Tag Archives: February

Kathy Tyree Channeling Her Inner Diva

February 14, 2014 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

The term “diva” has taken a bit of a hit in recent years, suggesting to some a haughty I-want-it-all-and-want-it-now scene chewer who treats other humans like varmints.

For most, though, the word remains untarnished. The diva is still the shining star, the bigger-than-life glory who commands a room while displaying elegance and charity beyond the bright lights.

Kathy Tyree is most certainly the latter type of diva.

So, too, was Ella Fitzgerald, the legendary jazz diva who Tyree will shape-shift into for Ella, which opens at the Omaha Community Playhouse on February 28.

“Ella Fitzgerald was every bit the good diva, a marvelous performer,” Tyree says during an interview at a mid-town coffee shop. “My job is to channel my inner diva. But I think I’ve earned my diva stripes. It’s an immense challenge, but I feel I’m up to the challenge.”

“She brought the house down in Hairspray. She’s going to bring the house down again.”
— Susie Collins

Tyree has more than earned those stripes in 30-some years of powerhouse singing throughout the region. She is arguably Omaha’s premier cabaret singer. Among numerous other roles, she played Aretha Franklin in Beehive, widely considered the longest-running show in the city’s history.

That show’s director, Gordon Cantiello, says he’s confident that Tyree is “by all means a big-time diva in the good way.

“The other girls in Beehive had to work hard to keep up with her,” Cantiello says. “She commands a room. She’s 110 percent all the time. She’s a director’s dream.”

Susie Collins, who will be directing Ella, agrees and adds that Tyree “has a very special, powerful way of expressing herself through her music.”

“It actually goes deeper than the biographies that have been written about her. There are just some topics you didn’t talk about back then that are discussed more openly now.”
—Kathy Tyree

And yes, she said, Tyree can command a room like a true diva. She did just that in a Playhouse production last summer. “She brought the house down in Hairspray,” Collins continues. “She’s going to bring the house down again.”

Ella is a new challenge for Tyree in that, for one, “there are an immense number of lines to learn.” The one-woman musical is “a very honest and open look at her life.” The musical goes far beyond the music.

Set in Nice, France, in 1966, Fitzgerald’s manager suggests she engage in more banter with her audience—a fashion for singers at the time. Her conversations on and off the stage through the musical increasingly delve into deeply personal topics, including the sexual abuse she suffered at the hands 
of her stepfather.

“In shows like this you can get a script that’s kind of glued in there—that’s very forced,” Collins explains. “You have a very skilled playwright here [Jeffrey Hatcher]. The script is just excellent.”

“It actually goes deeper than the biographies that have been written about her,” Tyree says. “There are just some topics you didn’t talk about back then that are discussed more openly now.”


At the show’s heart, though, is the music and the larger-than-life voice and presence of the diva.

“The diva develops her own style out of her own personality,” Tyree says. “Ella Fitzgerald was uniquely Ella. A diva is the only person who sounds the way they do. You know immediately who is singing when you hear the voice.”

Tyree has built her own personal style from many influences. In some cases, she’s standing on some unlikely shoulders.

You might guess she was first inspired by the towering voices and personalities of Diana Ross and Lena Horne. Aretha Franklin, sure. Cher, who Tyree loves for her versatility. Luther Vandross. So smooth.

But Mick Jagger? Really?

“He’s always going—so passionate,” she says. “I love what he does with a song.”

And Rod Stewart?

“I love performers who are sincere and real,” she says. “That passion is authentic.”

Ella Fitzgerald, she says, was one of those sincere, genuine, authentic, and passionate singers who brought her best each night to her performance and her audience.

That’s what Tyree wants for every second she spends on stage as Ella Fitzgerald.

“I’d like to think I have my own style, so it’s interesting to work to channel Ella Fitzgerald—try to take on her unique style,” Tyree says. “What’s not at all different is that burning desire to give the audience everything you have. Ultimately, a diva wants to give the audience something to remember. So we’re going to work to give the audience something to remember.”

Restoring Your 
Faith in Spring

January 25, 2014 by

48th Annual Omaha Home & Garden Expo

CenturyLink Center

February 6-9

The weather outside may be frightful, but the climate inside the CenturyLink Center will be delightful for the 48th Annual Omaha Home & Garden Expo. Now united with the Omaha Lawn, Flower & Patio Show, this extravaganza will showcase the most comprehensive collection of creative home ideas to refresh and restore your faith in spring, that season when all things are new again.

