All Night Strut!: Not your typical theatre production

Are you looking for a jumpin’ and jivin’ time? Well, boogie on down to the Omaha Community Playhouse for a musical celebration featuring hits from the Great Depression, World War II and the post-war boom. 

Susie Baer Collins, director of All Night Strut! A Jumpin’ Jivin’ Jam, explained what this atypical production is all about.
This musical is an updated version of All Night Strut!, which had always been “a little too small to put on the mainstage,” according to Collins. However, she “loved this musical” and always felt that Omaha audiences were “very nostalgic for that kind of music.” The major improvements of the updated version include “adjusted musical arrangements…a bigger band and dancers.” OCP had always wanted to bring this musical to the Hawks Mainstage, and with this updated version, All Night Strut! A Jumpin’ Jivin’ Jam, they finally can.  

As a longtime director of more traditional plays, Collins has to step out of her comfort zone.

“Well for me, I’m all about words,” said Collins. “That’s what I do. So when I’m looking at a project that’s primarily music and dance, I’m very reliant on the collaboration I have with my music director and choreographer.”

She acknowledges that she has the best in Musical Director Jim Boggess and Choreographer Roxanne Nielsen. The three spent countless hours educating the cast on the legendary composers and their works in order to make this production as sincere and authentic as possible. The collaboration creates a balance between dialogue, song and dance similar to Cirque du Soleil.

Collins revealed that the host for the production is a “little clown character, played by Anthony Clark-Kaczmarek, who’s basically your silent narrator.” He will take you back through time for a musical revue of the ‘30s and ‘40s. Brief dialogue scenes are used throughout the musical to provide historical context to the different musical numbers. The first act includes musical genres like swing, jazz and more. Act two becomes more contemporary as it introduces music inspired out of the post-World War II era.

All Night Strut! A Jumpin’ Jivin’ Jam will take you back to the period of live and thrilling music that just doesn’t compare to modern day melodies. Enjoy classics from infamous songwriters such as Hoagy Carmichael, Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, Frank Loesser, Jerome Kern and much more.

Collins reminds us that “this is not just your grandma’s music.” The musical revue revisits the songs that document America’s progression and music’s progression throughout an important period of our history. Take part in the get-up-and-go jivin’/jitterbug dancing that will have you swinging out of the theatre.

Don’t miss out on All Night Strut! A Jumpin’ Jivin’ Jam live on the Howard and Rhonda Hawks Mainstage Theatre, March 1–30, 2013; Wednesday–Saturday, 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, 2 p.m.

Tickets are $40 for adults and $24 for students. For groups of 12 or more, tickets are $29 for adults and $18 for students. To purchase tickets, or for more information, call (402) 553-0800, visit the OCP Box Office or click here.

Article by Anna Venditte


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