OCP Announces Auditions for ‘Little Shop of Horrors’

Omaha, NE–The Omaha Community Playhouse (OCP) is holding in-person auditions for Little Shop of Horrors at the Omaha Community Playhouse on December 3 and 4 and Latino Center for the Midlands on December 5. To schedule an audition, please visit the website here.

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: Little Shop of Horrors

Credits: Book and Lyrics by Howard Ashman; Music by Alan Menken

Director: Stephen Santa

Choreographer: DJ Tyree

Music Director: Jim Boggess

Show Dates: April 14-May 7, 2023 Omaha Community Playhouse, Hawks Mainstage Theatre

Rehearsals: Begin February 26, 2023

Show Synopsis: Seymour, a nerdy store clerk at Mushnik’s flower shop, is thrust into the spotlight when he happens upon a new breed of carnivorous plant. But his newfound fame comes at a cost when Seymour discovers the sassy seedling has an unquenchable thirst for human blood. Ravenously fun, dripping with camp and nostalgia. Disclaimer: Contains mild adult content and language.

Auditions: Saturday, Dec. 3, 1-4 p.m. (Latino Center for the Midlands, 4937 S. 24th St., Omaha, NE 68107)

Sunday, Dec. 4, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. (Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St, Omaha, NE 68132)

Monday, Dec. 5, 6-9 p.m. (Omaha Community Playhouse)

Callbacks: Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022, 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: Two 32 bar songs – Pop, R&B, or Contemporary Musicals. Accompanist will be provided.

Roles: Click here for character breakdown.

Compensation: Onstage performers 19 and older for this show will be compensated $700 in total.

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

OCP Reveals 98th Season

The Legend of Georgia McBride
Aug. 19–Sept. 18, 2022
Howard Drew Theatre
By Matthew López

You’ve never seen Elvis like this.

A Southern straight boy and out-of-work Elvis impersonator discovers a hidden talent—and a way to pay his mounting bills—after a drag queen convinces him to fill in on stage for one of her shows. Now if he could only find a way to tell his pregnant wife about his new hobby. A laugh-out-loud comedy filled with music, heart and plenty of sass.

Disclaimer: Contains adult language.

School of Rock
Sept. 16–Oct. 16, 2022
Hawks Mainstage Theatre
Based on the Paramount movie by Mike White | Book by Julian Fellowes | Lyrics by Glenn Slater | New Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber

You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll rock.

A middle-aged wannabe rock star lands a new gig as a substitute teacher at a prestigious prep school, where he transforms a group of straight-A students into a face-melting rock band. Based on the hit movie starring Jack Black, School of Rock features a cast of young rock stars who act, sing and perform all of the show’s rock instrumentals live on stage.

The Cake
Oct. 7–Nov. 6, 2022
Howard Drew Theatre
By Bekah Brunstetter

A new comedy from the writer of hit TV show ‘This Is Us.’

A celebrated North Carolina baker is thrilled to finally design a wedding cake for her goddaughter. But when she learns the marriage is between two women, she begins to feel conflicted. A surprising and sweet take on a modern-day controversy, seeped in humor and warmth.

Disclaimer: Contains adult language and brief nudity.

A Christmas Carol
Nov. 18–Dec. 23, 2022
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.

Sister’s Christmas Catechism: The Mystery of the Magi’s Gold
Nov. 25–Dec. 23, 2022
Howard Drew Theatre

From the creator of Late Nite Catechism.

It’s “CSI: Bethlehem” in this holiday mystery extravaganza, from the author of Late Nite Catechism, as Sister takes on the mystery that has intrigued historians throughout the ages—whatever happened to the Magi’s gold? (“We know that Mary used the frankincense and myrrh as a sort of potpourri—they were in a barn after all.”) Retelling the story of the nativity, as only Sister can, this hilarious holiday production is bound to become a yearly classic. Employing her own scientific tools, assisted by a local choir as well as a gaggle of audience members, Sister creates a living nativity unlike any you’ve ever seen. With gifts galore and bundles of laughs, Sister’s Christmas Catechism is sure to become the newest addition to your holiday traditions.

August Wilson’s Fences
Jan. 20–Feb. 12, 2023
Hawks Mainstage Theatre
By August Wilson

The Pulitzer Prize-winning American classic.

A former Negro 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.

RENT
Feb. 10–March 19, 2023
Howard Drew Theatre
Book, Music and Lyrics by Johnathan Larson

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.

Dreamgirls
March 3–26, 2023
Hawks Mainstage Theatre
Book and Lyrics by Tom Eyen | Music by Henry Krieger

Stars rise and fall, but dreams live forever.

