This year’s list of nominees for The Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards had all the usual suspects (Wizard of Oz and Next to Normal led the overall honors), but with 24 different production receiving a nomination, the night provided much needed recognition for some shows and performances that might have flown under the radar for many theatre patrons.
Everyone expected Oz and Normal to nominated for Best Musical, as well as audience favorites Evil Dead and Legally Blonde, but The Producers at Lofte Community Theater and Chanticleer’s production of A Little Night Music were both equally impressive shows deserving of recognition.
University shows got their fair share of acknowledgment as well. Creighton University Theatre’s Dames at Sea featured a pair of stellar singers (Veronica Benton and Ariel Talacko), while UNO Theatre’s fantastically designed production of Female Transport featured one of the year’s best ensemble efforts (led by nominee Krystal Kelly).
Ellen Struve’s Recommended Reading for Girls and Beaufield Berry’s Psycho Ex-Girlfriend were easy choices for Best New Script, but The Blue Barn’s Witching Hour production of Grass So Tall, Sky So Black was one of the more unique theatrical offerings from last fall, featuring innovative choreography, a haunting script, and fantastic original music from Brad Hoshaw.
The Omaha Community Playhouse led all theatres with 22 nominations in total, followed by SNAP Productions’ 15 and BLUEBARN’s 10. The BLUEBARN productions of Red and The 39 Steps each earned 4 nominations, while A Behanding in Spokane took home nominations for Thomas Becker and Raydell Cordell III.
SNAP’s current show, Other Desert Cities, is already pulling in the accolades, earning five nominations including Best Drama. The Circle Theatre also earned acclaim for Gertrude Stein and a Companion.
Anthony Clark-Kaczmarek’s direction of Twelfth Night for Nebraska Shakespeare was a pleasant appearance on the list, as were the nominations for cast members Dan Chevalier and Moira Mangiameli. Nebraska Shakespeare was the third theatre in two years to produce the comedy, but certainly had the most distinctive rendition with it’s “Seuss-punk” design and music choices.
Regrettably, the list of nominees was limited to performances only to assist in streamlining the awards night itself. That means no official recognition of some of this year’s best design work, but it doesn’t take away from the exceptional technical aspects of every theatre in town.
Cold Cream looks at theater in the metro area. Email information to firstname.lastname@example.org