OCP announces the cast of Dear Jack, Dear Louise

 Congratulations to the cast of Dear Jack, Dear Louise!





Jack Ludwig - Josh Peyton
Louise Rabiner - Sarah Schrader


Runs August 20 - September 19, 2021 in the Howard Drew Theatre! Tickets on sale Tuesday, July 27 at 10 a.m.!

Omaha Community Playhouse Will Begin Compensating Onstage Performers and Backstage Crew Members Beginning in the 2021/22 Season

The Omaha Community Playhouse is excited to announce that for the first time in our theatre’s 97-year history, we will begin uniformly compensating onstage performers and backstage crew! 
“We are so excited to begin providing compensation to the talented performers and crew who bring this art to life,” said OCP Executive Director, Katie Broman. “While we honor the rich history of volunteer performers at OCP, our organization\exists to serve the Omaha Community. Offering compensation to artists and crew will make performance opportunities more equitable for all members of our community. We also acknowledge the significant time that local artists and theatre technicians dedicate to OCP productions and hope that this compensation will help show our gratitude for their contribution to the community.”  
 
“Our vision is for OCP to be recognized nationally as the leading organization for community-based theatre and education,” Broman explained. “As we approach our 100-year anniversary, we are confident that this decision will bring us closer to achieving that vision and catapult us into the next century of live theatre in Omaha.”
 
Beginning immediately, onstage performers and crew members who work every performance of a production, ages 19 and older, will receive a uniform set fee for each production in which they participate. Fees will vary based on the length of each production’s run. Exact compensation amounts will be published on each production’s audition announcement, available at OmahaPlayhouse.com. 
This is an initiative we have been working on behind-the-scenes for some time, and this year is just the beginning. “We are able to begin this effort in our 2021/22 season thanks to generous community support,” Broman explained. “We will continue to seek funding dedicated to artist compensation to grow this program for future seasons as part of a new artist fund.” 
 
Theatre is an inspiring and transformative art form that everyone should have the opportunity to experience. We hope that this change brings our community one step closer to making that a reality. 
If you are interested in donating to OCP’s new Artist Fund, please visit the link below or contact the OCP Development Department, at (402) 661-8508 or development@omahaplayhouse.com.

Donate to the OCP Artist Fund

A Q&A with the Cast and Crew of Gutenberg! The Musical!

 A Q&A with the Cast and Crew of Gutenberg! The Musical!

Dan Chevalier, Cathy Hirsch and Steve Krambeck

OCP All Stars Dan Chevalier and Steve Krambeck are back in the remount of The Candy Project’s 2015 production of Gutenberg! The Musical! We sat down with Dan, Steve and producer Cathy Hirsch to discuss all things Gutenberg!


Q.
How did The Candy Project get its start? 

CH. The Candy Project was formed by a group of actor-friends who loved musical theatre but felt that area stages were too often retelling the same stories over and over again. We wanted to see more contemporary musical theatre and have the chance to perform in some of our favorite new titles but felt that metro stages were "playing it safe" by only offering tried-and-true shows. We hoped that by offering new works we could open musical theatre to a younger audience. We're happy to say that not only did Omaha audiences love experiencing contemporary musicals, area stages have also become more bold about offering similar shows!


Q. What has it been like reviving this show? 

CH. Dan Chevalier and Steve Krambeck did such a thorough, hilarious job of crafting these characters six years ago. While that is a long stretch of time, the basics of their characters were easily resuscitated. We joked that they were on "week 3" of music rehearsals by day 1 which was a huge benefit for a vocally challenging piece.  With as much time as had passed though, this isn't the exact same show you might have caught the first time around. With the lapse in time, a change of venue and the ideas of a new director, Gutenberg! has kept its heart while morphing into something uniquely its own for this production.

SK. Surreal and intimidating! We had great success six years ago, so people have some expectations that they didn't before. But working with the talented Dan Chevalier is so great and just a ton of fun! I am thrilled to be able to do so again!

DC. It's a very strange experience! I've remounted shows before--in fact, I was in a production of A Christmas Carol seven years in a row--but I've never had a six-year break in between. Much of the show I only vaguely remembered from 2015 and some of it I had completely forgotten. It's been fun going back and rediscovering things with Steve.

 

Q. You play a lot of different characters in the show, which one is your favorite? 

SK. The script does a great job of giving each character a chance to shine, but I think mine's gotta be Historical Heavy Hitter Mr. Johann Gutenberg. 

DC. Monk is my favorite. I rarely get cast as the bad guy, so it’s fun playing the villain from time to time, especially a villain who is evil in the most ridiculous ways.

Q. What is your favorite line in the show? 

SK. There are so many one liners and non-sequiturs, that any of them can really get you on any particular day. As a default, my favorite line is the only one where I curse like a sailor.

DC. "I stole a bunch of cookies."


