Gift Ideas for Everyone On Your List

Experiences make the best gifts! Check everyone off your list and create lasting memories this holiday season.

✔ The Littles

A copy of the best-selling novel James and the Giant Peach along with tickets to see the show in March! Student tickets start at just $18. More info here:

✔ The Teenagers

Classes through the Henry Fonda Theatre Academy! Let your young performers explore new skills through Teen Players, Musical Theatre Dance, Stage Combat and more! Classes start at $75 per session. More info here:

✔ The Grandparents

Tickets to Ripcord! This comedy about two broads battling it out in a senior living center will bring a smile to everyone’s face. Get a 4 pack of tickets for just $80 when you buy before Jan. 2, 2018. More info here:

✔ The Significant Other

A mini-season subscription! Give the gift of multiple date nights! Create a custom package of 3 shows or get a Mini Starcard for all 6 remaining productions. Adult packages start at $105 per person. More info here:

✔ The Parents

A gift certificate! Not sure exactly what they’ll want or when they’ll be free? OCP gift certificates can be purchased for any amount and applied to just about anything: tickets, subscriptions, classes… Take the pressure off yourself and let the recipient decide. Call the box office for more info at (402) 553-0800.

Cast of Ripcord

January 19-February 11, 2018
Hawks Mainstage Theatre


Charleen Willoughby - Abby Binder
Judy Radcliff - Marilyn Dunne
Sahil Khullar - Scotty
Kevin Goshorn - Benjamin/Lewis/Clown
Kaitlyn McClincy - Colleen/Woman in White
Matt Tarr - Derek/Zombie Butler/Masked Man


Kimberly Faith Hickman - Director
Gabi Rima - Stage Manager
Paul Pape - Scenic Designer
Jim Othuse - Lighting Designer
Amanda Fehlner - Costume Designer
John Gibilisco - Sound Designer
Darin Kuehler - Properties
Greg Scheer - Production Coordinator

Volunteer Spotlight: Glenda Kalina

What OCP Means to Me

For many, the Omaha Community Playhouse feels like family. Staff members, volunteers and audiences alike walk through our doors as strangers, and leave as so much more. We strive to transform our building into a theatre where you can grow and learn; a place that feels like home. No one knows this better than Glenda Kalina. Glenda has previously served as a production volunteer, and currently volunteers in OCP's administrative offices.
"Our fondness for the Omaha Community Playhouse began in the late seventies when our daughter, Carla, was a violinist with the pit orchestra for My Fair Lady. It was followed by our other daughter, Kelly, who danced and sang her way through a few musicals in the eighties, and traveled with the Nebraska Theatre Caravan as "Lucy" in A Christmas Carol two different years. It was when she was in the "Ballroom" that I had the opportunity to play keyboards for the onstage band. That was a fun thing for me as a mom to be in a show with one of my daughters. Joanne Cady (beloved OCP choreographer from 1974 to 2003) asked me to play for her dance classes, and even let me bring along our German Shepherd, Zach, who would make himself comfortable under the grand piano and watch the dancers practice their moves."
Glenda's involvement only grew from there. Glenda is one of over a dozen dedicated volunteers who work two-hour shifts one day a week answering phones and assisting with projects in the OCP administrative wing.

Volunteers Oskar and Glenda
"About eleven years ago, I began my final contribution to OCP by volunteering on Tuesday mornings in the administrative offices helping answer the phones. Again, I brought my dog, only this time it was a big yellow lab named Oskar. He soon became everyone's therapy dog, you might say, as folks would stop and Oskar would get a pat or two. Oskar just brightened everyone's day. These weekly visits down Henry Fonda Drive brighten my life with so many friends, both new and old, and make me feel like I am doing something worthwhile in my retirement years. My hat's off to OCP that they feel their patrons deserve to be greeted with a real person and not a machine during office hours!"
When asked how OCP impacted her, Glenda put it best.
"How lucky are we to live in Omaha, a city that possesses such a fine community theatre to influence the lives of our children and grandchildren. From my husband, Larry, and me we say thank you, Omaha Community Playhouse. Thank you for making Omaha the kind of community that is easy to call home. Thank you for all you have done and are still doing to enrich the lives of our family."
It's a family we are proud to be a part of.
Stupid F@#%ing Bird 
Actor Alissa Hanish reflects on her past experience with Chekhov's works

