November 27, 2015

5 Reasons To See The Wizard Of Oz In Omaha

Since its premiere in 1939, “The Wizard of Oz” has enchanted generations of children – mine included.

So I was pretty excited when I heard the North American touring production of “The Wizard of Oz” was coming to Omaha’s Orpheum Theater. It opens Dec. 8, and I’m taking my family to it!

"The Wizard of Oz" will run at Omaha's Orpheum Theater December 8-13, 2015. Photo by Luk Monsaert

“The Wizard of Oz” will run at Omaha’s Orpheum Theater December 8-13, 2015. Photo by Luk Monsaert

Omaha Performing Arts invited me and some fellow bloggers to write about our favorite scenes from the movie. (Disclaimer: I’m an employee at Omaha Performing Arts, but this post is not for my job but as a local blogger.)

Why write about a movie?

Because this theatrical production is the closest ever to the movie. With that in mind, I’m sharing my favorite scenes and moments from the original Judy Garland movie in hopes I’ll see it all brought to life in live theater next week.

Could you narrow down your favorite moments or scenes in the movie "The Wizard of Oz"? Photo by Luk M

Could you narrow down your favorite moments or scenes in the movie “The Wizard of Oz”? Photo by Luk Monsaert

Here are my Top 5 moments in “The Wizard of Oz”

1. “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” – It’s arguably one of the best movie songs ever. I’ll be waiting to hear that first note of the song.

2. Munchkinland – I remember seeing the colorful Land of Oz for the first time as a child. It was magical, just that cinematic switch from black and white to color. I’m curious how they’ll accomplish this feat live

3. The horse of a different color – This four-legged guy in the movie enchants my kids as much as did me back in the day. Let’s see how the horse in the Emerald City is brought to life in this production.

4. The Cowardly Lion – Of the three friends who join Dorothy on the yellow brick road, I loved the Cowardly Lion the most. There’s no deep meaning behind it, though. I just always thought he was the funniest, especially after his makeover in the Emerald City. That part cracks my kids up, too.

5. Toto – My second favorite friend of Dorothy’s is actually her little dog, Toto. Because of the nature of my job, I know way more about the dog playing Toto in this show than most. Nigel is a rescue dog who’s treated like a cast member – he even has a bio in the program book (as does his understudy). The first time Toto runs out on stage, you can bet there will be some “ahhhs” from the audience.

 

If you go

Photo by Luk Monsaert

Photo by Luk Monsaert

Omaha Performing Arts presents “The Wizard of Oz”

When: Tuesday, Dec. 8, through Sunday, Dec. 12

Where: Omaha’s Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St.

Get tickets here: Hurry and you might be able to get the Black Friday 40% off discount on tickets! The sale ends Monday, Nov. 30, while supplies last.

 

What do you love about the movie? What from the movie are you excited to see live on stage?

Disclaimer: I was provided complimentary tickets to the performance from Omaha Performing Arts in exchange for promoting the production. All opinions are my own, and do not represent Omaha Performing Arts.

November 6, 2015

Dirty Dancing In Omaha

Every so often, a show comes to Omaha that has Girls Night Out stamped all over it.

The latest show to fall into this category is “Dirty Dancing.”

Johnny and Baby in the touring production of "Dirty Dancing." I have heard that Johnny is not shirtless the entire show. Sorry.

Johnny and Baby in the touring production of “Dirty Dancing.” I have heard that Johnny is not shirtless the entire show. Sorry.

I can say “Nobody puts Baby in a corner” to Mr. Wonderful and all I get in return is a blank stare.

Say the same thing to a girlfriend? Knowing smiles all around.

Which is why I’m excited that I’ll be making a Girls Night Out of seeing “Dirty Dancing” when it opens at the Orpheum Theater on Nov. 17. There will be singing along to the music with my group. I will have no problem belting out “Hungry Eyes” with fellow fans of the movie.

 

What’s it about

“Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story on Stage” really doesn’t need a description. If you’ve seen the movie, you know the plot. You know the characters – Johnny, Baby, Penny… they’re all there.

The staged production of "Dirty Dancing" was written by the same screenwriter who wrote the film.