Q. If you could write a musical about anyone, who would it be and why?

DC. Jim Henson, because he produced so many creative, hilarious and innovative characters and stories. I'm sure his life story would be a compelling one to write a musical about. Also, I've always loved anything Muppet related.

SK. I'm a big fan of Ancient Mythology, so I think I would really enjoy writing a musical based on some of those.

CH. Satan the Cat. He makes a cameo in Gutenberg! The Musical! but I think he has more of a story to tell. How did he get to this point? What drove him to become the fluffy evil henchman we know and love today? Really, there is so much to unpack here, and I'd love to hear him meow it out.


Q. How do you prepare for a performance of Gutenberg!?  

SK. 6 years ago, I made Dan run the first act lines with me. Then during intermission, I made him run act two. This time will probably be the same, but maybe I'll change it up and have a taco bar backstage.

DC. Lots of vocal warmups--for as silly as this show is, it's also incredibly vocally challenging. I have to be able to growl some low notes as Monk and then hit super high falsetto notes as Daughter. Also, last time around, six years ago, Steve and I would do a speed run-through of Act 1 before the show and a speed run-through of Act 2 during intermission. Maybe we'll keep that tradition alive this time around, too.


Q. Why should people come see Gutenberg!?

CH. Bud and Doug are ridiculous, completely off-base and terrible writers. But they do everything with such unbridled, naive gusto that you can't help but root for their dumb, bad idea to be a success. The actors are a comedic tour-de-force that can't be missed. I've seen these scenes dozens of times and I still laugh out loud at their perfect nuances and new bits that get layered in all the time. After the year we've all had, we deserve this good, hard laugh. 

DC. Gutenberg! The Musical! is a show so filled to the brim with joy that it's got two exclamation points in the title! If you want to smile and laugh and have songs stuck in your head for weeks, come see this show.

SK. Come out to have a good time and laugh and smile. It feels good! Also, Dan's talent is worth the price of admission. He's incredible!!

 

 

A Q&A with Broadway's Ray Mercer


 A Q&A with Broadway's Ray Mercer

Ray Mercer

Broadway Actor & Choreographer Ray Mercer is returning to the Omaha Community Playhouse as the Choreographer for our upcoming production of Ain't Misbehavin'! We asked Ray a few questions about his experiences on Broadway, his theatre career journey and his creative process.

Q. How did you get started in theatre?

RM. In middle school I would attend summer theater workshops. But I fell in love with theater when I did my first musical, Funny Girl, at OCP.  

Q. Can you tell us about the moment you found out you were cast in The Lion King?

RM. That moment change my life forever. I was working as a flight attendant and living in Chicago. I had just flown back from an audition in New York and the first message on my phone was a casting agent saying that I had been cast in The Lion King. My life would be forever changed. 

Q. What about The Lion King has kept you there for 17 years?

RM. The Lion King is a special show with very special people. I am grateful to be living within my passion. I am constantly inspired by the magic that the cast and crew brings to the show eight times a week. Inspiration has kept me there so long. 

Q. What was your experience like moving from Nebraska to New York? Do you have any advice for aspiring theatre professionals looking to make the big move?

RM. I attended college in New Orleans and spent some time in Chicago before I moved to New York.  It was an adjustment getting used to the fast pace of the city, but I instantly fell in love with all that New York had to offer. My advice would be if you are planning to make a career shift to New York, preparation is the key. Have a game plan, make connections and be prepared to stay focused and work hard. The city is very competitive and unforgiving at times.  

Q. What is your process like when creating choreography?

RM. My choreographic process varies depending on the task, job or commission. I am constantly driven by the things that connect us all. Any thing that is humanistic--that is usually my starting point. When I find a topic that I am inspired by, I get the dancers or actors in the room and I start to develop movement. I build on that and eventually I will have structured a work.

Q. Who are your biggest influences?

RM. My biggest influence is LIFE. I am constantly influenced by the things that are happening in the world, conversations that I have had, books I've read. Everyday life is one of my main influences when creating art

Q. Why should people come see Ain’t Misbehavin’ at OCP?

RM. People should see Ain't Misbehavin' because it is a musical treasure. To celebrate Fats Waller's music is a gift within itself. The show is so full of life. You will laugh, you might cry, but you will be guaranteed to be inspired. 

A Q&A with the Cast of Constellations

A Q&A with the Cast of Constellations

John Carlson and Jessica Johnson

Rehearsals for Constellations are underway, and actors John Carlson and Jessica Johnson are gearing up for opening night. We asked John and Jessica a few questions about Constellations, their relationship to their characters and what they love about the show.

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

JJ. Marianne is very intelligent and able to think about and explain complex concepts in simple terms, but she is a bit socially awkward and not always great with people. She is sensitive and sweet but also confident in her intelligence. Most of all, she values her ability to make choices for herself and is determined to be able to do so, right up to the end.

