Local Generosity Brings Improvements to OCP

The Omaha Community Playhouse may be 90 years old, but it is anything but dated. Examples can be found in the constant change and innovation to our facility. If you visited recently for A Christmas Carol or Yesterday & Today, you may have noticed there is a new entrance/exit between our Scott Lobby outside the Howard and Rhonda Hawks Mainstage Theatre and the Drew Foundation Plaza.
OCP's Scott Lobby with the new doors to the Drew Foundation Plaza
In 2004, OCP opened the beautiful Drew Foundation Plaza, and to date, the most frequent comment when patrons see the Plaza is, “Wow, I had no idea this was here.” While the Plaza was designed to intentionally provide shelter from the noise and traffic of Cass Street, its lack of visibility both from outside and within OCP has served as a barrier to its use. Not only have we created a more visible doorway but this project has also transformed the Drew Foundation Plaza into a place for our patrons and our community to gather and connect with one another, provide a space for pre- and post-show events and act as an additional exit for patrons in case of emergency.

OCP is thankful for the generosity of Marshall and Mona Faith, who made this project possible. Enjoy the Plaza!

Little Women, the musical cast and crew relate to the characters

Little Women is a classic tale that has impacted many including the cast and production members of the Omaha Community Playhouse’s upcoming musical production. Those involved with the production discovered similarities with the characters, found friends in the novel and felt the bond of sisterhood as strongly as the March sisters.

I read ‘Little Women’ growing up and have always loved it! It is such a classic story, and I continue to be inspired by it. I have always related to Amy (the character that I am playing) because I am the youngest in my family (I have two older brothers). I definitely understand her feelings of being left out and always following in the footsteps of her older siblings. I wanted to be a part of this production because I am thrilled to FINALLY have some "on-stage" sisters.” – Jen Morris (Amy March)


Back row: Leanne Hill Carlson as Meg and Hilary Williams as Jo (stand in); Front row: Jen Morris as Amy, Camille Metoyer Moten as Marmee and Carly Schneider as Beth
I read the book as a child, followed by reading ‘Little Men.’ I loved the book. It was very endearing and at the time, seemed like a young girl’s best friend. I did watch the movie, the 1949 version. It made those wonderful characters seem like real sisters, real friends, filling my teenage mind at the time with long lasting friendships. It’s a lovely production that takes you back to your childhood: a life of innocence and the dreams of being an adult, let alone taking you back to a romantic time period that most of us wish we could visit." – Lara Marsh (Nebraska Theatre Caravan company manager)

L-R: Jen Morris as Amy, Hilary Williams as Jo (stand in), Tim Abou-Nasr as Laurie, Leanne Hill Carlson as Meg and Carly Schneider as Beth
 I have been a voracious reader since I first began to string together sentences with ‘Dick and Jane.’ ‘Little Women’ was a beloved stop on my journey with books. I've read it dozens of times over the years identifying with a different character as I grew, but never falling less in love with the words. I had the paper dolls; I watched the old film version with my grandmother; and my love affair with the book will never end. My favorite connection to Little Women, however, is the relationship I have with my own little sister. We are extremely close; not your ordinary loving sister relationship. When people ask me about my sister, for years the only way I've been able to give justice to the way I feel about our special bond is to say, ‘We are the March sisters. Courtney is my Beth!’ The first time I listened to the musical soundtrack, I came across the song ‘Some Things are Meant to Be.’ It instantly became one of my favorite musical theatre songs, always ending in a tearful, 'I love you so much!' call with my Courtney. I was so tickled to be cast as Beth in the OCP production; I have the best inspiration a girl could ask for in my baby sister!” – Carly Schneider (Beth March)

I tried to read ['Little Women'} when I was young, but got impatient. About a year later, I saw part of the movie on cable - the really sad part. My best friend growing up had died of Leukemia just a few months earlier, and watching the sisters grieve like that was just too much for a fifth grader. It was years before I was even vaguely interested in the story again, but I've always loved historical fiction. And I'd had a thing for Christian Bale ever since Newsies, so some time in high school, I gave it a second chance, and I loved it! I'm so looking forward to another opportunity to engage with this great story of love, family, independence, and of course, passion of language.” – Suzanne Withem (stage manager)

See the musical Little Women at the Omaha Community Playhouse Jan. 23-Feb.22, Thursdays-Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets are $40 for adults and $25 for students. For groups of 12 or more, tickets for adults are $30 and tickets for students are $20. To purchase tickets or for more information, call (402) 553-0800, click here or visit the Box Office located in the southeast corner of the Omaha Community Playhouse at 6915 Cass St.

