Q&A with Camille Metoyer Moten

The Camille Metoyer Moten Songbook

June 8 - 10 | Omaha Community Playhouse | Howard Drew Theatre

Q:  Tell us about the format for your show The Camille Metoyer Moten Songbook.  What songs can we expect to hear?

A:  The show is going to be a fun, more informal version of our previous shows.  Because we are performing in the Howard Drew Theatre, there is more opportunity for audience participation and interaction. We will be performing several Streisand songs because whenever I get the opportunity to pay tribute to her I do. LOL!  We have added some new Streisand songs like "Stoney End," but we have also included some very unique song stylings of hits such as "Every Breath" and Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror" as well as a few standards such as "God Bless the Child" and "Wonderful World."

Q:  How did decide what to include in this show?

A:  Basically we put together the Streisand favorites plus a few of the songs that resonate well with audiences when I sing with the Camille Metoyer Moten Band (such an original name, don’t you think?) Ha! There are also a couple of original tunes by my music director David P. Murphy in there that are beautiful and will be on my next CD, which I am currently working on. 

Q:  Who is this show a good fit for?

A:  The music in this show will be fun for not only Streisand fans but also folks who love the standards of the '40s and those that like to hear a few pop songs that have stood the test of time. Also, anyone who appreciates a smoking group of instrumentalists that know their stuff!

Designer Spotlight: Aja Jackson

60 second life story: How did you come to be a lighting designer?

I started theatre in grade school and joined the Omaha Community Playhouse Technical Apprenticeship Program majoring in electrics while I was in high school. After seeing more and more shows, I found that lighting was the most articulate way for me to join the theatrical conversation. I enjoy the ephemerality and complexity of lighting and the technology to make it all happen.

As a guest lighting designer, how did you become involved with this production?

Last season I was invited to design Superior Donuts with Susan Bear Collins. I met Susan as an apprentice at OCP. We had a great collaboration together. This season, Jim Othuse, Resident Lighting and Scenic Designer at OCP, invited me to join the creative team for Shakespeare In Love.
Overhead view of Shakespeare in Love lighting plot

What inspired or influenced your design for Shakespeare in Love?

The text. The play is very fast moving and dynamic. I wanted to create a light plot that was flexible so we would be able to go from the bright comedic moments of a pup scurrying across the stage to the sensual and intimate moments between William Shakespeare and Viola De Lesseps.

What was the biggest challenge you encountered while designing this production?

The second level of the set. We have limits to how high we can fly the electrics out. This is one of the tallest sets that the Hawks Mainstage has had. We needed to light the balcony from many positions to make sure that the actors could utilize the entirety of the playing space.

What do you love about Shakespeare in Love?

I found a lot of joy in lighting a play within a play, intimate scenes, and the big company fight scenes. I think the beauty of this play is that there is a moment that can resonate with most people. From work frustrations, financial woes, to love and love lost, Shakespeare In Love is a romantic, action-packed comedy for all hearts.

See Aja's amazing work in Shakespeare in Love playing through May 6th in the Hawks Mainstage Theatre.

A Pre-Rehearsal Chat with Alissa Hanish of Shakespeare in Love

It’s an exciting week in the life cycle of an Omaha Community Playhouse production. Actors are moving out of the rehearsal hall they’ve spent over a month in and moving to their set on the mainstage. They only get about a week to get situated before an audience arrives, so everything has to come together quickly. This is the point where actress Alissa Hanish has a moment to share her experience with Shakespeare in Love.

Alissa is making her OCP mainstage debut in this production as Viola, but she’s no stranger to the Playhouse. Immediately after moving from Chicago to Omaha, Alissa auditioned for the 2015 production of Mauritius “on a whim” and landed a lead role. She followed that up with performances as Rose in the Alternative Programming staged reading of Dogfight, and most recently, Nina in this season’s Stupid F@#%ing Bird.

Moving into the Hawks Mainstage Theatre is an exciting milestone for Alissa. Having done many performances in black-box style theatres, she feels that this stage is the right space for this story. “It’s back to the time of Shakespeare where everything was presentational and everything was for the audience.”

When asked about how she describes the show, her go-to explanation is “it’s Shakespeare, but it’s accessible.” Those who never quite fell in love with the Bard or worry that everything will go over their heads have nothing to fear. “It’s half Shakespeare, half modern speech that you can completely understand,” she says, “and very, very similar to the movie.”

In regards to Gwyneth Paltrow’s Oscar-winning portrayal of Viola in that film, Alissa didn’t feel pressure to copy or compete. The biggest thing she took away was the actress’s approach to playing a man. Those familiar with the story know that while Viola longs to be an actress, it is a forbidden profession for women at the time, so she assumes a male identity­–Thomas Kent–in order to audition. “I was very scared that spending half of this show as a man, it would come across as doing too much,” says Alissa, but just as Paltrow did in the film, a subtle change in voice pitch (aided by Lindsay Pape’s gorgeous costumes) does enough without becoming distractingly comical.

