The Night Can be Deadly

BLUEBARN THEATRE’s IMMERSIVE THEATRE SERIES returns with 

Walk the Night: Death Marked Love (based on Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet)

BLUEBARN‘s Immersive series returns with the ghosts of Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers, doomed to walk the night until the foul crimes done against them in their days of nature are purged away.

It begins with an invitation.  After buying your ticket, you are emailed a link with driving instructions and a downloadable audio invitation–a radio play to accompany you on your drive to Fontenelle’s Neale Woods, 1/2 north of Omaha.  The mysterious on the other end tells you: You will be attending an event at the summer home of his former enemy, a manor turned into a memorial after tragic events some 100 years ago.  When there, you will make a choice–or perhaps the choice will make you.  It will be the first among many; a choice as instinctive as one between Red and Blue, that will serve as your guide to witness grieving parents retrace the mournful last steps of their children.

Walk the Night founder Spencer Williams adapts & directs with assistance from Walk the Night company members Caulene Hudson and Aaron Ellis; choreography by Stephanie Huettner (TBD Dance Collective), costumes by Jenny Pool, lights by Josh Mullady, site design by Jesse Groff, production management by Homero Vela; original soundtrack by Andrew Heringer, Philip Kolbo, and Joe Mendick (performed live by Kolbo, Mendick and ensemble members); location partner Fontenelle Forest.

Performance dates:

October 5 – 28, 2017 

Shows run Thursday-Sunday at 7 pm; Double shows on Fridays & Saturdays

$25 for adults/$45 for unlimited access (Discounts for students, TRUBLU members & groups of 5 or more)

Location: Neale Woods Nature Center, 14323 Edith Marie Avenue in Omaha, ½ mile north of Hummel Park.

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

To provoke thought, emotion, action, and change through daring and innovative theatre
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In the Garden of Evil

One girl’s lie to avoid trouble for dabbling in a voodoo ceremony unleashes a swathe of evil upon the city of Salem.  Under the hysteria of witchcraft, secret hatreds and jealousies are vented through baseless accusations sending innocent victims to the gallows.  Will a farmer burdened by his own secret sin be able to halt the onslaught?  Find out in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible currently playing at the Barn Players.

I have been involved with theatre for nearly 22 years.  I’ve acted, directed, stage managed, worked on crew, run lights and sounds, and reviewed shows.  Having experienced all of these different aspects of theatre has helped me to develop a sixth sense about plays and I’ve usually got a good feel for the quality of a show as I head into it.  As I walked into the theatre for tonight’s production of The Crucible, I had a feeling that this was going to be a pretty good show.  However, I must admit that my sixth sense was wrong.

This show wasn’t “pretty good”.  It was beyond amazing!!  It may very well be the very best drama I’ve ever seen staged.

Few writers could pen a tragedy as well as Arthur Miller due to his understanding of the human condition.  In The Crucible, he presents humanity at its basest and its stupidest.  It’s hard to fathom people being depraved enough to lie about their neighbors in order to steal their property or to satisfy a hidden grudge.  But it’s even harder to realize that supposedly intellectual judges could fail to see through such a farrago of nonsense and deception and forget that justice means innocent until proven guilty and not the other way around.

The Barn Players was fortunate to have David Martin helming this show because his direction was transcendent.  He brought Miller’s story to life in its full glory.  He not only understood the story’s darkness, but he also found the glimmers of hope and humor buried in the tale and brought them to light as well.  His staging was impeccable and made full use of the entire theatre.  You couldn’t punch a hole in the quality of his cast’s acting.  He also did double duty on sound design which was so apropos from the creepy, haunting music heading into the first scene to the relentless drumbeat to close out the show.

This is one of those shows where I’d like to do a write up on every single actor, but, for the sake of brevity, let me assure you that there wasn’t a weak link in the lot.  Each and every one was fully immersed in the story which only brought the audience deeper and deeper into it.  But I want to especially note the work of Charles Christesson who brought intelligence, levity, and heartbreak into the character of Giles Corey; Scott Shaw’s Rev. Samuel Parris, the “man of God” more concerned with power and reputation than faith; and Emma Cook’s portrayal of Mary Warren, a servant stretched to the edge of sanity due to being the rope in a spiritual tug of war between John Proctor and Abigail Williams.

