The Reality/Theatricality of Enron

“We’re going to put it all together and sell it to you as the truth.” The opening line and company attitude of Enron makes everyone take a look at how truly north the company's moral compass pointed–with some satirical laughs along the way. Scandal, lies and corruption are a few of the plot twisting details of the play Enron, which opens at the Omaha Community Playhouse Aug. 15.

When Enron executives were caught in their intricate scandal, the world was shocked. Officials and figure heads had to step down, the company filed for bankruptcy (the largest company to have ever filed at the time) and pivotal leaders were sentenced to time in prison. Consequently, standards and laws for accountants and businesses as a whole became a necessary precaution. The impact was huge.

Enron was one of the world’s energy giants that was based right here in Omaha in its early days (formerly Northern Natural Gas then InterNorth). The company misrepresented financial reports, paid off government officials and encouraged employees to invest their retirement funds in unstable stocks. Thus leading to the collapse of the energy giant and devastating many employees’ financial situations. Connie Lee (character: Claudia Roe) shares, “...If you lived in this area – you were sure to know people who were financially devastated by it. It appears that Jeffrey Skilling is eligible for release in 2017. I’m sure there are many people who would love to contribute to that parole hearing!”

In the play, the stage is transformed into the fast-paced business world giving us an insider view of the scandal sparing no blame along the way. Fulfilling the deceitful roles, here are a few words from the cast about the show.
Standing L-R: Matthew Pyle as Jeffrey Skilling, Lamar Brown as Raptor, Connie Lee as Claudia Roe, Chris Shonka as Andy Fastow; Front row L-R: Jon Roberson as Raptor, Paul Schneider as Ken Lay, Steve Hartman as Raptor
Where did you draw your inspiration for the role?
Matthew (character: Jeffrey Skilling) –“Jeff is an uber-smart, overbearing, self-righteous, (and yet charismatic), take-no-prisoners ‘SOB.’” Matthew jokes, “He is, essentially, who we all (at least secretly) wish we could be in real life.”

Chris Shonka (character: Andy Fastow) –“Deep down, the man I’m playing was a reprehensible human being, at least during this time in his life. Andy Fastow’s crimes at Enron defied the fundamental principles of finance and just being a decent person, but he glued a web of money to his arms and tried to fly. Someone has to be on his side for this show to work, and it is this basic human love of rolling the dice that lets me see the world from his point of view.”  

What's your favorite part about this piece?
Connie (character: Claudia Roe) – “I love the way this play jumps from real and dramatic scenes to the absurd. Reality/Theatricality. It’s so much fun to work on a production that includes both extremes.”  

What do you find the most challenging about this production?
Paul Schneider (character: Ken Lay) –“Trying to capture the nuances of Ken Lay's voice – the tone, the pace, the hint of a southern accent – have been most interesting and challenging.”

 Connie Lee (character: Claudia Roe) --“My character, Claudia, is the only one of the 4 main characters who is fictional rather than a real person. But she is closely drawn from a real person in the Enron saga: Rebecca Mark. Claudia, like Rebecca, was one of the very few powerful women in the macho-male dominated corporate culture. She is flashy, aggressive and a hoot to play! We can draw from what we know of Rebecca for Claudia’s character, but we’re not boxed in by that. We’re free to create the Claudia that works best for this production.”

Chris (character: Andy Fastow) –“If you want a cohesive, engaging narrative, you can’t be pulled into a vortex of abstraction. What I love about this production is how everyone is invested, finding something entirely human in even the most absurd corners of the play. I don’t know that I’ve seen this many people be so freely inventive, yet disciplined in their commitment to the moment to moment action of the play. The challenge? Keeping up with them.”  

What do you remember from the scandal? How did it affect you?
Paul (character: Ken Lay) – “I am an active investor, and I am extremely saddened by the fact that absolutely nothing in the financial world has improved since the demise of Enron. In fact, all the predatory practices are very much worse than they were when Enron failed. Far worse collapses have already occurred and are likely to continue to occur.”

