Monday, July 21, 2014

Virginia's Point of View: 2 Shows Open, 1 to Go



One of the little duties I set for myself during the course of the Rep is writing thank you notes to everyone in the company. I guess I'm a little like Vanya, in that I think for some reason it matters that I spend the time to put pen to paper. Everybody works so hard and invests so much in what they do, it just seems worthy of a little effort on my part. I don't mail them. I usually hand deliver them with a hug. I do it partly because it's what Mom taught me to do, and also, because I was told once that a young woman who worked for us between her senior year in high school and her first year in an out-of-town college took my note along to school as something she needed.

I think I've written 21 so far this year, but I've got 15 to deliver tomorrow, 20 on Wednesday, and the last 6 on the last weekend. That's a lot of hugs!

Today I'm also starting to work on Other Desert Cities. I need to read it several times to prepare for our rehearsals beginning after Unnecessary Farce opens on Wednesday. It's a lovely play that tests family loyalty, reminds us that what one remembers isn't always what's true, and speaks up for keeping secrets. I look forward to working with Kristie Berger, Carolyn Popp, Lawrence MacGowan and Eric Moyer as my daughter, sister, husband and son. It will also be fun to be directed by Joshua Waterstone. We've worked together on many projects since he arrived in Lincoln three years ago, but never as actor/director.

I'll see you in the lobby before the shows, and from the stage on July 29th in the Howell Theatre at 7:30pm!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Feature Friday: Opening Night Fever Pt. 2



Circle Mirror Transformation opened last night with a bang! As you have come to expect from Nebraska Rep, an opening night reception was held in our lobby following the performance. We took this week's theme fairly literally--all of the food was circular, and we did our best to don attire with circles, polka dots, or shiny sequins to honor the "circle mirror" motif. Here are some photos from the reception featuring actors, designers, company members, and the most important of all: you, our audience!












Make sure to join us for our final opening night reception for Unnecessary Farce, next Wednesday, July 23. The reception will follow the evening's performance and the reception is free with your ticket admission!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

NRT Excitement with Emma: Meet the Cast of Circle Mirror Transformation!



And we're off to Opening Night #2! Circle Mirror Transformation by Annie Baker opens tonight in the Studio Theatre at the Temple Building. This dramedy tells the story of Marty, the instructor of an adult drama class, and her four students. Now, meet the cast of Circle Mirror Transformation!

Kristie Berger (Marty)
Kristie is thrilled to return to Nebraska Rep where she appeared as Grace in Bus Stop and Priscilla in Resident Alien. Other regional credits include Barbara Fordham in August: Osage County and Frankie in Frankie & Johnny in the Clair de Lune (DayTony Award of Excellence, Guest Actor) at The Human Race Theatre in Dayton and the long-running national tour of The Odd Couple: Female Version starring Barbara Eden. Chicago credits include Jeanette in Last of the Red Hot Lovers at Illinois Theatre Center; The Vagina Monologues, Always…Patsy Cline, and The Odd Couple: Female Version at the Apollo Theater. Other theaters she has worked with include The Goodman, Steppenwolf, Victory Gardens, Equity Library Theater, City Lit, Lifeline, Strawdog, Mary-Arrchie, Touchstone, Center Theater, and Absolute. She also works in voice-overs, commercials, films, and industrial films and has appeared overseas at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland as Sissy in Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean and as Little Mary in Stage Door. She has participated in countless staged readings, several productions, many classes, and numerous table reads at Chicago Dramatists, where she is an Associate Artist. Kristie is a proud member of Actors’ Equity.

Lawrence MacGowan (James)
Lawrence is happy to be joining NRT for the first time. Recent acting credits include the independent film Animals (Schiffli 2013), Chicago Fire (NBC), and roles in Blithe Spirit and Bus Stop with the Summer Studio Theatre at the University of Illinois. Other acting credits include Steppenwolf Theatre, Northlight Theatre, A Red Orchid Theatre, Goodman Theatre, and Victory Gardens. Regional credits include American Conservatory Theatre, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Phoenix Theatre in Indianapolis, Pennsylvania Center Stage, Peninsula Players, and Arkansas Repertory Theatre. Larry teaches acting at the Bilingual Acting Workshop in Paris, and was in the English language premiere of The Glory of Living at B.A.W. This fall, he begins as an assistant professor with the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.


