The Fantasticks: Steampunked

"This is the story that has been told a million times, that you have never heard before."

In 1894, a French poet by the name of Edmond Rostand wrote the romantic comedy, Les Romanesques. Nearly 70 years later, it was rewritten and adapted into the 1960s musical, The Fantasticks. For over 100 years, this story has been told and retold, but never quite like this...

Known as the longest running musical in history, The Fantasticks is a simple romantic comedy crafted with captivating music and whimsy. Through the creative genius of Director Carl Beck and Costume Designer Georgiann Regan comes a steampunk-inspired adaptation that will delight your senses and leave you completely fulfilled.

To help define 'steampunk,' Regan said, "It's retro-futurism. It's Victorian in style but punk in attitude." Steampunk, in many ways, is free to interpret, but it is known to have a general Victorian style that meshes with the 19th Century industrial modernism. "Cool," as Regan put it, is the overall consensus about this show. Taking techniques used from other shows, Regan and her team have created fabric for costumes by layering pieces of modern fabric and vintage fabric from the Victorian era.
"Another word that I use when I describe [steampunk] is ‘deconstruction,’" Regan said, while showing a piece she had deconstructed and put back together from the collar of a man's shirt. "It started more as a literary movement. Science-fiction writers were intrigued with Jules Verne and H.G. Wells," Regan said. According to research, science-fiction author, K.W. Jeter coined the term steampunk while trying to generalize the collective works of several 1980s science-fiction writers. As the style evolved throughout the decade, the fashion quickly became the passion. Regan also added, that according to certain steampunk fundamentalists, it has to employ an element of steam in order to be considered steampunk.

"It's not an intrusive concept. It seems like the allegoric-quality can blend with the fantasy, giving it a quasi-period feel," Beck said. "Making for a stronger statement than [The Fantasticks] usually gets." Beck added that the story is not being re-written or changed in any way. Outside of the costumes, set and props, this show is, in its entirety, the original.

"It's classical simplicity. It's not a contemporary character tale. It's about a boy who is overly in love with a girl. [Their] father's are trying to keep them together by pulling them apart," Beck said. Steampunk seems to lend itself to this story by finding beauty among the broken pieces.

The OCP production of The Fantasticks allows for an experimental collective that provides an unparalleled experience. If you are revisiting this show or seeing it for the first time, it guarantees entertainment and surprise.

The Fantasticks runs Feb. 10-March 18, Thursday–Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. in the Howard Drew Theatre. Tickets are $40 (adults) and $24 (students). Groups of 15 or more are $29 (adults) or $18 (students). For tickets, visit the Box Office, call (402) 553-0800 or click here.

Article by Chad Cunningham

21 & Over Casts

Auditions were recently held for Circle Mirror Transformation and Passion Play, part of the Omaha Community Playhouse's 21 & Over series. More than 50 talented area actors auditioned! Below are the casts for these two shows.

Circle Mirror Transformation by Annie Baker
March 12, 2012

Laura Leininger….Marty
Doug Hayko….Schultz
Bailey Newman….Lauren
Christina Rohling….Theresa
Mark Thornburg….James

Passion Play by Sarah Ruhl
June 18, 2012

Chris Fowler….John/Eric/J (Jesus)
Brian Zealand….Pontius/Foot Soldier/P (Pontius Pilate)
Suzanne Withem….Mary 1/Else (Virgin Mary)
Shannon Jaxies….Mary 2 (Mary Magdalene)
Colin Ferguson….Carpenter 1
Brendan Reilly….Machinist/German Officer/Special Effects Guy/Ronald Reagan
Randy Vest….Friar/Visiting Englishman/VA Psychiatrist
Amy Schweid….Village Idiot/Violet
Colt Neidhardt….Carpenter 2
Bill Grennan….Director/Hitler
Charleen Willoughby….Queen Elizabeth I
Katlynn Yost….Prologue

Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. 21 & Over productions are intended only for a mature audience. Events are free and open to the public with an opportunity for donations. No tickets or reservations are needed.

Thank you Producing Partners!

Ticket sales alone do not cover the costs of producing the high-quality entertainment and educational opportunities for which the Omaha Community Playhouse is so well known. Generous donors help make up the difference by sponsoring productions. These Producing Partners help us bring the gift of live theatre to the Omaha community.