Story by Madison Denkinger

Hands On A Hardbody Cast Announced

Production:        Hands On A Hardbody
Show Dates:       Feb. 13-March 22, 2015
Director:              Hilary Adams
Character                            Actor
JD Drew                              Don Keelan-White
Kelli Mangrum                   Huma Haq
Benny Perkins                    Jeffrey Pierce
Greg Wilhote                     Benjamin Allgire
Jesus Pena                          Michael Castillo
Chris Alvaro                        Chris Ebke
Ronald McCowan              Nik Whitcomb
Heather Stovall                  Megan Ingram
Virginia Drew                     Marguerite Bennett
Mike Ferris                         Matt Bross
Cindy Barnes                      Sarah Query
Norma Valverde                Rebecca Noble
Janis Curtis                          Sara Planck
Don Curtis                           Patrick Wolfe
Frank Nugent                     Christopher Scott

Tickets:                On sale Jan. 27, 2015

Jesus Christ Superstar Cast List

Jesus Christ Superstar
March 6-April 5, 2015
Tickets on sale Feb. 17, 2015

Roderick Cotton               Judas
John Gajewski                 Jesus
Roni Perez                       Mary
Joey Galda                       Simon
Jimmy Nguyen                 Peter
Jerry Van Horn                 Herod
Mike Markey                     Pilate
Cork Ramer                      Caiphas
Zach Kloppenborg            Annas

Cale Bracker
Kelsey Burns
Jason DeLong
Erin Florea
Adam Haverman
Angie Heim
Emma Johnson
Doriette Jordan
Maria Naylon
Samantha Quintana
Kelly Schlott
Alia Sedlacek
Hannah Segura
Nora Shelton
Emily Smith
Scott Van Den Top

Director/Choreographer: Kimberly Faith Hickman
Music Director: Jim Boggess

A Christmas Carol cast list

A Christmas Carol
Nov. 21-Dec. 23, 2014
For tickets, call (402) 553-0800, visit the OCP Box Office or click here.

Cale Bracker: FRED                       
Don Harris: JAKE/MAN AT CART                   
Sara Planck: NELL                           
Steve Krambeck: BOB CRATCHIT/DICK WILKINS               
Ian Hill: PETER CRATCHIT               
Addison LaFrance: FRANCIS CRATCHIT   
Morgan Ryan: BELINDA CRATCHIT           
Mackenzie Reidy: TIM CRATCHIT               
Don Keelan-White: JACOB MARLEY/MAN AT CART               
Kole Rowan:1ST SCHOOL BOY       
Grant Schneider: 3RD SCHOOL BOY       
Henry Wisneski: EBBY/MARLEY MINION               
Evelyn Hill: FAN                       
Adam Haverman: YOUNG SCROOGE               
Maria Naylon: BELLE FEZZIWIG               
Emily Mokrycki: MRS. CRATCHIT               
Sierra Lancaster: MARTHA CRATCHIT           
Lauren Anderson: MILLIE                   
Kathleen Pohlman: LUCY                       
Sean Michael Hill: TOPPER                   
Grayson Longe: BOY WITH SLED/MARLEY MINION           
Alexis Reynolds: LITTLE BO PEEP               
Natalie Reynolds: LITTLE BOY BLUE               
Joe Mokrycki: POULTERER
Jason DeLong: BEGGAR                   
Samantha Brown: CHESTNUT VENDOR           
Jenna Hager: ENSEMBLE
Josh Davis: ENSEMBLE               

Emma Gould        
Hannah-Kate Kinney
Anna Reilly
Isabella Reilly
Amina Teri
Grace Titus

Sisters take the stage as dancing dolls

Sisters Natalie and Alexis Reynolds are taking the stage together as Little Bo Peep and Little Boy Blue in this season’s A Christmas Carol. Although neither of them has been on the Omaha Community Playhouse stage before, they are no strangers to being in the spotlight.

Natalie, 11 and Alexis, 10 were both enrolled in dance by their parents at young ages. They attend Cherrie Anderson School of Music and Dance in Millard where they are competitive dancers. They participate in six competitions a year, including nationals, and each dedicate 11 hours a week to practices.

With roles in A Christmas Carol (both girls are also in the children’s ensemble) the girls are even busier than usual. Now that performances have begun, they dedicate 30 hours a week to the show and their dance practices.

Not only is this the girls’ first time being in the show, this will be their first time seeing the show as well. The suggestion to try out for it came from their mother Tammy. “Last year I saw an hour special on how A Christmas Carol came together and found it interesting,” she said. “I thought it was something the girls would be good at, so I asked if they would be interested and they were.”