Eric Moyer (Schultz)
Eric is an actor, writer, producer, marketer and developer who calls Lincoln, Nebraska home. After graduating from UNL with a bachelor’s degree in theater, Eric moved to Los Angeles where he earned a number of bit parts in both film and television. Most notably, he played “Casey” on the short-lived sitcom Go Fish. Eric returned to Nebraska in 2006 to pursue a Master’s Degree in Marketing Communication and Advertising; not long after, he rekindled his love of acting as a hard-boiled detective in the film, Blood Rites. Subsequent feature film roles include: “Rev. Joseph Barnaby” in Remission, “Detective John Horwitz” in The Deciphering and supporting roles in the upcoming feature films, Nine Black Roses and Cheerleader Camp Massacre 2.This is Eric’s third season with the Nebraska Rep and second time working with Melissa Lewis whom he shared screen-time with in the award winning short film, “Grilled”.
Melissa Lewis (Theresa)
Melissa is excited to be back at the Rep for another season. She was last seen on the Rep stage in their 2011 production of 39 Steps. You may also have seen Melissa in other Lincoln productions with the Haymarket Theatre and Flatwater Shakespeare Company. Credits include Twelfth Night, Antony & Cleopatra, The Homecoming, Merry Wives of Windsor, Taming of the Shrew, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Macbeth, and On The Verge. She has also done work with Angels Theatre Company, most recently appearing in What The Wind Taught Me. 

Kirstie Smith (Lauren)
Kirstie is a senior double major in Theatre Performance and Premed/Biology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her previous stage appearances at UNL include Leigh in Really Really, Agn├ęs in Silence, and Kayleen in Gruesome Playground Injuries. Ms. Smith’s hobbies include procrastinating, constantly consuming caffeine, and video gaming. Kirstie is very humbled and excited to join the Nebraska Repertory Theatre this summer as Lauren in Circle Mirror Transformation and hopes you enjoy this season’s selections!

Circle Mirror Transformation opens tonight, Thursday, July 17! Tickets are $25 for adults, $12 for students, $22 for seniors. Call the Lied Center Ticket Office at 402.472.4747 to reserve your seats now!

Circle Mirror Transformation Performances
July 17, 18, 25, 30, 31 and August 9 at 7:30pm
August 3 at 2:00pm
Studio Theatre

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Humpday with Howard: Office Shenanigans & Student Rush Tickets



In case anyone thought the Nebraska Rep management team is all work and no play, here are a few pictures of us being goofballs (while still working hard, of course):

Jerica and Stephanie hang up two of our giant lobby posters while Emma peeks out from behind a third

Stephanie, myself, Emma, and Desiree taking selfies before the opening of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

Joshua, Desiree, Stephanie, myself (my computer's there but I'm not), and Emma all take a break to look at some adorable photos of dogs


This Corgi Husky mix is one of our favorites


Much like our occasional shenanigans, the plays we're putting up this year are all filled with fun and humor. Tomorrow we open our second show, Annie Baker's Circle Mirror Transformation

For those of you who don't know, fifteen years ago NRT, in conjunction with the University Program Council (UPC), began offering student rush tickets before performances. Fifteen minutes prior to curtain (so at 7:15pm for our evening performances and 1:45pm for our matinees) any UNL student can purchase a ticket for only $5. Rush tickets will be available before every performance, but we have a limited number of tickets, so get there fast!


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Stephanie's Weekly Spotlight: Fridays are for Art!



Coming to a show here at the Rep is a guaranteed-good time any night of the week. But if you enjoy live music and local art, Friday nights are the night for you. Our Director of Audience Development, Joshua Waterstone has been working hard all season, coordinating with local artists of all facets to create what we call Fine Arts Fridays. Every Friday night, a new set of artists will display their work in the lobby from 6:30pm to 7:30pm, when the show starts. Musicians will play for the full hour, and artwork will be displayed all evening.


Our first Fine Arts Friday was great success, as we welcomed displays from Metro Art Gallery, and a performance by musician Evan Bartels (featured below).





Our line up for the coming weeks is as follows: 

July 11th (Performance: Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike):
Musician: Country Road
Gallery: Capital City Carvers

July 18th (Performance: Circle Mirror Transformation):
Musician: Country Road
Gallery: Woodworking art by Richard Duba and Friends

August 1st (Performance: Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike):
Musician: Sean Grosshans
Gallery: Metro Art Gallery

August 8th (Performance: Closing night of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike):
Musician: Anthony Slattery
Gallery: Iron Tail Gallery

For a memorable and relaxing evening of art, be sure to get your tickets to one of these four performances! We can't wait to see you there!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Virginia's Point of View: Trust the Process



I have always enjoyed watching each of the various cycles that are a part of what I do. I love the beginnings of a project when it's all mapped out, but with only a little specific detail added. I love the hard work that is a process of constantly finding problems and solving them, and then solving them once more to make things work just a little better. I like endings. I like the doing of everything as fully and as beautifully as it can be done, because my work is ephemera, and will be held only in our memories. I like that too.

