February 1, 2017

Unique Dates For Valentine’s Day In Omaha

Looking for a unique night out for Valentine’s Day in Omaha? Me too.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for dinner and a movie. But, I like novel dates more. Like painting and drinking together. Or maybe a less boozy (here are 7 healthy date night ideas). Or cheap, that’s good too (here are cheap date ideas in Omaha).

So, what’s going on this month that would make for a unique date for Valentine’s Day? Here’s a list of things that sounded great to me:

Valentine's Dates In Omaha

Early Valentine’s Day Dates

Omaha Culinary Tours – Wine and Chocolate Event

When: Friday, Feb. 10, 7 to 9 p.m.

Where: Old Vine Wine & Spirits, 3821 N. 167th Court

What: Try wines from Old Vine Wine & Spirits paired with chocolates from The Chocolate Poet.

Cost: $40 per person

 

Opera Omaha’s “Cosi fan Tutte”

When: Friday, Feb. 10, at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 12, at

Where: Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St.

What: It’s one of Mozart’s masterpiece operas. Here’s the description: In a quest to disprove that all women are fickle, two scheming men test the devotion of their fiancées. As faithfulness is wagered, the deck is stacked with deception. Love is tested and lives are tangled when the women are unknowingly tempted by the other’s lover. Will the contest prove to be more than fun and games?

Cost: $15-$99 per person

 

“The Dinner Detective – Valentine’s Show”

When: Feb. 11, 6 to 9 p.m.

Where: Doubletree Hotel Omaha Downtown, 1616 Dodge St.

What: This is a murder mystery dinner show, where you dine on four courses while attempting to solve the crime.

Cost: $59.95 plus tax per person

 

Sweethearts Love Nature

When: Feb. 11, 7 to 9 p.m.

Where: Hitchcock Nature Center, 27792 Ski Hill Loop, Honey Creek, Iowa

What: Couples can enjoy hot cocoa and a warm fire at the lodge at night then hit the trails for a special, guided night hike or take a more private hike together along a lit trail.

Cost: FREE, but you must pay daily park admission, which is $2 per vehicle, or purchase an annual pass for $10. Pre-registration is requested ensure adequate staffing and supplies are available.

 

Eko Nova: Wine & Chocolate

When: Monday, Feb. 13, 7 to 9 p.m.

Where: KANEKO, 1111 Jones St.

What: You hear innovative live music while samplying wines from Lange Winery paired with chocolate from STAM Chocolaterie.

Cost: $30 a couple or $20 per person.

 

Dates On Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day Dinner

When: Feb. 14, 6 p.m.

Where: Lauritzen Gardens, 100 Bancroft St.

What: Dine on a fixed-price dinner and then stroll through the gardens, conservatory and Nature Connects: Art with LEGO® Bricks.

Cost: $55 per person

 

Beginner ballroom Dance Lessons

When: Feb. 14, 7 to 7:45 p.m.

Where: Vintage Ballroom, 614 S. 11th St.

What: Every Tuesday, this place offers FREE beginner ballroom dance lessons (think waltz, swing and salsa).

Cost: FREE, no reservations needed

 

“Sabrina” Screening

When: Feb. 14, 7 p.m.

Where: Film Streams at Ruth Sokolof Theater, 1340 Mike Fahey St.

What: This is a screening of the original film starring Audrey Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart and William Holden.

Cost: FREE (but you’re going to want to reserve tickets ASAP before they run out)

 

“Elvis Lives”

When: Feb. 14, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St.

What: This show features hand-picked finalists from the worldwide Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest. I saw part of the show the last time it was in Omaha and if you’re an unabashed Elvis fan, it’s SO good.

Cost: $35-$65 per person

 

Late Valentine’s Day Dates

You didn’t forget. You’re fashionably late.

 

Omaha Culinary Tours – Wine and Dine Event

When: Feb. 17, 6 p.m.

