The ‘Rent’ is Coming Due at OCP

Billy Ferguson stars as Mark Cohen

Omaha, NE.–Rent opens Friday, February 10, 2023 at the Omaha Community Playhouse (OCP). This is the first time that OCP has produced this iconic show.

Production Dates: February 10-March 19, 2023

Show Times: Thursdays-Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.

Description: The cultural phenomenon that has inspired audiences for a quarter century. A raw and emotional year in the life of a diverse group of friends and struggling artists, chasing their dreams under the shadow of drug addictions and the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Winner of the Tony Award for Best Musical and the Pulitzer Prize, this iconic rock musical has become a cultural touchstone, rite of passage and source of joy and strength for millions.

Disclaimer: Contains adult content and language.

Tickets: Starting at $45. Prices vary by performance. Tickets are available for purchase by phone at (402) 553-0800, online at OmahaPlayhouse.com, or in person at the OCP Box Office, 6915 Cass St., Omaha, NE 68132

Cast

Mark Cohen–Billy Ferguson

Roger Davis–Jesse White

Tom Collins–DJ Tyree

Benjamin Coffin III–Allen Griffin

Joanne Jefferson–Brandi Smith

Angel Dumott Shunard–Wayne Hudson

Mimi Marquez–Isa Gott

Maureen Johnson–Evelyn Hill

Ensemble #1–Addie Barnhart

Ensemble #2–Xavier Carr

Ensemble #3–Kylah Calloway

Ensemble #4–Joey Galda

Ensemble #5–Aiden Poling

Ensemble #6–Matt Bailey

Ensemble #7–Maddy Stark

Directed by: Stephen Santa
Musical Director: Jim Boggess
Choreographer: Aaron Gregory

Photo by Colin Conces

OCP Looking For Actors to be “In the Heights”

Omaha, NE–The Omaha Community Playhouse (OCP) is holding in-person auditions for In the Heights on February 11 and 12. To schedule an audition, please visit the website here.

Director/Choreographer: Rebecca Kritzer

Music Director: Boston Reid

Show Dates: June 2-25, 2023

Omaha Community Playhouse, Hawks Mainstage Theatre

Rehearsal begin April 26, 2023.

Show Synopsis: Before there was Hamilton there was In the Heights.

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

Auditions: Saturday, Feb. 11, 2023, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. (Latino Center for the Midlands in the SOUTH building 4937 S. 24th St., Omaha, NE 68107). This audition is for those interested in principal and ensemble singing roles.

Sunday, Feb. 12, 2023, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. (Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St., Omaha, NE 68132). This audition is for those interested in ensemble dance roles. Please still be prepared to sing.

Callbacks: Monday, Feb. 13, 2023, 6-10 p.m. (Omaha Community Playhouse)

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

Audition preparation: 16-32 bars of pop/rock song, or a song in the style of the show, that showcases your voice. Singing from the show is okay. No legit/standard musical theatre/opera.

Auditioners are welcome and encouraged to also sing in Spanish, but please have another option as well.

Those wishing to be considered for Usnavi or Sonny are welcome to also prep a short rap, but not required.

Roles: Click here for character breakdown.

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

BSB Presenting ‘The Field’ & a Retrospective

The Brigit Saint Brigit Theatre Company Presents:


THE FIELD
By John B. Keane
&
30 YEARS: BSB IN IRELAND
2-Night Event


Brigit Saint Brigit (BSB) marks its 30th anniversary celebration of Irish culture with a full length run of
John B. Keane’s gripping and controversial play The Field, and a special Two Nights Only
retrospective 30 Years: BSB in Ireland.

The Field is an uncompromising tale that contrasts the excruciating tenderness felt by the ferocious
Bull McCabe for a field that has nurtured his family for generations, with the calculated brutality he’s
willing to wield against anyone he sees as–justly or not–threatening “his” land.

