Tag Archives: The Rose Theater

Jennifer Castello

May 13, 2018 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Thirty-year-old Jennifer Castello lives by a simple philosophy: “Art is power.” As a writer, educator, and actor, the Omaha native has tapped into all areas of her deep imagination to carve out her path. She unequivocally believes creativity was put here to bring out a person’s voice, and that’s exactly what she’s doing.

“I think art has worked best when someone isn’t being listened to, then grabs the audience by the scruff of the neck, and through art that person says, ‘Shut up and look,’” she says. “When I’m teaching, it’s not about me. It’s about making sure that at the end of the session, residency, or workshop, the students are equipped to express themselves—be it in a story, in a song, or just in everyday life. Art is self-advocacy. Art is power. Art is resistance.”

Castello began her writing career at the ripe age of 4, when her grandmother discovered how often she was coming up with original stories.

“She pulled out a stack of papers, stapled them together, and told me to make a book,” she recalls. “The pride she took in the stories I told her made me feel like it was something special to be a writer. She was a teacher, and it was also through her and that pride that I realized I wanted to be a teacher, and make some other kid feel just as special as she made me feel.”

At 18 years old, Castello scored her first teaching job, participating in the Teacher Academy Project program at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, and eventually got her teaching license. Now, she freelances at a variety of local organizations, including the Omaha Community Playhouse. 

“I go out into schools and community spaces and engage students in creating something,” she explains. “If that’s creating a clever way to win a drama game, learning how to make their own characters with makeup on their faces, or write their very own script, that’s where my heart is. When I was a kid in Omaha, teachers reached out to me and taught me that my brain had a purpose and a worth, and I’m always trying to pay it forward.”

In terms of her acting, Castello credits her father.

“He signed me up for a class at the Emmy Gifford Theatre,” she says. “Then when the Emmy Gifford turned into The Rose, he made me audition for one of the main stage plays and I got in. It was a community for me to hold onto when things got rough, and I’ll forever be grateful for that community.“

As an author, the Central High School grad was compelled to write The Messiah of Howard Street when she was still an undergrad at DePaul University in Chicago. It was inspired by the colorful characters that have become a staple of the Old Market district.

“I had read My Antonia in my American English class,” she explains. “This wasn’t the first time I read it, I’d read it at Central High my junior year of high school. But comparing and contrasting a Chicago classroom to an Omaha classroom, I realized how fantasized Nebraska is in the minds of people who don’t live here. I mean, there are some obvious stereotypes we’ve all heard, but also the idea that there are rolling fields, and peace, and nature, and all that, it was just weird.”

Like so many other Central High teenagers, the Old Market was Castello’s meeting spot during adolescence. But over the years, she had many other experiences on and around Howard Street that helped shape her life.

“One of my first tastes of freedom was walking down to the Old Market and going to all the shops, getting Ted & Wally’s, and eating way too much spaghetti. Mom would take me to Little King before a dance recital, my best friends held my 18th birthday party as Zio’s, I sang and performed there, and I actually had my first date with my husband at Spaghetti Works.”

Armed with a Master of Science in secondary education from UNO and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Stonecoast at the University of Southern Maine in Portland, Maine, she recently held a one-act festival, finished a semester-long scriptwriting residency at Central High, and has become a member of the Nebraska Arts Council teaching roster. In short, Castello stays busy.

“In undergrad, my professor warned me I might not be able to make a living in the arts,” she says. “But being a teaching artist and an arts educator has been something I truly enjoy. I really appreciate being able to do it every day. I get to help kids play pretend. That’s like…the dream.”


To learn more about Castello’s work, visit jennifercastello.com

This article appears in the May/June 2018 edition of Encounter.

Vaudeville, Violins, and Rollerskating

January 25, 2018 by
Photography by Contributed

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PICK OF THE WEEKSaturday, Jan. 27: In the mood for some rockin’ Midwest blues music with heavy guitar riffs? Then you need to catch 35th and Taylor at The Session Room. While lead singer Anna Taylor might seem too young to be singing the blues, she is already a seasoned veteran when it comes to performing, having appeared on The Voice at the age of 16. The show starts at 7 p.m., but if you’re running a little late, don’t worry about stopping for food. They will have a limited menu available that evening. To find out more about the event and the band, head here.

Thursday, Jan. 25: It’s too cold out for rollerblading or biking, but don’t let that stop you from getting some fun exercise. Head to Old School Skate Nite! at Skate Daze, hosted by Arbor Street Studios. Every Thursday from now until May 31, you can enjoy your favorite old-school hip-hop and R&B music while working out those weird leg muscles you only seem to find when you’re trying to keep yourself from falling. Get out of the house and experience a true throwback Thursday. Find out more here.

Friday, Jan. 26 and Saturday, Jan. 27: Award-winning violinist Jinjoo Cho will be in Omaha this weekend at the Omaha Conservatory of Music. She will be performing a free concert on Friday at 7 p.m. But if you can’t make it out for that, she’s also interacting with selected students in a master class from 10:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. on Saturday. This is open to the public as well. You won’t want to miss seeing this charismatic, vibrant violinist in person. Learn more about the concert here. Check out what else the conservatory has to offer here.

Friday, Jan. 26 and Saturday, Jan. 27: Be among the first to check out Omaha’s own vaudevillian extravaganza this weekend when the Benson Theatre presents Vaudeville Frolic at B Side. This Friday marks the first in a series of monthly showcases grouping together acts that one otherwise wouldn’t see performing on the same stage. From magic, to comedy, to martial arts, there will be a little something of interest for everyone. Proceeds from these events will benefit the theater’s capital campaign. Tap your way over here for more information.

Saturday, Jan. 27: It’s time to dress up for a good cause again. Rosie Rocks a Night in Monte Carlo is a black-tie-optional benefit for The Rose Theater, and this year it will be at the new Marriott in downtown’s Capitol District. This adults-only event is sure to show you a good time, with dinner, dancing, cocktails, and ritzy raffle prizes. The good times start at 5:30 p.m. Be sure to get your tickets beforehand for this exclusive annual fundraiser. Dance it over here to purchase yours now.

Sunday, Jan. 28: If you know anything about The Max, you know it’s time for the prestigious Miss Max Pageant. This is the 34th Miss Max show and if you haven’t been, well, what’s stopping you? It’s a full night of fun, entertainment, glamour, and competition. If you think RuPaul’s Drag Race is a good show, you haven’t seen anything yet. Check out the former queens of the night, and cheer on your favorite contestant. The pageantry starts at 9 p.m. To find out more, sashay it over here.

2018 January/February Performances

December 27, 2017 by
Photography by Contributed

Spectrum Dance Theater

Spectrum Dance Theater: A Rap on Race
Jan. 9 at Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St. Based on the 1970 conversation between James Baldwin and Margaret Mead, this production enlivens the conversation on race using dance and theater. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $20-$40. 402-661-8555.
ticketomaha.com

Tammy Pescatelli
Jan. 11-14 at Funny Bone Comedy Club, 17305 Davenport St., Suite 201. Currently on the “Dirty, Sexy, Funny Tour” with Jenny McCarthy, Pescatelli is a two-time finalist on Last Comic Standing and winner of Comedy Central’s Stand-Up Showdown. Times vary. Tickets: $16-$18. 402-493-8036.
funnyboneomaha.com

Tim Allen
Jan. 12 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. Expect lively and outlandish stand-up comedy from funny man, TV personality, and movie icon Tim Allen. 8 p.m. Tickets: $59-$119. 402-345-0202.
ticketomaha.com

PAW Patrol Live! “Race to the Rescue”
Jan. 12-13 at Orpheum Theater, 409. S. 16th St. This production shows that “no job is too big, no pup is too small” while sharing lessons for all ages about citizenship, social skills, and problem-solving. Times vary. Tickets: $23.25-$124.25. 402-661-8555.
ticketomaha.com

The King and I at Orpheum Theater

The King and I
Jan. 16-21 at Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St. An English governess travels to Siam to teach the king’s English (among other subjects) to the king of Siam’s children. This show features such classic tunes as “Getting To Know You,” “I Whistle a Happy Tune,” “Hello Young Lovers,” “Shall We Dance,” and “Something Wonderful.” Times vary. Tickets: $35-$99. 402-661-8555.
ticketomaha.com

Feedback Reading and Workshop
Jan. 18 and 20 at KANEKO, 1111 Jones St. Poets Nate Marshall, Ben Wenzl, and Gina Keplinger discuss their creative process (Jan. 18, 7-9 p.m.), followed by a writing workshop (Jan. 20, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.) presented by KANEKO and the Nebraska Writers Collective. RSVP to attend either event. Tickets: free. 402-341-3800.
thekaneko.org

Ripcord
Jan. 19-Feb. 11 at Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St. Pranks and practical jokes abound when cantankerous Abby and chipper Marilyn are forced to share the nicest room at the Bristol Place Senior Living Facility. Times vary. Tickets: $24+ adults, $16+ students. 402-553-0800.
ticketomaha.com

Appalachian Spring & West Side Story
Jan. 26-27 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. Originally titled Ballet for Martha, this Omaha Symphony performance combines Copland, Ellington, and Bernstein on one stage for a majestic performance. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $19-$72. 402-345-0202.
ticketomaha.com

The Meaning of Maggie
Jan. 26-Feb. 11 at The Rose Theater, 2001 Farnam St. Full of relatable characters, this production is a story about how growing up is an adventure that lets us strengthen the best parts of ourselves and reaffirms the importance of family. Times vary. Tickets: $20. 402-345-4849.
rosetheater.org