Where: Old Vine Wine & Spirits, 3821 N. 167th Court

What: Enjoy wine paired with a variety of food. (I’m waiting for more details on this)

Cost: $50 per person

 

Hot Club of Cowtown

When: Feb. 17, 8 p.m.

Where: 1200 Club inside the Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St.

What: Western swing trio performs in one of my most favorite music venues in Omaha, the 1200 Club. Think candlelit tables, table service, and great music.

Cost: $35 per person

 

Salsa Fridays at Gusto Cubano

When: Feb. 17, 9:30 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Where: Gusto Cubano, 7910 Harrison St., Ralston, Neb.

What: DJ Blandon Joiner sets the atmosphere for a night of dancing.

Cost: $7 per person (if you dine at the last dinner seating of the restaurant, you don’t have to pay the cover)

Share your ideas and tips by leaving a comment!

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January 25, 2017

Review: Around The World In 80 Days

I had a mom-and-son date recently to the Omaha Community Playhouse to see “Around The World in 80 Days.” It was my 7-year-old’s first time seeing a production there. Fun, right?

Teri Fender as Aouda, Anthony Clark-Kaczmarek as Phileas Fogg and Ablan Roblin as Jean Passepartout in the play “Around the World in 80 Days,” on stage at the Omaha Community Playhouse. Photo by Colin Conces

Thanks to Omaha Community Playhouse for providing the review tickets in order for me to write this post!

What to expect:

– This is the live staged version of Jules Verne’s classic. A lot of language is antiquated and British terms that may be over kids’ heads.

– Lots of fun characters, all played by a small cast. My son was amused by Ben Beck and Monty Eich, in particular, who took on so many random roles throughout the around-the-world journey of Phileas Fogg (played by Anthony Clark-Kaczmarek). Granted, some reminded me a bit of

– Creative sets. The characters trek across the world by steamer, train and elephant. I think the elephant was the most creative piece of the set!

Monty Eich, Anthony Clark-Kaczmarek and Ben Beck are a lot of fun to watch in “Around the World in 80 Days.” Photo by Robertson Photography

Timing a potty break

There is an intermission, but the first half is very long. I recommend going to the bathroom before taking your seat before the show starts.

Is it kid-friendly?

A funny scene in “Around the World in 80 Days” on stage at Omaha Community Playhouse through Feb. 12. Photo by Robertson Photography

Yes and no. This show is a lengthy theatrical production – 2 and 1/2 hours with intermission. It’s appropriate for the seasoned theater-going child who is used to a lot of dialogue. I would not consider bringing both kids to this; my 7-year-old has been going to shows for years and I knew he’d be fine sitting through it. I just didn’t know if he’d be interested). He was! There was a lot of humor in the show that made my son laugh aloud, even louder than some of the older folks there. The running gag about the detective’s fake name (“It’s Detect…Um Ah Figs”) was comedic gold to him.

It is not children’s theater, that’s for sure. The audience was majority adults, with me being on the younger side of the crowd.

Is it grownup-friendly?

I thought it was a clever production. Director Carl Beck did a great job encouraging the cast to infuse humor into situations that could easily have been done dryly. Even though I knew how it would end, I was still right there engaged to the very end rooting for Fogg.

What was it about again?

“Around the World in 80 Days” is a fantastic journey filled with exotic locations and cultures, with comedy and suspense leading the way. Englishman Phileas Fogg and his French manservant, Passepartout, create a strange pairing with their distinct cultural backgrounds. The two men travel around the world in an unprecedented 80 days to win a simple wager, but they leave an incredible story about loyalty and friendship in their wake. This production consists of five extremely resourceful actors who bring Jules Verne’s incredible story to life.

If you want to go

“Around the World in 80 Days”

When: Through Feb. 12; performances are Wednesdays through Sundays

Where: Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St.

Cost: Tickets are $36 for adults and $22 for students (Thursdays – Sundays) and $28 for adults and $18 for students (Wednesdays). A limited number of tickets are available at half price after noon the day of the performance at the Box Office (cash or check only). Discounted tickets are available for Wednesday performances only at $28 for adults and $18 for students. Purchase online here.

