OCP announces the cast of A Christmas Carol 2021

 We are thrilled to announce the cast for A Christmas Carol—in the Hawks Mainstage Theatre Nov. 19 – Dec. 23! Tickets are on sale now!



Ebenezer Scrooge – Jerry Longe

Bob Cratchit – Chris Berger

Tim Cratchit – Vienna
Maas

Fred – Noah Jeffrey

Jacob Marley – Don Keelan-White

Ghost of Christmas Past / Myrtle Crow – Julie Huff

Ghost of Christmas Present / 2nd Charity Man / Toyshop Keeper – Jonathan Hickerson

Mrs. Cratchit – Christina Rohling

Mr. Fezziwig / 1st Charity Man / Baker – Mark Haufle

Mrs. Fezziwig / Baker’s Wife – Lauren Johnson

Young Scrooge – Benjamin Brickner

Belle Fezziwig – Bethany Folks

Millie – Megan Morrissey

Lucy – Hannah Rembert

Topper – Cullen Wiley

Jake – Seth Maisel

Nell/Mrs. Dilber – Kim Clark-Kaczmarek

Chestnut Vendor – Sara Tiemann

Poulterer – Brandon Fisher

Beggar – Joshua Orsi

Martha Cratchit – Emma Powell

Peter Cratchit/School Boy – Tyson Bentley

Frances Cratchit – Madeline Scarsi

Belinda Cratchit/Fan – Anina Frey

Ebby
– Cruz Martinez

School Boy/ Greenery Vendor – Carter Frey

School Boy/ Boy with Sled – Benjamin Rohling

Toyshop Assistant – Cadee Scheer

Little Bo Peep – Halaina Hunter

Little Boy Blue – Claire Caskey

Adult Ensemble – Elizabeth Fleissner

Adult Ensemble – Tom Neumann

Youth Ensemble – Grace Messina


A Q&A with Anthony Clark-Kaczmarek, Director of Murder on the Orient Express

 A Q&A with Anthony Clark-Kaczmarek, Director of Murder on the Orient Express 



It's opening weekend of Murder on the Orient Express. We sat down with Director Anthony Clark-Kaczmarek to ask him a few questions about the show, his rehearsal process and what audiences can expect from Murder on the Orient Express.

Q. What is Murder on the Orient Express about?

ACK. For us it's been a search about justice. The definition of justice and where the law and justice collide sometimes. Certainly, it's about a murder on a train, but for us it's about that time when a person feels they need to take things into their own hands.

Q. What do you love about this show?

ACK. I love that as the play progresses you get more and more clues to help build the puzzle.

Q. What has been your favorite part of the rehearsal process?

ACK. Working with some of the coolest and most talented people here in Omaha. We really come at this collaboratively and world build together. It's great when you get to world build with tremendously talented people, like we have in this cast.

Q. How did you get your start directing in theatre?

ACK. My third-grade teacher allowed me to bring an adaptation of A Charlie Brown Christmas to class to put on.

Q. What excites you most about Murder on the Orient Express?

ACK. I'm getting really excited to watch all these really big pieces come together. We have original music, we have this multidimensional and varied set, we have all these different dialects from all over the world. I'm really getting excited for going into tech and seeing this epic show that we have been planning and designing for almost two years come together.

Q. What do you hope audiences will take away?

ACK. I hope they're surprised, I hope they have a great time, I hope they enjoy the beauty of the language and the set and costumes and I hope they're surprised.

Q. What should audiences expect from Murder on the Orient Express?

ACK. To always be guessing.

Meet OCP's new Artistic Director!

Meet OCP's new Artistic Director!

Stephen Santa
New OCP Artistic Director

Meet OCP’s new artistic director, Stephen Santa! Stephen will be joining our organization as the new artistic director beginning on November 1, 2021!

 

Currently based out of Pittsburgh, PA, Stephen is a seasoned director, educator and arts advocate who has dedicated much of his career to creating accessible theatre experiences for neurodivergent youth. He founded, and currently serves as the artistic director of, Jumping Jack Theater, a children's theater company that produces new works for audiences with developmental disabilities and sensory sensitivities. In 2019, he received the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC) Standout Moment Award for his work with Jumping Jack Theater, a national honor that recognizes outstanding contributions to the advancement of equity, diversity and inclusion in the theatre industry.

 

An alumni of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy of New York, Stephen has directed over 50 musicals and numerous plays, including international festivals, off-Broadway, national tours, and regional theatre productions across the country. He was named one of Pittsburgh’s Top Directors by CBS Pittsburgh and has received awards and accolades for his productions of Avenue Q (Best Musical, BroadwayWorld Regional Awards; Best Local Stage Production, Pittsburgh City Paper), Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Best Local Stage Production, Pittsburgh City Paper) and Dani Girl (Five Stars, BroadwayBaby).