I was particularly impressed with what Michael Juncker dug out of the role of Deputy Governor Danforth.  He plays Danforth as a man of strong, if misguided, character.  He truly believes in the cause of justice and honestly believes he is doing his part to rid Salem of witchcraft.  Yet his appalling cluelessness is sickening as he can’t see through the histrionics of the accusers, puts the letter of the law above its spirit, and claims to be doing the will of God, yet ignores the undisputed expert on witchcraft and true man of faith, John Hale.

Jessica Franz’s take on Elizabeth Proctor is as strong as it is tragic.  Ms Franz well communicates the sickliness of the recovering Elizabeth and ably portrays the duality of warmth and iciness in the character.  Elizabeth wants to love and trust her husband, but has difficulty doing so due to an infidelity on his part.  When her warmth finally wins out, it makes her horror at dooming John Proctor due to a lie she concocts to protect his honor all the more believable and heartrending.

I loved Phil Howard’s take on Rev. John Hale.  Howard’s Hale is a good man.  He is a decent man.  Sadly, when all is said and done, he is also a broken man.  Howard presents Hale as a truly devout man dedicated to God and ending the scourge of witchcraft.  But he is also an intelligent and just man who is dedicated to discovering the truth more than anything.   Howard’s anguish is palpable when he realizes the truth behind the Salem witch trials and tries to mitigate the damage by persuading accused witches to give false confessions which will preserve their lives, but excommunicate them.

Abigail Williams truly is a witch, but not in the magical sense.  In Lauren Hambleton’s capable hands, you will experience one of the greatest villains I have seen on stage.  Ms Hambleton’s Abigail is unspeakably disgusting and diabolically clever.  What begins as a simple lie to avoid punishment for participating in a voodoo ceremony evolves into a cunning plan to rid herself of her perceived rival in Elizabeth Proctor for the love of John Proctor, with whom she had an affair, and a chance to revenge herself on the “hypocrites” (though some truly are) of the town.  Evil just oozes from Ms Hambleton’s pores and I really appeciated the smarts she brought to Abigail who enhances her lies through information she gleans from Rev. Hale’s questions and books.

Andy Penn’s work as John Proctor is a tour de force performance.  Penn brilliantly essays the walking paradox that is Proctor.  He is a good man, but is bowed by the guilt of his infidelity with Abigail Williams.  He believes in God, but hates the hypocrisy of his church.  He is willing to make a false confession to save his life partially because he doesn’t want to have his death be a lie about him being a saint.  Penn provides a clinic in acting as he finds beats within beats within beats as he creates a man you will admire for his strength and pity for his weakness.

Steven Ansel James has prepared a wonderful bare bones set with its extended stage, docks, and chalk drawings of trees, heretical words, and occult symbols.  Chuck Cline’s lights gorgeously animate all of the emotional moments of the show.  Jenny Knecht’s costumes perfectly reflected the Puritan time period.

At one point, Rev. Hale wonders if the devil has come to Salem.  The sad truth is that he did because the people of Salem opened the doors and invited him in by succumbing to their own evil desires.  But even in all the darkness and mayhem, Arthur Miller still manages to show where there is a kernel of faith, hope, and decency, the devil can still be overcome.

This play is storytelling at its zenith.  If you want to see compelling, powerful, thought provoking drama, then you need to buy a ticket and see The Crucible.  It’s the best thing going in theatre this summer.

The Crucible plays at the Barn Players through July 30.  Showtimes are Fri-Sat at 7:30pm and Sundays at 2pm.  Tickets cost $18 ($15 for seniors 65+ & $12 for students with ID and groups of 10 or more).  There will be an Industry Night performance on July 24 at 7:30pm.  All tickets for this performance will be $12 at the door.  For tickets, visit the Barn Players at www.thebarnplayers.org or call 913-432-9100.  The Barn Players is located at 6219 Martway in Mission, KS.