“. . . the primitive feeling of these people . . . is that a man will not do wrong unless he is under the influence of a
passion which is as irresponsible as a storm of the sea.” ~ J. M. Synge

30 Years: BSB in Ireland is a special look at BSB’s three decades of outstanding Irish theatre in
Omaha. Irish playwrights and stories have been a cornerstone of BSB since its beginning in 1993 (that
inaugural season offering the unforgettable Omaha debut of Brian Friel’s Dancing at Lughnasa). BSB
continues its 30th anniversary celebration Two Nights Only with live performances from reunited casts,
conversations with artists, video retrospectives and more! Featuring: Kevin Barratt, Tom Becker, Laura
Campbell, Terry Doughman, Jeremy Earl, Eric Grant-Leanna, Eric Griffith, Carol Knoepfler, David Mainelli, Eric
Salonis, Charleen Willoughby, Scott Working, Murphy Wulfgar, and Aaron Zavitz.

BSB’s affinity for Irish storytellers springs from their passionate love of language as a life force–vibrant, real, a
living thing. Experience and words are barely separated, and this is uniquely vivid onstage.”
~ Cathy M. Kurz, BSB Artistic Director

WHERE: First Central Congregational Church
421 S 36th Street, Omaha, NE 68131

WHEN: The Field
February 17- March 5
(Fri./Sat. @ 7:30 PM, Sundays @ 2:00 PM)

30 YEARS: BSB IN IRELAND
Thursdays 2/23 & 3/2 @ 7:30 PM

COST: $35 General Admission, $30 Student/65+/Military
WEBSITE: www.bsbtheatre.com
EVENT URL: https://www.bsbtheatre.com/thefield or https://www.bsbtheatre.com/30years

The Field cast
BSB’s production of The Field is directed by Cathy Kurz, stage managed by Sabrina Kinney, with a cast led by
Kevin Barrett, supported by Shane Staiger, Eric Griffith, Scott Working, Jessica Johnson, Austin Wright,
Charleen Willoughby, Dennis Stessman, Michael Lyon, Brent Spencer, Steve Miller, and Ryan Federico.

THE STORY

t’s 1965 in County Kerry, so the threat comes not from an outside invader, but from another villager, the
widow Butler who owns the few fertile acres and needs to sell to survive. Its passage to the river makes it
indispensable. Thady ‘Bull’ McCabe needs that field. But he can’t afford to pay the asking price which is what
it’s worth.

Yet that field, he knows in his bones, is his. His family’s blood and sweat and tending have made it his. With
ferocity and a dangerous reputation, he forces a rigged auction in which he will be the only bidder. But then,
enter an outsider. William Dee is a man who can afford to pay the higher price, an Irish expat, happy to live in
Britain, and one who believes in the primacy of the law, contracts, and the authorities that will protect him.

He doesn’t realize he’s entered a world not of man-made law but of passion and elemental force

The explosive intrigue, violence, investigation, and clerical condemnation that follow roil the small-town
community: each person struggles in a net of guilt, denial, and self-preservation. Keane’s is a plot and
examination of character that rivets.

Yet slightly beneath the playwright’s acute depiction of the events and reactions of specific characters in a
specific place and time runs a haunting undertone that’s without time or place. How much do the facts win out
over our comfort in being a member of the tribe? How do we recognize the ages-old, whispered myths that so
infuse and color our judgement? And how can we know which ones have value?

In Bull McCabe, John B. has cunningly created a character whose selfishness and brutality repel, while his
passion and tenderness for the land draw us in. Such human contradiction is the stuff of the play’s essential
power.

Opera Omaha to Present ‘Suor Angelica’

Omaha, NEOpera Omaha will continue its 2022-2023 Season with a production of Suor Angelica.

Composed by Giacomo Puccini, notable composer of Madama Butterfly, La bohème, and Tosca, this lesser-known opera explores grief and hope through the eyes of Sister Angelica. After being forced by her aristocratic family to join a convent and give up the child she birthed out of wedlock, Angelica’s trauma returns when an unexpected arrival leads her to wrestle with endurance in the light of lost hope. Puccini’s glorious music captures the profound emotion of a mother’s love and loss of that which is held most dear.

