OCP Holding Auditions for 16-17 Season Openers

Both auditions at Omaha Community Playhouse (6915 Cass St, Omaha, NE)

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

Production Dates: August 19-September 18, 2016
Performs in: Howard Drew Theatre
Director: Ablan Roblin

Synopsis: Based on Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the most beloved stories of all time. In this moving and heartfelt tale, a quiet Southern town is rocked by a crisis of morality. Despite threats to himself and his family, lawyer Atticus Finch defends a black man wrongly accused of a grave crime. With the recent release of Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman, the newly discovered sequel, this is a wonderful opportunity to revisit To Kill a Mockingbird.Winner of 12 Tony Awards. Contains language and situations related to racial tension and mob violence.

Audition Dates: Sunday, June 5 at 7:00 PM and Monday, June 6 at 7:00 PM

Character Descriptions:

Atticus Finch: Quietly impressive, reserved and civilized. Atticus is courageous and just without the heroics or fanfare. Atticus understands people and their needs without judgment or blame. He is a loving father who cares very deeply for his children.
Age Range 40-55

Scout Finch: Courageous, forthright, and curious. If she has a question she will ask, She is a young girl about to experience the events that will shape the rest of her life.
Age range 9-12

Jem Finch: Scout’s older brother, is a thoughtful protective young boy who will also be facing events that shape his life. Jem is reaching out trying to communicate and understand his father and how he relates to the events that effect his family and their town.
Age Range 11-14

Dill (Charles Baker Harris): Friend to Scout and Jem, who is wise beyond his years. Dill possesses a sense of sophistication, curiosity and adventure. His home life lacks and he develops a connection with the Finches.
Age Range 11-13

Calpurnia: Mother figure to Scout and Jem. She is an African American woman who takes care of the children and the Finch household. She is a self educated, proud, disciplined woman who cares very deeply for the Finches, although she may not show it all the time.
Age Range: 30-45

Maudie Atkinson: Neighbor to the Finches. She is a loving, sensitive woman, who possesses wisdom, and a sharp sense of humor. Mrs. Maudie also shares the same sense of moral conviction as Atticus. She exemplifies a sense of the south, and southern women.
Age Range: 40-55

Stephanie Crawford: Neighbor to the Finches. The neighborhood gossip, who takes an enormous amount of pleasure and enthusiasm in stirring things up in a simple humorous way.
Age Range:30-50

Mrs. Dubose: Neighbor to the Finches. She is older and ill and has great difficulty and pain walking. She is bitter and biting and is struggling with an addiction which is revealed later in the play.
Age range: 55-70

Boo Radley (Arthur Radley): Neighbor to the Finches. He has not been out of his house in 15 years and has become the mystery of the town. He has been emotionally damaged by his cruel father but develops a fondness for Jem, Scout and Dill.
Age Range:
30-40

Tom Robinson: A handsome vital African American farm hand who has been accused of raping Mayella Ewell. He is thoughtful and sensitive and maintains a sense of quiet dignity. Although he has a disabled arm he is a strong and able worker.
Age Range: 25-35

Mayella Ewell: The oldest daughter of Bob Ewell. She is the oldest daughter and takes care of her seven younger siblings. Mayella is overworked, lonely and uneducated. She is very poor and desperate for connection and companionship.
Age Range: 19-25

Bob Ewell: The father of Mayella Ewell and seven other children. He is extremely poor, uneducated, bitter and has a drinking problem. He spends his relief checks on alcohol and cares very little about the well being of his eight children.
Age Range 40-50

Heck Tate: The town sheriff, who does his duty as he sees it, but struggles with the events of the play. He believes in protecting the innocent but is reluctant to show it.
Age Range: 35-55

Horace Gilmer: He is the public prosecutor. He can be hurtful and cruel in his cross examination of Tom Robinson, using racial tension as a tactic.
Age Range: 40-50

Judge John Taylor: He is the Judge presiding over the Tom Robinson case. Judge Taylor has done his best in offering a fair trial to Tom by appointing Atticus as his legal counsel. He is evenhanded and objective.
Age Range: 45-60

