Opposite Sides of the Net

Dark Play “is not an easy play,” director Amy Lane warns. “I have no delusions that it’s a play everyone will like.” But she brought the script by Carlos Murillo to the attention of her drama colleagues at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, along with several other scripts featuring younger characters. It’s “very twisted, […]

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Magical Acting

Few will fail to find universal value in Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking . It’s about one of America’s great observers, a master of non-fiction writing, facing the void of catastrophic loss. Fortunately, the pair chosen by the Circle Theater to tell us her story, director Daena Schweiger and Barb Ross, the one-woman […]

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The Felix In Me

There are times when a story may tell you more about the reviewer than what happened on stage. The opening of The Odd Couple at the Omaha Community Playhouse offers such an occasion. One reason the Neil Simon classic is among my favorite comedies is that I get to celebrate my inner Felix Ungar. For […]

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Envelope Pushing Expletive

You could credit Bob Fischbach’s review (“Shock factor feels out of place, but message resonates”) for the sold-out house for Shopping and F***ing. But it ran Saturday so that doesn’t explain the full house Friday. Was it the title F-bomb disguised as “Expletive” in the aforementioned daily? Was it the warning about “very explicit sex” […]

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Of Age

As Emily Litella always said on SNL, “Nev-er mind.” Forget my recent claim that Billy McGuigan offers the most fun to be had at the Omaha Community Playhouse. That was before three dozen of us survived Live Karaoke Broadway Night. Never mind “survived” either. For others, the fun didn’t pose much imminent danger. But when […]

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2010 In Stages

If you look back at two types of triumphs in 2010, you could be arguing well into 2011 about the age-old theater question: can the most significant and challenging plays draw big crowds? In the earlier days of the 85-year history of the Omaha Community Playhouse, when they were doing O’Neill and Shaw with regularity, […]

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True Colors

Seven African-American women portray the title’s “Colored Girls” in Ntozake Shange’s poetic play at the John Beasley Theater, but the diversity of their personas and performances doesn’t allow for easy summary. In the beginning, some voices were muffled by a sound track that added to the impact of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide […]

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We Got The Beat-les

It’s safe in mid-December to say the most fun we had at a theater in 2010 was again Billy McGuigan’s Beatles show, Yesterday and Today , at the Omaha Community Playhouse. “We” includes my wife who also sees an average of one or two theatrical offerings a week, some of which I enjoy more than […]

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Brightening the Blackness

“The play’s the thing,” Will Shakespeare wrote. And that’s true of Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol at the Blue Barn’s Downtown Space. But Nils Haaland’s portrayal of Marley makes the most of Tom Mula’s brilliant script, and there’s no drop-off in the performances by Alan Brincks as the Bogle, Doug Blackburn as Scrooge and Scott Working […]

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Hello, Dollies

The SNAP! parody of Valley of the Dolls made me want to laugh all the way to a video store and rent the 1967 movie. Performances by Michal Simpson and Adam Nathan were so outrageously entertaining you knew the original must have set new lows for overwrought soapiness. Credit a crazy gender-switching cast and at […]

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