Originally produced in 1918 as part of Puccini’s Il trittico, a trio of one-act operas dealing with death, this will be Opera Omaha’s first staging of the classic piece. Lead by an entirely female production team and cast, Suor Angelica discourses on womens’ agency in an unlikely backdrop. Conductor Judith Yan and soprano Elaine Alvarez will make their Opera Omaha debuts in this poignant production also featuring Ronnita Miller (2022 X, the Life and Times of Malcolm X) and directed by Keturah Stickann (2018 Opera Outdoors).

SUOR ANGELICA

Friday, February 24, 2023 | 7:30 pm Sunday, February 26, 2023 | 2:00 pm

CREATIVE

CONDUCTOR | Judith Yan*

DIRECTOR | Keturah Stickann

SCENIC DESIGNER | Wally Coberg*

COSTUME DESIGNER | Betty Fredrickson*

LIGHTING DESIGNER | J. Isadora Krech*

WIG & MAKEUP DESIGNER | Ronell Oliveri

CAST

SISTER ANGELICA | Elaine Alvarez*

LA PRINCIPESSA | Ronnita Miller

THE ABBESS | Deborah Nansteel*

THE MONITOR | Kelly Guerra*

MISTRESS OF NOVICES | Hilary Ginther

SISTER GENOVIEFFA | Jennifer Cherest*

*Opera Omaha Debut

TICKETS AND INFORMATION

Single tickets for Opera Omaha’s 2022/23 Season are priced from $19 to $99.

Visit www.ticketomaha.com for further details or call Ticket Omaha’s Box Office at (402) 345-0606. Ticket Omaha’s Box Office is open Monday through Friday 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

Opera Omaha performances are held at the Orpheum Theater located at 409 S. 16th Street

Keep Out!

Anthony Montegut and Kerri Forrester star in “Fences”

Troy Maxson was a talented baseball player who missed out on his chance in the big leagues due to the color barrier being broken after his physical prime.  Bitter and angry, Maxson builds many spiritual fences to maintain some semblance of control over his world while simultaneously keeping his family out.  This is Fences and it is currently playing at the Omaha Community Playhouse.

This is my first time seeing an August Wilson work and now I’d like to see a lot more of them.  Wilson has a tremendous gift for voice and knows how to tap into the thoughts and emotions of an era.  Fences is part of his American Century Cycle where he explores “the heritage and experience of the descendants of Africans in North America. . .over the course of the twentieth century”.  This play has a unique storytelling style as the focus is on the days in the life of Troy Maxson.  Each scene serves as a vignette of its own.  Yet it all holds together seamlessly and focuses on a complicated man who overcame a lot of obstacles, but was constantly defeated by the opponent he saw in the mirror each day.

Denise Chapman and TammyRa’ team up to direct this production and provide steady hands to the work.  I was especially impressed with the background work as performers often went into the house and I truly just enjoyed watching the actors through the windows of the house and watching the expressions on their faces telling the stories of their characters.  Pacing was incredibly brisk and each performer had a well-defined character.  Some moments of violence need tidying up and a couple of confrontations have room for more intensity.

There is some truly sublime work in the supporting cast.  Raydell Cordell III shines as Troy’s son, Lyons.  The perpetually short of funds musician has a good heart, though his need for money causes him to make a poor life choice.  Eric J. Jordan, Sr. exemplifies a best friend as Bono.  He truly has Troy’s back, but isn’t afraid to tell him the truth when needed.  L. James Wright gives an award worthy performance as Gabriel.  He is so believable as the childlike brother (due to a brain injury in World War II) and his innocence and enthusiasm pump life and joy into the Maxson family.  Anavie Hope Lyons brings a precociousness to Raynell.

I’ve always been impressed with the work of Brandon Williams, but his performance last night firmly puts him in the upper echelon of Omaha actors.  It took me a moment to recognize him at first as his body language had me utterly convinced he was a teenager in his first appearance as Cory and I was hooked until the end.  Williams is sensational as the young man trying to find his way in the world under the shadow of his dominant father.  Williams has extraordinarily expressive eyes and I enjoyed the stories they told as he dealt with the father he both hated and loved.

Kerri Forrester has one of the warmest speaking voices I have heard and it is extremely well suited to her character of Rose.  Rose is the loving mother and the supportive wife, but is certainly no shrinking violet as she has seen the best and worst of Troy.  She’ll take care of him and nail him with a bon mot when the need arises.  Forrester does an incredible job underplaying the character which adds some fascinating dimensions to her verbal confrontations with Troy as she always makes an emotional choice other than the obvious one.