Hir, Hir

A young soldier returns home to assist his ailing father who has suffered a massive stroke.  When he returns, he finds his world turned upside down as his mother has revolted against the patriarchy and his sister is now becoming his brother.  This is Hir by Taylor Mac, now playing at the Blue Barn.

Mac has certainly crafted one of the most cerebral comedies I have ever seen.  You’ll constantly need to be on your toes as the story winds over many peaks and valleys before reaching its final destination.  It isn’t your typical dark comedy.  Rather it’s more of a tragic comedy with laugh out loud moments and instances where you’ll feel as if you were punched in the gut.  Mac also has a beautiful knack for phrasing as his acrobatic wordplay keeps the play zipping along.

Susan Clement-Toberer scores again with tight, crisp direction as she leads her magnificent cast of 4 through every high and low of this tale.

Few things thrill me more than getting to see new talent on stage and this play comes up big with the debuts of Joe Mendick and Nickolas Butt who are pure magic.

Mendick plays Isaac, the young soldier.  Isaac was clearly a good soldier, but was dishonorably discharged due to drug usage. Shocked at the changes in his family, Isaac mounts a counterrevolution against his mother to restore his family to a more improved version of the way they were before he joined the Marines.

Mendick brings incredible intensity to the role.  His ramrod posture is the perfect choice for Isaac as he is so wound up that he vomits with alarming frequency.  Mendick also has a wonderfully rich voice capable of the subtlest nuances and a face capable of the widest range of emotions.  One of his best moments occurs at the end of Act I where he engages his father in a conversation where his gestures, tones, and expressions show how much he loved and hated his father at the same time.

Nickolas Butt was, quite frankly, a sheer joy to watch.  For someone with very little acting experience, Butt possesses poise and confidence many experienced actors would envy.  Butt stars as Max, Isaac’s transgendered sibling and absolutely nails it.  Max is a rather amusing philosopher with his views on life and his reinterpretation of history (or herstory, as he is so fond of saying).  Max’s wit and wisdom conceal the fact that he doesn’t really know what he wants for himself.  He has a lot of wild dreams and wishes, but lacks follow-through until the very end when he begins to find himself.

Butt excellently communicates all of Max’s intricacies with a fluid body language and clear as crystal facial expressions that always lets one follow his thoughts as he observes his rather dysfunctional family.

“I’ve gone a little batty,” says Paige and this sums up her character well.  Kim Jubenville brilliantly essays this character who has undergone an awakening after her husband, Arnold, suffered his stroke.  Freed from his tyranny, she decides to revolt against Arnold and the patriarchy in general by refusing to clean or cook, keeping the air conditioner on at all times, homeschooling Max, taking trips, and just doing whatever she fancies.

Going over the top would be an easy temptation for this role, but Ms Jubenville always takes it just to the top which keeps Paige’s realism intact.  She also has some of the most difficult dialogue in the play as Paige spouts out a lot of complicated jargon especially when she tries to teach Isaac about the new pronouns of ze and hir which he must use in reference to Max.

But don’t be fooled by Paige’s goofiness.  There is a lot of darkness to her.  Ms Jubenville slowly reveals the nastier aspects of Paige throughout the play with her cruel and callous behavior towards her husband such as keeping him docile by feeding him estrogen, making him wear dresses, and forcing him to sleep in a box.  This darkness finally reaches its crescendo during a climactic confrontation between Paige, Isaac, and Arnold.

Brent Spencer gives what I consider to be his finest performance to date as Arnold.  He is an incredibly convincing stroke victim with his staccato walk and twisted face, barely managing to eke out a few words here and there.  As helpless as he is, Spencer is also able to show the audience glimpses of the fiend that Arnold was before his stroke.  His disdain for Paige is palpable and he doesn’t hesitate to resort to violence against her as feeble as it now is.  You’ll surely feel a strange mixture of pity and disgust at this man.

Martin Scott Marchitto does it again with his design of a pleasant, comfortable starter home.  However you won’t see it in its full glory until Act II as it is hidden by Amy Reiner’s well staged clutter in Act I.  Lora Kaup’s costumes are well suited to the character especially the butch clothing of Max and the humiliating dresses and wigs of Arnold.

