Shelterbelt to Premiere ‘Neighbors, Lovers and All the Others’

Shelterbelt Theatre is pleased to present the premiere of Neighbors, Lovers and All the Others by Marie Amthor Schuett at 3225 California Street from July 14 to August 6, 2017.  The show is directed by Elizabeth Thompson.  Performances are Thurs-Sat at 8pm and Sundays at 6pm (except for August 6 which will be at 2pm).  Ticket prices are $12 for Thursday shows, $20 for Fri-Sun shows ($15 for students, seniors 65+, TAG members).  Tickets are on sale at www.shelterbelt.org (click box office) or boxoffice@shelterbelt.org or 402-341-2757.  On Saturday, July 15, the theatre will host a post-show talkback with playwright, Marie Amthor Schuett, and other members of the cast and creative team.

Loyal lives a life of blue kimonos, Judy Garland, and Pavarotti.  Facing a serious bout of composer’s block, he finds inspiration in an unlikely source–his handsome neighbor–who seriously needs curtains.  When lives intertwine, Loyal finds there is more to his neighbor than the window into his world originally revealed.

The cast features Randall T. Stevens, Connie Lee, Katie Nguyen, and Brandon Williams.  Creative staff includes Jayma Smay (Stage Manager), Kevin Goshorn (Assistant Director), Joshua Mullady (Set & Lighting Design), Lora Kaup (Costume Design), Shannon Smay (Sound Design), and Robyn Helwig (Props).

“This play was inspired by the music of the brilliant singer/songwriter, Rufus Wainwright, my lifelong crush on Judy Garland, the work of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Tennessee Williams, and a summer I spent in the Rocky Mountains a few years ago.  It was the epitome of the Gatsbian–self-indulgent, luxurious, and free.  I wanted to capture the essence of that summer and experience in a play,” Schuett explained.

She continues, “Neighbors is a very different piece for me.  I posed this play as a personal challenge to myself once I realized it had the potential to be different from my other work.  What would happen if I altered the play’s physics of time and space to tell the story in a different way?”

“Who doesn’t want a few hours of jazz, opera, romance, drama, lots of laughs, and spritzers on a warm summer’s evening?” adds Thompson.  “I am excited for people to se Marie’s versatility in this piece.”

Shelterbelt produced Amthor Schuett’s award-winning play, The Other Sewing Circle, in January 2015 to sold out houses.  “For fans of Marie’s work, get ready to see a sexier side of her storytelling.  One of Marie’s many talents as a playwright is her ability to establish believable, and juicy, relationships between her characters rather quickly so as an audience we are able to comfortably go on this ride from the start,” Thompson continues.

Thompson, who is also Shelterbelt’s Artistic Director, helped choose the script for production.  “It has to begin with the story; is it something that we want to see?  What does this story have to say or contribute that feels fresh and different?  Do I like or relate to the characters?  Neighbors held all of this for me and as we have begun working on it so many other little gems have popped out and been fleshed out by the design and acting team.”

Schuett agrees, “Randall, Connie, Brandon, and Katie are a fearless bunch who bring everything they have to the table every rehearsal.  It’s hard not to fall completely in love with them as these characters.”

Jaim Hackbart is the featured artist in the gallery.

Shelterbelt Theatre is Omaha’s home for new plays.  The play concludes Shelterbelt’s 24th season, By Local/Buy Local, featuring scripts celebrating our local playwrights.  Shelterbelt Theatre is a 2015 and 2016 recipient of the International 50/50 Applause Award by the International Centre For Women Playwrights, which honors theatres that produce a season with an equal or greater number of plays written by female playwrights.  (www.womenplaywrights.org)

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“The Christians” to Have Regional Premiere at Blue Barn

Press Photo

The BLUEBARN Theatre is proud to present the regional premiere of The Christians by Lucas Hnath.

BLUEBARN Producing Artistic Director Susan Clement-Toberer directs, with set design by Martin Scott Marchitto, lighting design by Carol Wisner, costume design by Lindsay Pape, sound design by Craig Marsh, projection design by Bill Grennan and properties design by Amy Reiner.