1.    Have you ever read or performed a Chekhov work before? If yes, what work(s)?

Yes, I was first introduced to Chekhov in college when we read The Cherry Orchard. I immediately fell in love with the play...the imagery, the metaphors, the characters, how unbelievably dramatic yet relatable it was. It felt like what theatre should be - heightened reality that made me feel something. Then, a year later, I was cast as Anna Petrovna in The Chekhov Machine. It was an outrageous, wonderful little play about the characters from Chekhov's plays coming back to haunt him as he is dying from TB. It was a fascinating experience and made me fall even more in love with his work. His characters are so dramatic and ridiculous, yet you see yourself in all of them. His characters are our inner lives - the things brewing inside of us that we don't let others see. We are so dramatic in our own minds, but we try to be rational human beings. Chekhov makes you examine yourself with his characters.

2.       Did your past experience with Chekhov add to the interest in this show for you?

I already loved The Seagull before I knew about this play. I saw Stupid F@#%ing Bird in Chicago at Victory Gardens Theatre in 2015 and it made me think for days. I laughed, I cried, I contemplated what art was and what art I should be doing. When I saw that OCP was producing it I was ecstatic! It makes fun of Chekhov but in the most loving way. It still has the heart of a Chekhov story, but the language and characters are a little more accessible. 

3.       Do you think the script for Stupid F@#%ing Bird makes Chekhov more relatable to people who may not be familiar to his works?

This script is definitely more accessible than The Seagull but honestly, only in language and maybe time period. The characters are still incredibly dramatic and the ideas are the same (even some of the lines are nearly identical to the lines in The Seagull.) I think placing the characters in modern-ish day with modern-ish language helps make the play more accessible to people who aren't into classical theatre. It is a modern show with modern language and dress, but it still has all the flair and drama and feeling of a Chekhov original.

Stupid F@#%ing Bird - Director's Thoughts on Chekhov

By Director Suzanne Withem

I read The Seagull and The Cherry Orchard in undergrad and I'd skimmed Uncle Vanya and Three Sisters, but I'd never really connected with the stiff language or strange characters in such foreign situations dealing so poorly with what appeared to be relatively mundane problems. People told me Chekhov was funny, but just reading the text, I didn't get it. I felt dumb and irritated, so I just gave up on it and joined the "I Hate Chekhov" camp.

Then, in 2006, I auditioned for the Brigit St. Brigit Theatre production of The Seagull and was cast in the role of Nina. My vanity and being cast in a lead role allowed me to put aside my dislike of the playwright and I dug in trying to understand. It helped that the Artistic Director, Cathy Kurz, chose Tom Stoppard's translation of the play. It was much more accessible than others I'd read, and after having compared different translations of Molière's Tartuffe, I realized how important a good translation can be. A translator attempting to do a literal translation ends up with a product that sounds awkward and stiff - as if Google Translate did half the work. A literary translation, on the other hand, sticks to the spirit and intention of the original while allowing freedom of interpretation and providing space for the actors to play. That's what I found in Tom Stoppard's translation. 

That was one of my first big roles out of college, and I took it very seriously. I applied all my training and watched and listened to the more experienced actors in the group. Doug Blackburn, Charlene Willoughby and Jeremy Earl, just to name a few, were in that production. Each had training and experience far beyond mine, and I did all I could to keep up with them. Nina's zest for life in the first two acts and her passion in pursuing her dreams in the third really resonated with me, and I found it easy to get caught up in the character, riding the wave past intermission. However, she returns in the fourth act, having had her soul, career, reputation and heart crushed. I struggled every night to relate to that state. Portraying someone so world-weary at such a young age, having lived a relatively sheltered life, was a real challenge for me. But it was a beautiful experience and production all the same. 