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

JC. Roland is interesting to me in that he is ok with knowing what he knows, but equally ok with not knowing what he doesn’t know. He has an ease and a comfort that I’m hoping to take with me after the show as a souvenir.

Q. What do you think you are doing right now in an alternate universe?

JJ. I'm either relaxing with a drink on a beach in Tahiti or buried under a mountain of other people's laundry and dirty dishes. There is no in between.

JC. Absolutely anything that involves my flying car.

Q. How did you prepare to portray a quantum physicist?

JJ. In addition to having some great discussions with my costar about String Theory, I drew quite a bit from my own educational background as someone who holds a Masters' of Science. I reviewed some of my Research Methods resources, reoriented myself with Multivariate Statistical Analysis, and got a "Neil DeGrasse Tyson for President" t-shirt. I think I'm set.

Q. How did you prepare to portray a beekeeper?

JC. I wear the total beekeeper outfit to every rehearsal. No, actually, when I was a kid I learned Tai Chi from a gentleman that also kept beehives in his backyard. He would use the bees and how they live to describe some of the tenets of Tai Chi. As much as this sounds like the beginning of a really cool Kung Fu movie taking place in the high mountain ranges of Japan, it was just a strange preteen boy’s life in a small suburb outside of Hartford, CT. Anyway, it is interesting to think of him and his philosophy as I try to imagine Roland.

Q. What aspect of Constellations are you most excited about?

JC. Did I mention the flying cars? In reality, I like that this is a story we have all seen in one form or another, but, hopefully a new way to see it. That’s an exciting prospect to me.

JJ. I really love how Denise [Chapman] has so brilliantly staged the action and movement in the show, incorporating COIVD precautions while still creating an atmosphere of closeness and intimacy. I'm so excited for the audience to witness and be drawn in by it.

Q. What is your favorite line in the show?

JJ. It's a tossup between "We have all the time we've always had." and "You used to keep honey in trash bags?"

JC. “You don’t have to have toast.”  I know, I know, it’s a little strange out of context. I suppose you’ll just need to come see the show or stream it to find out why it’s my favorite.

Q. Why should people come see Constellations?

JJ. This play is a beautiful and timely reminder of just how important it is to remember to live in and find joy in the moment, regardless of circumstances. John Carlson is a brilliant actor, Denise Chapman a phenomenal director and I think together with the rest of the creative and technical team we've created something very special that will bring the audience joy.

Q & A with Anna Dragon, Assistant Director of The Drawer Boy

 Q & A with Anna Dragon, Assistant Director of The Drawer Boy

Anna Dragon


As The Drawer Boy gets ready to open on Friday night, we asked Assistant Director Anna Dragon a few questions about the show, the rehearsal process and her experience as an OCP Directing Fellow.

Q. What is The Drawer Boy about?

A. The Drawer Boy by Canadian-born Michael Healey is a heartwarming story told through the eyes of Miles, a student actor, who is determined to discover truth in the rustic lives of two middle-aged farmers.

Q. How did you get involved with The Drawer Boy?

A. Around March 2019 I turned in my application for the Directing Fellowship because I saw an opportunity doing what I love (and using that liberal arts degree). After a long while of waiting through a whole pandemic, the amazing Anthony Clark-Kaczmarek asked me to be his assistant director. Although COVID guidelines did not allow us to do the play I originally interviewed for, Anthony introduced me to the lovely play that we're doing now. And to put it tritely, the rest is history.

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

A. Truthfully, my favorite part is watching the actors discover new things about their character through a simple piece of direction mixed with their creativity. It reminds me once again of why I love theatre.

Q. What has your experience as an OCP Directing Fellow been like?

A. One word: welcoming. Being apart of such an amazing company after a year of quarantine is the most refreshing experience I could ask for. From the actors to the crew, I see passion driving all of their work. It inspires me everyday.

Q. What excites you most about The Drawer Boy?

A. I'm always excited to see how the audience will respond to the actors and their stunning performances. These talented folks worked their butts off and it shows.

Q. What can audiences expect from The Drawer Boy?

A. Lots of emotion. (A gentle reminder to bring tissues.)

Q. Why should people come see The Drawer Boy?

A. Come for the fun theatrical experience, stay for the characters you will absolutely fall in love with.


The Drawer Boy runs April 9 - May 2, 2021 in OCP's Hawks Mainstage Theatre. Ticket information here.
Also available to stream on demand April 16 - May 2, 2021.

 

OCP Announces the Cast of

Ain't Misbehavin'

We are so excited to announce the cast of our upcoming production of Ain't Misbehavin'

  • Armelia - Leiloni Brewer
  • Charlaine - Dara Hogan
  • Nell - Tiffany White-Welchen
  • Andre - DJ Tyree
  • Ken - Justin Blackson
Congratulations to these talented actors! Ain't Misbehavin' opens in the Hawks Mainstage Theatre on May 21. Tickets are on sale now at https://www.omahaplayhouse.com/tickets/view/misbehavin/