omaha Community Playhouse.

David Lindsay-Abaire’s Ripcord tells the story of two senior home roommates who mix about as well as oil and water.  Curmudgeonly Abby is used to having the room to herself and cannot stand her new perky roommate, Marilyn.  When Marilyn claims never to get angry and Abby claims never to get scared, the two ladies make a bet.  If Abby angers Marilyn, then Marilyn will move to a different room.  If Marilyn scares Abby, she gets Abby’s bed by the window.  The result is an escalating war of pranks between the two women as they pull out all the stops to win the bet.

Lindsay-Abaire has written a clever script reminiscent of The Odd Couple with the exception that the two main characters are not friends, giving their interactions a bit more of an edge.  The script moves quite fast and is seasoned with hot zingers, sautéed with some well placed over the top moments, has a dash of drama and sensitivity, but has a peculiar palate cleanser of an ending.

Kimberly Faith Hickman has gathered a gaggle of comedic talent which she leads to solid and uproarious performances.  Ms Hickman has mastery of the beats as she knows when to let her performers go huge, be normal, or pluck the heartstrings.  The staging of the show is quite strong as, even in the slower moments, there is always a bit of movement from the actors to keep the scenes animated.

Three character actors playing multiple roles support the action of the play, but each also has a particular role that allows them their best moment in the spotlight.  Matt Tarr’s towering presence and rich voice serve him best as a zombie butler in a haunted house.  Kaitlyn McClincy serves up some laughs as Marilyn’s somewhat devious daughter who gleefully assists her mother in winning the bet.  Kevin Goshorn shines in the show’s most poignant scene as the estranged, recovering addict son of Abby who visits her for the first time in years.

For a debut performance, Sahil Khullar is quite capable in the role of Scotty, the aide at the senior living center.  Khullar definitely has the personality for the kindly Scotty who is implied to be a struggling actor.  He also has a good instinct for timing, though his gestures need to be a bit more economical and precise.

But this show does indeed rest on the shoulders of its leading ladies.  Rest assured that Charleen Willoughby and Judy Radcliff are more than up to the task as the pair deliver gutbusting performances and have a chemistry and repartee bordering on the symbiotic.

Charleen Willoughby is a bitter delight as Abby.  Ms Willoughby well communicates Abby’s cynicism with a stony, stoic expression and bearing that says, “Just let me read and leave me alone”.  She always has a quiet sense of mourning about her, lamenting the things she either lost or never had.  Despite this downer description, Ms Willoughby does make this stick in the mud quite entertaining as her sense of delivery always makes Abby’s retorts and put-downs funny.  Ms Willoughby also allows Abby’s long buried decent heart peek out from time to time with her love of her plants and the wistfulness of wanting grandchildren.

Judy Radcliff is a darling scream as Marilyn.  Ms Radcliff makes Marilyn so sweet and sunshiney that one could probably spit in her face and she would laugh it off.  Ms Radcliff brings an incredible sense of fun and kindness to the chatty Marilyn who just wants to bring a little brightness to the days of others.  But a bit of orneriness lies beneath the sweetness as Marilyn dreams up the more dangerous pranks played in her war of oneupmanshp with Abby and the fact that she does it with a smile on her face makes it all the funnier.

Paul Pape has designed a fluid, open set bordered by ropes that easily transforms into the bedroom at the senior living facility to an airplane and to the airiness of a haunted house and the outside.  Jim Othuse’s lights are some of the best I’ve seen in a Playhouse show as they really help define the scenes with the eerie greens and reds of the haunted house to the shadows of trees and sunlight outside of Abby’s window.  John Gibilisco delivers on sound once again, especially with an impressive propeller sound effect in the skydiving scene.  Amanda Fehlner’s costumes well define the personalities of the leading ladies with Marilyn’s bright, pretty dresses and Abby’s muted, sedate pantsuits.  I also was quite pleased with the original score composed by Timothy Vallier.

There were a few blips in this preview night performance.  Actors broke character on a few occasions with some of the jokes.  There also seemed to be a bit of a dead spot on house left as microphones didn’t seem to work quite as well there as they did on house right.  But these are easily fixable items.