Across Rhodes
Jan. 26-Feb. 18 at Shelterbelt Theatre, 3225 California St. Rhodes Bar is the only place with live music for miles. Young musician Joss is haunted by both past experiences at Rhodes and a girl named Sarah. Tickets: $20 general, $15 students, seniors (65+), and TAG members. 402-341-2757.
shelterbelt.org

Cinderella at Orpheum Theater

Moscow Festival Ballet Presents Cinderella
Jan. 27 at Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St. The Moscow Festival Ballet returns to Omaha to perform another fairytale classic. Tickets: $20-$45. 8 p.m. 402-661-8555.
ticketomaha.com

Venus in Fur
Feb. 1-25 at BlueBarn Theatre, 1106 S. 10th St. Inspired by the 1870 erotic novel, this production follows a playwright and a young actress as they blur lines between fantasy and reality, entering an increasingly serious game of submission and domination only one of them can win. Times vary. Tickets: $30 adults, $25 seniors and students. 402-345-1576.
bluebarn.org

Andrea Gibson
Feb. 2 at The Waiting Room Lounge, 6212 Maple St. One of the world’s most celebrated LGBTQ poets, Gibson emerged at the forefront of the national spoken-word poetry scene in 2008 (winning the first-ever Woman of the World Poetry Slam). Gibson combines poetry and music in performances. 9 p.m. Tickets: $21. 402-884-5353.
waitingroomlounge.com

John Caparulo
Feb. 9-10 at Funny Bone Comedy Club, 17305 Davenport St. Perhaps best known as “the under-dressed everyman” on Chelsea Lately, Caparulo has since been featured on many comedy specials, and released a few of his own, along with becoming a Sirius XM fan favorite with his show The Mad Cap Hour. Times vary. Tickets: $22. 402-493-8036.
funnyboneomaha.com

Parade
Feb. 9-March 11 at Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St. This Tony Award-winning musical is based on the trial of a Jewish man wrongfully accused of murder in Marietta, Georgia, in 1913. Times vary. Tickets: $42+ adults, $25+ students. 402-553-0800.
ticketomaha.com

My Funny Valentine
Feb. 10 at IWCC, 2700 College Road, Council Bluffs. Date night just got funnier! Join comedians Pat Hazell, one of the original writers for NBC’s Seinfeld and a veteran of The Tonight Show, and Dena Blizzard, featured comic at The Laugh Factory and Gotham Comedy Club and creator of the viral video “Chardonnay, Go!” as they join forces for an evening of hilarious and heartwarming stand-up comedy. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $25-$35. 712-388-7140.
artscenter.iwcc.edu

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod
Feb. 10-March 4 at The Rose Theater, 2001 Farnam St. Performed by The Rose Theater and told through non-verbal, creative movement and the words of Eugene Field’s poem, these children sail through the stars while on a fishing trip. Times vary. Tickets: $12. 402-345-4849.
rosetheater.org

An American in Paris at Orpheum Theater

An American in Paris
Feb. 13-18 at Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St. This Tony Award-winning musical follows an American soldier and a French girl yearning for a new beginning in the aftermath of war. Times vary. Tickets: $35-$95. 402-661-8555.
ticketomaha.com

YAMATO Drummers of Japan
Feb. 14 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. Celebrate the ancient art of Japanese taiko drumming in this spectacular display of physical strength as performers leap from drum to drum to create exhilarating music. 7 p.m. Tickets: $15-$32. 402-345-0202.
ticketomaha.com

Emotional Creature
Feb. 14 at Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St. This production is a collection of original monologues and irresistible songs performed by a group of young women about, and for, young girls. It is a call to action, to empowering and illuminating issues women and girls face. Contains adult content. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: free. 402-553-0800.
omahaplayhouse.com

She Kills Monsters
Feb. 14-18 at Lied Education Center for the Arts Studio Theatre, 2500 California Plaza. This play is a comedic journey exploring the role of fantasy role-playing games. Laden with homicidal fairies, nasty ogres, and ’90s pop culture, the young playwright Qui Nguyen delivers an action-packed story that speaks to everyone’s inner geek. Times vary. Tickets: $5-$15. 402-280-2509.
creighton.edu

Murder in a Jerkwater Town
Feb. 15-24 at The Apollon, 1801 Vinton St. The year is 1873, eight years after the end of the Civil War. The tensions between the citizens have not settled, and the Ozarks are rife with poverty and banditry. Water stops—or jerkwater towns—along the rail are frequent targets. Your train has broken down in one such town. When a fellow passenger turns up dead, everybody becomes a suspect and no one is leaving until the murder is solved. 7 p.m. Tickets: $25 (dinner included). 402-884-0135.
apollonomaha.com

White Rabbit Red Rabbit
Feb. 19 at Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St. White Rabbit Red Rabbit is a show performed by a single actor who has never read the script before and has no idea what it’s about. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: free. 402-533-0800.
omahaplayhouse.com

Rhinos, Rickshaws, and Revolutions

Rhinos, Rickshaws, and Revolutions
Feb. 20 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. National Geographic photojournalist Ami Vitale has lived in war zones, contracted malaria, and donned a panda suit to keep true to her philosophy of “living the story.” Witness the world’s surreal beauty through Vitale’s lens. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $11-$26. 402-345-0202.
ticketomaha.com

The Revolutionists
Feb. 21-March 3 at UNO Theatre, 6001 Dodge St. Weber Fine Arts. Go inside the mind of a feminist during the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror. This “testament to solidarity” is a girl-powered comedy that explores what could happen if four powerful women got together to oust a tyrant. Times vary. Tickets: $6-$16. 402-554-2406.
unomaha.edu

Seedfoliks at Orpheum Theater

Seedfolks
Feb. 23-March 11 at The Rose Theater, 2001 Farnam St. This production features a community brought together by the work of one girl as she tries to turn the lot next to her house into a garden. Times vary. Tickets: $20. 402-345-4849.
rosetheater.org

Back to the Future
Feb. 24 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. Experience the adventure again, or for the first time, as Alan Silvestri’s score is played live as the film is screened in its entirety. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $19-$79. 402-345-0202.
ticketomaha.com

La Bohème
Feb. 24, 28 at Ruth Sokolof Theater, 1340 Mike Fahey St. The most performed opera in Met history is the story of young Bohemians in 19th-century Paris who are willing to starve—and die—for each other. Times vary. Tickets: $24 general admission, $20 Opera Omaha, Film Streams, or Met Opera members; and $10 students. 402-933-0259.
filmstreams.org

Event times and details may change. Check with venue or event organizer to confirm.

This article appears as part of the calendar of events in the January/February 2018 edition of Omaha Magazine.

2018 January/February Calendar of Events

Photography by Contributed

Museums and Exhibits

Lines Forming
Through Jan. 7 at Darger HQ, 1804 Vinton St. Featuring artists Angie Seykora (of Omaha) and Ying Zhu (a China-Midwest transplant), this exhibit is part of a series of collaborative and experimental projects facilitated by Darger HQ. Admission: free. 402-209-5554.
dargerhq.org

Zoom into Nano at The Durham Museum

Zoom Into Nano
Through Jan. 7 at The Durham Museum, 801 S. 10th St. This interactive exhibit allows people to see things magnified 100 million times their actual size. Admission: $11 adults, $8 seniors (62+), $7 children (3-12), and free to members and children 2 and under. 402-444-5071.
durhammuseum.org

Reconnect: A Juried Alumni Exhibition
Through Feb. 15 at the University of Nebraska at Omaha Art Gallery, 6001 Dodge St. Alumni of UNO will come together for this show at the campus art gallery. Former and current faculty and students will show a broad range of works. The curator is Teliza V. Rodriguez from the Museum of Nebraska Art in Kearney. Admission: free. 402-554-2796.
unomaha.edu

The Art of the Brick
Through Feb. 19 at 225 N. 12th St., Suite 120. The Art of the Brick is a global touring exhibition rated by CNN as a “Must-See Exhibition,” the first art exhibition to focus exclusively on the use of Legos as an art medium. Award-winning artist Nathan Sawaya transforms countless Lego pieces into whimsical and awe-inspiring creations. Admission: $20 adults, $18.50 seniors and military, $17.50 children. 402-933-1293.
artofthebrickomaha.com

Monarchs at the Bemis Center

Monarchs: Brown and Native Contemporary Artists in the Path of the Butterfly
Through Feb. 24 at Bemis Center, 724 S. 12th St. This exhibit takes the yearly migration path of the Monarch butterfly as a metaphor for considering themes of place, home, migration, immigration, diaspora across the Americas, transnationalism, land rights, and sovereignty. The exhibition considers aesthetic forms through mediums such as basket weaving, ceramics, dressmaking and plaster. Admission: free. 402-341-7130.
bemiscenter.org

Pushing Boundaries: HDR at 100
Through Feb. 25 at The Durham Museum, 801 S. 10th St. This exhibit is an homage to HDR founders and their innovations in engineering. Admission: $11 adults, $8 seniors (age 62+), $7 children (ages 3-12), free to members and children age 2 and under. 402-444-5071.
durhammuseum.org

photo by Lola Alvarez Bravo

Three Generations of Women Photographers
Through March 10 at El Museo Latino, 4701 S. 25th St. This exhibit features Lola Álvarez Bravo, her student Mariana Yampolsky, and photographer Cristina Kahlo. All three have ties to Frida Kahlo. Admission: $5 general, $4 students, $3.50 seniors and children K-12, and free to members. 402-731-1137.
elmuseolatino.org