 

April 4, 2016

Rock Star Status At Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sioux City

One of Sioux City, Iowa’s star attractions combines live music, good food and Lady Luck: Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sioux City.

 

The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sioux City feels like two venues in one - the hotel maintains the character of the historic Battery Building and the casino has a modern look. The music theme is carried throughout both. This view is of the hotel side. Photo courtesy Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sioux City feels like two venues in one – the hotel maintains the character of the historic Battery Building and the casino has a modern look. The music theme is carried throughout both. This view is of the hotel side. Photo courtesy Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

Located a stone’s throw from Interstate 29, the hotel is a themed experience that allows guests to live the rock star life for a night.

I recently stayed a night courtesy of the hotel. Mr. Wonderful and I needed a night off and so we found a sitter for the kids and drove off to Sioux City. It was a blast and being short (enough) distance from Omaha, it was a perfect overnight getaway. Read about 24 kid-free hours in Sioux City here.

The Hard Rock Hotel experience

Right when you walk in, you see it’s not like most hotels.

How's this for a hotel lobby? Photo courtesy Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sioux City

How’s this for a hotel lobby? Photo courtesy Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sioux City

Jimi Hendrix stares down at you from the wall. The front desk is a bar. And as part of check in, you have the option of getting a complimentary drink to take with you up to your room (beer or house cocktail).

You get the choice of a beer or house cocktail at check-in at the Hard Rock Casino & Hotel Sioux City.

You get the choice of a beer or house cocktail at check-in at the Hard Rock Casino & Hotel Sioux City.

Why thank you, Mr. Bartender.

Everywhere you walk in the hotel, you see music memorabilia and lyrics. The theme carries over into the rooms.

The hall connecting the hotel to the casino and restaurants is lined with music memorabilia.

The hall connecting the hotel to the casino and restaurants is lined with music memorabilia.

I’m a sucker for a hotel like this. It makes your stay memorable.

The Hard Rock Hotel look

Music fans will love all the memorabilia throughout the hotel. The main floor is especially cool with all the apparel, signed guitars and plaques explaining the significance.

Obviously, you're going to find a lot of autographed guitars here.

Obviously, you’re going to find a lot of autographed guitars here.

The décor in restaurants, from the buffet the trendy gastropub, Main + Abbey, carry the music theme throughout.

Concert art line booths at the World Tour Buffet.

Concert art line booths at the World Tour Buffet. Photo courtesy Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sioux City

The newness of rock is contrasted by the history of the building itself. The hotel portion of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sioux City is located in the Battery Building, which is on the National Historic Register of Historic Places. It dates back to 1905.

The combination of exposed brick and concert posters actually works really well. It’s such a great look, especially in the rooms.

Here's one of the standard rooms at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Nice, eh? Photo courtesy Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sioux City

Here’s one of the standard rooms at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Nice, eh? Photo courtesy Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sioux City

Our hotel room had vaulted ceilings that made the standard room feel much more spacious.

The bathrooms were sleek and modern, with walk-in showers. I felt spoiled staying there.

 

Our bathroom did not have a tub (or a glass of wine), but we did have a huge shower. Photo courtesy Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sioux City

Our bathroom did not have a tub (or a glass of wine), but we did have a huge shower. Photo courtesy Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sioux City

The Hard Rock Hotel Dining

There are three restaurants at the Hard Rock, plus room service. We tried Main + Abbey, which is definitely the Date Night place to be in Sioux City. Reservations would be smart.

Main + Abbey is a gastropub inside Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sioux City. Photo courtesy Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sioux City

Main + Abbey is a gastropub inside Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sioux City. Photo courtesy Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sioux City

Rather than order entrees, we split several appetizers and order drinks. If you do the same, I recommend asking them to be brought as they’re prepared rather than all at once. It cuts down on some coming out lukewarm. We had a couple that were cold, and our waiter was super quick to replace the dishes with hot ones.

