Superior Donuts, running at the Omaha Community Playhouse May 5 - June 6, 2017 in the Howard Drew Theatre, takes place in the historic Uptown neighborhood of Chicago, where Arthur Przybyszewski runs the donut shop that has been in his family for 60 years. BroadwayWorld has a sneak peek at the stars in character! Read More »
“Leading Ladies” is about as farcical as a farce gets.

Ken Ludwig’s 2004 play has lots of broad comedy and ludicrous, improbable situations — hewing closely to the dictionary’s definition of the genre.

If this is your thing, you’ll probably like this show, currently on stage at the Omaha Community Playhouse.

The script is wacky and clever without being so absurd that it’s hard to follow. Two actors, Leo Clark (Michael Judah) and Jack Gable (Kevin Goshorn), pose as the long-lost nieces of the elderly Florence Snider (Sue Mouttet) in an attempt to grab part of her estate in the early 1950s. The guys were fairly desperate — their Shakespearean shows at Pennsylvania Moose and Elks Lodges were bombs.

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Two broke, out of work Shakespearian actors hatch a plan to steal an inheritance from a wealthy old maid by pretending to be her long lost nieces.  Wrenches start to get thrown into the plan when the two cross dressing con artists fall in love with a pair of women and word comes that the real nieces are on their way.  This is Ken Ludwig’s Leading Ladies currently playing at the Omaha Community Playhouse.

Ludwig is a masterful writer who knows all the ins and outs of good farce.  You’ve got the slamming doors, the over the top characters, the mistaken identities, and the ludicrous scenarios.  But Ludwig also adds a story that has got quite a bit of heart and includes a couple of surprising plot twists before the tale ends.  His terrific script is supported, nay, enhanced by a sterling cast that runs like a well oiled machine and obtains the maximum amount of yuks possible.

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Billy McGuigan has entertained with his popular Beatles, Buddy Holly and “Rock Legends” shows, but now he’s taking a new tack.

How about songs from Frank Sinatra, Billy Joel, Harry Connick Jr. and others, but with a twist — a classy rock twist?

“I wanted something really polished and professional-feeling,” Billy said. “That’s really where this starts for me.”

And so “Rock Twist” will premiere this summer at the Omaha Community Playhouse, and then go on tour.

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Cross-dressing in the theater goes clear back to Shakespeare — men often played women in his plays. In Omaha this summer, we saw an example of this in Nebraska Shakespeare’s production of “The Taming of the Shrew” when a male actor played the part of the petulant Kate.

Now another cross-dressing comedy is coming to a local stage. “Leading Ladies” by Tony winner Ken Ludwig premieres Friday at the Omaha Community Playhouse. It’s the story of two actors — coincidentally Shakespearean thespians — who dress in drag in an attempt to bilk an old woman out of the estate she promised to her long-lost nieces.

Jeff Horger is directing the show, which runs through May 7 on the Hawks Mainstage. Kevin Goshorn and Michael Judah play the guys in dresses.

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  Radio Interview on KVNO

Leading Ladies, directed by Jeff Horger, will begin its run at the Omaha Community Playhouse this Friday, April 14th.

Written by Ken Ludwig, Leading Ladies is a contemporary play on Shakespeare’s comedies portraying far fetched escapades and cross dressing impostors. 

The play portrays two Shakespearean actors with a cunning plan. Christopher Scott, playing the supporting role of “Butch,” explained the plot of Leading Ladies.

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When a couple of English actors are down on their heels, criss-crossing the U.S., they find that donning women’s heels and cross-dressing may be the most lucrative roles they’ve yet assumed. There’s the frame for Ken Ludwig’s farcical Leading Ladies  trodding the stage at the Playhouse.
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The Omaha Community Playhouse will present the world premiere of Billy McGuigan's Rock Twist July 12 - 23, 2017 in the Hawks Mainstage Theatre. Tickets for Billy McGuigan's Rock Twist go on sale to the public Friday, April 14 at 10 a.m. through the OCP box office.

Omaha favorite Billy McGuigan returns to the Omaha Community Playhouse stage with this new show. He is joined by the Omaha-based Steve Gomez Band to present rock hits with a big band sound and big band standards with a rock and roll sound. Read More »
Ralston High School assistant principal Ryan Pivonka this summer will prove no one hits like Gaston or matches wits like Gaston in the Omaha Community Playhouse’s rendition of “Beauty and the Beast.”