Please join us in recognizing the sponsors of our upcoming productions. Thank these generous donors if you see them and patronize their businesses. Their support is pivotal to the success of the Omaha Community Playhouse!

On Golden Pond
Sponsored by: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska and Koley Jessen Attorneys
Guest Director Sponsor: Tom and Mary Jetton Charitable Fund through the Omaha Community Foundation
Costume Sponsor: Dr. and Mrs. Rudy Kotula
Stage Manager Sponsor: Mr. and Mrs. Hal Daub
Media Sponsor: COX

The Fantasticks
Sponsored in part by: Friend of the Playhouse
Orchestra Sponsor: The Paul and Oscar Giger Foundation
Costume Sponsor: Continuum Worldwide
Media Sponsor: COX

Altar Boyz
Sponsored by: TD Ameritrade
Orchestra Sponsor: Whitmore Charitable Trust
Media Sponsor: KXVO/KPTM

Lend Me A Tenor
Sponsored by: Woodmen of the World, Tenaska and David & Anne Rismiller
Costume Sponsor: Friend of the Playhouse
Stage Manager Sponsor: Dr. Edgar and Carol Smith
Media Sponsor: Metro Magazine

A Streetcar Named Desire
Sponsored by: Carter and Vernie Jones
Stage Manager Sponsor: Griffith and Margaret Evans
Media Sponsor: Omaha World-Herald

Sponsored by: Mutual of Omaha
Orchestra Sponsor: Friend of the Playhouse
Wig Sponsor: Friend of the Playhouse
Media Sponsor: WOWT

Sweets and Treats at OCP

Whether your young love is far better than a metaphor or in your tried and true relationship you refer to your significant other as an "Old Poop," this special Valentine’s Day event is sure to delight!

Enjoy sugary treats paired with your favorite drinks! Learn about why certain flavors mix well with wines, beers and other alcoholic drinks. Then complete your evening with a heartfelt performance of On Golden Pond or The Fantasticks. Whether you want to wow your valentine or treat yourself, this event guarantees to make Valentine’s Day special!

Saturday, Feb. 11, 6:30 p.m.

Rising Star Ticket (either show) & Reception: $25
On Golden Pond Ticket & Reception: $38
The Fantasticks Ticket & Reception: $44
Reception only: $15

Reserve your tickets before February 6 to take advantage of this special event. Reservations must be made by calling (402) 553-4890, ext. 147 or emailing Tickets for this event can not be reserved through the Box Office or through the website. You must be over 21 to attend this event.

Getting Old Isn't for Sissies: An Inside Look at On Golden Pond

“You can’t beat death, but you can beat death in life sometimes. And the more often you learn to do it, the more light there will be. Your life is your life. Know that while you have it, you are marvelous. The gods wait to delight in you.”
-Charles Bukowski

In the winter of 1982, despite the ferocious winter weather and bone-chilling temperatures, the New Year brought Hollywood and one of the world’s biggest stars to Omaha. Jane Fonda attended both a fundraiser for the Omaha Community Playhouse and the premiere of her film On Golden Pond. In a tearful speech, Fonda was quoted saying, “There are no words to describe my emotions. To have the premiere of the movie here, for this cause…it’s so right.”

The Omaha Community Playhouse re-visits this timeless classic, with a cast that includes a slew of OCP veterans including Dennis Collins and Lois Nemec who play Norman and Ethel Thayer. Much like On Golden Pond movie stars, Henry Fonda and Katherine Hepburn, this is Collins’ and Nemec’s first time working together. Director Judy Hart (The Odd Couple) directs this coming-of-age story about a retired college professor and his struggle to accept that life is still worth living well past his prime.

“Norman starts this show ready to die, and he ends it ready to live,” Hart said. “I think we need hope. We need to see things turn around,” Hart said, when speaking about today’s relevance.

Being married for 52 years, Nemec said that she can really identify with her character. “The things people go through together when they go through most of their lives together, they get used to each other,” Nemec said. “I think when you’re with someone for that many years you kind of grow up together.”

