After 10 Years, Billy Says Goodbye to Buddy

10 years ago, Omaha Community Playhouse Artistic Director Carl Beck and Music Director Jim Boggess sat in Dubs Pub (now the Waiting Room) in Benson and watched Billy McGuigan perform with his band. They walked out in the middle of the set. They had seen enough. The next day, they offered Billy the title role in Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story. That show was one of the most successful shows OCP ever produced and it launched a new life for Billy.

After 10 years of travelling the country portraying the rock legend, Billy McGuigan is retiring as Buddy Holly. “It definitely wasn’t an easy decision, but to me it just seemed like it was time,” said Billy. “It’s definitely not that I’ve stopped enjoying it, but I truly didn’t want to become the guy that overstays his welcome. You know, the old guy playing the 22-year-old. Buddy Holly’s career was only 18 months; I’m going on 10 years.”

Although Billy won’t be playing Buddy anymore, Rave On: The Buddy Holly Experience will continue. “After this run [at OCP], we have some dates across the country over the next year or so,” said Billy. “I’ll fulfill those obligations and then hang up the glasses for good. Our plan is to find someone to replace me in Rave On and then to keep the show touring for as long as people are interested. We’ve worked diligently over the past year fine tuning and honing the show so that someone could just step right in and take over. My role will be as the producer and director, overseeing the transition so that the quality of the production stays the same!”

Billy won’t be seen around OCP in the horn-rimmed glasses after June, but this isn’t the last you’ll see of him. “Once Rave On is over, I’ll concentrate all of my efforts on Yesterday and Today and Rock Legends,” said Billy. “I’ve loved seeing these shows gain traction across the country, and I so enjoy getting the chance to spend time with my brothers in these shows.” Yesterday and Today will play at OCP in December in the Howard Drew Theatre.

In reference to his favorite part of his Buddy Holly career, Billy said, “It almost sounds like a Dr. Seuss book, but the places that it has taken me and the lifelong friendships that have been established as a result of playing the role. That’s on a selfish note. On a more general level, there has been nothing like being in the middle of the madness, seeing all of these great things from behind foggy glasses. The energy and outpouring of love from audiences that playing this rock icon’s great music has evoked is something that I’ll never forget. I suppose that’s why I’ve done it for 10 years!”

Don’t miss Billy McGuigan’s last Omaha performance as Buddy Holly in Rave On at the Omaha Community Playhouse June 8-24 in the Howard Drew Theatre. Performances are Thursday-Saturday, 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, 2 p.m. Tickets are $38 or $32 for groups of 15 or more. For tickets, call (402) 553-0800, visit the Box Office or click here.

Summer Sponsors Support OCP!

Summer 2012 will be your last chance to catch perfomer Billy McGuigan’s portrayal of music icon Buddy Holly in Rave On: The Buddy Holly Experience. The Omaha Community Playhouse would like to thank and recognize the show sponsors who help underwrite those costs not covered by ticket sales. Please thank these generous donors if you see them and show your appreciation by supporting their businesses. Their support is critical to the success of the Omaha Community Playhouse!

Rave On: The Buddy Holly Experience
Sponsored by: American Title, Inc. and Gale and Judy Wickersham
Media Sponsor: MeTV Omaha, KETV 7.2


Are you looking for a way to illuminate your Fourth of July holiday? Support the Omaha Community Playhouse by purchasing fireworks!

The city of Omaha is allowing the sales of fireworks again this year within city limits with sales benefitting a sponsoring nonprofit organization.

Crazy Cracker Fireworks stand at 840 Saddle Creek Rd. (located in the No Frills Supermarket parking lot) will benefit the OCP. A portion of proceeds goes directly to the Omaha Community Playhouse!

Stock up on your favorite fireworks and support the Omaha Community Playhouse at the 840 Saddle Creek Rd. location!

Sales begin on June 25, 2012, and last until July 4, 2012.

Get into the ACT (II)!

ACT II supports the Omaha Community Playhouse through a variety of fundraising and educational events each year. The group offers many great volunteer and social opportunities that will enrich your OCP experience. We invite you to get more involved with OCP by joining ACT II.
The 2012-2013 ACT II calendar is packed with fun events. The year starts off Sept. 18, with the Fall Kickoff Luncheon featuring entertainment from Legally Blonde. ACT II is also sponsoring a trip to New York City, NY Oct. 5-8, which includes tickets to two Broadway shows, The Book of Mormon and Godspell. The trip is open to anyone with a love of theatre. Reservations for this wonderful trip will be taken through June 30, 2012.

Behind-the-Scenes events hosted by ACT II are great ways to learn more about the workings of OCP and offer special insights about the plays on our stages. The first of these events will be Oct. 15 and will give attendees a glimpse behind the scenes of boom. A second event will be hosted Jan. 14 and will offer attendees the chance to learn more about Deathtrap.