This year’s show will combine all the latest ideas for today’s home consumers. From kitchens, bathrooms, and home-improvement products and services to a bouquet of sensory springtime scents that will get you thinking about greener times on your deck or in your yard, this is the must-see home and garden event of the year.

Stroll the area’s largest and most colorful exhibits of beautifully landscaped gardens with ponds, waterfalls, and blooming flowers at the biggest event of its kind for miles around.

This four-day celebration of the home will have attractions for adults and children alike. Nationally known experts and personalities will be on hand to share all of their professional secrets while the Fountain Café & Food Court will help fuel your explorations through more than 200,000 square feet of displays. The entertainment lineup, including exotic animals and special activities for the kids, makes this a great family outing.

The 48th Annual Omaha Home & Garden Expo and Annual Omaha Lawn, Flower & Patio Show runs Thursday, Feb. 6, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Friday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Adult admission is $8. Children ages 5 -12 are $4 and kids under 5 are free.

Calendar of Events: January/February 2014

December 18, 2013 by


From the Collection: Jun Kaneko’s Special Project – Fremont Dangos
Through January 10 at KANEKO, 1111 Jones St.
This exhibit brings together for the first time a set of six 11-foot ceramic pieces created by Jun Kaneko known as “Dangos.” The exhibit will also include documentation of the art-making process including sketches, photographs, and video. M-F/9am-5pm; Sat/1-5pm. Free. 402-341-3800 – thekaneko.org

Celebrate Black History on Stamps
January 1- March 1 at Boys Town, 137th & W. Dodge Rd.
View stamps of famous Black Americans on display at the Leon Myers Stamp Center, located in the Boys Town Visitor Center. M-F/8am-5pm; Sat/9am-4pm; Sun/11am-4pm. Free. 402-498-1141 – boystown.org

Lossy Group Exhibition
Through April 1 at Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, 724 S. 12th St.
Curator Stephani Syjuco brings together six former Bemis Center Artists-in-Residence. Their sculptural and image-based surrogates call into question the notion of ‘presence’ and use their unfaithfulness as a way to reorganize meaning and symbolism in the world around them. Tu-Sat/11am-5pm. Free. 402-341-7130 – bemiscenter.org

American Muralist Louis Grell
January 20 – February 20 at Weber Fine Arts Building, 6001 Dodge St.
Explore the works of Louis Grell, a 20th century painter and muralist born in Council Bluffs in this first retrospective exhibition.  M-Th/10am-3pm. Free. 402-554-2796 – unomaha.edu

Bill Hoover and Jerome Dubas, Mixed Media & Ceramics Exhibition
January 27-March 7 at Fred Simon Gallery, 1004 Farnam St.
Bill Hoover has been making art and music in Omaha for over 25 years, beginning by exhibiting his oil-based drawings at Lisa’s Radial Café. He has had over 14 solo shows and exhibitions around the country. Jerome Dubas is a faculty member of the arts department at Grand Island Senior High and teaches a ceramics course at Hastings College. His early ceramic inspiration came from his family’s farm near the hills of Fullerton. M-F/8am-5pm. Free. 402-595-2122 – nebraskaartscouncil.org

Poseidon and the Sea
February 8-March 11 at Joslyn Art Museum, 2200 Dodge St.
The realms of Poseidon encompassed virtually every aspect of life in the ancient Mediterranean world, from mythology and religious cult to daily activities.  This exhibition explores each of these three domains through more than 100 pieces of Greek, Etruscan, and Roman art produced over more than a millennium. Tu,W,F, Sat/10am-4pm; Th/10am-8pm; Sun/12-4 pm.  $10 general public adults, free for Joslyn members, ages 17 & under, and college students with ID. 402-340-3300 – joslyn.org

 Polar Obsession with Photographer Paul Nicklen
February 18 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St.
Paul Nicklen’s award-winning photography takes audiences on a visual journey through the vast polar regions of our planet and gives them a glimpse of the animals that call it home.  7:30pm. $20-$40. 402-345-0202 – omahaperformingarts.org


Life is Cool with the Brigadiers, All Young Girls Are Machine Guns
January 3 at The Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St.
Life is Cool is a local band that piles on the theatrics for a fun-filled dance party.  A seven-person band that mixes funk, pop rock, and a fog machine, their live shows give audiences something to celebrate. $7. 9 pm. 402-345-7569 – theslowdown.com