To quote Art Linkletter, “Getting old isn’t for sissies,” Collins said. Collins is a lawyer in Norfolk, NE where he deals with trusts and estates, working with a majority of older people. Collins has a large amount of respect for this group because of the health problems and family issues that they go through. Collins went on to mention that several iconic actors have done this show, but the story itself lends a plethora of opportunities for interpretation. “I think a lot of older people would think they know this [show], but they might have forgotten it. To an older audience there will be things that are different than the movie.”

Note that this show is not obligated to a specific generation. This show is relevant to life in general, young and old alike.

On Golden Pond runs Jan. 20-Feb. 12, 2012, Wednesday–Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and a matinee on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. in the Howard and Rhonda Hawks Mainstage Theatre. Tickets start at $19. On Wednesday, Jan. 25, tickets are $7 at the Box Office after 4 p.m. for that evening's performance. For tickets, visit the OCP box office, call (402) 553-0800 or click here.

Article by Chad Cunningham

Make a Difference through a TTAP® Scholarship

Ron and Jean Gordon will probably tell you that what they have done for the Omaha Community Playhouse Theatre Technology Apprentice Program (TTAP®) isn’t much. We vehemently disagree.

In 2008, Ron and Jean established the first ever scholarship for TTAP® in honor of Ron’s sister, Joyce Gordon. The Joyce Gordon Memorial Scholarship is now awarded annually to a deserving apprentice entering their second year of the program and underwrites the student’s tuition at Metropolitan Community College as well as needed books and tools.

TTAP® Program Director, Steve Bross, has seen how the scholarship has affected not only the student who receives it, but the entire program.

“The Joyce Gordon Scholarship recipient has really emerged as a leader in TTAP®, serving as a role model for their peers and first year apprentices,” he states. “It’s become a highly coveted award and great learning tool for all apprentices as it teaches them the value of recognizing their own worth and reaching for their dreams.”

The Gordon family decided to establish the scholarship to honor Joyce Gordon, whose lifelong dream was to become a serious stage actress. Joyce had acting experience in New York, Chicago, California and Frankfurt, Germany and also taught drama to children. Throughout her life, Joyce’s devotion to the theatre never wavered as she performed with various theatre groups until her death at age 69. Joyce introduced her children, niece and nephews to all the arts. Now they remember and cherish their relationship with “AJ” (Aunt Joyce) and all the beauty she brought to their lives. Through the Joyce Gordon Memorial Scholarship, Joyce’s legacy lives on as she helps other young people have a successful life in the field of theater and the arts.

Past Joyce Gordon Scholarship recipients include Jamie Fields (2009-10) who is currently attending the University of South Dakota, Vermillion. She spent the summer in between semesters working for the Santa Fe Opera. The 2010-11 recipient, John Bone, is now the Omaha Community Playhouse’s house manager. Katie Harper, this year’s recipient, hopes to pursue a career in theatre in the electronics field once she completes the program.

Although humble about their participation, the Gordons are pleased to support OCP with Joyce's scholarship and hope their story may inspire others to do the same. If you would like more information on setting up a scholarship for TTAP® or other education and outreach opportunities provided by OCP, please contact the Development Director, Alena Furlong, at or (402) 553-4980, ext. 127.

January Metro Arts Pass Deal

Enjoy the arts with a Metro Arts Pass! If you are a season subscriber to the Omaha Community Playhouse, in the month of January, you can receive $4.50 tickets and 20% off concessions at Film Streams.

The Metro Arts Pass is sponsored by The Reader and features various nonprofit arts organizations around Omaha. In order to be a Metro Arts Pass member, you only must be a member or subscriber to one of the participating organizations. Every month, OCP members can enjoy a discount at a different featured Omaha arts organization.

Other participating organizations include:
Omaha Children's Museum
Omaha Performing Arts
Bemis Center
Durham Museum
Opera Omaha
El Museo Latino
The Rose
Film Streams
Nebraska Shakespeare
Joslyn Art Museum
Fontenelle Nature Association
The Arts Center
Ballet Nebraska
Love's Jazz & Arts Center
Lauritzen Gardens
Bluffs Arts Council

For more information about the Metro Arts Pass, contact the Director of Sales at or (402) 553-4890, ext. 147.