Lincoln’s Eclectic Taste in Summer Theatre Fare
by Julie Hagemeier
Lincoln’s summer arts scene is created for those with eclectic tastes. Outdoor concerts such as Jazz in June in Sheldon Museum of Art’s Garden and the Lincoln Municipal Band at Antelope Park joins with outdoor theatre at Pinewood Bowl, and Flatwater Shakespeare Company’s performances in The Stables at Wyuka and in the city’s parks.
Lincoln’s theatres also cater to those who prefer air-cooled comfort at TADA Theatre, the Lincoln Community Playhouse, the Haymarket Theatre and the University of Nebraska’s Temple building.
A long-standing Lincoln tradition, Pinewood Bowl’s July musical has been held annually since 1949 in the lush setting of Pioneers Park, 3201 South Coddington Street in southwest Lincoln. From Gilbert and Sullivan to Rodgers and Hammerstein, Pinewood Bowl’s productions provide toe-tapping entertainment for the entire family. Pinewood’s 69th annual summer musical will be held July 12–15 and 19–22. According to Pinewood’s Shannon Ochoa, Harvard’s best loved blond-haired, pink-clad law student will take the stage by storm in Legally Blond the Musical. This fun, award-winning musical follows the transformation of Elle Woods as she bashes stereotypes, snobbishness and scandal in pursuit of her dreams. Hilarious and heart-warming, this musical is filled with memorable songs and dynamic dances. For more information visit www.pinewoodbowl.org.
Flatwater Shakespeare Company’s new Artistic Director Becky Boesen shepherds this seventeen-year-old company featuring some of Lincoln’s finest actors. Selecting one of Shakespeare’s best loved plays, Flatwater Shakespeare opens performances at the open-air Stables at Wyuka Cemetery at 3600 O Street and then “goes on the road” taking the show to venues across the city such as Lincoln Community Garden, James Arthur Vineyards, the Pioneers Park Nature Center and the Railyard’s Canopy street as well as the city’s parks such as Henry, Cooper and Holmes to name a few. For more information visit www.flatwatershakespearecompany.org.
If you relish comedies and musical revues, TADA Theatre has a season made just for you. TADA is noted for their Midwest premieres of musicals such as Forbidden Broadway and Gilligan’s Island the Musical. TADA invites you to “the wackiest event of the year” with Tony N’ Tina’s Wedding May 31–June 10 in the Lied Commons Performance Space in the Lied Center for Performing Arts, 12th & R Streets. Tony N’ Tina’s Wedding is “staged as a festive celebration where the audience doesn’t just watch, but participates directly, from the first toast to the last slice of cake. As two colorful and madcap Italian-American families come together as one, everyone in attendance joins in the fun as guests of the bride and groom.” During the regular season, TADA is located in the Creamery Building at 7th and P in Lincoln’s Haymarket. For more information, contact 402-438-TADA (8232) or go to www.tadaproductions.info.
The Angels Theatre Company is a group of performing artists who collaborate to create engaging theatre to promote artistic growth, foster community relationships and raise social awareness. According to Executive Director Judith K. Hart, “The Angels Theatre Company is offering readings of new plays created by the members of our Play Writing Collective. 2018 will mark the fourth new works festival First Flight Festival. All plays in the Festival are short plays or monologues under 20 minutes each and written by members of the Collective. Watch for July dates performed in the University of Nebraska’s Studio Theatre located on the first floor of the Temple Building at 12th & R Streets. For detailed information about when and where please visit our website—www.angelscompany.org.”
The Lincoln Community Playhouse, or LCP, as the locals refer to it, is another long-time tradition on Lincoln’s theatre scene. Located at 2500 South 56th Street, LCP presents everything from tried and true musicals such as Spamalot, to theatre for families such as The Little Mermaid, JR. Kicking off Summer 2018 LCP presents the rousing musical The Music Man. Join Professor Harold Hill as he forms a marching band out of a group of not very musical children and maybe even falls in love in a small town in Iowa. Performances are June 8-10 and 15-17. Not only does LCP produce blockbuster musicals, they also offer a broad range of outreach activities and classes for all ages. To volunteer or to get a schedule, class and ticket information, call 402-489-7529 or go to www.lincolnplayhouse.com.
The Haymarket Theatre and Nebraska Youth Theatre keep very busy in the summer months with workshops and classes that result in public performances. According to the Haymarket staff, “… we work hard on the performance, getting top-notch instructors to teach acting, dancing, singing and all the other skills associated with the theatre, but we also try to maximize the opportunities to learn life skills that can be applied offstage… Every performance by the Nebraska Youth Theatre represents a lot of individual creativity, hard work and bravery from every member of this cast.” For more information The Haymarket, located at 803 Q Street, please call 402-477-2600 or visit haymarkettheatre.org.
Just a few miles north of Lincoln is another summer tradition, the Mahoney Melodramas. Since 1993, from May to August, families have been treated to a night of booing and throwing popcorn at the villain, and cheering on the heroine, who is always in need of saving. For a complete schedule of their repertoire of productions, visit www.melodrama.net.
Other theatres in the area producing during the summer months include: Beatrice Community Players located 40 miles south of Lincoln on Highway 77. Visit their website for details at www.beatricecommunityplayers.com.
In Hickman, just 10 miles southeast of Lincoln, is a new theatre company The Stage Theater. Their latest productions may be found at www.thestagetheater.com.
For a full list of productions throughout the year, visit the Lincoln Theatre Alliance website at www.lincolntheatrealliance.org.