Some line bobbles took nothing away from this excellent play which teaches a profound lesson.  The past cannot be obliterated, only learned from and those that fail to learn from it are surely doomed to repeat it.

Hir plays through Feb 26 at the Blue Barn.  Performances are Thurs-Sat at 7:30pm and Sundays at 6pm.  The performances for Feb 3 and 4 are sold out and there is no performance on Feb 5.  Tickets cost $30 for adults and $25 for students, seniors (65+), TAG members, and groups of 10 or more.  For reservations, call 402-345-1576 or visit www.bluebarn.org.  Due to strong language and mature subject matter, Hir is not recommended for children.  The Blue Barn is located at 1106 S 10th St in Omaha, NE.

Pretty Powerful Poison

Molina and Valentin are as different as night and day.  Molina is a flamboyant homosexual imprisoned for corrupting a minor.  Valentin is a young revolutionary full of piss and vinegar.  Yet an unlikely friendship grows between them which will be tested by a cruel warden.  And over all of this looms the specter of the Spider Woman in Kiss of the Spider Woman currently playing at the Barn Players.

Turning Manuel Puig’s heavily dramatic novel into a musical is certainly a tall order.  But Terrence McNally’s script combined with the incredible score of John Kander and Fred Ebb and the amazingly talented cast of the production makes for much much more than an effective musical.  It makes for one of the best shows I’ve seen in over 20 years of being involved with theatre.

Eric Magnus doesn’t miss a trick with a masterful piece of direction.  The staging is the strongest I’ve ever seen with Magnus’ cast making full use of Doug Schroeder’s simple and beautiful set of bars and stairs.  Magnus has pulled nearly perfect performances out of his entire cast and decisively navigates the multiple twists and turns of the plot with pinpoint accuracy.

Rarely have I seen a nuanced performance the likes of the one supplied by Joell Ramsdell as Molina.  As Molina, Ramsdell is unabashedly and unashamedly gay.  But his flamboyance covers a desperate loneliness.  All he wants is a friend.  He survives the hell of this prison by escaping into fantasy.  He thinks of his mother.  He fondly recalls the numerous movies he’s seen.  He remembers lavish musical numbers with his favorite actress, Aurora.  But he fears Aurora’s character of the Spider Woman who is Death incarnate and that character he often sees in his daily life.

The depth and range of Ramsdell’s acting is truly astonishing.  Starting off as a coward, he shows small signs of strength as he helps Valentin survive his imprisonment.  A strength that grows as his friendship with Valentin blossoms.  This leads to some of the show’s best scenes as Ramsdell shows the intense agony of a man forced to choose between his friend and his mother before making a choice that shows the meaning of courage.

Ramsdell also has a fabulous tenor which he adapts easily to comedy in “Dressing Them Up” or heart-wrenching drama in “Mama, It’s Me”.

Paul Brennan III matches Ramsdell step for step with his stirring rendering of Valentin.  Valentin is an angry revolutionary who fully believes in his cause and wants nothing to do with his new cellmate at first.  As he slowly accepts Molina’s friendship, Brennan beautifully evolves his character to show him capable of love, humor, and a bit of shocking Machiavellism.  Up until the end of the show, Valentin’s cause and desires still are the most important things in his life and he manipulates Molina’s feelings for him with an act that is both tender and selfish to get him to do what he wants.  But Molina’s choice at the play’s climax finally pushes Valentin to look beyond himself.

Brennan’s tenor will make your insides turn to jelly with a velvet voice that effortlessly knocks emotional pitches out of the park with numbers such as “Marta”, “Anything for Him” and “The Day After That”.

JC Dresslaer gets the show’s most interesting character in the form of Aurora/Spider Woman.  She’s mostly a fictional character in this world whose purpose is to help Molina, later Valentin, maintain sanity in the nightmare world in which they live.  But this allows her to do some brilliant character acting as she portrays Aurora’s various characters.  Most notably a wild rumba number (“Gimme Love”) to close out Act I and a hilarious piece of melodrama complete with over the top Russian accent to open Act II.