When I first read Aaron Posners "sort of adaptation" of The Seagull, I immediately fell in love. His love/hate relationship with Chekhov and his plays was immediately apparent and right in line with where I was, more than a decade after my first encounter with The Seagull. Posner doesn't just riff on the story; he plays with the original text. He quotes Chekhov, mocks him, undermines him and points at him with a flashing neon sign and composes love songs to him. Only someone with a deep love for the story and the history of American attempts to produce the play could get inside the work in this way. 

Not only does he modernize the texts and situations, he modernizes the perspectives. Chekhov, through his character of Konstantin demands "new forms" of theatre from 1898, when declamation and oratory were considered high art. Chekhov and Stanislavsky, at the Moscow Art Theatre were attempting to break with tradition by doing innovative things like having the actors speak directly and naturally to one another or doing mundane things like eating, sitting, and blowing their noses on stage. This was revolutionary at the time. In 2017, Aaron Posner screams through his character of Conrad that we again need "new forms" of theatre, then has us break the fourth wall in new and surprising ways, invites us to try out new ways of expressing emotion through music, movement, poetry and improvisation. 

Yet, while both Chekhov and Posner challenge their audiences to consider new types of art that encourage new ways of looking at the world, they still provide for fun, humor and the opportunity to experience empathy. These ridiculous characters who move and talk in ways that surprise the audience are still surprisingly relatable and lovable, despite their flaws.  

Volunteer Spotlight: Sarah Ebke

What OCP Means to Me

"As an actor, I enjoy being on stage for all sorts of reasons: telling stories, wearing the beautiful costumes, singing the powerful music, becoming a family with the people I share the stage with, and just getting to become another person for a few hours. All meaningful reasons, but ones that culminate to the most significant of all - affecting the audience in some way. Making them laugh, making them cry, making them think...just making them feel...something. My experience with Mamma Mia! and the audience reactions after the show have been quite a unique one. As much as I want to touch their hearts and give them a positive experience, they have been giving me just as much love back. And it has been positively overwhelming.

Our cast has been getting all sorts of incredible feedback in the receiving line after the show, and I wanted to share some of my favorite moments with you. Some people want to shake my hand, look me in the eye, and tell me just how much they enjoyed the show. Some people come up as excited groupies/fans and want their picture taken with the Dynamos (with disco points included, of course). They have huge smiles on their faces and sometimes even jump up and down and scream! Some people come up to me with tears in their eyes and share how much a particular song or scene moved them. And then they want a hug - it always brings me to tears as well. Every. Time.

There was one woman in her 50's (I'm guessing) that said this was the first musical she had ever seen and that she was so glad it was this production. There have been many younger children coming through the line saying it was their first show as about feeling honored being part of their first experiences that may inspire them to see (or even be in) more!

Mamma Mia! certainly brings the die-hard fans, whether of the stage show, the movie, or ABBA in general, and I have been trying to remember some of the specific kind words we have heard through their hugs, giddy screams, and even tears. Here are just a few that I can remember:

"I have seen this show on three continents, and this is just as good as any I have seen."

"I have seen this show ten times, and this one is my favorite!"

"I never need to see another version again. Nothing could be better than this."

"You broke my heart."

"I didn't expect to feel so many emotions..."

"The storytelling in this production was just so much more than past ones I have seen."

"I'm going to go home and dig out my ABBA soundtrack. It has been too long!"

"This was a better production than the Broadway one."

"I'm hoping all three of you are best friends in real life, because you look like it on stage!"

Talk about bursting with pride to be part of a live experience that can create this many heartfelt, pure, and sincere reactions. I personally have never had this kind of feedback from an interaction with an audience. They have touched my heart, made me smile, just filled my soul, and yes, even made me cry, too. That's what is so special about live theater - the giving and receiving between the performers and the audience. It can be touching, it can be loving, and even electric and wild. I will remember so much about my first experience on the mainstage here at the Omaha Community Playhouse, but what will remain in my heart forever is the impact our cast made on all the human souls that came expecting to have a good time with a jukebox ABBA musical, and left with so much more. As the show says:

"Thank you for the music, the songs I'm singing. Thanks for all the joy they're bringing. Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty. What would life be? Without a song or dance what are we?

