This weekend marks round one of auditions for Les Miserables, the first show of the last Omaha Playhouse season with Carl Beck and Susie Baer Collins at the helm.  Beck and Collins will no doubt have their hands full casting the musical epic. While Les Miz has received most of the attention from announcement of next season, there are plenty of notable shows on the books for the Playhouse.

Kathy Tyree will be tasked with bringing Ella Fitzgerald, one of the most iconic jazz voices of all time, to life in Ella. Musical revues have become a Playhouse staple, as shown by the memorable Always, Patsy Cline and their current production All Night Strut. Tyree’s talent along with timeless music make for one great combination.

While many readers are no doubt familiar with the Mel Brooks classic Young Frankenstein, the funniest show on the mainstage just might be Boeing, Boeing. While most contemporary plays now seek to find balance between drama and comedy, farces have accordingly becoming more scarce. It’s gotten to the point where choosing a season has become more difficult for theatres because no play lends itself to one specific genre. With Boeing, Boeing, the playhouse brings a newer farce to the table full of door slamming and relationship balancing.

The Hawks Stage proves to continue the revitalized tradition of “edgy” contemporary theatre. If you are unfamiliar to Sirens, picking up a copy of the 2010 Humana Festival Play Collection will do you some good.  21 & Over fans will recognize playwright Deborah Zoe Laufer as the creator of End Days the post-apocalyptic family comedy that played a season ago.

Freud’s Last Session will surely touch some appropriate nerves with audience members and Next to Normal will no doubt be a hit. As long as Normal is given the proper band to bring the music to life. Sometimes the small stage musical can be hamstrung by lack of necessary instruments. If all pieces fall into place, the result can be breathtaking.

The final show Race is the show I’m looking forward to the most. There are two types of David Mamet plays, the overblown and the amazing. When Mamet falls short, it can feel like an old white guy yelling at you about how hard life is. When Mamet shines, as he does with Race, it can strip you down to your most core principles, shine a light on your shortcomings, and bring you to change who you are.

Cold Cream looks at theater in the metro area. Email information to coldcream@thereader.com


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