Last week we began the cycle of opening each play. Seeing its first time on the finished set, adding lights, sound, costumes, and finally, an audience. It's an odd three weeks. Long days and nights in the theatre, meals at unusual times, wearing warm clothes to survive the arctic air conditioning needed to counter the heat from the lights. But it is also invariably taking a show that has been rehearsed, a kind of intricate structure of words, pictures, ideas and actions that all sort of work on their own– and breathing life into it. The technical elements help, the actor's internal clocks are about to launch them into show energy, and the director starts running out of suggestions and starts repeating over and over that "what this show needs is an audience!" I'm not sure how, but a heart starts to beat within the production, and it takes on the life it will share with whoever comes to meet it. I'm not as sure that it's a time I love. It makes me focus on the world in the dark of the theatre so intensely that the milk spoils, the bird feeder hangs empty, the fuel light stays on... but I am intensely interested in what is happening in that pool of light onstage, which leads me from one call to the next, right on till opening night and that crowd of expectant patrons. It doesn't always work, but trying to make it so it is the most serious play I ever do. When it does work, the result is remarkable for the performers and audience alike, and the effort to get there... inconsequential.

Today I have a call at 10AM and we'll run the show. After the run, we'll work any trouble spots. We'll break for lunch at 1:30 and resume work at 3. This will be our first time on the set, which brings a new list of problems and delights. We'll run the show and work on problems until 6:30. Then the actors will go home for some hard-earned rest and I'll go to a "paper tech" which gives the tech areas line-by-line timing for their work. Tuesday we'll run at 11, break from 4 to 6, run at 6:30 and break at 11. Wednesday will be the same, except for small preview audience at 7:30. It's a kind of twilight zone from which I will emerge on Thursday at 7:30, dressed up, and ready to share what we've made together, and then party. With luck I'll stay home on Friday and buy some milk and gas before we begin again on Saturday with tech for Unnecessary Farce.

Wish me luck!




Friday, July 11, 2014

Feature Friday: Opening Night Fever


Well, it's official: the Nebraska Repertory Theatre 2014 season is now open! Last night, the cast of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike knocked their opening night out of the park. To celebrate, the NRT Management Team put together a post-show reception to honor the hard work of the cast, crew, and everyone who made the production possible (including the audience!). To follow suit with the costume party that occurs in the play, the opening night reception was celebrated with all of the glitz and glam of a Hollywood costume party. Complete with clever names for the dishes and confetti reflecting the colors of the NRT season, a good (and delicious) time was had by all who participated. Take a look at some of the photos, and get ready to join the fun for Circle Mirror Transformation's opening next Thursday and Unnecessary Farce's on Wednesday, the 23 of July!

Food and decorations from the opening night of Vanya.

Management team members put on their best to serve audience members at the opening night reception.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

NRT Excitement with Emma: Meet the Cast of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike!


With the opening of our first show of the season tonight (Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike), the Rep Theatre is buzzing with excitement! The stitchers and carpenters are making last minute adjustments to the costumes and sets, the management team is prepping for the reception to follow the performance, and the actors are warming up before their big debut! In honor of opening night, I thought I'd give you a little insight into the people behind the characters that you'll see onstage. Meet the cast of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike!






















Lawrence MacGowan (Vanya)
Lawrence is happy to be joining NRT for the first time. Recent acting credits include the independent film Animals (Schiffli 2013), Chicago Fire (NBC), and roles in Blithe Spirit and Bus Stop with the Summer Studio Theatre at the University of Illinois. Other acting credits include Steppenwolf Theatre, Northlight Theatre, A Red Orchid Theatre, Goodman Theatre, and Victory Gardens. Regional credits include American Conservatory Theatre, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Phoenix Theatre in Indianapolis, Pennsylvania Center Stage, Peninsula Players, and Arkansas Repertory Theatre. Larry teaches acting at the Bilingual Acting Workshop in Paris, and was in the English language premiere of The Glory of Living at B.A.W. This fall, he begins as an assistant professor with the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.





















