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Playhouse

Photo by Omaha Community Playhouse

Will Patterson
A&E EDITOR

An important part of starting or returning to college is finding activities to get involved with, and something to do during free time. The Omaha Community Playhouse fills both of those.

Located less than a block away  from the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Dodge Campus is the Omaha Community Playhouse.It’s worth noting that Omaha is home to the largest community playhouse in the entire country, and it certainly lives up to that title.

One of the greatest benefits that the Omaha Community Playhouse brings to the community is the options for volunteering and involvement. Kimberly Faith Hickman, the artistic director ofthe playhouse, stresses the fact that there are plenty of choices for students that require little to no experience.

“There are opportunities in pretty much every area of our building,” Hickman said.

A lot of different roles go into making a production come to life—and all of them are essential to each play’s success. Aside from acting, the playhouse needs people to help with backstage tasks, costuming, lights, ushering guests and more.

In the past, UNO students have played key parts in productions.Last year, two UNO students performed the lead roles in the playhouse’s rendition of “Sister Act.” Additionally, “Sister Act featured several performers who had never set foot on stage before.

“This is community members that want to learn a new skill and volunteer their time to work with us,” Hickman said.

Those who are interested in becoming a part of the Omaha Community Playhouse can find more information on their web-site under the tab labeled “Get Involved.”

This year’s lineup of shows is exploring a wide range of genres.
Hickman said that she is particularly excited for the productions of “Parade” and “The Mountaintop.”
“Parade” is a musical about the trial of a Jewish man who is wrongfully accused of murder in the town of Marietta, Georgia in 1913. The performance illustrates the racism and religious intolerance that engulfed southern towns in the early 20th century.“Parade” is based on a true story of Leo Frank’s trial.
Also focusing on the theme of intolerance, “The Mountaintop” is a historical fiction play imagining Martin Luther King Jr.’s last night alive. The play is about King’s encounter with a mysterious stranger following his final speech.
“I think we have a really good year of offering something for everyone in terms of our shows,” Hickman said.
The first show to premiere during the school year will be “Eminent Domain.” This contemporary story takes place in Nebraska and follows a family that is impacted by the plans to construct an oil pipeline. The play was written by an Omaha author and will be performed for the first time by the Omaha Community Playhouse.
Students that are interested in catching a show can purchase discounted tickets for $7 during the opening weekend of each performance. The discount isvalid for any student from kindergarten through full-time undergraduate students.

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Will Patterson
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR

1) The Orpheum Theater is first up in the list of essential performing arts venues in Omaha. Built in 1927, the Orpheum has served as a prime location for shows in Omaha throughout nearly the past century.

The vintage theater’s architecture alone is enough to impress the masses, throw in the variety of impressive performances brought in and you have a space well worth visiting. The Orpheum has a history of bringing Broadway hits to Omaha such as “Wicked” and “The Book of Mormon.”

In the near future the Orpheum will be playing host to the internet sensation group, The Piano Guys on Sep 21 followed by Bill Burr’s comedic show on Oct 1.

2) Omaha Community Playhouse provides the perfect opportunity for those seeking a performing arts experience that is more “local” in flavor. As the largest community theater in the nation, the OCP brings out talent from all across Omaha in performances for all audiences.

As a community theater the venue focuses on providing opportunities to the public. This involves not only offering acting classes and workshops but through hosting open auditions for the aspiring thespian to seize.

An ongoing show through Sep 18 is OCP’s production of “To Kill A Mockingbird” which has been received exceptionally well received. In the weeks following OCP will put on “Sister Act” a musical comedy running from Sep 16 through Oct 16.

3) Opening only in 2005 the Holland Performing Arts Center is one of the newer editions the Omaha fine arts circuit. Ran in conjunction with the Orpheum theater, HPAC is another cornerstone of the downtown performing arts.

The Omaha Symphony, which has been performing in the area for over 90 years, uses the Holland Performing Arts Center as their primary venue. The orchestra hosts a series of performances every
month, with details available on their website’s calendar.

In addition to the Omaha Symphony the HPAC utilizes its space to showcase a variety of musical performances. One such show coming soon is Elvis Costello’s “Detour” performance on Oct 4.

4) Another vital contributor to the arts of Omaha is the Rose Theater in downtown. The theater gives families and children at heart the performances for a perfect night out.

The Rose, built in 1926, displays elegant architecture that has maintained its magnificence throughout the past 90 years. The walls are adorned with intricate carvings and paintings.

Upcoming shows at the Rose stay true to their promise to deliver a family friendly experiences with a selection including “Goodnight Moon” and “Shrek The Musical.”

5) Students at University of Nebraska at Omaha seeking musical entertainment on campus are given countless options throughout the year at the Strauss Performing Arts Center.

The Recital Hall is the primary performance space in the building with 460 seats and an isolated acoustic design. Behind the main stage is the massive Casavant Organ that serves as a center piece for the room.

The Strauss Performing Arts Center hosts over 200 performances a year. Unless otherwise stated shows are free UNO students that present their MavCard.

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