Shows run March 24 – April 17, 2016; Thursday-Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Sunday April 3, 10, and 17 at 6 p.m. Single tickets for The Christians are $30 for adults; and $25 for students, seniors 65+, TAG members, and groups of 10 or more.

The Christians is generously sponsored by Dr. Amy Haddad and Steve Martin, Roger B. Devor, and Giger Foundation.

Following the Sunday, April 3rd performance, the BLUEBARN Theatre will host a panel discussion with Tri-Faith Initiative featuring Rabbi Azriel from Congregation of Temple Temple Israel, Rev. Elnes from Countryside Community Church, and Dr. Mohiuddin from the American Muslim Institute-AMI.

About The Christians

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

About the Stars of The Christians

Award-winning actor Anthony Clark-Kaczmarek returns to the BLUEBARN stage in the pivotal role of Pastor Paul. Anthony was last seen in Arcadia (2003.) Jill Anderson (God of Carnage, BLUEBARN), Raydell Cordell III (A Behanding in Spokane, BLUEBARN), and Bill Hutson (Vieux Carré, BLUEBARN) return to the BLUEBARN stage in the roles of Paul’s wife, Paul’s Associate Pastor, and the church Elder, respectively. Kaitlyn McClincy (Harbor, SNAP! Productions – 2016 OEA Award) also makes her BLUEBARN debut as the young Congregant, Jenny. The Christians also features a live choir to enhance this compelling story: Fred Goodhew, Doug Good, Dan Luethke, Kim McGreevy, Jenna Peterson, Sara Planck, Mike Rosenthal, Erin Stoll, Becky Trecek, Carrie Trecek, Debbie Trecek-Volkens , Homero Vela, and Kelsi Weston.

About the Playwright, Lucas Hnath

Lucas Hnath’s plays include The Christians (2014 Humana Festival), Red Speedo (Studio Theatre, DC), A Public Reading of an Unproduced Screenplay About the Death of Walt Disney (Soho Rep), nightnight (2013 Humana Festival), Isaac’s Eye (Ensemble Studio Theatre), Death Tax (2012 Humana Festival, Royal Court Theatre), and The Courtship of Anna Nicole Smith (Actors Theatre of Louisville). Lucas has been a resident playwright at New Dramatists since 2011 and is a proud member of Ensemble Studio Theatre. Lucas is a winner of the 2012 Whitfield Cook Award for Isaac’s Eye and a 2013 Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award Citation for Death Tax. He is also a recipient of commissions from the EST/Sloan Project, Actors Theatre of Louisville, South Coast Repertory, Playwrights Horizons, New York University’s Graduate Acting Program, and the Royal Court Theatre.

About the BLUEBARN Theatre

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

The Madness Begins

BLUE BARN THEATRES WALK THE NIGHT RETURNS

The BLUEBARN Theatre is proud to present Walk the Night…Where Madness Lies. The next installment of its immersive event series is located within a converted century-old convent at 1310 N.29th Street (called “The Starlight Chateau”).  Walk the Night creator, Spencer Williams, co-directs with founding company choreographer, Wai Yim;with set design by Homero Vela and Hilary Williams, lighting design by Homero Vela, costume design by Lora Kaup, sound design by Bill Grennan, and properties design by Spencer Williams.

Shows run Oct. 28 – Nov. 21; Wednesday-Saturday, twice nightly at 7:00 p.m. and again at 8:30 p.m.  Preshow begins at 6:30 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. Single tickets for Walk the Night: Where Madness Lies are $20 for a single performance; $35 for both performances each night. Discounts can be discovered in the pre-show and throughout the city at one of two participating locations: House of Loom (1012 South 10th St.); and Spielbound (3229 Harney St.).