Carolyn Popp (Sonia)
Carolyn is delighted to debut at Nebraska Rep in two great comedies. Recently she played Aunt Kate in The Cripple of Inishmaan at Centenary Stage, and the evil Queen in Cymbeline with Shakespeare in the Parking Lot - yes - an NYC parking lot. Carolyn participated as a voice of Gettysburg in the televised live stage celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg last summer. Other NYC credits include The Hired Man, Escape from Happiness, Fifth of July, Natural Affection, A Tale of Two Cities, The Seagull, and The Comedy of Errors. Regional credits include The Last Night of Ballyhoo, The Clean House, Our Town, 110 in the Shade, I Do! I Do!, Dancing at Lughnasa, The Miracle Worker, Broadway Bound, Harvey, Footloose, Cabaret, Defiance, An Inspector Calls, A Wonderful Life, Funny Girl, Carousel. You may also recall Carolyn as Stephen Colbert’s unsuspecting wife Claire Noblet in Comedy Central’s Strangers with Candy. Many thanks to a great company of actors, crew and creative team, and to my dear actor/husband David Sitler who makes our life on the road feel like home.





















Kristie Berger (Masha)

Kristie is thrilled to return to Nebraska Rep where she appeared as Grace in Bus Stop and Priscilla in Resident Alien. Other regional credits include Barbara Fordham in August: Osage County and Frankie in Frankie & Johnny in the Clair de Lune (DayTony Award of Excellence, Guest Actor) at The Human Race Theatre in Dayton and the long-running national tour of The Odd Couple: Female Version starring Barbara Eden. Chicago credits include Jeanette in Last of the Red Hot Lovers at Illinois Theatre Center; The Vagina Monologues, Always…Patsy Cline, and The Odd Couple: Female Version at the Apollo Theater. Other theaters she has worked with include The Goodman, Steppenwolf, Victory Gardens, Equity Library Theater, City Lit, Lifeline, Strawdog, Mary-Arrchie, Touchstone, Center Theater, and Absolute. She also works in voice-overs, commercials, films, and industrial films and has appeared overseas at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland as Sissy in Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean and as Little Mary in Stage Door. She has participated in countless staged readings, several productions, many classes, and numerous table reads at Chicago Dramatists, where she is an Associate Artist. Kristie is a proud member of Actors’ Equity.















Hayden Spaeth (Spike)
Hayden just finished his 4th year at North Dakota State University where he will receive a B.S. in Theatre and a B.S. in Business Management. This is his first show with Nebraska Rep. Last summer he performed with Theatre West Virginia. He has been involved in numerous productions at NDSU. Hayden is also working as a carpenter during his time here. He hopes you enjoy all of the wonderful shows NRT has to offer!





















Katherine Nora LeRoy (Cassandra)

Katherine hails from Pensacola, Florida and currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia. Thank you Virginia , Paul and Brad for another opportunity with the Nebraska Repertory Theatre. Some theatre credits: Good People, In the Next Room, You Can't Take it With You (BTE), The 13th of Paris, Amazing Grace (Horizon Theatre/Atlanta), The Ladies Man, Speech & Debate (Theatre in the Square), For Colored Girls, A Raisin in the Sun, The Colored Museum, Omnium Gatherum, Leading Ladies, and Pretty Fire. She earned her B.A. from FAMU and M.F.A. from U.N.L. ~Thanks to my family and friends for all the love and support. Special thanks to Tashiba, Carlos and Anges for being my biggest fans.






















Brenna Hill (Nina)
Brenna Hill, originally from Castle Rock, Colorado, is currently a junior at the Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film pursuing a BA in Theatre Performance. Her recent roles include Silence in Silence and Annie in In The Next Room as a part of the Johnny Carson School's main stage season, Lily/Christine/Rhonda/Joan in Theatrix's Lion in the Streets, and Trixie Martin in The Haymarket Theatre's Daisy Pulls it Off. This is Brenna's first show at the Nebraska Repertory Theatre, and she is very thankful for this amazing opportunity to work with such a talented and experienced cast and director. She wishes all of her fellow actors to break a leg and she hopes you enjoy the show. "In me is the spirit of the great Alexander, the spirit of Napoleon, of Caesar, of Shakespeare, and of the tiniest leech that swims." -The Seagull by Anton Chekhov

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike opens tonight, Thursday, July 10! Tickets are $25 for adults, $12 for students, $22 for seniors. Call the Lied Center Ticket Office at 402.472.4747 to reserve your seats now!

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike Performances
July 10, 11, 12, 19 and August 1, 8 at 7:30pm
July 27 at 2:00pm
Howell Theatre

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