 

Stephen’s international credits include work with Edinburgh Fringe. Off Broadway and New York City credits include work with Arts Nova and the New York Musical Theatre Festival. Regional credits include Pittsburgh Musical Theatre, Split Stage Productions, Sheboygan Theatre Company, Front Porch Theatricals, Park Productions, Throughline Theatre Company, The Gilbert Theatre, The Bald Theatre Company, The Cresson Lake Playhouse, Stage 62, South Park Theater, Mon River Arts, Little Lake Theatre, The Old Schoolhouse Players, and The Theatre Factory.

 

He served as assistant director for the national tour of Flashdance the Musical (directed by Sergio Trujillo), the North American premier of The Monster in the Hall (directed by Tracy Brigden), and Pop! (directed by Brad Rouse/choreographed by Billy Porter).

 

“We are so thrilled to have Stephen Santa joining our team,” said OCP Executive Director Katie Broman. “In addition to his exceptional resume, Stephen is incredibly passionate about serving his community through the arts.” 

 

“I’m truly honored to join the Omaha Community Playhouse family as we blaze a new path into the future while honoring the exceptional legacy forged over the last century.” Stephen said. “As the new artistic director, I am committed to a strong focus on DEIA progress, innovative educational pathways for all members of the community and producing entertaining, thought-provoking and memorable productions on our stages. We will continue to inspire all who step through the doors by immersing them in beautiful storytelling where every audience member can attend a production and see a reflection of themselves on stage.”

 

Susan Baer Collins, former OCP associate artistic director who has been acting as OCP’s interim artistic director since January, will work with Stephen during the transition.

 

Please help us in welcoming Stephen to Omaha and to our theatre community!

A Q&A with the cast of Dear Jack, Dear Louise

 A Q&A with the cast of Dear Jack, Dear Louise

Josh Peyton and Sarah Schrader

It’s opening weekend of Dear Jack, Dear Louise! We sat down with our Jack and Louise, Josh Peyton and Sarah Schrader to discuss the show, their relationship to the characters and what audiences can expect from Dear Jack, Dear Louise.

Q. What is Dear Jack, Dear Louise about? 

SS. Dear Jack, Dear Louise is a love story told through the time-treasured medium of letters. Based on the real-life letters written by the playwright’s parents, it is a heartwarming show about two people who found their person and persevered across all odds to be with them. 


Q. Describe Jack. What do you find most interesting about him?

JP. Jack is a rather shy and awkward individual, which is quiet the contrast from Louise who is very vibrant and bubbly.  At first their conversations start with him being a little more reserved and very much reluctant to give out a lot of information in his personal life.  As the play progresses, however, Jack begins to open up and we see that he’s pretty charming and has a very good heart.  I definitely admire Jack’s courage in this show.  We learn very early on in the play that Jack has many reservations about the war, but he has a strong sense of duty to his country and his patients that he watches over.  He admits to being scared about what he has to do more than once but he just doesn’t quit.  


Q. Describe Louise. What do you find most interesting about her?  

 

SS. Louise does not fit into any box you could try to put her in. She’s sweet, she’s brash, she loves people, she’s very funny, and she’s courageous. I think that’s the one that sticks out the most to me. She opens her heart to this boy on the other end of these letters before ever meeting him or even seeing his face, this boy who is an army doctor during one of the worst wars in history. Throughout all the training and the battles and the terrible things Jack is going through, she is there to listen to him. She is in such a helpless position when it comes to all the things Jack is dealing with, and yet she doesn’t give up. There is a specific type of courage people had to have on the home front, and boy, did she have it in spades.   

 


Q. What aspect of Louise do you relate to most?  

 

SS. I like to think we are both equally funny, but that may be optimistic on my part. She’s an actress, and being an actress myself, I can of course relate to the auditions that go south and the ones that go well, but especially the desire to share what happens with others. She has no qualms with telling Jack everything, often in the most dramatic way possible, and my roommates from college will probably tell you that I have much the same tendency. Louise is also a dancer, a very good dancer, and while I am not a very good dancer, I do enjoy occasionally boogie-ing down, particularly at weddings or on slow Saturday mornings. (Again, my roommates will tell you – when Sarah asks for a dance party, it’s best to quickly pick a spot and stay there, because she needs the whole floor.)


Q. What aspect of Jack do you relate to most? 


JP. Easy.  I’m shy and awkward.  Just know that if I come across as that in the show, I’m not acting much.


Q. What is your favorite line in the show?

JP. There is a monologue in the show where Jack talks about one of his personal heroes that just really hits me every time.  Jack doesn’t consider himself to be much of a reader or an intellectual but in that monologue, he truly bears a piece of his soul and the audience gets a glimpse into what inspires him.  It’s beautiful. Also, these aren’t my lines but anytime that Louise attempts to “curse”… it’s just adorable.


SS. Can I say every line? The show is just so doggone cute it’s impossible to pick a favorite!