Light
Through March 31 at KANEKO, 1111 Jones St. Visual art, performances, lectures, youth education, and hands-on creative experiences will empower visitors to see the world in a whole new light. Admission: free. 402-341-3800.
thekaneko.org

Forever Forest at Omaha Children’s Museum

Forever Forest
Through April 15 at Omaha Children’s Museum, 500 S. 20th St. This national exhibit explores sustainability, selective harvesting, transportation needs, and the everyday products that are made from trees. Admission: $12 adults and children over 2, $11 seniors, free to members and children under 24 months. 402-342-6164.
ocm.org

High School Artist Show
Jan. 5-25 at Artists’ Cooperative Gallery, 405 S. 11th St. Over 15 schools from across Nebraska and Iowa will showcase their students’ best work. Admission: free. 402-342-9617.
artistscoopomaha.com

Jennifer Homan
Jan. 5-26 at Modern Arts Midtown, 3615 Dodge St. This local artist often uses pastels to depict breathtaking sky scenes. She is a member of the prestigious Pastel Society of America. Admission: free. 402-502-8737.
modernartsmidtown.com

Nancy Friedemann-Sanchez
Jan. 12-March 8 at Fred Simon Gallery, 1004 Farnam St., lower level. Friedemann-Sanchez describes her art as “a bicultural and transcultural experience” as it focuses on her migration from Colombia to the United States. Admission: free. 402-595-2122.
artscouncil.nebraska.gov

2018 OEAA Visual Artists Nominee Showcase
Jan. 13-27 at Petshop Gallery, 2725 N. 62nd St. Works by nominees from the Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards will be shown in this exhibit. Expect to see a variety of mediums including painting, print, installation, and more. 4 p.m. Admission: free.
oea-awards.org

Metamorphosis at Lauritzen Gardens

Metamorphosis: Works by Sayaka Ganz and Aurora Robson
Jan. 20-May 13 at Lauritzen Gardens, 100 Bancroft St. From birds to aquatic creatures to a massive vortex, Sayaka Ganz and Aurora Robson’s sculptures promote environmental stewardship while showing the potential beauty of reclaimed (once-discarded) plastic objects. Admission: $10 adults, $5 children (6-12), free for members and children under 6 years old. 402-346-4002.
lauritzengardens.org

Persistence: Branches, Barks & Berries by Margaret Berry
Jan. 20-May 13 at Lauritzen Gardens, 100 Bancroft St. This exhibition explores the theme of persistence in nature through the winter months. Look for the sculptural beauty of bare branches, the brightness of berries, and the mesmerizing texture of barks. Admission: $10 adults, $5 children (6-12), free for members and children under 6 years old. 402-346-4002.
lauritzengardens.org

I See That Fable Differently at Joslyn

I See That Fable Differently: Selections from Creighton University’s Carlson Fable Collection
Jan. 27-April 29 at Joslyn Art Museum, 2200 Dodge St. This exhibition will examine a dozen Aesop fables with a variety of objects from printed materials to ceramic dishware, assemblage sculpture, and a set of nesting dolls. A companion exhibition will be on view at Creighton’s Lied Art Gallery. Admission: free. 402-342-3300.
joslyn.org

Walk With Me
Feb. 1-25 at Artists’ Cooperative Gallery, 405 S. 11th St. Judith Anthony Johnston presents her first solo show at the co-op in 40 years. The show depicts one woman’s journey walking the Caminos in Spain and Portugal through the use of gold leaf, oils, and wire sculpture. Admission: free. 402-342-9617.
artistscoopomaha.com

Brian Gennardo
Feb. 2-23 at Modern Arts Midtown, 3615 Dodge St. This abstract expressionist uses bold lines and vivid colors in his modern art. Admission: free. 402-502-8737.
modernartsmidtown.com

Ed Ruscha at Joslyn.

Word/Play: Prints, Photographs, and Paintings by Ed Ruscha
Feb. 3 through May 6 at the Joslyn Art Museum, 2200 Dodge St. The first major exhibition featuring Ruscha in his home state of Nebraska, Word/Play brings together prints, photographs, and artist books, complemented by a selection of major paintings. At turns poignant, provocative, and confounding, Ruscha’s use of the written word is a signature element of his work. Several of his images contain palindromes inscribed over mirror-image landscapes, such as Lion in Oil. Admission: $10 general, $5 students with valid ID, free to members and youth (17 and under). 402-342-3300.
joslyn.org

Women in Omaha: A Biographical Sketch of Persistence through History
Feb. 3-July 29 at The Durham Museum, 801 S. 10th St. The Durham Museum partners with the University of Nebraska-Omaha’s History Department and Service Learning Academy to produce an immersive, interdisciplinary experience focused on the experience of Nebraska women. Admission: $11 adults, $8 seniors (age 62+), $7 children ( 3-12), and free to members and children age 2 and under. 402-444-5071.
durhammuseum.org

Fighting for the Right to Fight at The Durham

Fighting for the Right to Fight: African-American Experiences in World War II
Feb. 17-July 15 at The Durham Museum, 801 S. 10th St. What do Alex Haley, Sammy Davis Jr., Benjamin Davis Jr., and Medgar Evers have in common? They were four of the thousands of African-Americans who served in World War II. This exhibit highlights some of the extraordinary achievements and challenges of African-Americans during World War II, including an eight-minute video about the famed Tuskegee Airmen. Admission: $11 adults, $8 seniors ( 62+), $7 children (3-12), and free to members and children age 2 and under. 402-444-5071.
durhammuseum.org

Performing Arts

Spectrum Dance Theater at the Orpheum

Spectrum Dance Theater: A Rap on Race
Jan. 9 at Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St. Based on the 1970 conversation between James Baldwin and Margaret Mead, this production enlivens the conversation on race using dance and theater. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $20-$40. 402-661-8555.
ticketomaha.com

Tammy Pescatelli
Jan. 11-14 at Funny Bone Comedy Club, 17305 Davenport St., Suite 201. Currently on the “Dirty, Sexy, Funny Tour” with Jenny McCarthy, Pescatelli is a two-time finalist on Last Comic Standing and winner of Comedy Central’s Stand-Up Showdown. Times vary. Tickets: $16-$18. 402-493-8036.
funnyboneomaha.com

Tim Allen
Jan. 12 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. Expect lively and outlandish stand-up comedy from funny man, TV personality, and movie icon Tim Allen. 8 p.m. Tickets: $59-$119. 402-345-0202.
ticketomaha.com

PAW Patrol Live! “Race to the Rescue”
Jan. 12-13 at Orpheum Theater, 409. S. 16th St. This production shows that “no job is too big, no pup is too small” while sharing lessons for all ages about citizenship, social skills, and problem-solving. Times vary. Tickets: $23.25-$124.25. 402-661-8555.
ticketomaha.com

The King and I at Orpheum Theater

The King and I
Jan. 16-21 at Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St. An English governess travels to Siam to teach the king’s English (among other subjects) to the king of Siam’s children. This show features such classic tunes as “Getting To Know You,” “I Whistle a Happy Tune,” “Hello Young Lovers,” “Shall We Dance,” and “Something Wonderful.” Times vary. Tickets: $35-$99. 402-661-8555.
ticketomaha.com

Feedback Reading and Workshop
Jan. 18 and 20 at KANEKO, 1111 Jones St. Poets Nate Marshall, Ben Wenzl, and Gina Keplinger discuss their creative process (Jan. 18, 7-9 p.m.), followed by a writing workshop (Jan. 20, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.) presented by KANEKO and the Nebraska Writers Collective. RSVP to attend either event. Tickets: free. 402-341-3800.
thekaneko.org

Ripcord
Jan. 19-Feb. 11 at Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St. Pranks and practical jokes abound when cantankerous Abby and chipper Marilyn are forced to share the nicest room at the Bristol Place Senior Living Facility. Times vary. Tickets: $24+ adults, $16+ students. 402-553-0800.
ticketomaha.com

Appalachian Spring & West Side Story
Jan. 26-27 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. Originally titled Ballet for Martha, this Omaha Symphony performance combines Copland, Ellington, and Bernstein on one stage for a majestic performance. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $19-$72. 402-345-0202.
ticketomaha.com

The Meaning of Maggie
Jan. 26-Feb. 11 at The Rose Theater, 2001 Farnam St. Full of relatable characters, this production is a story about how growing up is an adventure that lets us strengthen the best parts of ourselves and reaffirms the importance of family. Times vary. Tickets: $20. 402-345-4849.
rosetheater.org

Across Rhodes
Jan. 26-Feb. 18 at Shelterbelt Theatre, 3225 California St. Rhodes Bar is the only place with live music for miles. Young musician Joss is haunted by both past experiences at Rhodes and a girl named Sarah. Tickets: $20 general, $15 students, seniors (65+), and TAG members. 402-341-2757.
shelterbelt.org

Cinderella at Orpheum Theater

Moscow Festival Ballet Presents Cinderella
Jan. 27 at Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St. The Moscow Festival Ballet returns to Omaha to perform another fairytale classic. Tickets: $20-$45. 8 p.m. 402-661-8555.
ticketomaha.com

Venus in Fur
Feb. 1-25 at BlueBarn Theatre, 1106 S. 10th St. Inspired by the 1870 erotic novel, this production follows a playwright and a young actress as they blur lines between fantasy and reality, entering an increasingly serious game of submission and domination only one of them can win. Times vary. Tickets: $30 adults, $25 seniors and students. 402-345-1576.
bluebarn.org

Andrea Gibson
Feb. 2 at The Waiting Room Lounge, 6212 Maple St. One of the world’s most celebrated LGBTQ poets, Gibson emerged at the forefront of the national spoken-word poetry scene in 2008 (winning the first-ever Woman of the World Poetry Slam). Gibson combines poetry and music in performances. 9 p.m. Tickets: $21. 402-884-5353.
waitingroomlounge.com