But Ms Dresslaer’s character of the Spider Woman haunts the world of the show with a most eerie reality and finality.  Dressed in a simple black dress, the Spider Woman exudes menace and, dare I say, gentleness with every appearance.  Yes, her appearances mean death, but she also wants to show that death is not something to be feared.

Ms Dresslaer’s dancing is so silky smooth, it makes all of her musical numbers showstoppers.  She also has a pitch-perfect alto used to excellent effect in “Come” and “Kiss of the Spider Woman”.

I was extraordinarily impressed with the mileage Emerson Rapp got out of the role of the Warden.  It’s not a big role, but the evil which Rapp imbued into the character made sure the audience was spellbound each time he appeared on stage.  He clearly considers the prisoners animals suitable for torture and murder.  He will do anything and I mean ANYTHING to get what he wants.  Poisonings, beatings, emotional manipulation, bribery. . .it’s all fair game to one of the most insidious characters I’ve seen brought to life on stage.

Paul Secor Morrel and his orchestra deftly handle the varied score with an evening of precise instrumentation.  The costumes of Fran Kapono-Kuzila are well suited to the show from the tattered rags of the prisoners to Molina’s kimono and scarves to Aurora’s numerous costumes for her numbers.  The ensemble cast also stayed in every moment to add crucial life to the story as well as adding strong voices to the chorus.

Musicals often get flak for being shallow on substance, but Kiss of the Spider Woman proves that a musical can be just as challenging and deep as straight theatre if given a chance.  If you love great theatre then you need to go and see this show.  Then you need to tell others to go get a ticket so they can see this show as it deserves a sold out run.

Kiss of the Spider Woman plays at the Barn Players through October 2.  Showtimes are Fri-Sat at 7:30pm and Sun at 2pm. There will be an Industry Night performance on Sept 26. Tickets cost $18 for adults, $15 for seniors, and $12 for students (w/ID), and groups of 10 or more.  Industry Night tickets will be $12 at the door.  To order tickets, visit the website at www.thebarnplayers.org or call 913-432-9100.  Due to sensitive thematic material and some strong language, this show is not suitable for children.  The Barn Players is located at 6219 Martway in Mission, KS.

This ‘Phantom of the Opera’ Needs More Spirit

A disfigured genius falls in love with a chorus girl.  Taking her under his wing, he trains her voice so she can become the leading lady of the Opera Populaire.  When she falls in love with a childhood friend, the genius plots to keep her for himself at any cost.  This is the plot of The Phantom of the Opera, currently playing at the Orpheum Theatre.  It is written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Richard Stilgoe, composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber with lyrics by Charles Hart, and based off of a novel by Gaston LeRoux.

Phantom has long been my favorite musical.  Its moving story and haunting music never fail to sweep me into another world.  Even after 8 viewings of this show, it has not lost a bit of its magic.  Cameron Mackintosh’s reimagined production helps breathe a bit of new wonder into the 30 year old show with new sets and a few surprises.

With that being said, it also breaks my heart to admit that this was also the weakest rendition of the show I have seen to date.

Not that the show is bad.  The music, singing, and choreography were as strong as ever.  But there was a lack of connection between many of the primary performers and their words making it feel like they were simply going through the motions.  The end result being that a show where every prior production ranked a superior from me gets a mere OK on this go-around.

Part of this problem is not the fault of the actors.  While the Orpheum is a beautiful, archaic theatre well suited to a play like Phantom, its acoustics are a black hole for sound.  Many of the performers did what they could to overcome this problem, but their efforts could only go so far.  Others needed to do a better job of projecting.

Laurence Connor’s direction is passable.  The scene changes are excellently executed and some of the staging is truly magical.  However, he failed to get the best performances out of his cast and his staging of the play’s climactic final scene utterly robbed it of its tragic beauty.