The dining room at Main + Abbey. Photo courtesy Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

The dining room at Main + Abbey. Photo courtesy Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

We tried poutine, shrimp pierogies, street chicken tacos and split the onion soup and shrimp bisque. Wondering what to order? The pierogies were so good, the the poitine while heavy, was very flavorful. Those are superb, but next time, I think we’ll go with entrees and just one appetizer.

Your meal will include free beer bread and ends with square of chocolate sea salt caramels. Delicious!

The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino has a big buffet, and whenever I walked by it, there was a line to get in, so they must be doing something right.

I love the lobby of the World Tour Buffet - those are cassette tapes lining the walls. Photo courtesy Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sioux City

I love the lobby of the World Tour Buffet – those are cassette tapes lining the walls. Photo courtesy Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sioux City

There is also a grill within the casino called Fuel, where you can load up on burgers and the like.

Room service looks to combine the offerings from Fuel and Main + Abbey, with clever names thrown in to keep the music theme going.

The room service menu at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

The room service menu at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

Entertainment at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

This is a hotel and casino combo, so a lot of people are there to gamble. That’s not my scene, so I ventured in only briefly. It’s a very popular spot that Saturday night.

If you’re hoping to avoid the casino part, it can be done easily. However, if you’re hoping to see a show at Anthem, you’ll have to enter the casino to get there.

The bar at Anthem. Photo courtesy Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sioux City

The bar at Anthem. Photo courtesy Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sioux City

Anthem is a large venue that looks deceptively small from the outside. During our visit, we saw Jon Lovitz (thank you, Hard Rock, for the complimentary tickets!). There is a nightly show there from music to stand up.

You never know who you might meet at the Hard Rock. Lovitz stopped into the karaoke party the night before his show.

This photo with Jon Lovitz was not taken at karaoke.

This photo with Jon Lovitz was not taken at karaoke.

Here are some of the upcoming weekend shows (some will be at Anthem, some will be at the outdoor concert venue, Battery Park):

April 15 – Blues Traveler

June 4 – Boston

July 2 – Saturday in the Park (this is a free all-day event presented by Hard Rock Hotel & Casino featuring huge acts – last year Aretha Franklin headlined – get more details here)

Aug. 13 – Dwight Yoakam with Leann Womack

Aug. 26 – Jake Owen with Love and Theft

What else you should know

SiouxCity_HardRock5_blog

This is decidedly an adult playground, from the drinks at check in to the casino.

The pool is outdoors and seasonal, so only pack your suit if you’re staying between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

There is gift shop where you can get your Hard Rock gear. And if you’re the guilt-ridden kind of parent, you can get a cute teddy bear or something for the kids you left at home.

What’s near the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

The hotel is within walking distance to some bars and restaurants, as well as some of the city’s other great attractions: Sioux City Art Museum, The Public Museum, and a cool trail along the Missouri River. There’s also a movie theater and the Orpheum Theater nearby. Again, it’s all walkable (unless the weather stinks). It’s also near Jackson Street Brewing if you’re into trying local beer.

 

If you go

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sioux City

Where: 111 Third St., Sioux City, Iowa

Cost: Rates vary depending on the season and day of the week you stay. It’s high-end so expect high-end prices. Comparing different dates, you can save almost $100 staying during the week than on the weekend.

Website

 

Plan your getaway with these posts:

Couples Getaway To Sioux City (guide to eating, entertainment and where to stay)

My Sioux City Bucket List (for visits with and without kids)

Inside the Sioux City Public Museum

March 28, 2016

Couples Getaway: Sioux City

It’s pretty easy to get stuck in a rut as parents. To recharge yourself, you need a break. Sometimes, it has to be a quick one.

Mr. Wonderful and I took a kid-free overnight trip to Sioux City, Iowa. It was a lot of food, drink, comedy and music. Sounds good, right?

SiouxCity

 

Sioux City was picked because it was just far enough to feel like a getaway – about an hour and a half north of Omaha. Our stay was coordinated by the Sioux City Visitor & Convention Bureau and the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

The second reason I wanted to go there was the entertainment. I was looking for a good concert or show to catch within two hours of Omaha. And at the Hard Rock I found a goodie: Jon Lovitz! Yes!

