Dr. King Depicted in Theatre

From 1776 to Evita to Hamilton, historical figures have inspired many theatrical works over the years. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is no exception. In addition to many depictions on television and film, play wrights and composers have attempted to give us additional insight into this influential leader. The following list of stage works featuring Dr. King is not at all comprehensive, so please comment on the post if you have additional titles to add!

The Mountaintop
This fictional play imagines the final night of Dr. King’s life. It premiered in London in 2009 and opened on Broadway in 2011 starring Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett. The Omaha Community Playhouse production goes on sale March 27and will run May 4-27, 2018.

I Dream
This “rhythm and blues opera” by librettist, lyricist and composer Douglas Tappin premiered at the Woodruff Arts Center in Atlanta, Georgia in 2010. A full concept recording is available on iTunes and Spotify.

I Have a Dream
This production originated on Broadway in 1976 and starred Billy Dee Williams as Dr. King. Subsequent iterations have expanded the inclusion of music.

Selma: A Musical Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Originally written in 1978 by Tommy Butler, this show’s complete cast recording is also available on iTunes and Spotify. One of the show’s tracks, “Prison Song” was recently sampled by rapper Future in his 2017 song “Mask Off.”

Skin Deep: The story of Martin Luther King

This 30 minute play was originally produced in 1985 by a church in Ontario. The simple script is approachable for school groups and organizations who aren’t looking for a lengthy, full-scale production. 

Cast of James and the Giant Peach


James - Maddie Smith
Spiker - Jodi Vaccaro
Sponge - Sara Mattix
Spider - Samantha Zarders
Grasshopper - Kyle Avery
Ladybug - Sarah Ebke
Earthworm - Zhomontee Watson
Centipede - Steve Krambeck
Ladahlord - Aaron Mann
Ensemble: Tyson Bentley, Carmen Butler, Lillian Cohen, Justin Eller, Brandon Fisher, Aubrey Fleming, Cody Girouex, Jamie Gould, Eliot Gray, Mark Haufle, Ryan Laughlin, April Neidig, Tayler Lempke Plank, Isabelle Rangel, Aidan Schmidtke, Joshua Shapiro, Isabella Smith, Cleo Washington


Kimberly Faith Hickman - Director
Steve Priesman - Stage Manager
Chris Ebke - Music Director
Jennifer Novak Haar - Music Rehearsal Assistant
Nicole Mason Lazenby - Choreographer
Darin Kuehler - Properties
Greg Scheer - Production Coordinator
Tim Burkhart - Resident Sound Designer
Chris Wood - Lighting Designer
Amanda Fehlner - Costume Designer
Anha Packard - Scene Designer

Cast of Parade


Mary Phagan - Chloe Irwin
Lucille Frank - Megan Kelly
Mrs. Phagan - Melissa King
Hugh Dorsey - Michael Markey
John Slaton - Mike Palmreuter
Jim Conley - Jonathan Smith
Leo Frank - James Verderamo
Newt Lee - L James Wright
Riley - Brendan Brown
Minnie - Breanna Carodine
Essie - Brooke Fencl
Brit Craig - Adam Hogston
Judge Roan - Nelson Lampe
Frankie Epps - Grant Mannschreck
Sally Slaton - Rebecca Noble
Ivey - Joshua Lloyd Parker
Tom Watson - Brian Priesman
Mr. Turner - Tony Schneider
Luther Rosser - Christopher Scott
Lizzie Phagan - Jill Solano
Iola - Grace Titus
Starnes - Scott Vandentop
Monteen - Catherine Vazquez
Mr. Peavey - Randy Wallace


Jeff Horger - Director
Suzanne Withem - Assistant Director
Stephanie Shattuck - Stage Manager
Jim Othuse - Scenic and Lighting Designer
Jim Boggess - Music Director
Lindsay Pape - Costume Designer

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: http://www.omahaplayhouse.com/tickets/view/james/

✔ 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: http://www.omahaplayhouse.com/education-and-programming/view/class-and-workshop-series/

✔ 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: http://www.omahaplayhouse.com/tickets/view/ripcord/

✔ 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: http://www.omahaplayhouse.com/tickets/view/mini-season-subscriptions/

✔ 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.