It’s Alive!!!!!!

Shelterbelt Theatre is pleased to present Resurrection:  The Best of ShelterSkelter at 3225 California Street, October 6-29, 2017.  The show is directed by Kaitlyn McClincy, Jayma Smay, and Elizabeth Thompson.  Performances are Thurs-Sat at 9pm and Sunday at 6pm (except for Oct 29 at 2pm).  Tickets are $12 for Thursday shows and $20 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.

Our audience asked for it and Shelterbelt brought ShelterSkelter back to life–the eerie, the funny, the dark and spooky!  We opened the Skelter crypt and dug up some of our favorite blasts from the past, featuring some of your favorite playwrights.  Come in costume!  We’ll post pix on our Facebook page and each week’s winner (most likes) will advance to the finals.  Top finalist wins 2 Shelterbelt season tickets!  Whatever you do, don’t miss this limited edition Skelter in honor of our 25th Anniversary season.  We don’t know when it’ll appear again in this dimension!

ShelterSkelter, Shelterbelt’s celebration of all things Halloween, began in 1996 and continued for 18 seasons before going on hiatus.  Each year, scripts were sent from near and far, and a lengthy process began.  “In 2014, we took a break from Shelterskelter to focus more on our local playwrights and full-length plays,” said Executive Director, Roxanne Wach.  “As a part of our 25th anniversary season, we’ve resurrected ShelterSkelter.”

This incarnation of ShelterSkelter includes some of the best plays from past seasons, featuring work by Rob Baker, Joe Basque, Ben Beck, Molly Campbell, Julia Hinson, Jeremy Johnson, Daena Schweiger, Scott Working, and Aaron Zavitz.

The cast features Craig Bond, Katy Boone, Kevin Goshorn, Eric Grant-Leanna, Whitney Hansen, Meganne Horrocks Storm, Matt Karasek, Debbie Krambeck, and Sarah Smeltzer.  Stage Manager is Taylor Vann.  Assistant Stage Manager/Board Operator is Lisa Marie Hathaway.  Lighting design is by Joshua Mullady, with sound design by Shannon Smay, and costumes by Bridget Mueting.

Jeffrey Ballard, collage prints, and Jonathan Wilhoft, skeletal photography, are the featured artists in the gallery.

Shelterbelt Theatre is Omaha’s home for new plays.  This frightful evening opens Shelterbelt’s 25th Season, Original Lives Here, featuring scripts celebrating our local playwrights past and present.  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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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)

‘Catherland’ to Premiere at Shelterbelt

SHELTERBELT PRESENTS THE PREMIERE OF CATHERLAND BOOK/LYRICS BY BECKY BOESEN, MUSIC BY DAVID VON KAMPEN, APRIL 21-MAY 14, 2017

Shelterbelt Theatre is pleased to present the premiere of Catherland, book and lyrics by Becky Boesen, music by David von Kampen, at 3225 California Street, April 21- May 14, 2017. Performances are Thursday/Friday/Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 6pm (except for May 14 at 2pm.) (Thursdays | $15 • Friday/Saturday/Sunday | $25 – general, $20 – students, seniors 65+, TAG). Tickets are on sale at www.shelterbelt.org (click box office), or boxoffice@shelterbelt.org, or 402.341.2757.

In Catherland it becomes clear “There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm.” Susan made a deal with her husband: once her first book is done, they’ll start a family. As the ink dries on the final page, the couple moves from Chicago to Red Cloud, NE, hoping to begin a simpler life. A slew of mysterious guests prove that there’s nothing simple about small town living. Dreams shatter, plans change, and the trajectory of Susan’s future takes new shape in the looming shadow of American novelist, Willa Cather. Susan just hopes to make it out alive.

The cast features: Jennifer Gilg, Sara Planck, Laurel Rothamel, Craig Bond, Randy Vest and Ben Adams.

Creative staff includes: Stage Manager: JoAnn Goodhew • Assistant Director: Meganne Storm • Set Design: Bill Van Deest • Lighting Design: Carol Wisner • Costume Design: Erienne Wrendt • Sound Design: Roxanne Wach • Props: Roxanne Wach, Meganne Storm • Fight Director: Terry Doughman • Piano: Peggy Holloway • Cello: Asia Wilson, Tom Miller • Percussion: Dan Wach

“I am excited to bring Catherland to Omaha. It’s a Nebraska story by Nebraska artists. There aren’t a lot of new musicals being written around here, so being able to workshop one is such a treat,” said Roxanne Wach, director. “When I read an early draft of the script and heard some of the score, I knew there was something special here – a good ghost story and really evocative music. It’s not a typical musical theatre tale, and I think that’s significant.”