Reverend Sykes: African American minister of the First Purchase Church. He is a proud concerned preacher who cares deeply about his congregation and the upcoming trial.
Age Range: 30-55

Walter Cunningham: An honest hard-up farmer who has fallen on hard times. He shares the prejudices of this time and place, but can be reached and reasoned with.
Age Range: 35-50

SISTER ACT
Production Dates: September 16-October 16, 2016
Performs in: Hawks Mainstage Theatre
Director: Kimberly Faith Hickman

Synopsis: Broadway’s smash musical comedy Sister Act will make you jump for joy! Based on the 1992 blockbuster movie and featuring original music by eight-time Oscar winner Alan Menken (Beauty and The Beast, The Little Mermaid, Newsies), this uplifting musical is filled with toe-tapping songs, show-stopping dance numbers and a truly touching story. After witnessing her mafia boyfriend commit a crime, night club singer Deloris Van Cartier seeks help from the local police. She is placed in the witness protection program in the last spot her boyfriend would think to find her—a convent! Struggling to fit in with a group of nuns, Deloris finds her calling working with the convent choir. As she helps her fellow sisters find their voices, she unexpectedly rediscovers her own. Nominated for five Tony Awards, Sister Act is a reason to rejoice!

Audition Dates: Monday, June 13 at 7:00 PM and Tuesday, June 14 at 7:00 PM

Character Descriptions:

Seeking an ethnically diverse cast of men and women high school age and up!

Deloris Van Cartier -­ Philadelphia showgirl hiding as a nun after witnessing a murder. Confident, sexy, fantastic singer. Determined, doesn’t take no for an answer, likes to make mischief and have a good time. She’s got the personality of Diana Ross, Tina Turner and Beyonce all rolled into one. (African­American)

Eddie -­ A good guy and cop (who doesn’t carry a gun) in charge of putting Deloris in witness protection. Has had a crush on Deloris since they were in high school which made him sweat a lot. As a result, she nicknamed him “Sweaty Eddie”. Tries really hard to be smooth and macho. He usually fails ­ but there is a knight in shining armor hiding inside.

Curtis -­ Deloris’s criminal boyfriend, also a club owner. Violent, slimy, sleazy and controlling but with a sense of humor. The kind of guy that gives his girlfriend his wife’s coat as a gift.

Joey -­ one of Curtis’s henchmen. Loves his boss. Thinks he’s a ladies man.

TJ -­ one of Curtis’s henchmen and his nephew. “Smart”. Really thinks he’s a ladies man.

Pablo -­ one of Curtis’s henchmen. Speaks Spanish. Is the best at being a ladies man.

Ernie -­ one of Curtis’s henchmen. He’s also an informant to the cops.

Monsignor O’Hara ­- Older, mature, traditional but finds secular music appealing. Is doing his best to keep his church from closing.

Mother Superior ­– Head nun. Older, mature, loves tradition, solid as a rock. Unwavering in her beliefs but has a huge heart. Is doing her best to keep her church from closing.

Sister Mary Robert -­ The youngest of the nuns. Sweet, innocent, not used to standing up for herself. Buried within a mountain of shyness and insecurities is a confident young woman.

Sister Mary Patrick -­ Also one of the youngest. She’s very cheerful! All of the time! A little adventurous, loves music.

Sister Mary Lazarus -­ The current choir director. Queen of sarcasm. Has hidden rap skills.

Sister Mary Martin­-Of­-Tours -­ Older, mature, doesn’t always know what’s going on. Off in her own little world. Has a secret skill of being able to interpret Spanish.

Sister Mary Theresa ­ The oldest nun, but always knows what’s going on and has excellent
hearing.

Michelle -­ Deloris’s back up singer and close friend. Confident, sassy, great singer and dancer. If Deloris is Diana Ross, Michelle is one of the Supremes.

Tina -­ Deloris’s back up singer and close friend. Confident, sassy, follows the rules, great singer and dancer. If Deloris is Diana Ross, Tina is one of the Supremes.

Ensemble: Nuns, Cops, Hookers, Bar Patrons, Waitresses, Pool Player, Drag Queen, Homeless People, Cab Driver, Newscaster, Fantasy Dancers, etc.