A trio of women soul singers catch their big break during an amateur competition. But will their friendship—and their music—survive the rapid rise from obscurity to pop super stardom? with dazzling costumes and powerhouse vocal performances, this Tony and Grammy Award-winning musical is inspired by some of the biggest musical acts of the 1960s—The Supremes, The Shirelles, James Brown, Jackie Wilson and more.

Little Shop of Horrors
April 14–May 7, 2024
Hawks Mainstage Theatre
Book and Lyrics by Howard Ashman | Music by Alan Menken

The gleefully gruesome cult comedy with an infectious 60s-style score.
Seymour, a nerdy store clerk at Mushnik’s flower shop, is thrust into the spotlight when he happens upon a new breed of carnivorous plant. But his newfound fame comes at a cost when Seymour discovers the sassy seedling has an unquenchable thirst for human blood. Ravenously fun, dripping with camp and nostalgia.

Pretty Fire
April 28–May 21, 2023
Howard Drew Theatre
By Charlayne Woodard

A profound celebration of life and the Black experience.

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

In The Heights
June 2–25, 2023
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 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.

Don’t Stop Them Now

From L to R: Jonathan Berger, Evelyn Hill, Jesse White (back row), Eric Perlstein, Brittney Thompson, Ejanae Hume

Look!  Up on the stage!  It’s a chord!  It’s a bard!  No, it’s Don’t Stop Me Now!  A Celebration of Rock Musicals.  This joint production between Rave On Productions and the Omaha Community Playhouse is currently playing in the Storz Parking Lot at OCP.

This rollicking revue of rock musicals is a rather ambitious production and hits the right notes (pun intended) for the most part.  Rave On and OCP give the audience a potpourri of tunes ranging from hard rockers to soft ballads to some pretty emotional works.  I especially enjoyed the fact that not only were classic well-known numbers and shows utilized, but they also selected songs from lesser known productions which really spiced up the evening.

Kimberly Faith Hickman’s direction brought some fun theatricality to the night while Matthew McGuigan’s musical direction was utterly flawless.  He and his band were in fine fettle as they played with a rich gusto and energy that gave the songs a familiar feel, but imbued them with a unique vibrancy.

The show is blessed with a talented troupe of troubadours who each get their moments in the sun and occasionally blend in glorious harmony.  Some shining moments were Brittney Thompson’s rendition of the power ballad “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” from Dreamgirls and Ejanae Hume’s killer take on “Take Me or Leave Me” from Rent.  Eric Perlstein kicked things off with the sonorous “Heaven On Their Minds” from Jesus Christ Superstar, gave us a little Four Seasons with “December, 1963 (Oh What a Night), but his shining moment was his interpretation of “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” from American Idiot with his sensational, soulful emoting.  Jonathan Berger’s lower tenor got to glow with Billy Joel’s “Movin’ Out” and “Tear Me Down” from Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

But in a group of standout performers, Evelyn Hill and Jesse White really stole the show.  Hill is a worthy successor to Brenda Lee’s moniker of Little Miss Dynamite as her talent is explosive.  Hill threw herself into her numbers and stunned with performances including a high powered rendition of ABBA’s “Mamma Mia” and her half of “Suddenly, Seymour” from Little Shop of Horrors

White is a performer’s performer with his own animated performances.  His tenor is both soaring and searing as he tore through the night outdoing Frankie Valli’s falsetto in “Sherry”, was shyly comforting in his half of “Suddenly, Seymour”, nailed David Bowie’s “Changes” from Lazarus to the floor, and capped the night with Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now”.

But the night’s capstone number came from Ryan McGuigan with his tragically haunting version of “Gethsemane” from Jesus Christ Superstar.  Aside from his formidable musical chops, McGuigan brought a little top notch acting as he was shedding real tears by the end of the song and if you can listen to it without your soul stirring, then you probably don’t have one.

But I can’t end this review without mentioning the splendid work of Jim Boggess who hosted the festivities.  His wit, warmth, and humor really enhanced the night and his introduction of each number was a real aid for those who may not be familiar with each song and show.

There were some moments of singers not having enough breath for certain notes and numbers that were fine technically, but needed a bit more commitment to bring them to that next level, but these were minor quibbles in a thoroughly entertaining night.

It’s a rocking good time and a pleasant, and socially distant, way to get out and have some fun.  Take a break from these strange times and get a ticket to see this one before it’s too late.

Don’t Stop Me Now! A Celebration of Rock Musicals plays at the Omaha Community Playhouse through Sept 20. Showtimes are Wed-Sat at 7pm and Sundays at 6pm. Tickets cost $35 and can be purchased online at www.omahaplayhouse.com or by phone at 402-553-0800.  This is a cashless event and reservations are required.  CDC guidelines are being followed and parking spaces will be assigned upon arrival.  Please do not arrive earlier than 60 minutes before showtime.  The Omaha Community Playhouse is located at 6915 Cass Street in Omaha, NE.