Chris (character: Andy Fastow) – “Skilling told me to sell my options a year before all hell broke loose. He didn’t even know me, just butt dialed and I answered. Is that a conflict of interest for me? Probably. The Enron scandal didn’t affect me personally but the subsequent ones have obviously impacted everyone’s lives (Why, why did I buy my house in 2007?). Has meaningful regulation been passed by our representatives in government? Will it ever?”

 Enron runs Aug. 15-Sept. 14, Thursday-Saturday, 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, 2 p.m.

To purchase tickets, or for more information, call (402) 553-0800, or visit the Box Office located in the southeast corner of the Omaha Community Playhouse at 6915 Cass St. or click here.

Story by Kelsey Nutt

Go Beyond the Show!

Go Beyond the Show with post-show discussions following Enron. These discussions give audiences opportunities to discuss themes and subjects within a production with experts and community partners. They are free and open to the public and immediately follow a show.

Business Ethics and Enron: A community conversation
Facilitated by Amy Rodie
Sunday, Aug. 17 and Sunday, Aug. 24 following the matinee productions of Lucy Prebble's play Enron.

Amy R. Rodie, Ph.D.
James R. Schumacher Chair of Ethics

Associate Professor of Marketing
College of Business Administration
University of Nebraska at Omaha

Professor Rodie teaches a business ethics course to business majors, and students study what went wrong at Enron. She also teaches Principles of Marketing, Consumer Behavior and Marketing Service Products. Amy has served as associate dean of UNO’s College of Business Administration and teaches in many of the executive education programs offered by UNO’s College of Business Administration. She has been awarded UNO’s Alumni Outstanding Teaching Award and the College of Business Administration Dean’s Citation for Excellence in Teaching.

Talk Back

Friday, Aug. 29
Join Enron's cast and crew to learn about the production process of the show.

To purchase tickets to Enron or for more information, visit the OCP Box Office, call (402) 553-0800 or click here.

Go Beyond the Show is a series of patron enrichment events that take a deeper look into the work that we produce on our stages.

August Metro Arts and Culture Pass

Enjoy the arts with a Metro Arts and Culture Pass! If you are a season subscriber to the Omaha Community Playhouse, in the month of August, you can buy one ticket, get one free to the The Arts Center September performance as well as $1 off admission and tram combo at Lauritzen Gardens.

The Metro Arts and Culture Pass features various nonprofit arts organizations around Omaha. In order to be a Metro Arts and Culture 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 Forest
The Arts Center
Ballet Nebraska
Love's Jazz and Arts Center
Lauritzen Gardens
Bluffs Arts Council
Strategic Air and Space Museum
Nebraskans for the Arts
BlueBarn Theatre
Omaha Creative Institute

Omaha Creative Institute

For more information about the Metro Arts Pass, contact the sales and community relations manager at or (402) 553-4890, ext. 147.

The Drowsy Chaperone Cast List

Winner of five Tony Awards, The Drowsy Chaperone is a delightful look into the world of a musical theatre super fan. The show’s narrator invites us into his home to share with us his favorite musical comedy from the 1920s. As he turns on his record player, the musical bursts to life and his home transforms into the show’s set. The Drowsy Chaperone, the clever musical-within-a-musical, is the perfect evening of theatre for those who love to be entertained!

Sept. 12- Oct. 12, 2014

Cast In Order of Appearance
Dave Wingert – Man in Chair
Judy Radcliff – Mrs. Tottendale
Noel Larrieu – Underling
Joseph T. O’Connor, II – Robert Martin
Paul Hanson – George
Joseph Dignoti – Feldzieg
Julia Mackenzie – Kitty
Chris Work – Gangster
Mike Palmreuter – Aldolpho
Molly McGuire – Janet
Megan McGuire – The Drowsy Chaperone
DeAnna Williams – Trix
Kent Stork – Superintendent

In alphabetical order
Jason DeLong
Karrin Dignoti
John Gajewski
Debbie Massey
Abbey Stewart
David James Zenchuk, Jr.

Tickets on sale to the public Aug. 26. Advance tickets available to season subscribers. Call 402-553-0800 or visit