What to Bring for Sister Act:

• Please come prepared with 16 bars of music prepared to sing. An accompanist will be provided.

• There will be a dance audition, pleased come dressed ready to move or bring a change of clothes with you. Boots, sandals, flip-flips, slick shoes, etc. should not be worn during the dance audition.

What to Bring for Both Shows:

• You will be asked to fill out an audition form, please have all necessary contact information and personal schedules handy in order to complete the form.

• A recent photo if you have one available. Please note, photos will not be returned.

BLT’s “Mockingbird” is Powerful & Profound

Let me tell you what real strength is.  Real strength is fighting for a hopeless cause without a chance of victory simply because it is the right thing to do.  Atticus Finch is the epitome of this type of strength when he defends a black man accused of beating and raping a white woman in To Kill a Mockingbird adapted by Christopher Sergel from Harper Lee’s novel and currently playing at the Bellevue Little Theatre.

The difficulty in adapting Harper Lee’s classic novel to the stage is that it is so perfectly written that it is practically impossible to edit or alter anything without losing something vital to the story.  Sergel does what he can with the script, but the end result is a bit of a mixed bag.  Many important moments from the story are edited out or glossed over through exposition from the children or the play’s narrator, Maudie Atkinson.  Instead, Sergel focuses the bulk of the attention on the play’s crucial climax:  the trial of Tom Robinson and its aftermath.

Director Lorie Obradovich makes the most out of this story as she presents a solidly staged production with gripping performances from the primary cast.  Most impressive was the wonderful sense of tension she creates with the play’s climactic trial, especially with the testimony of Tom Robinson.

A T.A.G. nomination for Best Actor may be knocking on John Carlson’s door with his beautifully simple and quietly strong performance as Atticus Finch.  Harper Lee would be proud of Carlson’s take on her iconic character as he perfectly grasps Finch’s decency, integrity, intelligence, and character.  As Finch, Carlson is utterly unflappable even when facing the derision and insults of most of the citizenry of his hometown for defending Robinson.  Without question, he always knows what is right and he will compromise his principles for no-one.

Zoey Dittmer and Aidan Schmidtke give performances that belie their youth as Finch’s two children, Scout and Jem.  Schmidtke was especially impressive as he has a deceptively strong presence and projection abilities many experienced and older actors lack.  Schmidtke did a tremendous job of showing a young man riding the line between childhood and maturity.  At one moment, he could be the son of Atticus Finch, staunchly standing by his father with their shared principles.  In the next, he could be very much the child such as when he destroys the plants of a rude neighbor for insulting Atticus.

Ms Dittmer imbues Scout with a delightful playfulness.  I just utterly enjoyed watching her when she wasn’t speaking just to see the “kid” things she would do such as swinging from the porch railing.  Ms Dittmer nailed Scout’s tomboyish nature as she wouldn’t hesitate getting into a fistfight to defend Finch’s honor and I also liked her zest for adventure as she readily joined Jem in following Atticus to the courthouse and county jail.  Her understanding of what it meant to kill a mockingbird also provided a very tender and sweet moment at the play’s end.

As good as the performances from the two children were, they do need to watch their accents.  During Act I their accents were flawless.  But the accents weakened and vanished during Act II.

Tym Livers gets a lot of things right with his portrayal of Bob Ewell, the white trash father of the alleged rape victim.  He is coarse, vulgar, and not overly bright.  However, Livers’ performance was missing the vital element of danger.  Ewell is a mean man with a brutal temper who does not hesitate to resort to violence.  Without the danger element, Livers’ Ewell actually came off a bit humorous which is not good since he needs to pose a genuine threat to the Finch family.

Jarell Roach’s portrayal of Tom Robinson will make you cry.  He is a haunted and tragic soul.  Roach’s body language is absolutely beautiful as he tries to hide within himself at the trial.  He also does an excellent job of bringing the audience’s attention to his useless left arm, subtly demonstrating his character’s innocence.  Despite the fact that Robinson is at the mercy of a society that will gleefully convict him based on his skin color, he still possesses a great strength exemplified by his testimony at the trial.  Roach expertly shows this strength with a shy, but determined delivery as Robinson does have the truth on his side.  I also admired the decency Roach gave to Robinson as he was reluctant to share the full truth to protect his accuser who crossed the ultimate barrier in the eyes of this society.