Photo provided by Zach Wagner Photography

This Shop is Worthy of a Visit

Seymour Krelborn has one dream:  to get out of Skid Row.  One day fate seems to offer him a shot at that dream when he buys a strange, exotic plant which he exhibits in the window of the florist shop where he works.  Suddenly Seymour has fame, money, and the girl.  And all it took was a little blood.  Find out the rest of Seymour’s story in Little Shop of Horrors  by Howard Ashman with music and lyrics by Alan Menken. It is currently playing at Bellevue Little Theatre.

Ashman’s script is a bit of genius.  He took a cult horror film and managed to turn it into a hit musical due largely to his tongue in cheek approach to the material and the snappy score of Alan Menken.  The tongue in cheek approach was certainly the way to go as it helps disguise the fact that this is a pretty bleak tale.  Nearly all of the characters are unlikable and it does not have a happy arc.  In spite of that, you can’t help but have a great time due to the comedy and memorable songs.

D Laureen Pickle’s direction is a strong bit of work as she has led her cast to some fine characterizations and knows how to balance the serious moments with the over the top moments.

The cast was quite clearly enjoying themselves which really adds to the fun of the show.  Some notable supporting performances were supplied by Carrie Beth Stickrod, Samantha Shatley, and Brenda Smrdel as a trio of chiseling Skid Row do woppers who also serve as the play’s musical narrators; James Verderamo as a sadistic dentist; and Christopher Scott as Mr. Mushnik, the greedy and abrasive owner of the florist shop.

When I envision Seymour Krelborn, Kyle Avery is the image that springs to mind.  Avery was a pitch perfect Seymour as his lean and lanky physique were well suited to the nebbish Seymour.  Rest assured that Avery’s acting and singing chops were also more than up to the challenge of the role.  Adopting an adenoidal, Brooklyn tinged voice, Avery well presented Seymour as a shy, nerdy man who merely wants a few nice things out of life, but whose innocence leave him susceptible to manipulation by others.  Avery gives Seymour an inherent decency that makes his struggles with his conscience quite believable when he starts to go down a darker path due to the machinations of his plant, Audrey II.

Avery possesses a strong and sweet tenor voice that he modulates well emotionally with heartbreaking numbers such as “Skid Row” and “Suddenly, Seymour”.

Jen Dillon is delightful as Audrey.  Ms Dillon utilizes a breathy, Brooklyn voice to communicate the uneducated nature of Audrey, but, boy, does she have a heart of gold.  She is a really nice girl who just happened to be born on the wrong side of the tracks and you really pity her as she seems resigned to being poor and being involved with rotten men.  She also has a lovely soprano with which she can either belt out a tune such as her sequences in “Skid Row” or melt your heart like butter in “Somewhere That’s Green”.

Andrew Miner gives an incredibly animated performance as Audrey II.  What makes it even more amazing is that it’s all done by the power of his voice as Audrey II is nothing more than a series of puppets (kudos to the puppet designer by the way).  Miner gives Audrey II a delicious aura of evil and a malicious mean streak.  His powerful upper baritone singing voice also aid in communicating Audrey II’s nastiness with tunes such as “Feed Me (Git It)” and “Suppertime”.

D Laureen Pickle’s set design really looks like a skid row with its dilapidated, abandoned buildings and garbage strewn streets.  Lindsey Pape has designed a series of pluperfect costumes from Seymour’s nerdy outfit of baseball cap, sweater, and glasses to the disheveled clothes of the Skid Row inhabitants to the do wop outfits of the Skid Row trio.  Chris Ebke and his band provided a wonderful afternoon’s entertainment performing the catchy tunes.  I also want to note the puppetry of Brian Henning which made Audrey II seem like a living entity.

Energy seemed to lag a bit in today’s production and projection was all over the map.  I also thought there was room to go a bit bigger in some of the show’s more over the top moments.  But these are easily remedied items which will make a hot show scalding.

It may not be a happy tale, but, by golly, it’s a fun time.  Take a visit to this shop.  Just remember, don’t feed the plants.

Little Shop of Horrors plays at Bellevue Little Theatre through Oct 1.  Showtimes are Fri-Sat at 7:30pm and Sundays at 2pm.  Tickets cost $20 for adults, $18 for seniors, and $10 for students.  For tickets contact the theatre at 402-291-1554 Mon-Sat from 10am to 3pm.  Bellevue Little Theatre is located at 203 W Mission Ave in Bellevue, NE.