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Artfully Speaking

Upcoming Theatre Seasons

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It’s always fun to look ahead as theatres announce their upcoming seasons.  With a wealth of theatre groups in the metro, we are treated to a wide diversity of offerings. 

Here are a few that I find particularly intriguing or exciting:

The Blue Barn, 614 S. 11th St., always presents a challenging and interesting season.  The highlight, for me, will be the return of last season’s sold-out hit, Reefer Madness.  This send-up of a 1936 propaganda film about the evils of marijuana will run the month of June.  The season opener, Talk Radio, is also a must-see.  Written by actor/playwright Eric Bogosian (Law and Order: Criminal Intent), it is the story of a controversial radio shock-jock taking his local show to a national level.  Timely and topical for a script written twenty years ago, it runs September 30-October 16.

Cross the river to Chanticleer Community Theatre, 830 Franklin Ave. in Council Bluffs, November 12-28 for the stage version of Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel, To Kill a Mockingbird.  This is the novel’s Golden Anniversary. The book remains a mainstay of high school reading lists and an insightful look at racial injustice in the depression-era South.

The highlight of the Omaha Playhouse’s season will be The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee in the Drew Theatre, February 18-March 27.  Overachieving adolescents and a spelling contest make for an unlikely, but hilarious, musical comedy.  This one has audience participation also which always brings an element of surprise and spontaneity to a production.  It will be interesting to compare OCP’s version with the national touring production that played the Orpheum a couple of  years ago.

Speaking of the Orpheum, Omaha Performing Arts has some highly anticipated shows on the bill.  My pick has to be Young Frankenstein.  The Mel Brook’s musical, closely based on his cinematic monster movie spoof of the same name, will play March 29 through April 3.  Although New York critics didn’t lavish praise on this show like they did on Brook’s The Producers, the public loved it.  After all, the movie on which it is based has been hailed as one of cinema’s all-time great comedies.  Word also has it that the Disney/Cameron Mackintosh Mary Poppins is a spectacular show and should be a hot ticket.  It runs January 27 through February 13.

Finally, back in my days at the Firehouse Dinner Theatre, we produced an interesting, little-known Neil Simon comedy, Jake’s Women.  It is a tour-de-force for Jake, the only man, as all the women in his life (real and imagined) keep popping in and out of his house and his mind.  I don’t believe the play has been done locally since then.  The Lofte Theatre in Manly, Nebraska is currently running the show through September 12.  Catch it if you can and see the Lofte’s brand new theatre building!
And that’s just a few of the many theatrical opportunities ahead!

On a personal note, I am glad to be back on the arts beat after a two-year hiatus.  I look forward to sharing my thoughts and information on the metro’s vibrant arts community with you in the coming months.

-end- metroMAGAZINE




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