Her biggest challenge of the show? Keeping the character’s secret identity path in check. “I’m Alissa playing Viola playing Thomas Kent playing Romeo…and then playing Juliet,” she says, so it’s crucial for her to differentiate all those layers throughout the show; something she’s still working on. She loves that Viola “completely goes after what she wants,” an approach Alissa clearly also takes as she continues to impress Omaha with her talents on stage.

Shakespeare in Love is playing in the Hawks Mainstage Theatre April 13-May 6, 2018. More info can be found here: http://www.omahaplayhouse.com/tickets/view/shakespeare-in-love/

Cast of Singin' in the Rain


Nate Wasson* - Don Lockwood
J. Isaiah Smith - Cosmo
Tayler Lempke Plank - Kathy
Cathy Hirsch - Lina
Andrew Karolski - Young Don
Brohdi McClymont - Young Cosmo
Rob Baker - RF Simpson
Don Harris - Roscoe
Payton Alber - Ensemble
Marcus Benzel - Ensemble
Karin Berg - Ensemble
Brendan Brown - Ensemble
Lillian Cohen - Ensemble
Brianna Davis - Ensemble
Jason DeLong - Ensemble
Julia Ervin - Ensemble
Jude Glaser - Ensemble
Joseph Mokrycki - Ensemble
Kara Penniston - Ensemble
Hannah Ramsgard - Ensemble
Boston Reid - Ensemble
Nora Shelton - Ensemble
Mia Sherlock - Ensemble
Becky Trecek - Ensemble
Carrie Trecek - Ensemble
Mary Trecek - Ensemble
Debbie Trecek Volkens - Ensemble
*Guest artist


Kimberly Faith Hickman – Director
Jeanne Shelton – Stage Manager
Jim Boggess – Music Director
Jim Othuse  – Scenic and Lighting Designer
Lindsay Pape – Costume Designer
Roxanne Nielson – Choreographer
Tim Burkhart – Sound Designer
John Gibilisco – Resident Sound Designer/Production Electrician
Darin Kuehler - Properties
Greg Scheer – Production Coordinator 

Modern Movies Based on Shakespearean Works

William Shakespeare’s writings are so well-known and beloved, that it’s no wonder there have been countless adaptations of his works. Movie adaptations of Shakespearean plays are no exception. 

Sure, we’re familiar with the 1998 Best Picture Academy Award-winning film version of Shakespeare in Love starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Joseph Fiennes, but you may not realize just how many modern movies are based on Shakespearean works.  They range from the obvious (think Hamlet, Much Ado About Nothing and William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet) to the more obscure (10 Things I Hate About You, West Side Story and Just One of the Guys) to the downright surprising (The Lion King? Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith? You bet!) 

Here are a few lists of modern movies based on Shakespearean works:

Cast of The Mountaintop


Donte Plunkett - Martin Luther King, Jr.
Catie Zaleski - Camae


Denise Chapman - Director
Gabi Rima - Stage Manager
Alfonso Lee Jones - Composer
Darin Kuehler - Properties
John Gibilisco - Sound Designer
Herman Montero - Lighting Designer
Amanda Fehlner - Costume Designer
Jim Othuse - Scenic Designer
Greg Scheer - Production Coordinator

Cast of Shakespeare in Love


Jacob J. Roman​ - Will
Alissa Hanish - Viola
Christopher Scott​ - Henslowe
Kevin Barratt - Burbage
Ron Boschult - Fennyman
Sydney Readman​ - Wessex
Alex Nilius​ - Ensemble
Bradley Alexander - Wabash
Caitlin Mabon - Sir Robert
Catherine Ann Vazquez - Ensemble
Chloe Irwin - Webster
Craig Bond - Ralph
Danielle Smith - Tilney
Dennis Stessman​ - Ensemble
Janet Macklin - Queen
Jenna Hager - Ensemble
Jeremy Earl - Marlowe
Julie Fitzgerald Ryan​ - Nurse
Michael Leamen - Ned
Olivia Howard - Ensemble
Pamela Scott - Ensemble
Samantha Johnston - Ensemble
Sean Johnson​ - Ensemble
Will Rodgers - Sam
Apollo - Spot the dog


Jeff Horder - Director
Suzanne Withem - Assistant Director
Wes Houston - Stage Manager
Courtney Stein - Choreographer
Erik Diaz - Scenic Designer
Lindsay Pape - Costume Designer
John Gibilisco - Resident Sound Designer/Production Electrician
Aja M. Jackson - Light Designer
Darin Kuehler - Properties
Greg Scheer - Production Coordinator