About WALK THE NIGHT: WHERE MADNESS LIES

 Walk the Night: Where Madness Lies is an alternate, edited interpretation of Shakespeare’s tragedy King Lear. In the story, Lear (played by Moira Mangiameli) begins to enter retirement, by dividing her assets between her three daughters, proceeding to announce so publicly. Cordelia, her only trustworthy daughter, denies an oath of complete and utter submission to Lear. The matriarch casts Cordelia out, ostracizing herself from her true friends and laying trust in plotting elder daughters, Goneril and Regan. Lear’s world unravels as the two daughters betray their oaths, and the world descends into destruction with only a handful of survivors. This rendition is a story of people haunted by elements known and unknown, blurring the lines between flaws and demonic possessions, reality and fantasy; it is the story of a descent into madness.

About the Format for WALK THE NIGHT: WHERE MADNESS LIES

The venue is the virtual entirety of a convent, built in 1903. The events occur in real time, throughout the rooms. There are no theatre seats. Audiences are free to explore and follow any of the fifteen stories as they happen. Masks are required and provided at the door. Comfortable footwear is recommended.

About the Stars of WALK THE NIGHT: WHERE MADNESS LIES

Walk the Night: Where Madness Lies features a diverse cast, playing against cultural expectations.  Leading the company as Lear (traditionally played by a man) is award-winning actress Moira Mangiameli. Others members are Josh Doucette, Teri Fender, John Hatcher, Regina Palmer, Cassi Moucka, Aaron Ellis, Andre McGraw, Regina Palmer (all returning company members), as well as Ben Beck, Jenna Briggs, Raydell Cordell III, Britta Tollefsrud, Ryann Woods, Cara Walters, and Nick Zadina.

About The BLUEBARN Theatre

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

Auditions for Dracula at Chanticleer Theater

Auditions for the second production of the Chanticleer Community Theater 2015 – 2016 season, Dracula, by Hamilton Deane and John L. Balderston, will be held on Sunday, September 13 at 6:00 p.m. and Monday, September 14 at 6:00 p.m. at Chanticleer Theater (830 Franklin Ave, Council Bluffs, IA).

Those auditioning will be asked to read from the script.  Please bring a calendar and a list of ALL conflicts from September 16 – November 1, 2015.  Cast read-thru tentatively scheduled for audition week with rehearsals beginning week of September 21.

Dracula opens October 23 and runs through November 1, 2015.  Performances are Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons for two weekends. For this production we will be including an additional midnight performance on Halloween!

Show Summary
Lucy Seward, daughter of the physician in charge of a sanatorium near London, is mysteriously anemic. Doctor Van Helsing, a specialist in obscure diseases, suspects a vampire which, according to legend, is an ugly soul that, grave-bound by day, roams the earth at night, and sustains its earthly life by sucking the blood of approachable victims.

The Players
Dracula: A tall, mysterious man. Polished and distinguished. Continental in appearance and manner. Age 40 – 60.

Harker: A young man age 20 – 30; handsome in appearance; a typical Englishman of the Public School class, but in manner direct, explosive, incisive and excitable.

Dr. Seward: Age 50 – 65; intelligent, but a typical specialist who lives in a world of text books and patients; not a man of action or force of character.

Van Helsing: Age 50 – 65; Clearly a man of resourceful action; nervous, alert manner; an air of resolution; incisive speech, always to the point; raps his words out sharply and quickly.

Renfield: Repulsive young man age 20 – 30; repulsive; face distorted, shifty eyes, tousled hair.

Lucy Seward: Daughter of Dr. Seward; A beautiful young girl age 20 – 30; her face is unnaturally pale and she walks with difficulty; fiancée of Harker.

Maid: An attractive young girl age 20 – 30; possibly to double in non-speaking role of Mina.

Attendant: Young man of 20 – 30; Sanatorium worker for Dr. Seward.

Dracula will be directed by Daena Schweiger and is produced by special arrangement with Samuel French. For more information or to check out a script please contact the Chanticleer Community Theater at (712) 323-9955

Ironically Titled “Slabs” Bursts with Life & Sensitivity

Funerals and memorial services are funny things because they are not for the dead.  They are for the living.  It gives people a chance to say good-bye (or good riddance depending on the relationship), to share stories and memories, and to make peace.  These ideas drive Slabs, an original play written by local actress, Kaitlyn McClincy, and presented as a staged reading on Monday and Tuesday at the Shelterbelt Theatre.