There were also some strong performances in the supporting cast.  Standouts included Wes Clowers’ take on Heck Tate, the moral and decent sheriff of Maycomb County.  Deb Kelly keeps the energy going as the show’s narrator, Maudie Atkinson.  Larry Wroten is kindly and just as Judge Taylor.  Phyllis Mitchell-Butler makes for a wonderful surrogate mother in the role of Finch’s cook and housekeeper, Calpurnia.

Wes Clowers’ simple set will transport you to a 1930s Southern neighborhood and Tom Reardon’s lighting was truly exceptional as it shifted with the story as it weaved its way from narration to action and back again.  The only missteps in the evening’s performance was a little uneven acting in the supporting cast and some of the actors needed to be louder, especially since it seemed as if the floor mikes were either turned off or turned very low.  A scene of violence also needs some fixing up to be more believable and cues and pace needed to be picked up.

The message of Harper Lee’s novel is still as powerful and profound as when it was originally written.  It is a story of strength, character, and dignity.  It also proves that, as Atticus Finch said, you can’t really understand another person until you consider things from his viewpoint.  And in doing so, we often find  we’re really not all that different from one another.

To Kill a Mockingbird runs through Nov 22 at the Bellevue Little Theatre.  Performances are Fri-Sat at 7:30pm and Sundays at 2pm.  Tickets cost $18 for adults, $16 for seniors, and $10 for students with proper ID.  Reservations can be made by calling 402-291-1554 between the hours of 10am-4:30pm Mon-Sat.  A little discretion is advised as the show does include racial epithets.  Bellevue Little Theatre is located at 203 E Mission Ave in Bellevue, NE.

Harper Lee’s Classic Novel Takes the Stage at Bellevue Little Theatre

Bellevue Little Theatre ( 203 W. Mission Ave in Bellevue, NE) will present the classic the classic and timely  play To Kill a Mockingbird the weekends of Nov. 6-22. Performances are scheduled on Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 PM and Sundays at 2:00 PM.

Reservations are strongly recommended and may be made by calling the theatre at 402-291-1554 between the hours of 10 am and 4:30 PM Monday thru Saturday.  Tickets are $18 for adults, $16 for seniors, and $10 for students with proper id.

Lorie Obradovich is directing this classic, with Robin Klusmire and Pam Matney serving as producers. Tony White is stage manager.  Nancy Ross is in charge of costumes and Wes Clowers is the set builder.  Lighting design will be done by Tom Reardon, and sound design by Dan Baye.  Baye will also be sound technician and Wayne Matney will be lighting technician.

Featured in the cast are Jodi Bagley, Mayella Ewell; Dan Baye, Nathan Radley; Phyllis Bonds, Miss Stephanie; John Carlson, Atticus Finch; Karen Codes, Mrs. Dubose; Zoey Dittmer, Scout Finch; Will Jones, Dill Harris; Deb Kelly, Miss Maudie;Paul Kelly, Mr. Gilmore; Fred Kracke, Boo Radley; Tim Livers, Bob Ewell; Manuel Marquez, Clerk; Jarell Roach, Tom Robinson; Phyllis Mitchell-Butler, Calpurnia; Gary Planck, Mr. Cunningham; Carl Brooks, Rev. Sykes; Wes Clowers, Heck Tate; Aidan Schmidtke, Jem Finch; Larry Wroten, Judge Taylor.

Please note that the original language from the novel will be used, and that may be offensive to some.

This drama, based on the acclaimed Pulitzer Award winning novel by Harper Lee, is set in Alabama during the 1930’s.  The play follows Atticus Finch and his crusade to bring justice to a black man accused of raping a white woman.  The ensuing drama brings racial prejudice to the spotlight in the small town.  Atticus struggles to explain his defense of the man to his family, especially to his young daughter, Scout, as she and her brother, Jem, try to understand the problems of injustice which her father is trying to overcome. In addition the children are exposed to a neighbor who is ‘different’, and learn through his actions that ‘different’ doesn’t mean evil or threatening.