The Live Broadway Karaoke event for the Omaha Playhouse’s 21 & Over programming, now in its third year, has become the unofficial theatre kick-off for the new year. After having their fill of family dinners, office parties, and new year’s celebrations, the theatre community shakes off the snow and comes back together to enjoy the dulcet tones of local performers and, above all, the hilarious quips of the one-of-a-kind master of ceremonies Jim Boggess.
The night kicked off with a special preview performance of the opening number from Evil Dead: The Musical featuring Brian Zealand, Steven Michael Shelton, Lauren Koll, Lindsey Tierney, and Amanda Rounds. With talented lead performers and Mitch Fuller directing the music, this show appears to have all the makings of a wonderfully bloody evening that will be like nothing else on an Omaha stage this season.
The rest of the evening featured all of the usual suspects, with wonderful performances from Bailey Carlson, Analisa Peyton and her brother Sam Swerczek, Leanne Hill Carlson, Angela Jenson Frey, and a hilarious duet from Stephanie Kidd and David Ebke. The award for most unusual suspect goes to the medieval-clad gentleman singing the “Danke Schoen” spoof “Charlemagne” from what I believe to be a musical that doesn’t exist. The highlight of the evening? That would belong to Jerry Van Horn bringing the house down with a rendition of Ragtime’s “Make Them Hear You” that only he could sing.
This week, attention will be paid to the first two productions of the new year: Omaha Playhouse’s Deathtrap and Shelterbelt’s From Shelterbelt with Love 12. An online review of the former will be coming from Warren Francke next week. As for the latter, this writer is particularly interested in the works by local playwrights Beaufield Berry, Eric Salonis, and Mike Palmreuter. Readers probably remember Palmreuter from his recent stage performances in Chicago and Assassins and while he will also be lending his acting talents to SWL12, his writing debut is a welcome development to the local scene.
While we’re on the topic of multi-talented theatre practitioners, a special mention goes to Homero Vela as well. Fresh off of earning an OEA nomination for Trekkie Monster in SNAP’s Avenue Q, Vela is equally talented as a designer. Look for his light design to complement the Shelterbelt’s intimate space as performers bring the love for the 12th straight year.
Cold Cream looks at theater in the metro area. Email information to email@example.com