The new year is really more like halftime in the theatre. Most theatres haven’t even announced what their new season lineups yet so any inklings towards production after the summer are pure speculation. That said, there is already plenty to look forward to in the Omaha theatre scene in 2014.
The first half of the year will kick off in February with Million Dollar Quartet, the Tony Award-winning musical exploring the once in a lifetime jam session that brought four of the greatest musicians of all time (Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Johnny Cash) together for one day.
The month after, the film-turned-musical Sister Act will come to town. The show’s composer, Alan Menken, also wrote the music to crowd favorites like Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, and Little Shop of Horrors.
April will mark the arrival of War Horse, one of the more unique shows seen on Broadway in recent years. Even if you have seen the Steven Spielberg film adaptation, nothing prepares audiences for the theatrical experience that War Horses puppetry accomplishes. This show is not to be missed.
Rounding out the season will be the ever-popular (no pun intended) Wicked. A crowd favorite for many years, this show will no doubt sell fast. Make sure you get your tickets ASAP.
The Omaha Community Playhouse
After only housing a couple of shows to begin the season, OCP’s Hawks Mainstage will bring four full productions in the first half of 2014. Sisters Camille Metoyer Moten and Lanette Metoyer Moore will star in Having Our Say, a play about two centenarian sisters looking back at the great events of their lives, including the Civil Rights Movement.
Kathy Tyree will then headline the title role in Ella, a musical revue chronicling the life and times of the incomparable jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald.
Soon after, the mainstage will hit audiences funny bones with the newly reimagined farce Boeing, Boeing. The show chronicles a womanizers trying to juggle engagements to three different airline hostesses. Expect impeccable timing and plenty of door slamming.
The mainstage season will conclude with the Mel Brooks’ musical adaptation to his comedy classic Young Frankenstein (pronounced, of course, Fronkensteen).
The Playhouse’s Howard-Drew Theatre starts the new year off with the 2010 Pulitzer Prize-winning musical Next to Normal. While SNAP Productions’ version is still fresh in many minds, the Any Lane-directed Playhouse version will give a wider audience base the chance to see one of the most unique musicals in recent years.
Also playing will be one of David Mamet’s latest works, Race. The fast-paced legal thriller touches on several sensitive subjects, including sexual assault, gender discrimination, and modern race relations. It goes without saying that the two Howard-Drew shows are for mature audiences.
The BLUEBARN Theatre
The second half of BLUEBARN’s 25th anniversary season will get underway on February 20th with the opening of Gnit, one of the latest works by Will Eno. Tackling the issues of finding the self, the script is a “rough translation” of the Henrik Ibsen play Peer Gynt. Eno’s off-beat humor and way with language highlight one of the more unique offerings in Omaha theatre next year.
Additionally, the final BLUEBARN production of the season will welcome pianist Hal France as he lends his musical prowess to Moises Kaufman’s 33 Variations. In it, two different stories from vastly different timelines play out before us. One, in modern day, is a woman attempting to reconnect with her daughter while battling a terminal illness. The other is 19th century Austria, where views take a intimate look inside the life of Beethoven. 33 Variations opens May 8th.
After announcing two seasons in advance in 2012, SNAP finds itself at the tail end of it first group of shows as a diversity-focused theatre. March 6th will open the William Inge play Come Back Little Sheba. Written in 1950, the script was Inge’s first play and deals with how a couple’s life is unsettle by the presence of a young female house guest.
SNAP’s season will close out in May with the opening of the Daena Schweiger original Voices from the Closet. The production will feature eight monologues spanning the world about dealing with the struggle of keeping one’s sexuality a secret.
So many theatres, so little time! Be sure to keep an eye out for:
Brigit Saint Brigit’s Irish Festival.
Shelterbelt Theatre’s two traditions (With Love and Shelterskelter XIV), as well as Joe Basque’s Battle of Battles.
The Playhouse’s 21 & Over Series.
Chanticleer Theatre’s productions of Vanities, Peter Pan, and Follies.
and Bellevue Little Theatre’s Ten Little Indians, Blame it on the Movies, and Fox on the Fairway.
Creighton University’s production of Melancholy Play.
UNO Theatre’s Death by Design and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.