The Holiday Fashion Show on Nov. 17, 2012 and Destination: World’s Fare on April 6, 2013 are ACT II’s large fundraising events which benefit OCP. Many volunteers are needed to make these events successful. We would love to have your help!

If you are interested in learning more about joining ACT II, contact the ACT II Liaison, Jan Fry, at or (402) 553-4890, ext 145.

Hairspray: Big Musical, Big Dreams, Big Hair

“The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries or the way she combs her hair.” --Audrey Hepburn

The early 1960s brought the heights of change in American culture. The advent of the civil rights movement spawned a melting pot of social and economic standards. Politics, pop-culture, fashion, drugs and rock-n-roll birthed new ideals for the social identity of America’s youth. And more often than not you could follow each strand of hair to such heights.

Perhaps the best way to bid farewell to the Omaha Community Playhouse’s outstanding 2011-2012 season is an upbeat celebration of what makes this country and our identity so unique. Hairspray opens in the Howard and Rhonda Hawks Mainstage Theatre on May 25 and runs until June 24.

Based on the 1988 John Waters film, Hairspray is a musical that redefines beauty, as a big girl with bigger aspirations becomes the newest local TV star.

“The dialogue is very funny and it’s really a tribute to the writers and the way they adapted the original movie,” said Director Susan Baer Collins. “Getting everyone to rehearsal,” she said is her biggest challenge. “30 people. A cast of 13 leads and the ensemble, and the ensemble is busy all the time.” Between staging a show of this magnitude and choreographing all the musical numbers, rehearsals can get a little tangled, much like hair.

Since early April, Kaylan Paisley, the show’s wig designer, has been bobbing and weaving wigs for nearly every cast member in the show. Some get more than one. “Hairspray is one of my favorite shows on the planet,” said Kaylan. “Hairspray has always been an inspiration to me. I got to see it on Broadway when I was in high school. The wigs in this show are characters all themselves. The main design behind it all is the bigger the better. Larger than life.”

No stranger to creating wigs for musicals, Kaylan has worked on the professional Broadway tours of Cats, 101 Dalmations, the Musical and Legally Blonde. A section of the OCP costume shop has been transformed into a beauty salon where Kaylan leads a team of seven Omaha hair stylists who have volunteered to work on the show. Together, the team will construct 40-50 wigs before opening night.

When working with such large wigs, movement becomes an obstacle. Georgiann Regan, the show’s costume designer, ensures the wigs and the wardrobes are manageable for all the musical numbers and dance routines. “We use big zippers,” she said with a chuckle. “Just step in and out.”

Between the music, staging, choreography, wardrobe and the colorful mix of characters, it’s important that the entire mix blend well together so the inspirational message that Hairspray sends can be received: Love, peace and hair-grease.

Hairspray runs May 25-June 24 in the Howard and Rhonda Hawks Mainstage Theatre. Tickets are $40 for adults and $24 for tickets. For groups of 15 or more, tickets are $29 for adults and $18 for students. For tickets or for more information, visit the OCP Box Office, call (402) 553-0800 or click here.

Article by Chad Cunningham

21 & Over presents 'Passion Play'

Omaha Community Playhouse's 21 & Over program presents Passion Play.

Monday, June 18, 2012
7:30 p.m.
Omaha Community Playhouse
Free and open to the public, with an opportunity for donations. No tickets or reservations are necessary.
Passion Play by Sarah Ruhl
From the author of last season’s hit, The Vibrator Play, comes this provocative epic masterpiece of the intersection of belief and the make-believe. A poetic and quirky triptych, Passion Play follows three sets of amateur performers in three different eras as they grapple with the unsettling ways in which the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection becomes a living presence in their own lives. With a dynamic storyline that leaps through time to portray characters like Queen Elizabeth, Hitler and Ronald Reagan, Passion Play is filled with playful and profound moments that will challenge your ideas about religion, politics and the inherent conflicts of human nature.
The 21 & Over productions are intended for a mature audience and discretion is advised. For more information on 21 & Over and other OCP alternative programs, contact Amy Lane, Resident Director, at or (402) 553-4890, ext. 164.

21 & Over is sponsored by Omaha Steaks and the Mammel Foundation and media sponsored by Omahype.

Discount Tickets to Hairspray Memorial Day Weekend

Receive 25% off adult tickets to Hairspray Memorial Day weekend (May 25-27). Visit the Box Office, call (402) 553-0800 or click here and use the code MEMORIAL for a 25% discount. Tickets are normally $40 and with the discount are $30. Hairspray is May 25-June 24 in the Howard and Rhonda Hawks Mainstage Theatre. Tickets are subject to availability and not valid for previously purchased tickets.

May 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 May, you can receive 50 % admission at Fontenelle Nature Association and member pricing for Arts Academy with the Bluffs Arts Council.

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.