John Caparulo
Feb. 9-10 at Funny Bone Comedy Club, 17305 Davenport St. Perhaps best known as “the under-dressed everyman” on Chelsea Lately, Caparulo has since been featured on many comedy specials, and released a few of his own, along with becoming a Sirius XM fan favorite with his show The Mad Cap Hour. Times vary. Tickets: $22. 402-493-8036.
funnyboneomaha.com

Parade
Feb. 9-March 11 at Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St. This Tony Award-winning musical is based on the trial of a Jewish man wrongfully accused of murder in Marietta, Georgia, in 1913. Times vary. Tickets: $42+ adults, $25+ students. 402-553-0800.
ticketomaha.com

My Funny Valentine
Feb. 10 at IWCC, 2700 College Road, Council Bluffs. Date night just got funnier! Join comedians Pat Hazell, one of the original writers for NBC’s Seinfeld and a veteran of The Tonight Show, and Dena Blizzard, featured comic at The Laugh Factory and Gotham Comedy Club and creator of the viral video “Chardonnay, Go!” as they join forces for an evening of hilarious and heartwarming stand-up comedy. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $25-$35. 712-388-7140.
artscenter.iwcc.edu

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod
Feb. 10-March 4 at The Rose Theater, 2001 Farnam St. Performed by The Rose Theater and told through non-verbal, creative movement and the words of Eugene Field’s poem, these children sail through the stars while on a fishing trip. Times vary. Tickets: $12. 402-345-4849.
rosetheater.org

An American in Paris at Orpheum Theater

An American in Paris
Feb. 13-18 at Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St. This Tony Award-winning musical follows an American soldier and a French girl yearning for a new beginning in the aftermath of war. Times vary. Tickets: $35-$95. 402-661-8555.
ticketomaha.com

YAMATO Drummers of Japan
Feb. 14 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. Celebrate the ancient art of Japanese taiko drumming in this spectacular display of physical strength as performers leap from drum to drum to create exhilarating music. 7 p.m. Tickets: $15-$32. 402-345-0202.
ticketomaha.com

Emotional Creature
Feb. 14 at Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St. This production is a collection of original monologues and irresistible songs performed by a group of young women about, and for, young girls. It is a call to action, to empowering and illuminating issues women and girls face. Contains adult content. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: free. 402-553-0800.
omahaplayhouse.com

She Kills Monsters
Feb. 14-18 at Lied Education Center for the Arts Studio Theatre, 2500 California Plaza. This play is a comedic journey exploring the role of fantasy role-playing games. Laden with homicidal fairies, nasty ogres, and ’90s pop culture, the young playwright Qui Nguyen delivers an action-packed story that speaks to everyone’s inner geek. Times vary. Tickets: $5-$15. 402-280-2509.
creighton.edu

Murder in a Jerkwater Town
Feb. 15-24 at The Apollon, 1801 Vinton St. The year is 1873, eight years after the end of the Civil War. The tensions between the citizens have not settled, and the Ozarks are rife with poverty and banditry. Water stops—or jerkwater towns—along the rail are frequent targets. Your train has broken down in one such town. When a fellow passenger turns up dead, everybody becomes a suspect and no one is leaving until the murder is solved. 7 p.m. Tickets: $25 (dinner included). 402-884-0135.
apollonomaha.com

White Rabbit Red Rabbit
Feb. 19 at Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St. White Rabbit Red Rabbit is a show performed by a single actor who has never read the script before and has no idea what it’s about. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: free. 402-533-0800.
omahaplayhouse.com

Rhinos, Rickshaws, and Revolutions

Rhinos, Rickshaws, and Revolutions
Feb. 20 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. National Geographic photojournalist Ami Vitale has lived in war zones, contracted malaria, and donned a panda suit to keep true to her philosophy of “living the story.” Witness the world’s surreal beauty through Vitale’s lens. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $11-$26. 402-345-0202.
ticketomaha.com

The Revolutionists
Feb. 21-March 3 at UNO Theatre, 6001 Dodge St. Weber Fine Arts. Go inside the mind of a feminist during the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror. This “testament to solidarity” is a girl-powered comedy that explores what could happen if four powerful women got together to oust a tyrant. Times vary. Tickets: $6-$16. 402-554-2406.
unomaha.edu

Seedfoliks at Orpheum Theater

Seedfolks
Feb. 23-March 11 at The Rose Theater, 2001 Farnam St. This production features a community brought together by the work of one girl as she tries to turn the lot next to her house into a garden. Times vary. Tickets: $20. 402-345-4849.
rosetheater.org

Back to the Future
Feb. 24 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. Experience the adventure again, or for the first time, as Alan Silvestri’s score is played live as the film is screened in its entirety. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $19-$79. 402-345-0202.
ticketomaha.com

La Bohème
Feb. 24, 28 at Ruth Sokolof Theater, 1340 Mike Fahey St. The most performed opera in Met history is the story of young Bohemians in 19th-century Paris who are willing to starve—and die—for each other. Times vary. Tickets: $24 general admission, $20 Opera Omaha, Film Streams, or Met Opera members; and $10 students. 402-933-0259.
filmstreams.org

CONCERTS

Black Label Society
Jan. 2 at Sokol Underground, 2234 S. 13th St. In concert with Corrosion of Conformity and Eyehategod, this Los Angeles-based heavy-metal band formed back in 1998 and is on tour leading up to the release of their newest album, Grimmest Hits. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $34 in advance. 402-346-9802.
facebook.com/sokolauditoriumandunderground

The Prince Experience
Jan. 6 at The Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St. This performance is a tribute to Prince and will include all of his hits, including the Purple Rain era. 9 p.m. Tickets: $17 in advance, $20 day of show. 402-345-7569.
theslowdown.com

Schumann’s 3rd Symphony
Jan. 7 at Joslyn Art Museum, 2200 Dodge St. Symphony No. 3, “Rhenish,” recalls a visit to the Rhineland. Listen to the sorrowful yet beautiful paean to lost love. 2 p.m. Tickets: $33. 402-342-3300.
ticketomaha.com

Tennis at the Waiting Room

Tennis
Jan. 10 at The Waiting Room Lounge, 6212 Maple St. Tennis continues their extensive North American Tour in celebration of their fourth full-length album, Yours Conditionally. 8 p.m. Tickets: $16 in advance, $20 day of show. 402-884-5353.
waitingroomlounge.com

Big Head Todd and the Monsters
Jan. 11 at The Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St. Big Head Todd has brought their blues-rock sound, with the same core lineup, to the world for 30 years. They are coming to Omaha to promote their 11th studio album. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $25 advance, $30 day of show. 402-345-7569.
theslowdown.com

St. Vincent
Jan. 13 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. Musician and songwriter Annie Clark—aka St. Vincent—is one of the most distinctive artistic voices and original guitarists of her generation. Her recent self-titled album, St. Vincent, won her “album of the year” designations from NME, The Guardian, and Entertainment Weekly. 8 p.m. Tickets: $32-$169. 402-345-0202.
ticketomaha.com

Broken Skulls
Jan. 13 at Reverb Lounge, 6121 Military Ave. This Lincoln-based hard rock/metal group has blended many different genres with influences ranging from blues, death metal, hard rock, and punk. 9 p.m. Tickets: $10. 402-884-5707.
reverblounge.com

Bernstein Grooves
Jan. 14 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. Join conductor Thomas Wilkins to discover what makes music groove, featuring music by Leonard Bernstein and other composers. 2 p.m. Tickets: $15. 402-345-0202.
ticketomaha.com

The Green
Jan. 14 at The Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St. This group of musicians from O‘ahu, Hawaii, have become self-titled ambassadors of Aloha, as they spread happiness through their reggae-infused rock. 8 p.m. Tickets: $17 advance, $20 day of show. 402-345-7569.
theslowdown.com

John Maus
Jan. 17 at Reverb Lounge, 6121 Military Ave. Maus’ music is a highly mutable affair, often described as retro-futurist on behalf of the ’80s drum machines and synth sounds employed, John’s music is more personal than the nostalgic retread implied. 9 p.m. Tickets: $13 advance, $15 day of show. 402-884-5707.
reverblounge.com

The Texas Tenors
Jan. 20-21 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. Audiences are treated to a unique blend of country, classical, Broadway, and pop. With breathtaking vocals and a touch of cowboy charm, the boys create an unforgettable live show. Times vary. Tickets: $19-$89. 402-345-0202.
ticketomaha.com

Banditos
Jan. 21 at Reverb Lounge, 6121 Military Ave. Banditos’ music appropriates elements of ’60s blues-fused acid rock, boogie, garage punk, and folksy tunes. 9 p.m. Tickets: $10 advanced, $12 day of show. 402-884-5707.
reverblounge.com

UNO Faculty Showcase
Jan. 26 at Strauss Performing Arts Center, 6305 University Drive N. Part of the UNO International Concert Series, this performance is composed of renowned teachers and performers committed to the academic and artistic development of students throughout the United States and globally. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $15 regular admission, $8 student, military, and seniors. 402-554-3411.
ticketomaha.com

Billy Childs Quartet
Jan. 26 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. Emerging as one of the foremost composers of his era, the four-time Grammy winner and his quartet seamlessly blend elements of jazz and classical music. 8 p.m. Tickets: $35. 402-345-0202.
ticketomaha.com