The staged production of “Dirty Dancing” was written by the same screenwriter who wrote the film.

And you know the music and the dance scenes.

And you can quote every line from the movie.

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It’s pretty faithfully recreated for the stage. The same person who wrote the screenplay wrote this adaptation for the stage. The only difference, I’ve been told (Disclaimer: I work for Omaha Performing Arts, who is presenting this touring production, and thus, I have co-workers who’ve already seen the show and spilled the beans), is that there are added songs that the screenwriter couldn’t get into the movie but could get into this stage show.

"Dirty Dancing" is at Omaha's Orpheum Theater Nov. 17-22, 2015.

“Dirty Dancing” is at Omaha’s Orpheum Theater Nov. 17-22, 2015.

So, basically, if you didn’t like the movie (ahem, Mr. Wonderful), then you might want to pass on this show. If you did like the movie – if you obsessed about this movie – then you’ll want to snag a ticket soon.

Follow #DirtyDancingGNO on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook on Nov. 17 – I’ll be sharing fun Girls Night Out  moments throughout the evening along with some other fellow bloggers thanks to Omaha Performing Arts!

 

If you go

“Dirty Dancing”

When: Tuesday, Nov. 17, through Sunday, Nov. 22 (various times)

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

Tickets: Get your tickets here.

Tip: Bring canned and non-perishable food items to donate to the Shine the Light on Hunger campaign benefiting the Food Bank for the Heartland. Look for the blue barrel in the Orpheum’s lobby.

 

Disclaimer: I was provided complimentary tickets in exchange for taking part in the #DirtyDancingGNO promotion. While I am an employee of Omaha Performing Arts, this post does not reflect any opinions of my employer – all thoughts expressed here are my own.

November 4, 2015

Cirque Mechanics Comes To The Orpheum

If you’ve been lucky enough to go to a cirque-type show in the past, you’ve probably had the following thoughts:

  • How’d they do that?
  • Is that humanly possible?
  • I think I’m enjoying this more than my kids!

If you haven’t seen a cirque-type show, check out this clip.

Whoa, right? That’s “Cirque Mechanics – Pedal Punk.” They’re coming to Omaha soon. More on that in a second.

When I first saw this clip about 10 months ago, I knew my kids would love this show. Our whole family loves bikes, and save for Mr. Wonderful, we all like clowns (I think there’s only one in this show…).

 

About Pedal Punk

Cirque meets BMX bikes in "Pedal Punk," at the Orpheum Theater Nov. 12.

Cirque meets BMX bikes in “Pedal Punk,” at the Orpheum Theater Nov. 12. Photo courtesy Cirque Mechanics

 

“Pedal Punk” is a Steampunk-inspired circus on wheels, where cycling is a way to escape the technology-obsessed society. The show is about a wacky bike shop mechanic who creates wondrous machines and inspires the cyclist in all of us to become a Pedal Punk.

The show will be in Omaha Nov. 12 and I was invited to share details with you. “Cirque Mechanics – Pedal Punk” is presented by Omaha Performing Arts. (Disclaimer: I’m an employee of Omaha Performing Arts. I was invited as a family blogger to write about it, though, not as an employee.)

 

What you can expect

One of the acts in "Pedal Punk." Photo courtesy Cirque Mechanics

One of the acts in “Pedal Punk.” Photo courtesy Cirque Mechanics

Here are some of the acts that will be in this show:

– The Gantry Bike, a pedal driven, roving mechanical marvel, a giant playground on wheels

– The Gantry Trampoline act, led by master trampolinist Wes Hatfield is a daring adrenaline rush. The acrobats bounce, climb and play, all while the Gantry spins and moves.

– Male contortionist, Windu, seems to disassemble his body à la urban breakdancer.

– BMX rider, Blake Hicks

– Nata Ibragimov transforms playing with bike rims into a dynamic tango. She rolls and spins her hoops with rhythm and precision, across the stage and high up in the air.

– A Classic Penny Farthing turns into an impressive aerial duo act with Lauren Stark and Lindsey Covarrubias, when the bike is lifted by Gantry power, high above the stage.

