An Insider’s View: Tours and More at the OCP

I have been helping Karli Newman with tours of the Omaha Community Playhouse. Groups have come in from places like South Dakota and Wisconsin. I have had such a great time assisting with the tours and I enjoy seeing the reactions of the tours to interesting tidbits about the OCP. The OCP has had a long life (85 years!) and I think it’s important to know its history.

Everyone here is decorating for the Christmas season! Karli and I decorated for holiday parties and the staff is having an office decoration contest. We are all in the Christmas spirit!

If you have a group that is interested in a holiday party and/or a tour, please contact Karli Newman at (402) 553-4890 x147. Have a Happy Holiday and come see Yesterday and Today and A Christmas Carol!

Jackie Skarda

In Their Own Words - Yesterday and Today

The McGuigan brothers, Billy, Matthew and Ryan, perform the music of the Beatles every Wednesday through Sunday in Yesterday and Today, an Interactive Beatles Experience. Yesterday and Today is an audience request show that challenges the brothers to perform not only Beatles hits, but also lesser known works. The brothers took time out of their busy schedule to sit down and answer some of our questions.

OCP: When and why did you start playing Beatles music?

Billy: Initially it was because I missed my dad. When I was 10, he was stationed in Korea for a year and I missed him terribly. I remember sneaking in to his room and getting out his guitar and Beatles music books. That year I taught myself how to play guitar by playing Beatles music. I haven't stopped since. It then became a tradition that on Friday nights my dad, my brothers and I would sit around the music books with guitars singing Beatles songs.

Ryan: I was probably in the womb, beating my mom's rib cage to "She Loves You" Our father was an immense Beatles fan, so we used to put on "Beatles concerts" in our living room.

OCP: Can you tell us what it is like playing the songs with your brothers?

B: It's natural. As brothers we have this innate ability to know where the others are going. Because we've been singing these songs since we were kids, it's as if it's a second language. We have the ability to give a look to each other and we all know what and where to sing. As our lead guitar player Jay Hanson says, it's in our DNA.

Matthew: It's awesome! We have a connection with these songs. Their music was like our bible growing up. It's almost like another language that we speak with one another.

R: It's like putting on your shoes and socks, it's as natural as can be.

OCP: Why do you think the music of the Beatles continues to be relevant to today’s audiences?

M: It's timeless. Their music is still the as important today as it was 40 years ago. They created music, that speaks to you heart. It's about Peace, Love, & Rock 'n' Roll.

R: They are more than just the music. They are a culture. They preached the word of love, and Love is everlasting. People will still be listening to them 250 years from now.

B: I'm probably the wrong person to ask. I personally don't think that there has ever been a group or artist that has had such an influence on culture as The Beatles.

OCP: Do you have stories from that stand out from the audience song requests?

B: Of course there are the stories that are personal and touching that stand out. Some stories are so personal that it's difficult to get through the song with out getting choked up and emotional. But for me, the one that I will never forget is from the "Birdman". His request, "Please play Blackbird - my reason: I like BIRDS". He comes 3 or 4 times every run and has the same request! He's a cult hero!

M: When we were in South Bend, IN a woman with a terminal illness, requested "Golden Slumbers". She wanted to let her children know that she loved them, and everything was gonna be ok. This story really hit home, since we lost our dad to leukemia. I don't think that I'll ever forget this story.

OCP: What has been your favorite part of the Yesterday and Today experience?

R: Getting to jam with these guys. The band no question.

M: Singing with my brothers and getting to play with some of the best musicians that Omaha has to offer.

B: That moment in the show when I start reading a request card and you sort of feel the audience lean in and realize that this show is different from any show they've ever seen...then we know we've got em!

Tickets for Yesterday and Today are available through the Omaha Community Playhouse Box Office (402) 553-0800 or online at