  

Q. What has been the most challenging part of this production?

JP. In this show, we are telling a heartwarming and funny love story.  Having said that though, I portray a military doctor who goes through literal Hell.  In addition to tending to the wounded from battles on the Pacific, Jack also takes part in the events of D-Day.  If you know or have read anything about the nightmarish battles of WWII, the events of D-Day usually top the  list of being the most horrific.  6,000 men died in the first day alone.  Getting in that mind set every night and making sure that I present it in a way that honors and respects those brave men has been quite the challenge.  And doing that within the context of a love story, where the two individuals in love don’t technically interact with each other except by letter, just kicks up the challenge even higher.


SS. There’s a really wide emotional range throughout the show. I’ve never played a character that goes through what might be every single emotion there is, but Louise pretty much does, and that is a challenge. It’s a big challenge! It leaves you exhausted in the best way by the end of the show.

 

Q. What has been the most rewarding part of this production?  

 

SS. Can I say everything? Even though the wide emotional range is a challenge, it is so rewarding. I do a lot of things in this show I’ve never had to do before, so there has been a lot of growth for me as an actress. Louise is a dream role for me – I couldn’t have written a part I would want to play more if I tried – and I am still somewhat in shock that I get to tell this story every night. But also, this is my first production at OCP! So being able to meet and work with Susie (Director) and Anna (Assistant Director) and Josh (Jack) and Paige (Stage Manager) and the amazing technical staff has been wonderful. They welcomed me with open arms, and I am just so grateful for this opportunity. 

JP. The production team for this show is absolutely incredible.  Each day I walk into rehearsal everyone is committed to giving it their all and I couldn’t ask for a more enthusiastic and professional atmosphere. On top of that my costar, Sarah (Louise), is stupid talented and establishing the relationship between these two characters has been so easy because of how committed she is to her work.  The only frustrating part of the process is that I don’t actually get to see all of her performance because Jack and Louise never look at each other!


Q. What can audiences expect from Dear Jack, Dear Louise? 

 

SS. To use the tissues they brought with them! You will laugh, you will cry, and you will love being immersed in the early 1940s. Also, there’s something so special and fresh about the staging of this play; it is something surprisingly beautiful for the time we are in right now. There is something so relatable to the relationship these two built while they were far away from each other, and considering the last year and a half what we’ve all had to experience, I think that will be the unexpected part of this production that people will be able to relate to. As much as war changes things and as much as the pandemic changed things, it can’t conquer the human spirit, and it can’t conquer love. 

JP. Audiences can expect a heartwarming love story that will resonate with everyone.  While this show may play to a very specific time period, its focus on human connection and the lengths we would go to hold on to those precious relationships in our lives is something everyone can relate to.  And I’m quite sure that everyone who sees this will have at least one family member or loved one who has fond memories of this time period. I was born in the 80’s but still I’m struck with nostalgia just remembering the stories my grandpa has told about his time in the army during WWII.

 

 

 


2021/22 Directing Fellows

Meet the 2021/22 Directing Fellows



The Omaha Community Playhouse is excited to announce the recipients of the 2021/22 OCP Directing Fellowship. This year’s OCP Directing Fellowship Class includes:

Ben Battafarano - Kinky Boots (Assistant Director)

Anna Dragon - Dear Jack, Dear Louise (Assistant Director)

Amber Franklin - The Giver (Assistant Director)

Joey Hartshorn - Murder on the Orient Express (Assistant Director)

Meganne Horrocks - Outside Mullingar (Assistant Director)

Fly Jamerson - The Color Purple (Assistant Director)

Jocelyn Reed - The Mystery of Irma Vep (Assistant Director)

Jon Roberson - Stick Fly (Assistant Director)

The OCP Directing Fellowship was established in an effort to support the development of future Omaha directors. It provides early and mid-career directors the opportunity to develop their skills by assistant directing a regular season show.

Congratulations to the 2021/22 OCP Directing Fellows!

OCP announces the cast of The Mystery of Irma Vep

 Congratulations to the cast of The Mystery of Irma Vep

Actors Ben Beck and Anna Perilo will each play a variety of roles, in this campy, quick-change tour-de-force!

Runs October 8 - November 7, 2021 in the Howard Drew Theatre! Tickets go on sale to the public on Tuesday, August 17.

OCP announces the cast of Murder on the Orient Express

 Congratulations to the cast of Murder on the Orient Express!


Hercule Poirot - Seth Maisel 

James Abuthnot - Billy Ferguson

Mary Debenham - Olivia Howard

Mrs. Helen Hubbard - Connie Lee

Hector MacQueen - Brian Priesman

Monsier Bouc - Ethan Dragon

Princess Dragomiroff - Daena Schwieger

Greta Ohlsson - Roz Parr

Marcel - Adam Bassing

Michel the Conductor - Jay Srygley

Samuel Ratchett - John Brennan

Countess Andrenyi - Jennifer Gilg


Runs September 17 - October 10, 2021 on the Hawks Mainstage! Tickets are on sale now!