Out of Control: Madness, Passion and Obession
January 12 at Joslyn Art Museum, 2200 Dodge St. Conductor Ernest Richardson leads the Omaha symphony through a vivid portrayal of psychological thrills, burning desire, and destructive jealousy against the beautiful backdrop of the Joslyn Art Museum. 2 pm. $33. 402-340-3300 – joslyn.org

ELVIS Lives – The Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Event
January 11 at Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St.
This multimedia musical journey across Elvis’ life features finalists from Elvis Presley Enterprises’ annual worldwide Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest, as well as iconic imagery from the Graceland archives. 8 pm. $35-$80. 402-345-0606 – ticketomaha.com

George Strait with Eric Church
January 17 at CenturyLink Center Omaha, 455 N. 10th St.
George Strait’s “Cowboy Rides Away Tour” will be his last. Known as “The King of Country,” Strait has had 60 No.1 hits, more than any other artist.  Joining Strait is Eric Church, who is hot off of two No. 1 singles—“Drink in My Hand” and “Springsteen.” 7:30 pm. $75.50-$96.50 plus fees. 402-341-1500 – centurylinkcenteromaha.com

Behind the Mask: The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber
February 1 – 2 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. Enjoy music from some of composer Andrew Lloyd Webber’s biggest hits, including Phantom of the Opera, Jesus Christ Superstar, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and Cats.  Sat/8pm; Sun/2pm. $19-$83. 402-345-0202 – omahaperformingarts.org $25-70. ticketomaha.com

The Expendables
February 3 at The Waiting Room, 6212 Maple St.
Originally from California, the Expendables have been making waves since 1997 with their West Coast style, blending reggae, punk rock, and more. 7 pm. $15. 402-884-5353 – waitingroomlounge.com

Dr. Lonnie Smith Trio
February 7 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St.
Called the forefather of “acid jazz,” Dr. Lonnie Smith’s music draws inspiration from a little bit of everything—funk, jazz, hip-hop, and dance music—with a sound that will keep audiences wanting more. 8 pm. $30. 402-345-0606 – ticketomaha.com

Evening at the Oscars
February 8 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. Stroll the red carpet to hear iconic music from Academy Award®-winning films, including Gone with the Wind, The Godfather, and Titanic. 8 pm. $25-70. 402-345-0202. ticketomaha.com

Justin Timberlake
February 10 at the CenturyLink Center, 455 N. 10th St.
One of this generation’s most-celebrated entertainers, Justin Timberlake, is dominating the global charts with the release of his acclaimed new album, The 20/20 Experience. Timberlake will bring his electrifying live show to fans with a worldwide tour that will span the globe from North America, Europe, Australia, and South America. This is the Grammy® and Emmy® award-winning artist’s first headlining tour in six years. Tickets from $47 to $177 1-800-745-3000 centurylinkcenteromaha.com

Count Basie Orchestra
February 14 at Holland Performing Arts Center,1200 Douglas St.
The Count Basie Orchestra and New York Voices reunite nearly 20 years after their Grammy® Award-winning collaboration to once again combine the best of big band sounds and vocal jazz. 
8 pm. $65-$25. 402-345-0606 – ticketomaha.com

Winter Dreams
February 16 at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, 324 S. Jackson St., Papillion
Orchestra Omaha presents the winners of their annual Young Artists Competition. 3 pm. Free. 402-681-4791 – orchestraomaha.org

Mardi Gras Cabaret
February 27 at Glo Lounge, 3201 Farnam St.
The Joey Gilizia Trio will present some of the upbeat and celebratory Latin sounds inspired by Carnival in Rio.  Presented by St. Cecelia Cathedral.  Includes dinner and a cash bar. 6:30 pm. $50. 402-558-3100 ext. 3007 – cathedralartsproject.org


Mozart’s Missing Memory
January 19 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St.
A part of the Omaha Symphony’s Family Series, this show gives kids a fun introduction to a classical music genius. Featuring a mix of humor and music, this show promises laughs for all ages. 2 pm. $12. 402-345-0202 – ticketomaha.com

Festival of the Americas – Programs 1 and 2
January 24 – 25 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St.
Thomas Wilkins (conductor), Alyson Cambridge (soprano), and Oren Fader (guitar) explore the diversity of the Americas with two programs evoking the colorful landscapes and vibrant cultures of the New World. The January 24th concert consists of the first program, while the January 25th concert features the second program. F-Sat/8pm. $27-$80 plus fees. 402-345-0606 – omahasymphony.org