Anthony Montegut sure found one heavy role for his Playhouse (and possibly acting) debut.  Troy Maxson is an amazing study in duality.  He’s extremely confident, yet unsure of himself as a man.  He loves his family, but does everything in his power to drive them away.  He yearns to be strong, but acts out in ways that show he’s fatally weak.  This is a truly challenging role and Montegut acquits himself very admirably.

Montegut seems at ease on stage and is capable of moments of great intensity.  He’s definitely got the space to play with Maxson’s complexities and I’d like to see his performance at the end of the run to see what blooms.  Montegut does need to watch his articulation and slow down his rate of speech a bit.

Jim Othuse has designed an amazing set for this show.  An economical brick house serves as the abode of the Maxsons surrounded by a realistic looking tree, broken fence, and telephone pole.  Othuse also has some nice lighting effects from a starry night to the sun breaking through the clouds.  Ananias Montague has crafted an excellent score with some amazing emotional punch with the twang of a violin string, a melancholic piano, and an ominous drumbeat.  Andrew Morgan’s properties help the Maxson house feel like a home.  John Gibilisco helps the ambiance with sounds ranging from tweeting birds in the morning to noisy crickets at night.  Tamara Tamu Newson’s costumes reflect the period and the economic status of the play’s characters with simple work clothes and dresses.

At one point, Bono references fences being able to keep people out or keep people in and that describes the life of Troy Maxson.  He builds fences to maintain control over his world, but in the process, he keeps everything and everyone near to him out.

Fences runs at Omaha Community Playhouse through Feb 12. Tickets are on sale now, starting at $25 and 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. Due to strong language and some mature themes, parental discretion is advised. The Omaha Community Playhouse is located at 6915 Cass St in Omaha, NE.

Photo by Colin Conces

OCP Announces Auditions for ‘Pretty Fire’

Omaha, NE–The Omaha Community Playhouse (OCP) is holding in-person auditions for Pretty Fire at the Omaha Community Playhouse on January 22 & 23, 2023. To schedule an audition, click here

Show Dates: April 28-May 21, 2023

Rehearsals: Begin April 2, 2023

Show Synopsis: Charlayne Woodard takes us on an intimate and powerful journey through five autobiographical vignettes, each capturing different moments of her life growing up as a rambunctious, imaginative child in the 50s and 60s. From her loving family home in upstate New York, to her first experience with racism at her grandmother’s house in Georgia, Pretty Fire is a beautiful one-woman celebration of life, love and family, even in the face of adversity.

Disclaimer: Contains adult content and language.

Auditions: Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023, 6-9 p.m. (Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St., Omaha, NE 68132)

Monday, Jan. 23, 2023, 6-9 p.m. (Omaha Community Playhouse)

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

Audition prep: There are two sides for the audition here and here. Please select one to prepare for the audition. They do not need to be memorized.

Roles: Black woman, age 45+. This is a one-woman show told from the perspective of the author who details her life growing up in the 50s and 60s. She embodies multiple characters such as: her mother, father, sister, grandfather, classmates, and many others who were influential to her life.

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

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Rave On Productions Roars On with 2023 Season

Omaha, NE–Rave On Productions will open its 2023 Omaha Series with Godspell, the beloved classic from the Grammy and Academy Award winning composer, Stephen Schwartz. Godspell tells the timeless tale of friendship, loyalty and community and will be presented in the newly renovated Benson Theatre. The show features a cast of Omaha favorites including Billy McGuigan as Jesus. Godspell runs February 10 – 26th.

In September, Rave On Productions brings to life the legendary songbook of Johnny Cash with Ring of Fire. Ring of Fire takes us on a journey of love and faith, struggle and success, all with the strength and downright honesty that made Johnny Cash one of the greatest songwriters and most revered storytellers in American music. Ring of Fire runs September 8 – 23 at The Waiting Room in Benson.