So, we dropped the kids off with my brother and his family and off we went.

We arrived in Sioux City around lunch time, so I was determined to try one of the tavern sandwiches I’d read about.

Taverns are a loose meat sandwich, akin to the sloppy joe without the sloppy part (no tomato). We headed straight for Miles Inn, the bar recommended by several friends (and winner of the Sioux City Journal tavern showdown a few years ago).

Smiling at Miles Inn.

Smiling at Miles Inn.

It was March Madness time so the place was packed and full of lively regulars. We got our cheap taverns ($3.25 each), and two schooners because…when in Rome.

The schooners of domestic beer were only $3.25 and by all appearances, the one only glass beer is served in. Bottoms up!

They're on to something up in Sioux City. A tavern pairs well with cold beer in a schooner.

They’re on to something up in Sioux City. A tavern pairs well with cold beer in a schooner.

 

The taverns there had American cheese added and were quite peppery. I liked it, but it wasn’t a favorite of my husband’s.

We were still hungry, so we drove down the street to another recommended Sioux City original: Tastee Inn & Out.

An iconic sign in front of Tastee Inn & Out in Sioux City.

An iconic sign in front of Tastee Inn & Out in Sioux City.

There, we ordered their famous tastee sandwich (a tavern, but without the cheese) and the onion fries and dip.

Onion fries in a cup.

Onion fries in a cup.

Tastee is a drive-thru, so we pulled into the parking lot to eat and compare the two taverns.

(Miles Inn wins)

We headed to downtown Sioux City next. The plan was to walk around but it was a colder day than anticipated. So, we planned two stops: The Sioux City Public Museum and Jackson Street Brewing. The Sioux City Art Museum is super nearby and if we had another hour and a bit more sunshine, we would’ve walked down there too.

The Sioux City Public Museum is a free attraction and worth visiting with or without kids.

Plan to spend about an hour checking out exhibits at the Sioux City Public Museum, as well as 12 minutes watching the intro video.

Plan to spend about an hour checking out exhibits at the Sioux City Public Museum, as well as 12 minutes watching the intro video.

They have a 12-minute movie that gives a good account of the city’s origin and features a neat immersive experience with lighting and projections around the room synced with the movie.

Afterward, you could spend about an hour walking around the colorful museum. There is a lot of interactive areas that kids will like.

A block from the museum is the new Jackson Brewing Company, which opened July 2015.

We picked out four beers to sample in a flight.

You choose the four beers to sample on a beer flight at Jackson Street Brewing Co.

You choose the four beers to sample on a beer flight at Jackson Street Brewing Co.

Flights start at $8.50 and go up if you get high alcohol content beers. Of the four I tried, the maibock was my favorite.

We talked with the bartender and two locals while we were there and got the lowdown on breakfast spots for the next day. Super friendly people.

We checked into the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, located within walking distance of the brewery and museums mentioned above.

The hotel has a music theme (obviously) that’s goal is to make you feel like a rock star. To that end, once you check in, you get a complimentary drink.

You get the choice of a beer or house cocktail at check-in at the Hard Rock Casino & Hotel Sioux City.

You get the choice of a beer or house cocktail at check-in at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sioux City.

Yes please.

If you’re not ready to hit the ground running rock star-style, you can get a drink ticket for later.

We settled into our room – again, feeling all rock star with the décor and music playing in your room as you enter. The exposed brick in the rooms creates a great look when paired with modern touches and concert posters.

I kinda wished we were in the Prince room at the end of the hall. Check out that door. There's always next time.

I kinda wished we were in the Prince room at the end of the hall. Check out that door. There’s always next time.

Then we headed downstairs for dinner, with a short stop at the casino. I’m not a gambler, so not a lot of time or money was spent there. If you’re the same, you can easily spend your hotel stay without entering the casino…unless you’re going to show there, then you’ll have to walk through the casino to get to Anthem, the concert venue.

