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February 2011 Artfully Speaking

Dreams of Broadway Can Come True

Touch it. Experience it. Own it.

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Andrew Rannells, Omaha native and Creighton Prep grad, will star in a much anticipated new Broadway musical, The Book of Mormon. The show (already being called “the funniest musical ever”) starts previews February 24th at Eugene O’Neill Theatre and opens on March 24th. Trey Parker and Matt Stone, creators of South Park, and Robert Lopez (Tony winner for the hysterical Avenue Q) team up on book, lyrics, music and direction. This will be a huge, irreverent hit!

Andy has appeared on Broadway previously, most notably as Link Larkin in Hairspray and as Bob Gaudio in Jersey Boys. This time, however, he originates the lead role as Elder Price. Check out www.BookofMormonBroadway.com for show information. We can be proud of his accomplishments and career. He is a former winner of the local Theatre Arts Guild Scholarship.

Speaking of former TAG scholarship winners, Quiana Smith appears in a featured role in the national touring production of Mary Poppins. Omaha Central grad, John Rayson, recently played here in Legally Blonde in a featured role, but also is the stand-in for the male lead and was able to perform that part while appearing in Omaha. He also appeared on Broadway in the musical, A Year with Frog and Toad.

These three honed their craft in school productions and many community theatre productions before they left Omaha for the Big Apple. Broadway hopefuls may wonder how they can duplicate this success. There are several great programs locally that can help these aspiring performers.

Omaha Community Playhouse and The Rose both offer a myriad of classes in the performing arts throughout the year. The Playhouse also offers First Stage, a concentrated summer program. Omaha South High Magnet School for the Performing and Visual Arts hosts Summer Stage @ South! Omaha Public Schools also produces a citywide summer musical.

A newer entry into this arena is Broadway Dreams presented by the Holland Performing Arts Center. This is the second year for this program, Summer Performing Arts Intensive to be held July 11-17, 2011. Hopefuls need to apply and to audition for consideration; two more rounds of auditions will be held March 20th and June 4th and 5th. The fee is $695; a limited number of scholarships are available. Contact www.mybroadwaydreams.com.

Participants will have the chance to work with Broadway veterans and receive training in acting, dance and vocal performance. Last year, close to 100 students participated. Six of them were featured in a benefit production in New York City. Papillion’s Analisa Swerczek was one of these performers. I have had the pleasure of seeing her perform Breathe from In the Heights; she is a great vocalist with a wonderful instrument. I also did a play reading with her for the Great Plains Theatre Festival; she is also a remarkable actress. She has performed in Footloose at OCP and with the Young Americans.

My prediction: She will be the next metro performer to make it Big!


-end- metroMAGAZINE




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