Curly Martin and Friends at Holland Performing Arts

Curly Martin and Friends
Feb. 2 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. This world-class drummer and Omaha native brings together musician friends and family to celebrate their Nebraska roots and lifelong love of jazz. 8 p.m. Tickets: $20. 402-345-0202.
ticketomaha.com

Destroyer with Mega Bog
Feb. 3 at The Waiting Room Lounge, 6212 Maple St. The Canadian rock band Destroyer, fronted by singer-songwriter Dan Bejar, formed in 1995. Destroyer songs are characterized by abstract, poetic lyrics and idiosyncratic vocals. 9 p.m. Tickets: $20. 402-884-5353.
waitingroomlounge.com

The Music of ABBA
Feb. 10 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. Direct from Sweden, the world’s foremost ABBA tribute band, Arrival, looks, sounds, and dresses like the supergroup. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $19-$89. 402-345-0202.
ticketomaha.com

Justin Furstenfeld of Blue October
Feb. 5 at Scottish Rite Hall, 202 S. 20th St. The frontman of the chart-topping band Blue October brings his emotionally charged and magnetic music to Omaha. 8 p.m. Tickets: $32-$45. 402-884-5353.
onepercentproductions.com

ZZ Ward with Black Pistol Fire
Feb. 5 at The Waiting Room Lounge, 6212 Maple St. Equally evocative of blues grit and hip-hop bounce, this Los Angeles-based vocal powerhouse and multi-instrumentalist’s new sound takes a deeper look at some of the artist’s earliest inspirations—including Howlin’ Wolf, Robert Johnson, and Vera Ward Hall. 9 p.m. Tickets: $25-$99. 402-884-5353.
waitingroomlounge.com

Bob Marley Birthday Bash
Feb. 10 at Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St. Rhythm Collective, The Bishops, and DJ Stryker will satiate your thirst for some island reggae and calypso music—the perfect way to celebrate Bob’s B-day. 9 p.m. Tickets: $6-$8. 402-345-7569.
theslowdown.com

Nebraska Wind Symphony Winter Concert
Feb. 11 at Omaha Conservatory of Music, 7023 Case St. The Winter Into Spring concert will feature the Nebraska Wind Symphony Middle School All-Star Flutes. 3 p.m. Tickets: $10 adults, $5 students and seniors, ages 12 or younger free. 402-932-4978.
nebraskawindsymphony.com

She-e Wu at the Holland Center

She-e Wu
Feb. 15 at Strauss Performing Arts Center, 6305 University Drive N. Part of the UNO International Concert Series, this performance features the head of Northwestern University’s percussion program playing on a majestic concert marimba. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $15 adults, $8 students, military, and seniors. 402-554-3411.
ticketomaha.com

Jeremy McComb with Kimberly Dunn and Sack of Lions
Feb. 16 at The Waiting Room Lounge, 6212 Maple St. McComb is an American country music artist and former tour manager for comedian Larry the Cable Guy. Tickets: $12-$15. 9 p.m. 402-884-5353.
waitingroomlounge.com

“I Met You When I Was 18 World Tour” featuring Lauv with Jeremy Zucker
Feb. 18 at Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St. In his early teens, Ari Staprans Leff (aka Lauv) picked up a guitar and started writing songs of heartbreak before ever having had a romantic relationship. Now 23, the acclaimed L.A.-based singer/songwriter/producer will musically pull your heartstrings. 8 p.m. Tickets: $13-$15. 402-345-7569.
theslowdown.com

Haydn’s The Hunt Symphony
Feb. 18 at Joslyn Art Museum, 2200 Dodge St. Adventurous rhythms and harmonies cascade through this piece. Insane energy in the finale captures the intensity of the hunt. Tartini’s concerto suggests the splendors of 18th-century Venice. 2 p.m. Tickets: $33. 402-342-3300.
ticketomaha.com

Pop Evil with Black Map and Palaye Royale
Feb. 20 at The Waiting Room Lounge, 6212 Maple St. The post-grunge/alt-metal band from Michigan, Pop Evil, has a new album out in February. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $20-$25. 402-884-5353.
waitingroomlounge.com

Here Come the Mummies
Feb. 22 at Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St. This eight-piece funk-rock band has a one-track mind. Their Terrifying Funk from Beyond the Grave is sure to get you into them (and possibly vice versa). 8 p.m. Tickets: $13-$15. 402-345-7569.
theslowdown.com

Chris Potter at Holland Center

Chris Potter
Feb. 23 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. A world-class soloist, composer, and bandleader, this saxophonist has emerged as a leader in his generation in music. 8 p.m. Tickets: $35. 402-345-0202.
ticketomaha.com

Donavon Frankenreiter
Feb. 26 at Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St. This surfer/rocker brings his cool singer-songwriter honesty to the stage. Tickets: $17-$20. 8 p.m. 402-345-7569.
theslowdown.com

Family & More

Holiday Lights Festival NRG Ice Rink
Through Feb. 14 at 10th St. and Capitol Ave. A portion of the proceeds will go toward the Shine the Light on Hunger campaign, which supports the Food Bank for the Heartland. Bring the whole family and create memories while supporting the community. Admission: $8 (includes skate rental). 402-650-4813.
holidaylightsfestival.com

The Rooftop Rink
Through Feb. 25 at Midtown Crossing, between 31st-33rd streets and Farnam to Dodge streets. The elevated location is innovative—so is the rink—an all-weather “synthetic ice” surface. Hours of operation to be announced. Admission is a minimum donation of $5 benefiting The Salvation Army. 402-934-9275.
midtowncrossing.com

Joslyn Castle Public Tours
Recurring at the Joslyn Castle, 3902 Davenport St. Tour historic Joslyn Castle each Monday and the first and third Sundays of every month. Admission: $10 adults, $8 seniors (60+), students and military. 402-595-2199.
joslyncastle.com

Millard Branch Escape Room
Jan. 3-5 at Millard Branch Public Library, 13214 Westwood Lane. Once guests are locked in the room, they will go through a series of puzzles in order to get out. There will be an escape room for kids grades 2-4 and 4-6 every hour. Guests should register on the library website. 402-996-8037.
omahalibrary.org

Music & Movement Storytime
Jan. 3 at W. Clarke Swanson Branch, 9101 Dodge St. This event allows active toddlers (up to age 5) to explore literacy through song, dance, and play with their caregivers. 402-444-4852.
omahalibrary.org

Benson First Friday
Jan. 5 and Feb. 2 in Benson (Maple and 59th to 63rd streets). Art galleries, bars, music venues, and cultural institutions of Benson collaborate on the first Friday of every month with a showcase of local arts and culture.
bensonfirstfriday.com

First Friday Old Market
Jan. 5 and Feb. 2 at the Old Market. Walk the distinctive brick streets of the Old Market to live music, ride Ollie the Trolley for free between venues, and ignite your imagination with art at this free event. Recurring the first Friday of each month.
firstfridayoldmarket.com

The Great Train Show
Jan 6-7 at Mid-America Center, 1 Arena Way, Council Bluffs. Immerse yourself in the fascinating world of miniature railroading at the train show, featuring hundreds of tables of trains, accessories, scale models, collectible toys for sale, activities for kids, and seminars. 10 a.m. Tickets: $10-$11, kids are free. 712-323-0536.
caesars.com/mid-america-center

Teen Poetry Workshop
Jan. 13 and Feb. 10 at Omaha Public Library, 13214 Westwood Lane. Join Nebraska Writers Collective’s Louder Than a Bomb coaches and visiting artists to learn from the experts. Recommended ages 8-12 years old. 1:30 p.m. 402-444-4848.
omahalibrary.org

Second Saturday Program at Heron Haven
Jan. 13 at Heron Haven Nature Center, 11809 Old Maple Road. Come hike in the woods and share nature stories while sipping on hot chocolate. Children are encouraged to bring a favorite stuffed animal to help make up a nature story. Admission: free. 10-11:30 a.m. 402-493-4303.
heronhaven.org

Midlands International Auto Show

Midlands International Auto Show
Jan. 18-21 at CenturyLink Center, 455 N. 10th St. See, touch, and experience the automotive industry’s latest and greatest. Tickets: $9 adults:. $7 seniors (65+), children (7-12), and military with ID; free to children under 7. 402-341-1500.
centurylinkcenteromaha.com

River City Hunting, Fishing, Boat, & RV Expo
Jan. 19-21 at Mid-America Center, One Arena Way, Council Bluffs. View more than 100 exhibitors; attend seminars on topics such as ultimate fishing in Canada, mushroom hunting, fly fishing, and dog training; and try out the indoor BB gun and archery ranges, interactive games, and turkey call-in teepee. Times vary. Tickets: $9 adults, $3 kids ages 4-15, and free to ages 3 and under. 712-326-2295.
caesars.com/mid-america-center

The Price is Right Live
Feb. 7 at Ralston Arena, 7300 Q St. Come on down! This interactive stage show gives eligible individuals the chance to play classic games from television’s longest-running game show. Favorites such as Plinko, Cliffhangers, The Big Wheel, and the Showcase will be at this event. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $49.50-$150. 800-440-3741.
ralstonarena.com

Lawn, Flower, & Patio Show/Omaha Home & Garden Expo
Feb 8-11 at CenturyLink Center Omaha, 455 N. 10th St. Gardeners who are ready for the spring planting season will enjoy this event. Over 600 exhibits for the home inside and out. Kids activities include exotic animals to view and games to play. Tickets: $9 adults, $4.50 ages 12-5, free to children 4 and under.
centurylinkcenteromaha.com

FIsh Fries, Fry-days starting Feb. 9

Lenten Fish Fries
Fridays, Feb. 9 through March 30. Feb. 14 this year not only signifies Valentine’s Day, it is also the start of Lent—the season of repentance for many Christians in which they are not allowed to eat meat on Fridays. Numerous Catholic churches in the area will hold fry-days on Fridays in February and March. The three voted for “Best Fish Fry” in “Best of Omaha” 2018 were: Holy Name, Mary Our Queen, and St. Patrick’s of Elkhorn. Visit archomaha.org for more info on Catholic fish fries. Other popular fish fries can be found at All Holy Spirit and St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox churches, Disabled American Veterans, American Legions, many Protestant churches, and community organizations.