The hall connecting the hotel to the casino and restaurants is lined with music memorabilia.

The hall connecting the hotel to the casino and restaurants is lined with music memorabilia.

You have a couple dinner options at the hotel, but we wanted a date night experience and had made reservations at Main + Abbey. The restaurant is ranked No. 1 on Trip Adviser, and perusing the gastropub’s menu, it seemed like mine kind of place.

Rather than order entrees, the two of us split several appetizers and order drinks. Wondering what to order? The pierogies were so good, and the poitine while heavy, was very flavorful. And if you’re an Instagrammy kind of person, order the pretzel appetizer – you’ll want to take pictures of it for sure.

We had complimentary tickets to Jon Lovitz’s second show, and were invited to a meet & greet with him. It was the very definition of meet & greet – we met him, greeted him, posed for a picture and moved on.

Funny. The only photo I took with my husband on the trip includes Jon Lovitz.

Funny. The only photo I took with my husband on the trip includes Jon Lovitz.

The show was at Anthem within the casino part of the hotel. From the outside, it looks deceptively small, but this pace can fit more than 900 people. There’s a bar inside Anthem to grab drinks before the show starts.

Lovitz had an opener, and then he entertained the crowd. It was a fun night, and the best part was that we didn’t have to head to our car to get back to our hotel. It was great to leave the show, walk to the hotel part of the building and be back in the room in no time.

Breakfast the next day was up in the air until we had that chat at Jackson Street Brewing. They were quick to recommend the Hard Rock’s buffet, but we asked for where locals would go and they steered us to what they referred to as a great greasy spoon: Horizon Family Restaurant.

So Horizon is was for us. Outward appearances weren’t much, but with a packed parking lot, we figured it couldn’t be too bad.

Not much of an exterior, Horizons is the greasy spoon you seek after a night at the casino.

Not much of an exterior, Horizon Restaurant is the greasy spoon you seek after a late night.

It’s a no-frills diner that was hopping on the Sunday we went. Offerings were pretty typical for diners, and the coffee was great.

To burn off the big breakfast, we headed to Stone State Park located within Sioux City’s city limits. Our timing wasn’t great since everything was leafless from winter, and being Sunday, the Dorothy Picaut Nature Center wasn’t open (it’s open from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sundays).

A late winter/early spring hike near the Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center at Stone State Park in Sioux City.

A late winter/early spring hike near the Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center at Stone State Park in Sioux City.

Still, we took a nice hike near the nature center and discovered a cool nature playscape. The kids would love this place!

Nature play structures at Stone State Park.

Nature play structures at Stone State Park.

The park and nature center are FREE.

The short getaway over, we headed back to Omaha. Rather than take the quick route via Interstate 29, we drove along the Loess Hills Scenic Biway. If you have time, try it out, especially if you’re itching to take some pretty photos.

If time permits, always take the route with the dirt road.

If time permits, always take the route with the dirt road.

We tried two of the scenic loops – Stagecoach Trail and Wilderness Trail.

It was picturesque in spite of the time of year. We resolved to drive it again when the scenery’s lusher – fall would be perfect.

Fall would be a great time to drive the Loess Hill Scenic Biway, but that's not to say the vistas are bad in early spring.

Fall would be a great time to drive the Loess Hill Scenic Biway, but that’s not to say the vistas are bad in early spring.

 

Thinking about a getaway? Read more Sioux City stories:

My Sioux City Bucket List (for visits with and without kids)

Rock Star Status At the Sioux City Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

Exploring History At The Sioux City Public Museum

March 8, 2016

Review: ‘City of Angels’ At Omaha Community Playhouse

Last Friday was one of those rare date nights at the theater. Mr. Wonderful and I attended the opening night of “City of Angels” at the Omaha Community Playhouse – thanks for the complimentary tickets, OCP! I thought the look of the show in the promotional photos was pretty cool and I wanted to see if that could be carried over onto the stage (spoiler alert: It can).