The sisters are excited to be part of the show and when asked what they were most excited for they both exclaimed “dancing dolls!”

“It’s our solo,” said Natalie. “All eyes will be on us.”

It is also a chance for the girls to work together. They will be able to help each other out and can practice together on the dance floor that they have at home. “It was nice that we both got a part and it wasn’t one part that we had to fight over,” said Natalie.

After landing their roles in A Christmas Carol, both girls are interested in pursuing more opportunities through OCP; Natalie mentioned that she is thinking about doing some Broadway shows. For the time being, they are excited about the show.

See A Christmas Carol at the Omaha Community Playhouse Nov. 21-Dec. 23, Wednesdays-Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $36 for adults and $25 for students before Dec. 15 and $40 for adults and $29 for students Dec. 15 – 23. For groups of 12 or more, tickets for adults are $32 and tickets for students are $18. To purchase tickets or for more information, call (402) 553-0800, click here or visit the Box Office located in the southeast corner of the Omaha Community Playhouse at 6915 Cass St. 

Story by Madison Denkinger

McGuigan holiday traditions

The McGuigan brothers have been performing Yesterday and Today, a tribute to The Beatles, at the Omaha Community Playhouse for seven years now; it has become a staple during the OCP holiday season. Although performing in their hometown is a big part of their own holidays, it is not the only tradition they take part in.

What are some of your holiday season traditions? What is your favorite?
  • Matthew: Every year we put up a Beatles-themed Christmas tree. It's always fun getting a new ornament to hang on the tree. 
  • Ryan: Putting up the Christmas decorations. I think even as an adult, you feel like a kid. 
  • Billy: For me, December and the holidays mean the Omaha Community Playhouse. For over 10 years, I’ve spent every December in the Howard Drew Theatre getting to perform in shows that I love, while spending time with audiences that come back year after year. My favorite part is meeting the audience members after the show. It’s like an annual high school and family reunion all in one!
What do you look forward to during the holiday season?
  • Matthew: Spending quality with my wife, Christine, and son, Lennon. After touring all year, it's always nice to be home in December. 
  • Ryan: I look forward to the full month of Yesterday and Today at OCP. It's nice to be working from home during the holiday season. 
  • Billy: I love the holiday season energy that seems to be in the air. People hustling in the mall, families making holiday meal plans in the grocery store and bells ringing in the cool air. There’s just something about it that is unique to this time of year.
Are there any traditions that you have continued from your childhood?
  • Matthew: We always open presents on Christmas Eve. It's always hard to not give each other gifts before Christmas. 
  • Ryan: The Carpenters Christmas, a McGuigan staple. Almost as much as The Beatles 
  • Billy: The Christmas Mouse story! This is a story that our dad and his brothers used to tell us every year! It’s really just an odd story about a mouse that sees Santa and becomes his helper…my brothers and I told that story to my kids when they were little. You gotta love a passed-down family tradition!
Are there any traditions from your past that you miss?
  • Matthew: Probably just the excitement of being a kid, anticipating what gifts you will receive. I will say it's more fun being a parent around the holidays and seeing the joy on my son's face when he sees all the gifts he's about to receive. 
  • Ryan: I miss the times of sitting around the Christmas tree with all the lights in the house off except for the tree and all of us sitting there listening  to
    The Carpenters Christmas and being in awe of the illumination. It's probably the only time the McGuigan household was ever calm or placid. 
  • Billy: Growing up, our Christmases were always spent in Florida with our grandparents. This not only meant great weather for the holidays, but it always meant huge family gatherings. About 25 to 30 of us would cram into a living room and an older family member would act as obnoxious Santa Claus and yell everybody’s name while we would all laugh and tell stories. Such a fantastic time!

Make Yesterday and Today part of your holiday tradition, Dec 5, 2014-Jan. 4, 2015 at the Omaha Community Playhouse. Thursday-Saturday shows are at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday shows are at 6:30 p.m. with a performance at 2 p.m. on Dec. 14. Tickets are $38 for single tickets and $32 for groups. There will also be a 7 p.m. performance and a 10 p.m. performance on Dec. 31. Cake and punch will be served on New Year’s Eve with a champagne toast at midnight; tickets will be $50 for the 7 p.m. show and $75 for the 10 p.m. show. To purchase tickets or for more information, call (402) 552-0800, click here or visit the Box Office located in the southeast corner of the Omaha at 6915 Cass St.

Story by Madison Denkinger