Nickelodeon’s The Fresh Beat Band
January 26 at Ralston Arena, 7300 Q. St., Ralston
Nickelodeon’s The Fresh Beat Band is a live-action music series that teaches preschoolers about music appreciation and how to express their feelings through movement, song, and music. 5 pm. $39.50-$159.50 plus taxes & fees. 800-440-3741 – homepridetix.com

Sid the Science Kid Live!
January 30 at Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St.
Based on the Emmy®-nominated PBS Kids television show, Sid the Science Kid, this live show takes kids on an interactive journey to explore the world alongside their favorite characters.  Arrive an hour early for a Kids Zone featuring coloring, face painting, balloon artists, and more.7 pm. $25. 402-345-0606 – ticketomaha.com

The Grocer’s Goblin and the Little Mermaid
January 31 – February 16 at The Rose Theater, 2001 Farnam St.
Two classic Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales come to life in this inventive world premiere, combining original puppetry and projections to explore intertwined tales of loving, longing, and growing up. Best for ages 5-11. F/7pm, Sat/2pm & 5pm; Sun/2pm. $18 non-members, free members. 402-345-4849 – rosetheater.org

Things That Go!
Through April 14 at Omaha Children’s Museum, 500 S. 20th St.
Explore all the things that make the world go round in the upcoming special exhibit, Things That Go! In this exhibit, kids will move full speed into the idea of “GO” in everything from vehicles, water, energy, and more. Sun/1-5pm; Tu-F/10am-4pm; Sat/9am-5pm. Free members & under 24 months. $2 in admission to regular admission price adults, seniors, and children. 402-342-6164 – ocm.org


Monster Jam
January 3- 5 at Mid-America Center, 1 Arena Way
This “smashing” event features 10,000 pounds of monster trucks battling it out in both racing and an audience-scored “freestyle” competition. F/7:30 pm; Sat/2 & 7:30pm; Sun/2pm. $37 adults, $24 ages 2-12, free 2 & under. 712-323-0537 – midamericacenter.com

Cathedral Flower Festival
January 25-26 at St. Cecilia Cathedral, 701 N. 40th St.
This year’s 29th annual Cathedral Flower Festival is inspired by South Pacific, and will bring some tropical beauty to Omaha during the cold winter.

Bill O’Reilly:  No Spin Zone
January 31 at Ralston Arena, 7300 Q St., Ralston
A provocative face for over 30 years, Fox News commentator and journalist Bill O’Reilly brings his “no-spin” approach to the most current events and issues in our world. 8 pm. $79-$250 plus taxes and fees. 402-934-6291 
– homepridetix.com

Nebraska Buck ‘N Bird Classic
January 31 – February 2 at CenturyLink Center Omaha, 455 N. 10th St.
You can find all kinds of outdoor recreation under one roof at the Buck ’N Bird Classic, a three-day expo on all things outdoors. Includes a rock climbing wall, seminars on hunting and fishing, and more. F/3-9pm; Sat/9am-7pm; Sun/10am-4pm. $10 adults, $5 ages 7-12, free ages 7 & under. 402-707-4885 – nebraskabigbuckclassic.com

48th Annual Omaha Home and Garden Show
February 6 – 9 at Century Link Center, 455 N. 10th St.
Spring comes early with Omaha’s largest showcase of landscaping, home, gardens, and outdoor living.  Th/5-9pm; F/11am-9pm; Sat/11 am-8pm; Sun/11am-5pm. $8 adults, $4 ages 5-12, free ages 5 & under. 402-341-1500 – centurylinkcenteromaha.com

Lauritzen Gardens Valentine’s Day Dinner
February 14 at Lauritzen Gardens, 100 Bancroft St.
Have a “green” Valentine’s day this year among the beautiful flowers and plants of the Lauritzen Gardens. Guests will receive a three-course meal and a glass of wine. Seating available from 6 pm-9pm. $50 per person. 402-346-4002 – lauritzengardens.org

Swing Under the Wings
February 14 at Strategic Air & Space Museum, 28210 W. Park Hwy.
The Strategic Air & Space Museum presents their 2014 Hangar Dance, this year with a 1940s theme.  Come dressed in your best vintage clothing and costumes to relive memories of a bygone era. 
7 pm. See website for ticket information.  
402-944-3100 – sacmuseum.org


The Church Basement Ladies in A Mighty Fortress is Our Basement
January 17 at Iowa Western Community College, 2700 College Road, Council Bluffs
The Church Basement Ladies are back in the fourth and latest installment in this popular series of musical comedies. The year is 1960, a reformation is underway, and once again the Church Basement Ladies are required to face change head-on. 2 pm & 8 pm. $35 adults, $31 seniors and students. 712-388-7140 – artscenter.iwcc.edu