Ms McClincy’s script shows a remarkable amount of promise.  It is a well told story (even the stage directions are a nice bit of prose), is well paced, features some strongly developed characters, and has a brilliant twist in the plot.  Throw in some powerful direction and a cast of talented storytellers and you have all the necessary elements for a fine night of theatre.

Noah Diaz, a relative newcomer to directing, has an instinct for direction that seasoned veterans would envy .  He coached some marvelous performances from his cast, set a nice, steady pace, and displayed an intimate understanding of the beats of the script.

Brent Spencer gave a haunting performance as Walter Clarke, the mortician of his small town.  Walter takes his work very seriously.  He is a stickler for rules and procedures, but he also has a great respect for the dead.  Spencer does excellent work in communicating both the firmness and the sensitivity of Walter.  At one moment, Walter will come down on his subordinates for not following protocol, but in the next he will show tender loving care towards the dead by insisting on replacing a beat up suit with a nice one, demanding that the dead be referred to by their names instead of slabs (the medical school nickname for cadavers), or comforting grieving family members of the departed.

Spencer also gives a nice little bit of social awkwardness to Walter.  He is clearly more comfortable around the dead than the living and often makes weak jokes and puns on death.  Walter is also a workaholic who doesn’t have enough time to spend with his family.  This becomes most apparent in the show’s final monologue as Walter grieves over a corpse that has personal significance to him.  Spencer handles the scene beautifully and several members of the audience shed tears during his speech.

Cathy Hirsch and Jonathan Purcell shine as Nancy Dawson, the funeral home’s office manager, and Henry Rollins, Walter’s apprentice.  Ms Hirsch and Mr. Purcell had a spot on chemistry with each other that was essential for the attraction between the two characters.  The two performers had some of the best scenes of the night with their humorous and witty banter.

As Nancy, Ms Hirsch is the more animated and snarky of the two.  Whether she was lamenting a date that was not to be, telling Henry she had a crush on him to see if he was actively listening, or setting a basketball behind the driver’s seat of the hearse to make Henry think a severed head was rolling around, Ms Hirsch made Nancy the life’s blood of the funeral home with her love of living and her sense of humor.

As Henry, Purcell was the yang to Hirsch’s yin.  Henry was a bit more aloof than Nancy and somewhat misanthropic.  He dropped out of med school due to his dislike of dealing with patients.  Instead, Henry entered mortuary sciences due to its formulaic nature and lack of contact with living people.  But Henry also has a wry, even dark, sense of humor evidenced by a practical joke where Henry made Nancy think a corpse had returned to life. Purcell’s knack for comedy served him well as he ably handled the funny dialogue as well as demonstrated his difficulty in dealing with the living when he has an argument with a rude client (played by Ben Thorp).

Matthew Pyle’s turn as Hank Cartwright is tragic and heavy.  The play opens with the death of his son and Hank embodies the sadder side of death.  Pyle’s Hank is so stricken with grief that he is almost numb.  He’s angry at his son for not being a safer driver, angry at the drunk driver who killed his boy, angry at his son’s girlfriend for asking for a ride home that night, and probably angry at himself for not being the husband his wife needs at this sad time.  Hank doesn’t say much, but Pyle is able to say plenty in the silence with skillful reactions and revealing expressions.

Judy Radcliff has a memorable part as Mrs. Withem, who embodies the happier side of death.  Her husband has recently passed and while she is sad, she chooses to remember the good times.  Ms Radcliff’s Mrs. Withem is a talkative sort who is also prone to making bad jokes about death.  Her charm is infectious and talking about the death of her husband and the little things they did to make each other happy is crucial to helping Pyle’s Hank begin to work through his own crushing grief.