Last week, it was announced that Pivonka will play the villain in the Disney musical, which will run from May 26 to June 25.

“It’s gonna be good, they’re putting a lot of effort and resources into this one. It’s a great cast,” Pivonka said.

Pivonka certainly has the background for the role. This will be the eighth performance of Pivonka in an Omaha Community Playhouse production, and he also spent 11 years as the choir director at RHS.

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The Omaha Community Playhouse has produced only a handful of world-premiere shows in its 93-year history.

In the coming season, it will present two, both created by local talent.

A new show from a longtime Playhouse performer will open the 2017-2018 season on July 12. “Billy McGuigan’s Rock Twist” will feature classic rock tunes in a big-band style and big-band standards with a rock ’n’ roll tinge. The Steve Gomez Band, including a full horn section, will accompany McGuigan, who’s known for his portrayal of rocker Buddy Holly and his popular Beatles show each season.

And “Eminent Domain” by Omahan Laura Leininger-Campbell will be the season’s first show in the Howard Drew Theatre, opening Aug. 25. The play is the story of a Nebraska farm family that’s in conflict over construction of an oil pipeline. It was a finalist at the 2016 Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference.

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  The Omaha Community Playhouse (OCP), the nation's largest community theatre, announces the lineup for its 93rd season, the 2017-2018 season.
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Three performers based in Chicago will bring “Girls Like Us: The Music of Carole King, Carly Simon and Joni Mitchell” to the Omaha Community Playhouse this summer.

The show is inspired by the book “Girls Like Us” by Sheila Weller. It stars Laura Freeman, Beckie Menzie and Marianne Murphy Orland.

It will run Thursdays through Sundays from June 15 to 25 in the Howard Drew Theatre. Tickets, $40 general admission and $32 for current Playhouse subscribers, go on sale Tuesday. For more information, go to omahaplayhouse.com or call 402-553-0800.

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The Omaha Community Playhouse will present Girls Like Us: The Music of Carole King, Carly Simon and Joni Mitchell as its summer show June 15 - 25, 2017 in the Howard Drew Theatre. Girls Like Us is inspired by the book of the same name by Sheila Weller and features performers Laura Freeman, Beckie Menzie and Marianne Murphy Orland. Tickets for Girls Like Us go on sale to the public Tuesday, March 7 at 10 a.m. through the OCP box office. Read More »
 The staccato chirping of crickets ranks right up there with that of a needle being ripped across an LP when it comes to clichéd sound effects used to denote an emphatic FAIL. But to John Gibilisco, a cacophony of crickets is never a cliché … it’s an art form.

“When Ablan [Roblin] directed To Kill a Mockingbird earlier this year,” the Omaha Community Playhouse sound designer said, he had a specific soundscape in mind. We went with a symphony of sounds in all of the outdoor scenes — crickets, swamp frogs, tree frogs, cicadas.

“I wanted the audience to be right there in the action,” Gibilisco added, “so we installed tiny speakers under every fourth seat — we’d never done that before — so you got everything that you would hear if you were right there on the porch with Atticus and Scout. But I didn't want the audience to be overtly aware of sound. I didn't want them to be consciously thinking, ‘Wow, those crickets are awesome.’ I only succeeded in distracting you if that would have happened. I failed if you left here thinking about crickets."

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From now on, people taking classes at the Omaha Community Playhouse will be enrolled in a program that honors a great American thespian.

They will be studying at the Henry Fonda Theater Academy, recently named after a man whom critics have called one of the best actors of all time.

Fonda, who grew up in Omaha, got his start at the Playhouse and supported it throughout his life with money and time. He went on to star in numerous movies, but the stage always was his first love, his widow, Shirlee, said in a phone interview from Los Angeles.

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“Beauty and the Beast” will be the summer musical at the Omaha Community Playhouse next year.

The show, which premiered on Broadway in 1994, will be the first Disney musical at the theater, said interim artistic director Susan Baer Collins. Based on the animated 1991 film, it’s also the first Disney movie to be made into a musical.

For contractual reasons, Playhouse officials couldn’t announce the title when they revealed the rest of the season lineup several months ago.

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A classic story that’s become more timely in recent days will launch the 2016-2017 season at the Omaha Community Playhouse. “To Kill a Mockingbird,” based on the novel by the late Harper Lee, will run from Aug. 19 to Sept. 18 on the theater’s intimate Howard Drew stage. Read More »