Having Our Say-The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years
January 17 – February 9 at Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St.
Meet sisters Sadie and Bessie Delaney in this biographical, two-person play. At ages 101 and 103, these resilient African-American sisters have lived through the historic Civil Rights Movement, Jim Crow laws, and women’s suffrage. W-Sat/7:30pm; Sun/2pm. $35 Adults, $21 Students. 402-553-0800 
– omahaplayhouse.com

 Martha Graham Dance Company
January 26 at Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St. The Martha Graham Dance Company celebrates the vision of its namesake by performing her 1944 work Appalachian Spring. 
7pm. $20-$50. 402-335-0606 – ticketomaha.com

Dvorák’s Rusklka – The Met: Live in HD
February 6 at Film Streams, 1340 Mike Fahey St.
The great Renée Fleming returns to one of her signature roles, singing the enchanting “Song to the Moon” in Dvorák’s soulful fairy-tale opera. This live telecast also includes a prelude talk from Opera Omaha.  11:55 am. $20 Opera Omaha and Film Streams members, $24 general admission, $10 students with valid school ID.  402-933-0259 – filmstreams.org

Next to Normal
February 7- March 16 at Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St.
The 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama winner, Next to Normal is a deeply moving rock musical and raw account of a family dealing with mental illness, tragedy, and the realities of modern society. Disclaimer: contains strong language and adult situations and is intended for mature audiences. Th-Sat/7:30 pm; Sun/2pm. $35 adults, $21 students. 402-553-0800 
– omahaplayhouse.com

February 8 at Ballet Nebraska’s Encore Performance Space, 2819 S. 125th Ave. Part of Ballet Nebraska’s “Encore Series,” this fresh mix of partnered dance works includes a discussion with artists and refreshments. 7:30 pm. $25. 402-541-6946 – balletnebraska.org

Opera Omaha’s Agrippina
February 14 and February 16 at the Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St.
Delve into the sordid private lives of some of history’s most notorious figures. Agrippina is the ambitious and seductive wife of Emperor Claudius, who through shocking and often darkly comic machinations places her volatile teenage son, Nero, on the throne. Jeweled with Handel’s glorious melodies, Agrippina is the composer at his most theatrically visceral and musically stunning. Tickets from $19 to $99 402-345-0606 –operaomaha.com

 Million Dollar Quartet
February 18 – February 23 at Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St.
This Tony Award®-wining Broadway musical draws inspiration from the electrifying true story of the recording session that brought together rock ‘n’ roll icons Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins for the first and only time. Tu-Th/7:30 pm; F/8pm; Sat/2pm & 8pm; Sun/1:30 pm & 7pm. $95-$30. 402-345-0606 – omahaperformingarts.com

February 20 – March 15 at Blue Barn Theatre. 614 S. 11th St.
Loosely based on Henrik Ibsen’s Peer Gynt, this American version focuses on self-involved Peter Gnit, who kidnaps a young women on her wedding day, falls in love with someone else, and embarks on a global journey. $25 adults, $20 students. Th-Sat/7:30pm; Sun/6pm; no show Feb. 23rd and Mar. 16th. 402-345-1576 – bluebarn.org

Death by Design
February 26-March 1 & March 6-8 at Weber Fine Arts Building, 6001 Dodge St.
What happens when you mix the brilliant wit of Noel Coward with the intricate plotting of Agatha Christie? You have a delightful and mysterious mash-up of two of the greatest English writers of all time in this zany and macabre murder mystery. 7:30 pm. $15 general adult tickers, $10 UNO faculty and staff, senior citizens, and military. $5 students with ID and TAG member card. 402-554-7529 – unotheatre.com

February 28 – March 30 at Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St.
Ella is the powerhouse story and musical revue of iconic jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald. As this legend prepares for her most challenging performance, she recalls her life’s tribulations and how she found solace in music. W-Sat/7:30 pm; Sat/2pm. Ticket Prices TBA. 402-553-0800 – omahaplayhouse.com

Jackie & Me
February 28 – March 16 at The Rose Theater, 2001 Farnam St.
With the help of a vintage baseball card and a little bit of magic, average boy Joey Stoshack travels back to 1947 and meets Jackie Robinson, the first African-American to play in the major leagues. Best for ages 6-13. F/7pm; Sat/2 & 5 pm; Sun/2pm. $18 non-members, free members. 402-345-4849 
– rosetheater.org