The 2023 Omaha Series will finish their year with two shows that have become annual traditions for Omaha audiences. The Slowdown will once again host The Rocky Horror Show in October and Yesterday and Today: The Interactive Beatles Experience in November and December.

Visit theomahaseries.com for show and ticketing information.

OCP Preparing to Swing For the ‘Fences’

Anthony Montegut & Kerri Forrester star in “Fences”

Omaha, NE–August Wilson’s Fences opens Friday, January 20, 2023 at the Omaha Community Playhouse (OCP). This marks OCP’s first August Wilson production in the theatre’s 98-year history. To celebrate this momentous run, OCP is collaborating with The Union for Contemporary Art, Great Plains Theatre Commons, and Metropolitan Community College on city-wide community events.  

“OCP is honored to execute this powerful weekend in collaboration with three of the most intentional and community-driven arts and education organizations in the city,” said Kathy Tyree, OCP’s director of Inclusion and Community Engagement. “It is our hope that participants will walk away with not only a deeper appreciation and understanding of the work of August Wilson but also feeling informed with new resources and tools to enhance their individual connection to the arts.” 

A former African American League baseball player struggles to co-exist with the racial trauma he still carries from his time in the league. When his frustrations lead to a series of tragic choices, his relationships with his wife and son suffer the consequences. Set in the 1950s, Fences is the sixth installment in The American Century Cycle, a series of ten plays by August Wilson that trace the Black experience through 20th century America. 

Production Dates: January 20-February 12, 2023 

Show Times: Wednesdays-Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. 

Tickets: Starting at $25. Prices vary by performance. Tickets are available for purchase by phone at (402) 553-0800, online at OmahaPlayhouse.com, or in person at the OCP Box Office, 6915 Cass St., Omaha, NE 68132 

Directed By: Denise Chapman

Cast
Anthony Montegut as Troy Maxson
Kerri Forrester as Rose
Raydell Cordell III as Lyons
L. James Wright as Gabriel
Brandon Williams as Cory
Eric Jordan, Sr. as Jim Bono
Hope Haddad, Anavie Lyons, and Brooklyn Montegut as Raynell

Photo by Colin Conces

‘Godspell’ Opens Third Season of Rave On Productions’ “The Omaha Series”

Omaha, NE–Prepare ye for Godspell, the beloved classic from three-time Grammy and Academy Award winner, Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Pippin, Children of Eden). Led by the international hit, “Day by Day,” Godspell features a parade of beloved songs, including “Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord,” “Learn Your Lessons Well,” “All for the Best,” “All Good Gifts,” “Turn Back, O Man” and “By My Side.”

A group of people help Jesus Christ tell different parables by using a wide variety of games, storytelling techniques, and a hefty dose of comic timing. An eclectic blend of songs, ranging in style from pop to vaudeville, is employed as the story of Jesus’ life dances across the stage. Dissolving hauntingly into the Last Supper and the Crucifixion, Jesus’ messages of kindness, tolerance, and love come vibrantly to life. 

Boasting a score with chart-topping songs, a book by a visionary playwright (John-Michael Tebelak), and a feature film, Godspell is a sensation that continues to touch audiences.

THE VENUE:
Benson Theatre, 6054 Maple Street, Omaha NE

SHOW DATES:
Friday February 10, 2023
Saturday February 11, 2023
Friday February 17, 2023
Saturday February 18, 2023
Sunday February 19, 2023
Friday February 24, 2023
Saturday February 25, 2023
Sunday February 26, 2023

Friday and Saturday shows are at 7:30pm. Sunday shows are at 2:00pm.
Doors open 30 minutes prior to performance.

TICKETS:
Tickets start at $35 | Reserved Seating
Groups of 10 or more receive a 10% discount. Contact Kate Whitecotton to reserve your group tickets at kate@billymcguigan.com.

Directed & Choreographed By: Kimberly Faith Hickman
Musical Direction By: Matthew McGuigan

Cast

Billy McGuigan as Jesus
Jonathan Berger as Judas/John the Baptist
Megan Berger as Gilmer
Carly Frolio as Sonia
Brandon Fisher as Lamar
Ejanae Hume as Peggy
Brittney Thompson as Robin
Cullen Wiley as Jeffrey