The Really Useful Theatre Group took a big risk in casting Chris Mann in the title role.  Best known for being a finalist on The Voice, Mann, if the program is correct, has no prior acting credits.  Mann truly makes an effort and, for an inexperienced actor, has a truly potent sense of body language.  But his inexperience shows in his inability to capture many of the subtle nuances of the character, though he does show a brilliant flash or two throughout the night.

His singing is absolutely fantastic and he clearly knows how to interpret a song.  His beautiful tenor nailed the emotional beats of The Music of the Night and he was utterly mesmerizing as he entranced Christine during his solo in Wandering Child.

Katie Travis was one of the few performers equally as strong on the acting side as on the singing side.  She understood that a musical is more than just the singing.  It’s about being able to act through the songs, as well.  Ms Travis has a very young look which lent itself well to the role of Christine Daae.  She is utterly believable as the young girl torn between her mysterious benefactor and her young lover.  Her simple hugging of the Phantom at the play’s climax nearly broke me in two.

Ms Travis also has a glorious soprano that is so pure and clean.  She nearly brought down the house in her first solo, Think of Me, and proceeded to do so in Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again.  Ms Travis’ singing and accurate acting choices made for a well rounded performance.

Jordan Craig played Raoul, the Vicomte de Chagny, Christine’s love interest.  Craig is a very, very good singer.  His powerful, well measured baritone was a pleasure to listen to in his signature solo, All I Ask of You.  But his acting was almost non-existent.  I didn’t get the sense of any true emotional commitment to the role as Craig would appear on stage, sing, and then not have any sort of reactions to the events swirling around him, even in scenes where Raoul was in mortal peril.

David Foley and Edward Staudenmayer brought some welcome comedy relief in the roles of Firmin and Andre, the new owners of the Opera Populaire.  The roles are not huge, but each managed to create well developed characters with Foley’s business minded Firmin and Staudenmayer’s more artsy Andre.  These two men were arguably the strongest performers of the night with their deft comic timing and ability to overcome the difficulties of the Orpheum’s acoustics.  Staudenmayer does need to be careful with his humor as he went slightly over the top on a couple of occasions.

I would be remiss if I failed to mention several outstanding cameo performances in the evening’s production.  Victor Wallace stole his scenes as the uncouth Joseph Buquet who makes the fatal mistake of poking fun at the Phantom.  Morgan Cowling is a charmer as Christine’s loyal and gutsy friend, Meg Giry.  Michael Thomas Holmes was hysterical as the ill-tempered musical director, Monsieur Reyer.

Scott Ambler’s choreography was always a joy to watch especially in Masquerade.  Dale Rieling’s musical direction never failed to impress in a night of flawless instrumentation from his orchestra.  Paul Brown’s sets were pieces of artistic majesty from the stage of the Opera Populaire, to the graveyard where Christine’s father was buried, to the dank lair of the Phantom.  Maria Bjornsen’s costumes were extremely elegant with the flowing gowns for the ladies and the fine evening wear for the men.

There is a reason why The Phantom of the Opera still holds audiences in the palm of its hand even after 30 years.  The music and story are timeless with rich roles in which actors can sink their teeth.  While the night’s entertainment was pleasant enough, I have seen and will see better productions than this current run.  Ultimately, the failure to connect with their roles by many of the actors made this simply an average show.

The Phantom of the Opera plays at the Orpheum Theatre through May 1.  Performances are Tues-Thurs at 7:30pm.  Fri-Sat at 8pm and Sundays at 7pm.  There are also matinees at 2pm on Sat and 1:30pm on Sunday.  Tickets range from $150 to $50 and can be obtained at TicketOmaha or by visiting the box office at 13th and Douglas Streets M-F from 10am-5pm and Sat from Noon-5pm.  The Orpheum Theatre is located at 409 S 16th St in Omaha, NE.

Adult Auditions for Nebraska Shakespeare Festival

Nebraska Shakespeare will hold auditions for the professional company of artists to perform in its 30th Anniversary Season of Shakespeare On The Green:

THE TAMING OF THE SHREW and MACBETH
Residency Dates: May 23-July 10
Performance Dates: June 23 – July 10
Audition Dates (Adult): February 13, 4:00 – 9:00 PM, by appointment.