What to expect

It’s a show-within-a-show with a mystery unfolding in the movie that a screenwriter is trying to write. Well, he’s an author trying to adapt his book to a movie and failing. It’s not hard to follow along since the characters in the movie have that 1940s Hollywood glam look going.

This is a full-length musical, so you’ll see quite a bit of song and dance, as well as the asides you’d expect from a film noir with a seen-everything detective. This pretty clever show has a good way of switching from “Reel World” with the detective Stone, and the “Real World” with the author/wannabe screenwriter, Stine. My favorite parts are when Stine rewrites a scene in the middle of the scene.

And as for managing to capture the film noir look, I think OCP succeeded. The costumes and lighting really helped complete the look.

Lines between the "Reel World" and "Real World" blur in Omaha Community Playhouse's "City of Angels." Pictured, from left, are Jodi Vaccaro, Isaac Reilly and Shomari Huggins, with John Jones at seated at the desk. Photo by Colin Conces.

Lines between the “Reel World” and “Real World” blur in Omaha Community Playhouse’s “City of Angels.” Pictured, from left, are Jodi Vaccaro, Isaac Reilly and Shomari Huggins, with John Jones at seated at the desk. Photo by Colin Conces.

As for performances, the scene-stealer was Steve Krambeck as the movie exec, Buddy Fiddler. Oh he was funny! You wanted to see more of the crass guy. Samantha Quintana as Donna in the “Real World” and Oolie in the “Reel World” was a remarkable singer, as was Aubrey Fleming, who played Avril Raines in the “Real World” and the missing rich kid, Mallory Kingsley, in the “Reel World.”

Overall, the cast was pretty strong and did a fine job roping you in with the unraveling mystery.

And a note for “The Big Lebowski” fans, a few things will feel a bit familiar. I found it amusing, the similarities, so I hope you do too.

 

Isaac Reilly, left, is Stone, the rough detective from the book "City of Angels," written by author, Stine, played by John Jones. It makes sense if you see the show. Photo by Colin Conces

Isaac Reilly, left, is Stone, the rough detective from the book “City of Angels,” written by author, Stine, played by John Jones. It makes sense if you see the show. Photo by Colin Conces

Timing a potty break

Well, I answer this question for kids shows, so why not grown-up shows? It’s long, the first half is more than 90 minutes, so go before the show begins, or be prepared for a line at intermission.

 

Is it kid-friendly?

Nope. There are some suggested scenes and a few blush-inducing lines.

 

Will an adult like this?

Yes. Though, if you’re not a fan of musicals, you probably won’t like this even if it’s more jazz music than jazz hands.

 

What was it about again?

“City of Angels” is a musical set in 1940s Hollywood and tells two stories simultaneously; the story of Stine, the screenwriter who is creating a screenplay for a movie titled “City of Angels,” and the story of the movie, which involves private detectives, murders, love triangles and intrigue. The musical won several awards including the Tony Award for Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical and Best Original Score in 1990.

 

If you go

Photo by Colin Conces

Photo by Colin Conces

“City of Angels”

When: Through April 3; performances are Wednesdays through Saturdays, 7:30 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. There will be NO performance on Sunday, March 27, 2016, due to the Easter holiday.

Where: Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St.

Tickets: Tickets are $40 or $25 for students. Buy them at the OCP box office or online here.

Tip: A limited number of tickets are available at half price after noon the day of the performance at the Box Office. Cash or check only. Subject to availability. Discounted tickets are available for Wednesday performances only at $30 for adults and $20 for students, with Wednesday group tickets at $24 for adults and $16 for students.

February 16, 2016

Cheap Date Ideas In Omaha

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The other night, Mr. Wonderful suggested we catch an improv show at The Backline in downtown Omaha. For $5 each, it was a great night of entertainment, especially if you are a fan of “Who’s Line is it Anyways?”

Check their calendar because some shows are even less than $5. We were there on an improv night with Big Canvas, but sometimes they have stand up. It’s first come, first served for tickets, and it’s smallish place. We were there on a Saturday night and it was a full house. 