Love at the Zoo.

Love at the Zoo
Feb. 9-10 at Henry Doorly Zoo, 3701 S. 10th St. Listen to a lighthearted presentation about dating and mating in the animal kingdom. The event includes a champagne welcome, dinner, and special animal encounters. Ages 21+ only. 6:30-9 p.m. Tickets: $75. 402-733-8401.
omahazoo.com

KanPai! Con
Feb 9-11 at Hotel RL, 3321 S. 72nd St. Kanpai! Con is an annual cultural appreciation convention that focuses on anime, manga, and Japanese video gaming. Come dressed as a favorite character and enjoy the family-friendly convention setting. Times vary. Admission: $30 weekend pass or $20 one-day pass.
kanpaicon.com

Fasching
Feb. 10 at German-American Society, 3717 S. 120th St. Start celebrating Mardi Gras the Saturday before with Germany’s version of this feast day. Eat jagerschnitzel or herbed fish while listening to music. And don’t forget the bier! 5 p.m. Reservations required by Feb. 6: $19 for members, $22 per guest, $25 for non-members, $9 for children 12 and under. 402-333-6615.
germanamericansociety.org

Second Saturday Program at Heron Haven
Feb. 10 at Heron Haven Nature Center, 11809 Old Maple Road. Watch an educational slide show about the animals at Heron Haven filled with photos from photographer Nanette Williams. This free event is the perfect way to teach children how animals survive in the winter. 402-493-4303.
heronhaven.org

12th Annual Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards
Feb. 18 at Omaha Design Center, 1502 Cuming St. This is Omaha’s own version of the red carpet. Hundreds of musicians, visual artists, and performing artists have been nominated. Find out who won at the event. 6-10 p.m. Tickets: $30.
oea-awards.org

Kids Rule Fashion Show
Feb. 24 and 25 at Omaha Design Center, 1502 Cuming St. This kids fashion show is open to both girls and boys ages 5 to 12. There will be a modeling workshop and a time for garment selection. Register online before the event. 2 p.m. Saturday, 4 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: TBA. 402-819-8792.
kidsruleomaha.com

Omaha Fashion Week
Feb. 27-March 4 at Omaha Design Center, 1502 Cuming St. One of the nation’s largest fashion weeks, Omaha Fashion Week holds fall and spring events. Special guest Fern Mallis, founder of New York Fashion Week, will judge during the VIP Runway Finale. Tickets: prices vary.
omahafashionweek.com

Event times and details may change. Check with venue or event organizer to confirm.

This article appears in the January/February 2018 edition of Omaha Magazine.

2017 November/December Performing Arts

Photography by contributed

Stupid F@#%ING Bird, Through Nov. 12 at Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St. This “sort-of adaptation” of The Seagull by Anton Chekhov tells a story in which an aspiring young director battles against the art created by his mother’s generation. A young actress competes with an aging Hollywood star for the affections of a renowned novelist and everyone discovers just how complicated life, art, and success can be. Tickets: $24. 402-553-0800.
ticketomaha.com

Point A to Point B, Through Nov. 12 at The Rose Theater, 2001 Farnam St. Point A to Point B is a unique nonverbal show in which two coworkers working in a lab of fun found objects have to get a ball from “point A” to “point B” without using the same path twice. With a bit of theater magic, they fill their work day exploring the excitement of the journey. Show times vary. Best for preschool- to second-grade students. Tickets: $12. 402-345-4849.
rosetheater.org

Tosca, Nov. 3 and 5 at Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St. Love, lust, religion, and politics fatally collide in Giacomo Puccini’s beloved masterpiece. The lecherous chief of police, Scarpia, will stop at nothing to possess the beautiful singer, Floria Tosca, who must give the ultimate performance in a desperate attempt to save the man she loves. Performed in Italian with English supertitles. Tickets: $19-$99. 402-345-0606.
ticketomaha.com

Festival of South African Dance at the Holland

Festival of South African Dance, Nov. 5 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St.The festival celebrates expressive dance styles created during the Apartheid era. Two companies featuring more than 20 dancers and musicians share their culture in high-energy performances. 8 p.m. Tickets: $15-$30. 402-345-0606.
ticketomaha.com

Van Gogh & Me, Nov. 3-12 at The Rose Theater, 2001 Farnam St. This show is written by Omaha’s own Matthew Gutschick. Based on actual events, the story follows painter Vincent van Gogh (creator of such iconic works as The Starry Night and Sunflowers) as he retreats to a French town and befriends a curious girl named Adeline. Appropriate for ages: 10+. Showtimes vary. Tickets: $20. 402-345-4849.
rosetheater.org

Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Nov. 7-12 at Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St. Re-experience the classic Disney animated feature film as a live-action production, featuring favorite characters and songs. The show has been described by The Chicago Tribune as “the most innovative production of the season.” Showtimes vary. Tickets: $35-$110. 402-345-0606.
ticketomaha.com

Carmina Burana, Nov. 12 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. Hear “O Fortuna” the music that adds thrills to movie blockbusters as an epic chorus of 500 elite singers from regional high schools join with professional soloists and the Omaha Symphony to perform Carl Orff’s choral masterwork. 2 p.m. Tickets: $19-$72. 402-345-0606.
ticketomaha.com

Christmas with the Crawfords, Nov. 16-Dec. 10 at SNAP! Productions, 3225 California St. The campy comedy deemed “the Christmas Carol of the 21st century” is back. This nostalgic tribute to one of America’s favorite dysfunctional families highlights beautiful, funny musical numbers. Tickets: $20 adults, and $15 students, seniors (55+), TAG members, or military personnel. 402-341-2757.
snapproductions.com

The 39 Steps, Nov. 24-Dec. 17 at The Bluebarn Theatre, 1106 S. 10th St. The original cast returns in this retro award-winning flashback. Mix a 1930s Hitchcock masterpiece with a juicy film noir and a dash of Monty Python for an unforgettable evening of pure pleasure. Packed with nonstop laughs, more than 150 characters, an on-stage plane crash, and romance, The 39 Steps is a riotous blend of virtuoso performances and wildly inventive stagecraft that’s guaranteed to thrill. Times vary. Tickets: $30 adults, $25 students, seniors (65+), or TAG members. 402-345-1576.
bluebarn.org

A Charlie Brown Christmas, Nov. 18 at Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St. A Charlie Brown Christmas comes to life on stage featuring beloved characters and Vince Guaraldi’s famous score. 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Tickets: $20-$56. 402-553-0800.
ticketomaha.com

“A Christmas Carol” at Omaha Community Playhouse

A Christmas Carol, Nov. 17-Dec. 23 at Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St. It just isn’t Christmas without A Christmas Carol. Experience one of Omaha’s favorite holiday traditions as Ebenezer Scrooge takes on a life-changing journey filled with beautiful costumes, exquisite music, perfectly crafted sets, and special effects second to none. Show- times vary. Tickets: $38 and up for adults, $25 and up for students with ID. 402-345-0606.
ticketomaha.com

The Exterminating Angel, Nov. 18 and 22 at Filmstreams, 1340 Mike Fahey St. The Exterminating Angel has its Met premiere this season, conducted by the composer, Thomas Adès. Showtimes: 11:55 a.m. and 6 p.m. Tickets: $24 general admission, $20 members of Opera Omaha, Met Opera, and Film- streams, $10 students with ID. 402-933-0259.
filmstreams.org

Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite, Nov. 19 at Joslyn Art Museum, 2200 Dodge St. Along with this holiday favorite, the performance includes Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 1 and Holloway’s “Europa and the Bull.” Tchaikovsky’s suite from The Nutcracker brings to musical life the Sugar Plum Fairy and “The Waltz of the Flowers.” 2 p.m. Tickets: $33 general admission, $27 Joslyn members. 402-342-3300.
joslyn.org

PJ Masks Live, Nov. 20 at Ralston Arena, 7300 Q St. Time to Be a Hero is a brand new live show, featuring the heroic trio from the cartoon series PJ Masks. Watch Catboy, Owlette, and Gekko as they try to save the day from their sneaky foes—Romeo, Night Ninja, and Luna Girl. 6-8 p.m. Tickets: $25-$45. 402-934-9966.
ralstonarena.com

Yesterday and Today, Nov. 24-Dec. 31 at Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St. Billy McGuigan and his brothers are back for the 10th consecutive year. This all-request Beatles tribute show will have you dancing in the aisles and singing along to every song. Showtimes vary. Tickets: $40. 402-553-0800.
omahaplayhouse.com

MJ Live, Nov. 25 at Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St. This Michael Jackson tribute concert returns to Omaha. The concert features all of Jackson’s biggest hits, including “Bad,” “Billie Jean,” and “Beat It,” performed by the MJ LIVE band and dancers. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $35-$150. 402-345-0606.
ticketomaha.com

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Nov. 25-26 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. Experience the first of the eight films as The Harry Potter Film Concert Series launches in Omaha. John Williams’ score is performed live as the entire motion picture is projected on the big screen. 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $19-$79. 402-345-0606.
ticketomaha.com