Location:  Lied Education Center for the Arts (2500 California Plz #1, Omaha, NE)

This year’s On The Green company will consist of at least 12 men, 6 women, as well as 1-2 male youth (10-16 years of age) and 1 female youth (8-14 years of age). There are Equity and non-Equity contracts available. Those interested in auditioning for Shakespeare On The Green should prepare two contrasting monologues. One comedy and one dramatic piece are preferred. Youth auditioning should prepare one Shakespearean monologue and sides will be made available. Total audition time is 3 minutes. All actors are encouraged to audition.

To schedule an audition, contact Wesley A. Houston, Director of Production at whouston@nebraskashakespeare.com

Nebraska Shakespeare’s production of THE TAMING OF THE SHREW, directed by Amy Lane, will utilize traditional practices, combining Elizabethan casting practices with Commedia performance techniques. An all male cast will explore role-playing and traditional gender perception in The Taming of the Shrew.

Available Roles Include:
Baptista 50’s-70’s. Male. Any ethnicity. Father of Kate and Bianca, and a Lord in Padua. Pompous, pedantic, and fraudulent. Inept, long-winded, and ineffectual in most situations. [Likely doubles as Duncan in Macbeth]

*Katherine 30’s. Female played by a male. Any ethnicity. The “shrew” of the title. Seemingly bold, pretentious, and swaggering. Notorious for her temper and sharp tongue. Beneath it all, Katherine is a lover at heart. [Likely doubles as Malcolm in Macbeth]

Bianca Early 30’s. Female played by a male. Any ethnicity. Sister of Kate. Innocent and wholesome. Extremely egotistic and eloquent. Having a singular focus on the one she loves, she often speaks with grand declarations of love. [Likely doubles as Banquo in Macbeth]

*Petruchio 30’s. Male. Any ethnicity. Suitor of Kate. A self-appointed soldier, who is seemingly bold, pretentious, and swaggering. Loud, boisterous, and quick-witted. [Likely doubles as Macduff or Mentieth in Macbeth]

*Grumio Late 30’s/Early 40’s. Male. Any ethnicity. (Asian or African-American if doubled with Macbeth). Petruchio’s servant and the fool of the play. With Petruchio he is playful, witty, childlike, and passionate. To other servants, he is Sophisticated, but arrogant, quick-witted, and opportunistic. [Likely doubles as Macbeth in Macbeth]

Nathaniel 20’s. Male. Any ethnicity. Petruchio’s servant. Physically adept, witty, childlike, and passionate. Doubles as Vincentio and Musician in The Taming of the Shrew. [Like doubles as Lennox in Macbeth]

Curtis 20’s. Male. Any ethnicity. Petruchio’s servant. Physically adept, witty, childlike, and passionate. Doubles as Officer, Widow, and Musician in The Taming of the Shrew. [Likely doubles as Seyton or Donalbain in Macbeth]

*Gremio 50’s-60’s. Male. Any ethnicity. Gentleman of Padua. Elderly suitor of Bianca. Able-bodied/athletic. Rich, retired, and miserly. Though he is in control of the money and is quite cunning, he is often deceived and disobeyed. [Likely doubles as Hecate in Macbeth]

*Hortensio Early 30’s. Male. Any ethnicity. Gentleman of Padua. Suitor of Bianca. Pompous, pedantic, and fraudulent. Inept, long-winded, and ineffectual in most situations. [Likely doubles as Stadlin, Seyton, or Ross in Macbeth]

Lucentio Early 20’s.. Male. Any ethnicity. Young student from Pisa. Good-natured, adventurous. Extremely egotistic and eloquent. Having a singular focus on the one he loves, he often speaks with grand declarations of love. [Likely doubles as Menteith or Macduff in Macbeth]

*Tranio Late 20’s. Male. Any ethnicity. Lucentio’s servant. Physically adept, witty, childlike, and passionate. [Likely doubles as Ross, Stadlin, or Seyton in Macbeth]

Biondello 10-16. Male. Any ethnicity. Lucentio’s young servant. Simpleminded, honest, young, and personable. Loves intrigue, which usually lands him in difficult situations. [Possibly doubles as Fleance in Macbeth]

