The Omaha Community Playhouse family was deeply saddened late Tuesday to learn of the death of Dick Boyd, a beloved icon of our theater community. Boyd originated the role of Scrooge in the Playhouse’s annual production of “A Christmas Carol.” For 30 years – 1976 through 2005 – Boyd played Scrooge for 818 performances, to a total audience of 442,855 people.
He never missed a performance. Not for ice or snow or flu or knee replacements. It became the longest run in Omaha theatrical history. Charles Jones, former OCP executive director, cast Boyd for what was planned to be a one-year run. The show proved so popular it has become an annual tradition for many area families.
“For Charles, it was very important the role be played as a real, dimensional person and not a caricature,” Jones’ late widow, Eleanor, said in 2005. “He never goes onstage that it’s not fresh and real and new for him.”
Boyd, 98, was born in Nebraska City. He wed Miriam Hieronymus, daughter of the former president of Midland College in Fremont, Neb., in 1950. She preceded him in death in November 2017. They had four children, Richard, Carol, Lynne and Ann. When Miriam tired of missing her husband each holiday season, she joined the “Christmas Carol” cast for 17 years.
Dick Boyd served in the Army Air Corps and was a World War II veteran of the South Pacific. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Midland College and a master’s in education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He taught middle-school language arts in Council Bluffs for 28 years. He was president of the Council Bluffs Education Association twice and won an outstanding teacher award in 1988.
He loved children. His favorite scene in “A Christmas Carol” was the one in which Scrooge chases youngsters out of his office. The show’s choreographer, Joanne Cady, said in 2005 that Boyd was great with the kids. “At the first cast meeting, he makes sure he goes to each new child, finds out their name. The past-year kids just run to hug him.”
Today thousands are remembering Dick Boyd as a kind, humble, gifted and generous man, onstage and off. All of us at the Playhouse send our deepest sympathies to his family, his stage family and his many friends and fans.
Rave On! The Music of Buddy Holly
June 11–28 | OCP Parking Lot | Starting at $35 per person.
Billy McGuigan (Vocals/Guitar) is an internationally recognized headliner based in Omaha. Since his breakthrough role as Buddy Holly in Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story at the Omaha Community Playhouse in 2002, Billy has toured nonstop nationwide and internationally. Career highlights include a Spotlight Award for best actor in a musical (Phoenix, AZ), a nomination for an Arizoni Award as best actor in a lead role – musical (Phoenix, AZ) and performing with two of Buddy Holly’s contemporaries, Rockabilly Hall of Famers Tommy Allsup (Buddy Holly’s lead guitarist) and Sonny West (songwriter of Rave On! and Oh, Boy!). Billy’s performances have sold out countless shows and have broken box office and attendance records in several theaters.
Billy has written, produced and directed several other nationally touring shows, including: Yesterday and Today: The Interactive Beatles Experience, Pop Rock Orchestra, and Tara Vaughan’s She Rocks. Billy would like to thank all those who have contributed to the success of Rave On! over the past 16 years! In particular, a huge nod to the Omaha Community Playhouse for giving him the amazing opportunity to develop and perform this show in front of such incredible audiences. Billy would like to dedicate his performance to the memory of his father, Bill, who taught him to love music.
Matthew McGuigan (Vocals/Bass/Musical Director) is a man of few words, but he’s more than excited to be performing with Rave On! Productions. Matthew is a graduate of Pinellas County Center for the Arts in St. Petersburg, FL. His extensive theatrical credits include West Side Story (Tony), Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story (Tommy) and Jesus Christ Superstar (Music Director). When he's not performing with Rave On Productions, he's the other half to the band Moses Prey. The band has released a full-length album (A Paper Moon) and two EP's (The Martyrand Breystory). He's been playing music for over 20 years. He dedicates this performance to his son, Lennon, and to the memory of his late father, Bill.
Ryan McGuigan (Vocals/Acoustic Guitar) thoroughly enjoys getting to ROCK to the greatest music of all time with his brothers, Billy and Matthew. He is a graduate of the Pinellas County Center for the Arts in St. Petersburg, FL. Favorite past roles include Joey in Tony n Tina's Wedding, Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar and Buddy in The Last Session, the last of which won him a Theatre Arts Guild award. Ryan is a member of the Theatre Arts Guild. When he isn't performing with Rave On Productions, he tag teams with his brother Matthew in the power pop-rock band Moses Prey. Ryan would like to dedicate his performance to his late wife, Kay .J McGuigan.
Max Meyer (Guitar/Vocals), an Omaha-based guitarist, is thrilled to be a part of Rave On Productions. He studied music education at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. His primary instrument was Spanish-style classical guitar. Max taught at the School of Rock during his undergrad years and now teaches at SNJ Studios. When he isn’t busy touring, Max stays active with his local bands: Omaha Guitar Trio and Saturn Moth. Omaha Guitar Trio recently won an Omaha Entertainment and Arts Award for Best Jazz. Max would like to extend his thanks to his family and friends for supporting him in this opportunity!
Darren Pettit (Saxophone) is an assistant professor of music theory and composition at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He received his bachelor’s degree in saxophone performance from UNO in 1995. At UNO he won a Presser Scholarship and the Dean's Award from the College of Fine Arts. He then received a full scholarship to the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, where he completed a master of music degree in saxophone performance. He earned his doctorate in Jazz Studies/Composition at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he studied with Dr. Eric Richards. Dr. Pettit’s duties at UNO include directing the Jazz Combo I; coordinating both dual enrollment and music theory for the School of Music; and teaching Music Fundamentals, Music Core Curriculum I & II, Jazz Arranging, Orchestration, Pedagogy of Music Theory, and Analysis for Performers. In 2003 Dr. Pettit co-founded both the Omaha Jazz Workshop and the Metropolitan Area Youth Jazz Orchestra. The Jazz Workshop has since become the UNO Jazz Camp, featuring the Jim Widner Big Band. Dr. Pettit has premiered original compositions at Shizuoka, Japan, the Beijing Contemporary Music Academy, the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, the University of Illinois, the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association Regional Conference, the North American Saxophone Alliance Regional and National Conferences, the University of Missouri-St. Louis, Mercer University in Georgia, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and UNO. He has toured the United States extensively as music director for Yesterday and Today and Rave On! He has performed with the Jim Widner Big Band, the Omaha Big Band, the Las Vegas Lab Band with Mike Gurcuillo, the Nebraska Jazz Orchestra, the Omaha Symphony, the Omaha Community Playhouse orchestra, Randy Brecker, Diane Schuur, Debbie Boone, Delbert McClinton, the Temptations, David Foster, Michael Buble, Frankie Valli, and many others. Dr. Pettit is a D’Addario Artist/Clinician.
Larell Ware (Drums) was born and raised in Philadelphia before moving to Omaha to study percussion. Larell’s 25 years of experience landed him the opportunity to tour internationally with several artists. He is featured on studio recordings with internationally recognized musicians. Most recently Larell was the drummer for NBC’s The Voice’s Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal, which performed a 27-city European Tour with a live-album release in Brussels, Belgium.