Other strong performances came from Connie Lee who played Emily Cartwright, the grieving wife of Hank, Jim McKain, as a pastor with his own doubts, and Lauren Krupski who did an admirable job with the prosey stage directions.  The only flaw, such as it was, in the performances was that some of the actors needed to speak louder and project more.

Although Ms McClincy has written a very solid script, I did see some room for edits.  An extended joke about a clogged toilet seemed unnecessary for the story and an arc focusing on an ungrateful son needed some more development and a more satisfying conclusion.  With that being said, the script does have an immense amount of potential and I would encourage the Shelterbelt to make this a full scale production in the near future, especially with the caliber of direction and acting displayed in the staged reading.

Blue Barn Theatre Takes Final Bow in Current Location with Classic American Drama

Our Town by Thornton Wilder

Show Dates:  May 7-June 7

Show Times:  Thurs-Sat and Sunday, May 30 at 7:30pm.  Sunday, May 17 and Sunday, June 7 at 6pm.

We all grow up…we all fall in love…most of us have families and grow old. And we all die. That’s our story. Today when the definition of worldliness seems to be miles traveled, Our Town reminds us how rich the life around us is if we just stop and listen.

Ticket prices are $30 for adults and $25 for students, seniors (65+), TAG Members, and groups of 10 or more.  Tickets can be obtained at www.bluebarn.org or contact the Box Office at 402-345-1576.  The Blue Barn Theatre is located at 614 S 11th St in Omaha, NE.  This will be the final show in Blue Barn’s current space.  Next fall, it moves into its own home at 10th and Pacific.

Director:  Susan Clement

Cast

Stage Manager – Nils Haaland
Emily Webb – Kelsi Weston
George Gibbs – Eddie McGonigal

Dr. Gibbs – Mike Markey
Mrs. Gibbs – Moira Mangiameli
Rebecca Gibbs – Emma Chvala
Mr. Webb – Ron Chvala
Mrs. Webb – Julie Huff
Wally Webb – Kian Roblin

Joe Crowell/Si Crowell – Quincy Ellefson
Howie Newsome – Steve Broszka
Professor Willard – JJ Davis
Simon Stimson – Dennis Collins
Mrs. Soames – Susie Baer Collins
Constable Warren – Mike Farrell
Baseball Players – Jon Roberson, Ben Thorpe, Carl Bieber
Sam Craig – Steve Miller
Joe Stoddard – Dan Luethke
Woman in Balcony – Judy Radcliff
Lady in the Box – Jennifer Gilg
Man Among Dead/Farmer McCarty – Mark Kocsis
Townspeople – Amy Ellefson, Annika Ellefson
Belligerent Man – Ablan Roblin

Sabrina Fair to Close Season at Bellevue Little Theatre

Sabrina Fair by Samuel Taylor

Show dates:  May 1-17, 2015

Showtimes:  7:30 pm Friday and Saturday; 2pm Sunday

Reservations are strongly recommended and may be made by calling the theatre at 402-291-1554 on Monday through Saturday from 10 am to 4:30 pm.  Tickets cost $15 ($13 for Seniors & $9 for students.)  The Bellevue Little Theatre is located at 203 W Mission Ave in Bellevue, NE.

Set on Long Island in the 1950s, Sabrina Fair deals with the involvement of a very rich family named Larrabee with Sabrina Fairchild, the daughter of their family chauffeur. She is bright, well-educated, and has just returned from five years in Paris, where she has done a brilliant job as an executive in a U.S. government overseas office. She has come home to find out if she is still in love with the younger Larrabee son, David.

Cast:
Phyllis Bonds-Julia
Janet Macklin-Maude
Will Muller-Linus
Paul Schneider-Larrabee
Dan Whitehouse-David
Debbie Bertelsen-Margaret
Brandy Howell-Gretchen
Mary Trecek-Sabrina
Larry Wroten-Fairchild
Simon Lovell-Paul
Also featuring: Allison Davis, Abby Dickson, Manuel Marquez

Sonia Keffer-Director
Mark Reid-Stage Manager
Robin Klusmire-Producer