So I say thank you for the music, for giving it to me." 

Thank you, Sarah.  Thank you.


Would you like to continue to support the productions and programs of the Omaha Community Playhouse? Donate Now! Make your donation go further with your employer’s matching program!

What’s YOUR story? Do you have a story to share about how OCP has impacted you? If so, we’d love to hear it! E-mail Emily Andres, Development Director

Cast of A Christmas Carol 2017

Fred - Jacob Roman
Jake - Don Harris
Nell - Amanda Charles
Ebenezer Scrooge - Jerry Longe
Bob Cratchit - Chris Berger
1st Charity Man - Bob Gilmore
2nd Charity Man - Marcus Benzel
Peter Cratchit - Jake Parker
Francis Cratchit - Brodhi McClymont
Belinda Cratchit - Maddie Smith
Tim Cratchit - Annabelle DeWater
Jacob Marley - Don Keelan-White
Ghost of Christmas Past - Lori Lynn Ahrends
School boy - Tyson Bentley
School boy - Judson Cloudt
School boy - Daniel Davis
School boy - Cal Hernandez
School boy - Lincoln Hoffart
School boy - Neal Jochim
Ebby - Andrew Hedin
Fan - Stella Clark-Kaczmarek
Dick Wilkins - Brendan Brown
Mr. Fezziwig - Marcus Benzel
Mrs. Fezziwig - Catherine Vazquez
Ball Musician - Don Harris
Ball Musician - Don Keelan-White
Young Scrooge - Boston Reid
Belle Fezziwig - Emma Chvala
Ghost of Christmas Present - Bob Gilmore
Mrs. Cratchit - Jen Dillon
Martha Cratchit - Hannah-Kate Kinney
Millie - Elise O’Neil
Lucy - Jenna Hager
Topper - Brandon Fisher
Myrtle Crow - Amanda Charles
Mrs. Dilber - Julia Ervin
Man at Cart - Cody Girouex
Man at Cart - Don Harris
Man at Cart - Don Keelan-White
Child with Sled - Ava Palmer
Adult Ensemble - Annie Hekl
Adult Ensemble - Isabelle Rangel
Adult Ensemble - Alex Nilius
Youth Ensemble - Cora Johnson
Youth Ensemble - Lilian Johnson
Youth Ensemble - Olivia Walling
Youth Ensemble - Burke Wissman

Specialty Players
Little Bo Peep - Sophia Markle
Little Boy Blue - Caeli Karasek
Beggar - Cody Girouex
Chestnut Vendor - Julia Ervin
Greenery Vendor - Josie Ausman
Baker’s Wife - Catherine Vazquez
Baker - Bob Gilmore
Toyshop Keeper - Kristopher Fleeman

Marley Minions
Jennifer Bonge
Katie Hoskins
Evelyn Kinney
Reese Uptmor

Fezziwig Ball Dancers
Marcus Benzel
Chris Berger
Brendan Brown
Amanda Charles
Emma Chvala
Jen Dillon
Julia Ervin
Brandon Fisher
Kristopher Fleeman

Cody Girouex
Jenna Hager
Annie Hekl
Alex Nilius
Elise O’Neil
Isabelle Rangel
Boston Reid
Jacob Roman

Catherine Vazquez

Manger Scene
Mary - Sophia Markle
Joseph - Tyson Bentley
Wisemen - Andrew Hedin, Cal Hernandez, Neal Jochim
Innkeeper - Daniel Davis
Shepherds - Judson Cloudt, Annabelle DeWater, Lincoln Hoffart, Brodi McClymont, Burke Wissman
Angels - Josie Ausman, Jennifer Bonge, Stella Clark-Kaczmarek, Katie Hoskins, Cora Johnson, Lilian Johnson, Caeli Karasek, Evelyn Kinney, Ava Palmer, Maddie Smith, Reese Uptmor, Olivia Walling