Wach continues, “For fans of Cather, this is a fictionalized Willa, based on personal letters and touching on parts of her life. So, though there are ties in the script to several Willa Cather works, this is a modern story. I have such a soft spot for Willa and the prairie.”

“The prairie is vast and beautiful and terribly mysterious. Its openness inspires possibility, but, also, there are places where if you screamed, no one would hear you… Catherland explores that juxtaposition,” Boesen adds. “The feeling of Nebraska lends itself to such a special and unique aesthetic. We like to create shows that feel like where we live. It’s a pretty good place.”

Boesen and von Kampen both lived in Nebraska as children and moved back to Lincoln as adults to raise their respective families. Boesen is a writer, lyricist, director, actor, and teaching artist. She is the recipient of three Mayor’s Arts Awards in Lincoln, NE, a 2015 Kimmel Harding Nelson Center Artist in Residence, and in 2014, was honored as a Nebraska Individual Artist Fellowship Award recipient by the Nebraska Arts Council. Her work is frequently commissioned and has garnered awards from well-recognized organizations including the National Endowment for the Arts.

Von Kampen is a six-time Downbeat Award winner in graduate-level jazz writing categories, a three-time winner of the Vancouver Chamber Choir Young Composers Competition, and the recipient of a 2015 ASCAP Young Jazz Composer award. His creative work spans a wide variety of genres, including jazz, choral music, chamber music and musical theater. This range is apparent in Catherland, which incorporates a variety of influences into the score.

Wach feels that the music is very accessible and possesses a unique voice in modern musical theatre. “I really love the music. I often find myself humming the songs. For auditions, we asked actors to learn a small snippet from the score. Many told me that the music really made them want to be a part of the production.”

“I hope the music is consistently reflecting the tone of the story,” explains von Kampen. “I wanted it to serve Becky’s words and give the characters a jolt in the arm at the most important moments. Mostly, I just tried to write good songs.”

Wach says that Shelterbelt takes its mission of producing only new work very seriously. “There are few cities Omaha’s size, who have a theatre that produces only new plays. New plays are vital for a vibrant arts community. There’s something so thrilling about investing in the unfamiliar,” she continues. “Just knowing that you’re a part of a group of people all experiencing the play for the first time, together.”

“It’s so important as a writing team to have the opportunity to see your work on its feet,” said Boesen. “Our friends at Shelterbelt allow us to walk the wire and provide the net. Roxanne and her cast and crew are so supportive and create a safe environment to experiment with changes. That’s a gift.””

Special events during the run of Catherland include:

  • Sat., April 22 • Post-show Talkback with playwright and composer
  • Thurs., May 4 • post-show Cather Scholar Panel with Chuck Johanningsmeier, PhD. and Rev. Steven P. Ryan

UNO Professor Charles Johanningsmeier was the recent recipient of a Fulbright Senior Scholar award and taught for a full academic year in the Institute for American Studies at the University of Leipzig, in Germany. He is frequently consulted by scholars around the world for his expertise in how fictions published in both books and periodicals affected the attitudes and actions of American readers in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He is a member of the Board of Governors for the Willa Cather Foundation.

Rev. Steven P. Ryan is Chaplain at Creighton University School of Dentistry. He holds a doctorate in American literature from the University of Texas at Austin, and his dissertation was on spiritual themes in the fiction of Willa Cather.

  • Sat., May 6, 2pm • Emerging Composer Workshop with David von Kampen, for high school and up

Songwriters and composers: bring compositions already in progress and your questions about composing for thoughtful comments and suggestions from award-winning composer, David von Kampen, a six-time Downbeat Award winner in graduate-level jazz writing categories, a three-time winner of the Vancouver Chamber Choir Young Composers Competition, and the recipient of a 2015 ASCAP Young Jazz Composer award. His creative work spans a wide variety of genres, including jazz, choral music, chamber music and musical theater. He is a lecturer of music theory and literature at the UNL, where he directs the UNL Vocal Jazz Ensemble. He also teaches applied composition at Concordia University, NE, and serves as Music Coordinator for Blended Worship at Christ Lutheran Church in Lincoln.