– Jan Damm, is a skillful comedic juggler and clown. His hysterically funny audience participation piece, a very clever stationary bike race, will create heroes in the crowd.

– Nick and Wendy Harden perform a romantic unicycle dance that overwhelms the senses. Their balancing and pedaling tell a tale with dexterity, strength and passion.

 

If you go

Cirque Mechanics – Pedal Punk

When: Thursday, Nov. 12, 7 p.m.

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

Tickets: Buy tickets at TicketOmaha.com (tickets start at $15) 

Tip: Consider bringing along some canned food or other non-perishable food items for the Shine the Light on Hunger drive, supporting the Food Bank for the Heartland. There’s a blue barrel in the Orpheum’s lobby to collect your donations.

 

 

Disclaimer: All thoughts and opinions expressed are mine. I was provided complimentary tickets to attend this performance in exchange for tell you all about the show. 

October 16, 2015

Kinky Boots Is Coming To Omaha

If you’re a child of the 80s, you know who Cyndi Lauper is. You know her music. You know her style.

Cyndi Lauper

If you loved her music then, Listen up. “Kinky Boots” is coming to Omaha’s Orpheum Theater next week and she wrote the score!

I haven’t seen it yet – YET! – but I’ve had her music in my head for the past month. I work for Omaha Performing Arts, the presenter bringing this Broadway touring musical to Omaha, so I’ve heard the songs from this show many, many times.

 

This one especially:

 

They’re fabulous. They’re so Cyndi. They’re so great, they won the Tony in 2013 for best score.

 

“Kinky Boots” was so well received in 2013, it took home six Tonys, including Best Musical. It’s that good.

 

And a warning for people who cry at musicals: One song made me ugly cry and I was just listening to the audio of it. When I hear it performed live, I think I’ll be a total mess.

 

What is “Kinky Boots”?

 

Photo5_KinkyBootsTour_PhotobyMatthewMurphy

Photo by Matthew Murphy

Inspired by true events, “Kinky Boots” takes you from a gentlemen’s shoe factory in Northampton to the glamorous catwalks of Milan. Charlie Price is struggling to live up to his father’s expectations and continue the family business of Price & Son. With the factory’s future hanging in the balance, help arrives in the unlikely but spectacular form of Lola, a fabulous performer in need of some sturdy new stilettos.

The story is inspiring. I saw the movie, and was thoroughly entertained, so I’m pumped to see this live with Cyndi’s music.

 

If you go

Lola in the Broadway touring production of "Kinky Boots" is played by Kyle Taylor Parker. Photo by Matthew Murphy

Lola in the Broadway touring production of “Kinky Boots” is played by Kyle Taylor Parker. Photo by Matthew Murphy

“Kinky Boots”

When: Tuesday, October 20, through Sunday, October 25; performances are Tuesday through Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; Friday, 8 p.m.; Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m.; and Sunday at 1:30 and 7 pm..

Where: Omaha’s Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St.

Tickets: Get tickets here 

   

Disclaimer: I’m an employee of Omaha Performing Arts, but I was invited to write this post as a blogger, not as an employee. So this does not necessarily reflect the opinions of my employer – they are my own. I’m being provided complimentary tickets to the performance in exchange for promoting the show.

April 7, 2015

Girls Night Out To Mamma Mia

“Mamma Mia” is one of those Broadway shows that have been around for decades and every time you meet a woman who hasn’t seen it, you’re a little surprised. But they’re out there, so I’m guessing when the Broadway touring production stops in Omaha April 24-26, there will be pockets of newbies having a ball watching it for the first time.

 

"Mamma Mia" runs April 24-26 at Omaha's Orpheum Theater.

“Mamma Mia” runs April 24-26 at Omaha’s Orpheum Theater.

I’ll be there on opening night. Omaha Performing Arts, who is my employer and the presenter of this show along with Broadway Across America, asked me and a few bloggers to write about the show before it comes to Omaha. I’ve seen it once already and I have a few opinions on it, so I agreed to it.

 

What you need to know about “Mamma Mia”

"Mamma Mia" is about friendship and the bonds between mothers and daughters.