Shopkins Live! Shop it up!, Nov. 27 at the Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St. All of Shopville is in abuzz as preparations get underway for the annual “Funtastic Food and Fashion Fair.” But no event is complete without a few hiccups. The Shopkins and Shoppies need your help—the show must go on. 6:30 p.m. Tickets: $25-$100. 402-345-0606.
ticketomaha.com

Cirque Musica Holiday Presents Believe, Nov. 30 at CenturyLink Center, 455 N. 10th St. Cirque Musica combines music, acrobatics, and beloved holiday music. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $35-$95. 402-341-1500
centurylinkcenteromaha.com

The Nutcracker, Dec. 2-3 at Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St. This family favorite features a uniquely breathtaking “Waltz of the Flowers” scene and includes a cast of 130 professional and student dancers, lavish sets, and more than 250 beautiful costumes. 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $27-$87. 402-345-0606.
ticketomaha.com

Joyful Noise, Dec. 3 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. Omaha’s Grammy-nominated Salem Baptist Church features the soaring voices of more than 70 members. The concert includes special guest artists, theatrical performances, and choreography. 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets: $15. 402-345-0606.
ticketomaha.com

Hip Hop Nutcracker at Orpheum Theater

The Hip Hop Nutcracker, Dec. 9 at Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St. The Hip Hop Nutcrackerreimagines the classic through explosive hip hop choreography. A dozen dancers, a DJ, and an electric violinist bring the traditional story to life in modern-day New York City. A holiday mash-up for the entire family, this performance is a contemporary reimagination of Tchaikovsky’s timeless music. 8 p.m. Tickets: $20-60. 402-345-0606.
ticketomaha.com

Holiday at Hogwarts, Dec. 9, 14-16, and 21-23 at The Apollon, 1801 Vinton St. During this festive and immersive foray into the wizarding world attendees will be sorted into houses and then join professors Flitwick, Snape, Sprout, and McGonagall for a few final lessons. After class there will be a grand celebratory feast. 7 p.m. Tickets: $35 (includes dinner). 402-884-0135.
apollonomaha.com

Symphony Christmas Celebration 2017, Dec. 9-17 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. Ernest Richardson and the Omaha Symphony celebrate the magic of Christmas with Broadway singers and tap-dancing Santas performing Christmas classics and contemporary favorites. Times vary. Tickets: $19-$79. 402-345-0606.
ticketomaha.com

 

Waitress, Dec. 12-17 at Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St. Waitress tells the story of Jenna, an expert pie maker, who uses her skills to try to start a new life far away from her loveless marriage and the small town where she grew up. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, and 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $35-$100. 402-345-0606.
ticketomaha.com

John Waters Christmas Show, Dec. 16 at the Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St. Legendary filmmaker and raconteur John Waters (Pink Flamingos, Hairspray, A Dirty Shame) puts the X in Xmas with rapid-fire monologue, sharing his compulsive desire to give and receive perverted gifts, a religious fanaticism for Santa Claus, and an unhealthy love of true crime holiday horror stories. 8 p.m. Admission: $35 in advance, $40 day of show. 402-345-7569.
theslowdown.com

Event times and details may change. Check with venue or event organizer to confirm.

This calendar was printed in the November/December edition of Omaha Magazine. 

2017 May/June Performances

May 1, 2017 by and

*CatherlandThrough May 14 at Shelterbelt Theatre, 3225 California St. A budding author and her husband head to Red Cloud, Nebraska, to begin a simpler life, but a slew of mysterious guests prove that there’s nothing simple about small-town living. 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 6 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $25 general admission; $20 students, seniors (65+), and TAG members. 402-341-2757.
shelterbelt.org

MOMIX Opus Cactus: May 4 at Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St. The internationally acclaimed dancer-illusionists troupe, directed by Moses Pendleton, presents a show for all ages. The troupe creates a visual journey into the hidden secrets of the Southwestern desert by bringing all of its creatures to life. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $20-$45. 402-345-0606.
ticketomaha.com

Superior DonutsMay 5-June 4 at Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St. Taking place in the historic, diverse Uptown neighborhood of Chicago and written by Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning playwright Tracy Letts, this provocative comedy explores the challenges of embracing the past and the redemptive power of friendship. Times vary. Tickets: $36 adults, $22 students. 402-345-0606.
ticketomaha.com

Omaha Symphony—The Music of Star Wars: May 6 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. Music from all seven episodes of Star Wars will be featured, conducted by Ernest Richardson. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $19-$89. 402-345-0606.
ticketomaha.com

The Florentine Players’ 53rd Annual Melodrama: May 11-13 at Florence City Hall, 2864 State St. Written by Nebraska natives, this is a story of “Omaha’s only shipwreck” in 1965. 7 p.m. Tickets: $10 general admission; $8 seniors (65+), TAG members, or groups of 8 or more. 402-453-4280.
florencetheater.org

Omaha Symphony—Songs of Rodgers and Hammerstein: May 13-14 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. Conducted by Ted Sperling, a Broadway cast and the Omaha Symphony perform favorites from The Sound of Music, The King and I, Oklahoma!, and South Pacific. 7:30 p.m. May 13; 2 p.m. May 14. Tickets: $19-$79. 402-345-0606.
—ticketomaha.com

The Met: Live in HD: Der Rosenkavalier (R. Strauss): May 13 and 17 at Film Streams, 1340 Mike Fahey St. The Met’s final performance for this season features Renée Fleming as the Marschallin and Elīna Garanča as Octavian. 11:30 a.m. May 13; 6 p.m. May 17. Tickets: $10-$24. 402-933-0259.
filmstreams.org

All the King’s WomenMay 15-21 at Bellevue Little Theatre, 203 E. Mission Ave. Obsessed women who encounter Elvis Presley in everyday situations grant theatrical insight into the man rather than the rock ’n’ roll superstar. Times vary. Tickets: $20 adults, $18 seniors (60+), $10 students. 402-291-1554.
bellevuelittletheatre.com

Something Rotten!May 16-21 at Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St. Set in 1595, this comedy tells the tale of two brothers desperate to write the world’s very first musical. Times vary. Tickets: $35-$95. 402-345-0606.
ticketomaha.com

The Rebellion Ends: An Apollon Star Wars Story: May 18-27 at The Apollon, 1801 Vinton St. With the rebels wiped out once and for all, Emperor Palpatine announces details for the largest mandatory celebration in history to mark the anniversary of the rise of the Galactic Empire. 7:30 p.m. Admission: $35 adults, $25 students and TAG members. 402-884-0135.
apollonomaha.com

Joey Alexander Trio: May 19 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. One of today’s most talked-about jazz artists, this 12-year-old Indonesian piano prodigy and 2016 Grammy-nominee performs classic songs and original compositions. 8 p.m. Tickets: $20-$35. 402-345-0606.
ticketomaha.com

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast: May 26-June 25 at Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St. The classic tale of Belle and the Beast is back with spectacular sets and costumes. Times vary. Tickets: $42 adults, $25 students Thursday-Sunday; $32 adults, $20 students Wednesday. 402-345-0606.
ticketomaha.com

Omaha Symphony–Mahler’s Ninth Symphony: June 2-3 at the Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. The symphony performs this rich, emotional orchestration for the first time in more than 20 years. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $19-$70. 402-345-0606.
ticketomaha.com

Peter Pan: June 2-18 at The Rose Theater, 2001 Farnam St. This musical rendition features fabulous flying effects and the iconic songs “I’m Flying,” “I Won’t Grow Up,” and “Never Never Land.” Times vary. Tickets: $22-$27 general admission, $15-$20 for members. 402-345-4869.
rosetheater.org

Rent—20th Anniversary Tour: June 3-4 at Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St. The Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-Winning musical from 1996 follows the lives of seven struggling artists trying to follow their dreams without selling out. Times vary. Tickets: $40-$105. 402-345-0606.
ticketomaha.com

Girls Like Us: June 15-25 at Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St. This show, based off the book by the same title, showcases the work of groundbreaking singer-songwriters Carole King, Carly Simon, and Joni Mitchell. 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $40. 402-345-0606.
ticketomaha.com

Shakespeare On The Green: King Lear: June 22-25 at Elmwood Park, 411-1/2 N. Elmwood Road. Pack a picnic and bring lawn chairs or blankets, as King Lear attempts to fight against impending mortality along with the inevitable loss of his kingdom and his crown. Times vary. Admission: free.
nebraskashakespeare.com

Shakespeare On The Green: The Merry Wives of Windsor: June 29-July 1 at Elmwood Park, 411-1/2 N. Elmwood Road. Windsor is at a crossroads. All the elements that constitute the town—social strata, tradition, morality, religion, characters, the English language itself—are turned upside down. Don’t forget a picnic basket and seats. Times vary. Admission: free.
nebraskashakespeare.com


This calendar is published as shown in the print edition

We welcome you to submit events to our print calendar. Please email event details and a 300 ppi photograph three months in advance to: editintern@omahamagazine.com


*Event times and details may change. Check with venue or event organizer to confirm.

The Grandpa Chronicles

June 26, 2015 by

David-Williams-Bio-2014

Article originally published in June 2015 Her Family.

Clouds can be real jerks. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for them when playing a lazy afternoon game of scanning the skies for accidental compositions that bear a resemblance to a fluffy elephant, indian chief, or bunny rabbit.

And to be fair, vapors of the cirrus variety are innocent enough. What’s there not to like about the diaphanous tendrils of these angelic waifs of the cloud world? No, it’s those bulbous, low-hanging cumuli (derived from the Latin for “poopie head,” if I remember correctly) that are the real troublemakers.