I also thought the leading ladies were a little young to be in a senior living facility, but I also recognize the tough balancing act as I’m not certain older ladies would have been capable of handling the needed physicality for the roles.

This show has all the right ingredients for a most amusing night of theatre.  It’s got laughs.  It’s got heart.  It’s got sensitivity.  Get a ringside seat and watch the comedy brawl to win it all.

Ripcord plays at the Omaha Playhouse from Jan 19-Feb 11.  Showtimes are Wed-Sat at 7:30pm and Sundays at 2pm.  Tickets cost $36 for adults and $22 for students.  For tickets, contact the Playhouse at 402-553-0800 or visit www.omahaplayhouse.com or www.ticketomaha.com.  A little discretion is advised due to some coarse language and inappropriate gestures.  The Omaha Playhouse is located at 6915 Cass St in Omaha, NE.

Shelterbelt’s Before the Boards Presents ‘Lost Bicycle Support Group’

Shelterbelt Theatre is pleased to present a Before the Boards reading series performance of Lost Bicycle Support Group by Colleen Kilcoyne, directed by Emma Rasmussen.  The reading will be Monday, February 5 at 7pm at the theatre’s location at 3225 California St.  Tickets are $5 which includes a free beverage.  Reservations are highly recommended as the reading series productions usually sell out and they can be made at www.shelterbelt.org (click Box Office) or e-mail boxoffice@shelterbelt.org.

The cast features:  Leah Cardenas, Raydell Cordell III, Mallory Freilich, Matt Karasek, Ashley Lavert, Moira Mangiameli, Regina Palmer, and Nick Zadina.

In Lost Bicycle Support Group, a sexual assault survivor moves forward with bicycles, bugs, and extended metaphors.

‘Across Rhodes’ to Have World Premiere at Shelterbelt Theatre

Shelterbelt Theatre is pleased to present Across Rhodes by Amy Elizabeth Schweid.  The show will run at the theatre’s location at 3225 California St from January 26-February 18, 2018.  The play with song is directed by Elizabeth Thompson with music direction by Jamison Figueroa.  Performances are Thurs-Sat at 8pm and Sundays at 6pm (Feb 18 performance will be a 2pm matinee).  Ticket prices are $12 for Thurs and $20 for Fri-Sun ($15 for students, seniors (65+), and TAG members).  Tickets are on sale at www.shelterbelt.org (click Box Office) or boxoffice@shelterbelt.org or 402-341-2757.  The January 27 performance includes a post-show talkback with playwright, director, and cast.

Don’t miss the world premiere of this play with music!  In a small, lonely town sits Rhodes Bar, the only place with live music for miles.  Joss, a grave, young musician trailed by the phantom of her past, winds up at Rhodes and gets entranced and inspired again by Sarah, a hauntingly beautiful girl who can no longer share her music.  A story of life, death, and the fear of sharing who you are with the world.

“This piece all started with a song–“Keep Your Head Down”.  It was the first song I had written in a very long time that felt unique. . .different. . .it felt like my voice was coming through,” said playwright/songwriter, Amy Schweid.

“Amy has written characters that feel like home.  People who are scared, insecure, protective, creative, curious, jealous, fierce, but most of all searching.  Searching for who they are and what they contribute to this crazy game of life (or death).” said Elizabeth Thompson, Shelterbelt Artistic Director and director of the production.

“I didn’t realize just how personal this piece was until very recently.  I think I got so close to the details that I hadn’t stepped out to look at the big picture.  But this process has reconnected me with the overlying messages,” said Schweid.  “I believe it’s important to look at everything we create and everything we experience as a message to ourselves.”

Thompson continues, “The growth this book has had over the past few years is a testament to the kind of collaborative artist Amy truly is.  She knows what she wants, but is open to input and has incorporated much of that input into what you will see on stage.  After auditions, we even changed the gender of one of the characters and the dynamics of the relationships in the play.”

The cast features:  Craig Bond, Thomas Gjere, Meganne Horrocks Storm, Katie Miller, and Jayma Smay.  Set design by Ben Adams.  Lighting Design by Joshua Mullady.  Sound Design by Shannon Smay.  Costumes and Prop coordination by Beth Thompson and Amy Schweid.

In the gallery:  Kati Stanzi–acrylics