“Mamma Mia” is about friendship and the bonds between mothers and daughters.

  1. It really is a great girls night out show. This is one you’ll want to see with friends, your sister, your mom…anyone but your husband. I took Mr. Wonderful to see this bright, cheerful musical when I was a young newspaper reviewer who always wanted her beau to accompany her to shows no matter what. He kinda dampened my fun (not once would he join in with me in singing “Dancing Queen”). He’s not the target audience; it just wasn’t what he’d call a good time. While he rolled his eyes, all around me groups of women were laughing, dancing, having a ball. Lesson learned.
  2. It’s all ABBA music. You probably already know this. The creators faithfully kept the ABBA songs whole and managed to write a musical around them. It’s not a jukebox musical, but a traditional musical whose story is moved forward each time someone sings a song. It’s a fun time if you enjoy an ABBA song or two (or the whole catalog); it’s a drag if you don’t. Haters gonna hate.
  3. There is a plot to the musical. It’s not complex, and its meaning will seem more profound if you have had a drink before the show, but there’s still a nice storyline to it. It’s about mother-daughter bonds, the bonds between friends, and getting older (but not getting old).

Which circles me back to why this is a great girls night out show: No guy can relate to the difficult but profoundly meaningful relationship that is the mother-daughter relationship.

 

What guy wouldn't want to see a musical with ABBA music that focuses on female friendships? I mean, really.

What guy wouldn’t want to see a musical with ABBA music that focuses on female friendships? I mean, really.

Maybe I’ll see you there on April 24! I won’t be there with my husband.

 

If you go

“Mamma Mia”

When: Friday, April 24, through Sunday, April 26. Performances are Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m.; and Sunday at 1:30 and 7 p.m.

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

Get tickets 

Tip: Do not wait to get your tickets! Tickets are selling well and will not get any cheaper.

 

February 13, 2015

Pippin Comes To Omaha + Kids Night Out On Broadway Deal

You’d think by now, having been writing about and promoting* Broadway shows for close to a decade now, I’d be familiar with a Broadway classic like “Pippin.”

Pippin Blue Logo 1

 Nope.

When the circus-inspired revival made a huge splash at the Tony Awards in 2013, I took notice. I thought, hmm, that looks fun. And now it’s going to be at Omaha’s Orpheum Theater March 3-8.

 Still clueless what it’s about, but the video looks exciting.

 

 

OK, I lie a little. I’m not totally clueless anymore. Fans of the original “Pippin” tell me it’s a  coming of age story within a story, and it’s about a young prince on a death-defying journey to find meaning in his existence. Deep, huh?

I’m pretty stoked to see it. How about you?

 

Kids Night On Broadway

The cast of "Pippin," which is at the Orpheum Theater March 3-8. Photo by Terry Shapiro

The cast of “Pippin,” which is at the Orpheum Theater March 3-8. Photo by Terry Shapiro

Looking for a way to save money on tickets? Tuesday, March 3, is Kids’ Night on Broadway®. Basically, you can get half-price tickets for you and a child age 9-18 as a way to make introducing live theater affordable to families. The half-price tickets can be purchased at Ticket Omaha by using the promotion code – KIDSNIGHT. There’s a limit of one ticket per adult and one ticket per child, age 9 to 18. No more than two tickets per adult, per family or per household. Additional tickets may be purchased at regular ticket prices.

Parent Tip: I heard that there is one scene in the show that makes it less suitable for younger children. I mentioned before it was a coming-of-age story… catch my drift? Use your judgement if you want to bring a child under 9.

 

If you go

Omaha Performing Arts* and Broadway Across America presents “Pippin”

When: March 3-8; performances are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; Friday, 8 p.m.; Saturday, 2.and 8 p.m.; and Sunday, 1:30 and 7 p.m.

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

Get tickets at TicketOmaha.com; 402.345.0606; or at the Ticket Omaha box office inside the Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St.

 

Disclaimer: I’m an employee of Omaha Performing Arts, though all thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are mine. I was provided two complimentary tickets to “Pippin” for writing about the show.