These bad boys of the ethers demon-strated their bratty stubbornness on a recent camping trip with my preschool-age grandsons, Barrett and Easton. The plan was that a campfire soiree would yield to a bit of sleepy-eyed stargazing. With star chart in hand, I’d be champing at the bit to regale the boys in a constellation-by-constellation exploration of the heavens. Oh, what celestial beauties awaited! Orion! Ursa Major! And (all together now) Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse!”

But a thick blanket hung and pelted us with seven hours of continuous rain through the shank of the day. Like I said, clouds can be real jerks. As if to further taunt us, they receded to reveal a canopy of stars only after the kids were tucked away in their sleeping bags.

So for now I’ll have to settle for stargazing of the indoor variety, the kind that had occurred a few weeks earlier in a visit to The Rose children’s theater. The gloriously gaudy space is a visual treat in itself, but leave it to a small child to be swept away by the simplest of sights. Midway through the play I noticed out of the corner of my eye that 5-year-old Easton wasn’t paying attention to the actors. Instead, he was craning his neck skyward. The production called for a dragon-shaped constellation to be projected on the ceiling. Overhead was a slow-motion parade of stars drifting across the vault of the majestic theater; a mesmerizing star field watching over starlets on the stage below.

The look on Easton’s face was one of awe-filled wonder. It was as if he was chewing up the entire cosmos and digesting it in one big intergalactic gulp. All I could do for what seemed an eternity was to observe the observer, combining the viewer and the view. If only I could have bottled the look in his eyes to make it last a lifetime.

Sure, it was an experience that I had hoped to capture under real stars, but grandpas can’t be too choosy. There will be other camping trips, other starry nights. For now I’ll just have to soak up the magic whenever and wherever it comes.

FirstStarISeeTonight

 

Kirk Vaughn-Robinson

December 18, 2014 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

After a lifetime in the performing arts that culminated in 12 years on the road with the blockbuster Broadway touring production of The Phantom of the Opera in the roles of Lefevre and the Fire Chief, Kirk Vaughn-Robinson had come to learn more than a little bit about stagecraft.

But few scenes were as amateurishly staged as the one that played out in his hotel room almost every night in the latter years of his musical theatre career.

“I had this wobbly collapsible table I bought for $20 at Walgreens, a rickety foldable chair, a simple clamp light, and a lazy susan,” says the Muncie, Ind., native who later grew up on a horse farm in Florida. “It was just all so totally absurd.”

Outside of his Broadway gig, the triple threat singer-actor-dancer had performed with the Cincinnati Opera, Dayton Opera, Sorg & Whitewater Opera companies, and the Cincinnati Pops, all after attending the famed American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria.

But Kirk Vaughn-Robinson was now learning a new artform. Carting his curious ensemble of new “props” from town to town, he was teaching himself to become a sculptor.

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“It’s only fitting that I have established my first studio here in Council Bluffs,” Vaughn-Robinson says from the surprisingly spacious 1,100-square-foot space in the Harvester Artspace Lofts that has been his live/work home for over a year, “because my sculpting career began when Phantom was here in 2008. I executed my first work here.”

Things moved fast, he says, once he mustered the courage to show his work and the owner of the very first gallery he visited signed the novice sculptor on the spot.

Now venturing increasingly into abstract castings, Vaughn-Robinson is perhaps best known for his exquisitely crafted figurative bronzes of men, horses, mermen and, yes, even dorsal fin-sporting “merhorses.”

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Exhibiting a visual language of sensual romanticism, he renders classic ideals of beauty in timeless archetypes that speak to themes that are at once natural and organic, theatrical, and dramatic.

Vaughn-Robinson continues performing in a more localized, scaled-down slate of opera and musical appearances. He recently played the role of Pish-Tush in the Opera Omaha production of The Mikado and was nominated for an Omaha Entertainment and Arts Award for his work in The Sound of Music at The Rose.

Vaughn-Robinson won’t rule out the idea of returning to a big touring production, but for now is happy to sculpt away in Council Bluffs as his gallery representation and commission business grows.

His two worlds—the stage and the studio—offer a stark contrast in workplace experiences.

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“Just as being a part of a huge touring company is a decidedly social affair,” he explains, “sculpting is instead very solitary. It is a meditative time for me. My most common experience in all those hotel rooms over the years was that I would be lost in my work and, thinking that maybe a half hour had gone by, I’d suddenly realize that dawn was breaking. It is a spiritual experience for me, and I like to think that this is reflected in my bronzes.”

Illuminating Young Minds

December 10, 2014 by

In my last column I wrote about the poor choice I made for my grandsons’ very first movie theater experience. Easton (5) and Barrett (3) were, it turns out, too young for the seemingly innocuous How to Train Your Dragon 2, it of the PG rating and all. I just plain blew that one.

But I like to think I’m now well on my way to redemption. Hold on. That’s taking too much credit, which should all go to—as is so often the case—my wife, Julie. It was her idea that has given me a shot at rehabilitating my tarnished reputation as a grandpa. And it’s a plan that revolves around a season subscription to The Rose.

A former life had me acting as a performing arts reviewer and I’ve sat in the dark scribbling notes hundreds of times over the last decade. Theater, opera, dance…you name it. But there was a part of me that flinched at the idea of more-more-more theater packed into my already impossible schedule.

Then again, I’ve always dreamed of the days to come when I would be able to introduce my grandkids to the arts. I pictured them joining me as we marveled at works from the likes of Shakespeare and Verdi. And I envisioned them one day learning from their grandpa the proper, cocked-eyebrow way to scrunch up their faces as we puzzled our way through such meatier, noggin’-scratchin’ fare as Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot or Endgame.

Our most recent visit to the candy box that is The Rose had the boys mesmerized by their wonderful production of The Cat in the Hat. Before that we were awestruck by the vibrant, technicolor puppetry of another children’s classic, The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

The Rose may be theater for young people, but the productions are top-notch at the venerated Omaha institution that is also known for its national touring troupe. Where else can you see an award-winning actor like Noah Diaz donning the iconic striped hat of Dr. Seuss’ whiskered wonder? Diaz is the kind of guy who knocked ‘em dead in an F-Troupe Collaborative staging of Edward Albee’s absurdist The Zoo Story a couple years ago, and now the young talent is “walking the boards” of The Rose, all of which speaks to the magnetic draw of one of the city’s most talented team of artists and staff—regardless of audience age.

Now we’re looking forward to the remainder of the season and such delights as The Brave Little Tailor and Bugsy Malone, Jr.

I like to think that Easton and Barrett will grow up at The Rose, whose programming and productions will take them all the way through to their college years.

The company’s Broken Mirror series will introduce them to complex issues that affect real girls in today’s real world. And the efforts of the Pride Players, which has received honors from such groups as The National Education Association and the American Alliance for Theater and Education, promise that they will be exposed to positive messages of inclusion that will foster respect and love for their friends who will one day come out as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered.

Forget about my selfish desire for redemption. The Rose has programming and productions that will play an important role in the formative years of my grandkids and beyond.

And I’m glad that Julie and I will be there to share the experience when young minds are illuminated every time the lights dim at The Rose.

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Her 13 Cents Worth

January 6, 2014 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Though inching 
perilously close
 to senior citizen status, Robin Welch still moves with the grace and agility of a young prima ballerina, which of course she once was.

Welch came to the Midlands in 1985 as principal dancer for Ballet Omaha, continuing an upward trajectory in ballet that can only be described as meteoric. Previously, she had won a full scholarship at age 15 to train with the Harkness Ballet in New York City, where she was born. Her talents won her a permanent spot with the company and at 17 she jetted off to Monaco.

“Our company was based in Monte Carlo,” she recounts. “Princess Grace would invite us to the castle. We’d swim in their pool.”

The company danced all across Europe, where Welch met or performed with the greatest ballet legends of the era, including Mikhail Baryshnikov.

Yes, everything was beautiful—until Rebekah Harkness decided to close the company she had founded. Welch returned stateside to join the Connecticut Ballet. It was in New Haven in 1978 that a photo of her was taken and used on a postage stamp—worth a princely 13 cents—as part of the Postal Service’s USA Dance series.

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The call to Omaha actually came from her then-husband, artistic director Robert Vickrey, who brought his wife and their young daughter, Rachel, with him to develop Ballet Omaha. After Robert’s departure in the early ’90s (the couple had divorced by then), Ballet Omaha collapsed, and Welch retired as a dancer.

The curtain rose again in 1999 when The Rose Theater offered to house a new school and company, Omaha Ballet Theater, which Welch founded. After 11 years at the helm of Omaha’s only professional ballet company, she was stunned when The Rose decided to sever its ties.

“It was draining to see it disintegrate before my eyes,” says Welch of her ballet school.

But she was born to teach. Welch gathered her strength, her money, and her daughter—an accomplished ballet artist herself—and in 2010 opened Robin Welch Dance Arts, home of Heartland Youth Ballet. Welch’s gift of unfettered, joyous movement now shines in her 
young students.

“I have worked with children trained by Robin,” says Ernest Richardson, Resident Conductor of the Omaha Symphony. “They come consummately prepared. They’re disciplined, respectful, and they know how to work with the orchestra. She’s an 
amazing woman.”

Accolades from her peers sustained Welch after she thought her life’s work had ended. When the Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards presented her with their Lifetime Achievement Award two years ago, she broke down in gratitude.

“I had felt isolated until that point,” she admits. “But [the award] made me feel like I was part of the community again. It came at a great time.”

With Heartland Youth Ballet now soaring, Welch’s story adds another en pointe chapter—this one with a happy ending.