  • Thurs. May 11 • 7pm: Pre-show Book Discussion What is the best Cather novel? Make a case for your favorite! A lively discussion led by playwright Ellen Struve.

All programs are at the theatre.

In the gallery, Shelterbelt is pleased to present cold wax and oil works by Lori Elliott-Bartle. Bartle teaches workshops through Omaha Creative Institute and independently. She is also a teaching artist through the Midwest Artist Studios project, which links artists with school classrooms throughout an 11-state region. She will be exhibiting her work with Kris Allphin May-July at the Crane Trust, Wood River, NE.

Shelterbelt Theatre is Omaha’s home for new plays. This is 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).

This production is made possible with support from Nebraska Arts Council | Nebraska Cultural Endowment.

‘Sonder’ is Coming Before the Boards

Shelterbelt Theatre is pleased to announce their upcoming Before the Boards reading of Sonder by Beaufield Berry-Fisher, directed by Emma Rasmussen on Monday, February 6 at 7pm at the theatre, 3225 California St.  Tickets are $5, which includes a free beverage.  Reservations (recommended) may be made at the theatre’s website:  www.shelterbelt.org– click Box Office or e-mail boxoffice@shelterbelt.org.

The cast features:  Natalie Hanson, TAmmyRa’ Jackson, Charleen Willoughby, Jayma Smay, Natalie Weiss, and Beth Thompson.

When the manager of a small town Wal-Mart throws himself off a building, his remaining employees must cope with the loss and changes it brings, including an anxiety-ridden manager from corporate and the large tree that has erupted through concrete and taken root in aisle 7.  Sonder is a play about intersectionality, freedom, restraint, and all of the walls in place that keep us from reaching the American Dream.

Sonder was born from a need to explore the experience of other humans, the juxtaposition of greed and humanity, and the immediacy of empathy—without actually finding any answers to anything—all set in a value Superstore,” said Berry.

Beaufield Berry-Fisher is a playwright and novelist out of Omaha, NE.  Her work has been performed and read at theatres and festivals across the country, but her heart has remained in Omaha where she’s served her city as a member of the Black Democratic Caucus, Vice President of the Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards, board member for North Omaha Summer Arts Program and Shelterbelt Theatre, co-founder of Firebelly Repertory Theater.  She’s a freelance journalist for American Theater magazine and her first novel, Childhood Friends, is now available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

As Omaha’s home for new plays, Shelterbelt Theatre is pleased to give the audience a chance to be a part of the page to stage experience:  hear the reading of a new play, participate in a talkback with the playwright and give written feedback—all providing invaluable information to a playwright creating a new play.

Come on Over to ‘Catherland’

Shelterbelt Announces Auditions for New Musical, Catherland
Shelterbelt Theatre will hold auditions for the new musical Catherland by Becky Boesen and David von Kampen, Dec. 5 and 6 at 7pm at the theatre, 3225 California St (Omaha, NE). Roxanne Wach will direct and Peggy Holloway will music direct. Those auditioning are asked to prepare 32 bars of a song of their choice, AND one of the song selections from the musical posted at www.shelterbelt.org/audition-and-submissions. An accompanist will be provided. There will also be cold readings from the script. Roles are available for 3 women and 3 men of various ages and vocal ranges. The show runs April 21-May 14, 2017. More information at http://www.shelterbelt.org/auditions-and-submissions, or email the director at executive@shelterbelt.org.
 

Shelterbelt Season Opens with a ‘Revelation’

SHELTERBELT OPENS 24th SEASON WITH REVELATION BY SAMUEL BRETT WILLIAMS

Shelterbelt Theatre is pleased to present Revelation by Samuel Brett Williams, at 3225 California Street, October 7-30. Performances are Thursday/Friday/Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 6pm (except for the October 30th performance at 2pm.) (Plays: Thursdays | $12 (online: use ticket code THU) • Friday/Saturday/Sunday $20 – general | $15 – students, seniors 65+, TAG). Tickets are on sale at www.shelterbelt.org (click box office), or boxoffice@shelterbelt.org or 402.341.2757. On Saturday, October 8, the theatre will host a post-show talkback with the playwright.