Tailor 20’s. Male. Any ethnicity. Doubles as Merchant and Musician in The Taming of the Shrew. Simpleminded, honest, young, and personable. [Likely doubles as Donalbain in Macbeth]

MACBETH, directed by Vincent Carlson-Brown, takes place in an imagined world. Where the Thanes of Scotland reside, juxtaposed, next to the ghosts of Japan. Where the tenets of tribal warfare mix with the principles of the samurai. Where the monarchy of Shakespeare’s created history mingles its tale with Eastern mysticism. Six Sisters, led by the Priestess, Hecate, will witness Macbeth’s ambitious rise and tragic fall. Each Weyward Sister will play multiple characters throughout.

Available Roles Include:
Duncan 50’s – 70’s. Male. Any ethnicity. The King of Scotland. [Likely doubles as Baptista in The Taming of the Shrew]

*Malcolm 30’s. Male. Any ethnicity. Duncan’s eldest son and Prince of Cumberland. [Likely doubles as Katherine in The Taming of the Shrew]

Donalbain 20’s. Male. Any ethnicity. Duncan’s younger son. [Likely doubles as Curtis or Tailor in Macbeth]

*Macbeth Late 30’s/Early 40’s. Male. Asian or African American. A general in Duncan’s army. Brave,powerful, and ambitious. [Likely doubles as Grumio in Shrew]

*Seyton Late 20’s/ Early 30’s. Male. Any ethnicity. A porter. [Likely doubles as Hortensio, Tranio, or Curtis in The Taming of the Shrew]

Banquo Early 30’s. Male. Any ethnicity. A Thane of Scotland. A brave and noble general. [Likley doubles as Bianca in The Taming of the Shrew]

Fleance 10-16. Male. Any ethnicity. The son of Banquo. [Possibly doubles as Biondello in Shrew]

*Macduff 30’s. Male. Any ethnicity. Thane of Fife. Hostile to Macbeth’s kingship. [Likely doubles as Petruchio or Lucentio in Shrew]

Lady Macduff 30’s-40’s. Female. Any ethnicity. Macduff’s wife. Angry and prideful.

*Ross Late 20’s/ Early 30’s. Male. Any ethnicity. A Thane of Scotland. [Likely doubles as Hortensio or Tranio in Shrew]

*Menteith 30’s. Male. Any ethnicity. Thane of Scotland. [Likely doubles as Petruchio or Lucentio in Shrew]

Lennox 20’s. Male. Any ethnicity. A Thane of Scotland. [Likely doubles as Nathaniel in The Taming of the Shrew]

*Hecate 50’s-60’s. Male. Any ethnicity. Goddess of witchcraft. Able-bodied/athletic. Participates in stage combat. Doubles as Macdonwald, Priestess, Old Man, and Doctor in Macbeth. [Likely doubles as Gremio in Shrew]

*Stadlin Late 20’s/ Early 30’s. Male. Any ethnicity. One of the Weyward Sisters. Doubles as Soldier, Norway and Thane in Macbeth. [Likely doubles as Hortensio or Tranio in The Taming of the Shrew]

Puckle 20’s-40’s. Female. Any ethnicity. One of the Weyward Sisters. Doubles as Groom, Murderer, and Soldier in Macbeth.

Hellwain 20’s-40’s. Female. Any ethnicity. One of the Weyward Sisters. Doubles as Groom, Thane, Woman, and Soldier in Macbeth.

Greymalkin 20’s-40’s. Female. Any ethnicity. Stadlin’s Genius (guardian spirit). Doubles as Captain, Murderer, and Soldier in Macbeth.

Paddock 20’s-40’s. Female. Any ethnicity. Puckle’s Genius (guardian spirit). Doubles as Soldier, Cawdor, and Thane in Macbeth.

Harpier 8-14. Female. Any ethnicity. Hellwain’s Genius (guardian spirit). Doubles as Macduff ‘s daughter in Macbeth.

The role of Lady Macbeth has been cast.

*denotes potential AEA role.

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.