I scoured the interwebs to get some more ideas, and I’m sharing the best ideas for a cheap date night in Omaha.

Omaha Date Night Collage 1

Reddit Omaha Tips

A thread on Reddit not too long ago sought ideas for cheap dates nights. Some suggestions for a low-cost dates were actually ones I’ve done, including a simple stroll around the Old Market (FREE) with a stop at Ted & Wally’s for ice cream. You can window shop, stop to listen to a street busker or sit and people watch. With the recent fire, the locally-owned shops and restaurants would appreciate your patronage.

Another totally FREE date suggestion was go to Joslyn Art Museum. It’d be a daytime date, but looking at great art with someone special is a lovely way to spend the day. When the weather’s nice, you can bring a picnic to enjoy out in the sculpture garden.

Another suggested heading to Soaring Wings Vineyard in Springfield, Neb. I keep forgetting about this nearby winery. Wine tasting is $5 (they also brew beer). I love the view out there, and some weekend nights, they have live music.

A Reddit user suggested swing dancing: “If you want to learn to dance Omaha Jitterbugs has swing dancing for $5 and they have lessons starting at about 8:00 on Friday night and is usually pretty fun. Make sure you dance with other people though as well as each other. It’s a blast and i’d go a lot more if I lived closer to Omaha….Dances are on 24th and Douglas at the Eagles Club.”

 

Omaha Bloggers Free Date Suggestions

If you read my blog much, you’ve probably come across the Bloggers From Omaha Series – and in that series, I ask the featured blogger what they’re favorite FREE thing to do in Omaha is. Most of them make for a good date night. Here are some of their suggestions:

Kitty & Kevin – Kitty said her favorite is Jazz on the Green, which runs for six Thursdays in the summer (starting the Thursday after the Fourth of July). Pack a picnic, bring a bottle of wine and enjoy the music and atmosphere. The couple also loves strolling the Omaha Farmers Market

Leo Adam Biga’s My Inside Stories – Leo had a couple of favorites, but one not mentioned by any other blogger was Shakespeare on the Green. I try to make it to one show a year, usually the comedy. Like Jazz on the Green, pack a picnic and drinks for this one.

The Bauble Blog – One of Leah’s top picks was the Omaha Summer Arts Festival. The festival is all day long, but in the evenings, you can hear great live music in the beer tent. Fun times!

 

More ideas

A little tip for those who shy away from art galleries: Show openings are FREE and often you’ll find FREE wine and appetizers. Visit a lot of galleries at once during First Fridays events in Benson and the Old Market. You can pop into a lot of these galleries during business hours for FREE, especially in the Old Market, too. Combine that stroll around the Old Market with a couple gallery stops.

Art centers like KANEKO and Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in the Old Market are also FREE, though hours tend to be more daytime than evening, unless there’s an exhibit opening. Don’t forget Modern Arts Midtown on Dodge Street.

Tuesdays a good night to go to a movie. Movie tickets are $5 on Tuesdays at Aksarben Cinema, and at chains like Alamo Drafthouse Omaha, AMC Theaters and Marcus Theaters (Marcus Theaters sometimes does special movie series, like the Musical Series that just ended, and tickets to those screenings are also only $5).

You can get pretty cheap berm tickets to Omaha Stormchasers games. Save money on parking by parking in the gravel lot for FREE. And time it with a promo and your dinner or drinks could be pretty cheap.

There are gondola rides at Heartland of America Park in the summer. For a boat ride, it’s $10 a couple; of course, if you want it to be a private ride, pony up a little more dough. I’ve never done one of these gondola rides, but I can say that you’ll want to make sure you time it on a day that’s not windy.

Omaha Community Playhouse offers a series called Alternative Programming. It’s completely FREE to attend. Usually it’s a staged reading and sometimes it’s an finished script, sometimes it’s a chance to peek inside the creative process of developing a script.

 

Help add to the “More ideas” section! Share your favorite cheap dates in the comment section!


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