Brandon’s Southern Baptist father always taught him to be prepared for the Rapture. Rebecca is a pre-med student, raised as an atheist. All of a sudden, people begin disappearing, the Hudson River turns to blood, and the entire state of Ohio comes down with a bad case of boils. Brandon grabs Rebecca and tries to make it from New York City to Arkadelphia, Arkansas in hopes of finding the New Jerusalem. Revelation explores faith, love, and the American landscape in a pitch black comedy about the End Days.

“I’ve been interested in the Book of Revelation and “the end of the world” for as long as I can remember,” says playwright Samuel Brett Williams. “When writing plays, I never have answers — I always just have questions that I want to explore. I’m much more interested in theme, than thesis. For this play, I kept going back to the same question — Why as a culture do we crave apocalyptic entertainment?”

The cast features: Nick LeMay, Meganne Storm, Sarah LaCount and Craig Bond. Shelterbelt’s Artistic Director Elizabeth Thompson directs. Stage Manager: Jayma Smay • Assistant Director: Emma Rasmussen • Set Design/Props: Robyn Helwig-Lighting Design: Joshua Mullady • Assistant Lighting: Beau Fisher • Sound Design: Shannon Smay • Costumes: Bridget Mueting.

“I love this play because it allows us (the audience) to see both sides of the religious discussion in humorous, honest and human ways. It’s a comedy, but it has a lot of heart and moments of real truth that I hope will allow people to relate to the characters, all of the characters, on a basic human level regardless of all the labels we place on ourselves and others. The struggle is real right now but if we open our minds, hearts and hands we can get by with a little help from our friends,” Thompson said.

This is Williams first script produced in Omaha. He says, “I came to Omaha a year ago from New York City by way of Arkansas. The theatre and film community have been incredibly welcoming and generous. I’ve fallen in love with Omaha and the art the city is producing. Shelterbelt has been tireless, professional, and utterly fearless in producing this play.”

“This experience will be unlike others in Omaha because for many in our country it feels like the End Days right now. Brett has found a way to tell this story with an open mind and heart,” said Thompson. “Answers are not given freely and questions are encouraged at the end of this world, so it makes sense that the journey should be just as loaded!”

Williams adds, “I promise that if you come see this show you will laugh. And maybe think. And hopefully even feel. But, you’ll definitely laugh.”

In the gallery, Shelterbelt presents ink and watercolor illustrations by William Holland.

Shelterbelt Theatre is Omaha’s home for new plays. This is the opening play in Shelterbelt’s 24th By Local/Buy Local season 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 applauds theatres that produce a season with an equal or greater number of plays written by female playwrights. (www.womenplaywrights.org).

Auditions for ‘The Motherhood Almanac’ at Shelterbelt

Shelterbelt Theatre Announces Auditions for The Motherhood Almanac by Noah Diaz

Shelterbelt Theatre is pleased to announce auditions for The Motherhood Almanac by Noah Diaz, directed by Moira Mangiameli, October 10 and 11 at 6:30pm at Shelterbelt Theatre (3225 California Street). Roles are available for 6 women. Auditions will consist of cold readings from the script. Rehearsals will begin the week of November 28. Production Dates: January 27–February 19, 2017. Performances Thursday– Saturday at 8pm, Sundays at 6pm, final Sunday at 2pm. For a current copy of the script, please email Noah Diaz: noah.a.diaz@gmail.com. More info at www.shelterbelt.org.  For audition questions, please email Moira Mangiameli: momange@yahoo.com.

The Motherhood Almanac is a play about women; about daughters and mothers // a play about the tropics, death, birth, rain, adoption, white trucks, peaches, rabbis, weddings, Tuesdays, hair ties, eyelashes // about what’s spoken and unspoken and understood and everything in-between // about swimming pools, wine, lists, wrists, fists, poetry, Burger King napkins, divorce, confessions, PowerPoint presentations, and the parallel lives we were never meant to lead // a play about learning how to carry on and all the things we must leave behind /// The Motherhood Almanac is a fiercely passionate tapestry of stories about the life inside each of us, as told by women and the women who raised them.