The musical, Murder Ballad, running through November 20, 2016 in the Howard Drew Theatre at the Omaha Community Playhouse (OCP) tells a tale of an affair gone bad. Unlike most love triangle stories, the adulterer here is a young mother and wife named Sara. Played by award-winning actress Leanne Hill Carlson, Sara escapes the doldrums of everyday married life and reconnects with former boyfriend Tom, played by Thomas Gjere. Their acrobatic use of bar counters and pool tables lends a creative steaminess to the love affair. Sara’s devoted husband, Michael, played by John E. Jones, loves her, despite her flaws and her obvious distaste of the drudgery of life- “Who will I be from 9-3?”
The story is narrated by the incredibly talented and humorous Mackenzie Dehmer who captivates the audience with her voice as well as her movements throughout the bar. The four-piece orchestra, seen on set, accentuates the drama but sometimes overpowers the voices.
A special highlight of this production is the functioning bar. An hour before start, guests are welcome to go on stage to order a drink, sit on a bar stool, play pool at the table, drop a quarter in the pinball machine or sit back and watch TV above the bar. Guests may even sit on the 12 bar seats at no additional cost during the performance.
Lyn Leach did. The stage is comfortable to him as an avid theater patron and actor. He’s starred in 8 productions and is the past president of the Lincoln Community Playhouse. He and his wife, Natalie, are OCP season subscribers who see about 50 shows a year, including recently seeing “Hamilton” in New York City.
Lyn admits, before attending the play, he knew nothing more about it than it was a musical, set in a bar and involved a murder. He enjoyed the wonderful voices most. “The purity of the harmonies and the notes they hit were impressive.”
“It was a fantastic show. I loved the character development. I believed and understood each of them. And, I really liked the way the narrator worked the room and some of the comical places she ended up, which added life to her.”
Murder Ballad does contain situations of infidelity, adult language and mild violence. Lyn believes it’s especially appealing for a young, progressive audience. “I really love that OCP is making every effort to broaden its patron base by including more edgy and progressive plays. Their interesting and entertaining productions are at a level of quality far above the typical community theatre.”
Lyn sums up Murder Ballad this way. “It’s a musical that will take you on a journey of deception, sensuality, love, heartbreak, and above all, passion. It is one of the best overall productions in years at the Omaha Community Playhouse. As an audience member, you will feel like you are directly involved in the story. The music is phenomenal, the voices supreme, and the acting is outstanding. Get a ticket and experience the exhilarating journey yourself.”
Get a Ticket
Do this by calling the OCP Box Office at (402) 553-0800 or online at www.OmahaPlayhouse.com or www.TicketOmaha.com. Single tickets are $42 for adults and $25 for students. Tickets for groups of 12 or more are $30 for adults and $20 for students.
A limited number of Twilight Tickets are available at half price after noon the day of the performance at the Box Office. Cash or check only. These are subject to availability.
Sponsored by: Le Voltaire Restaurant/Le Petit Paris, The Berry & Rye, David and Anne Rismiller, Whitmore Charitable Trust and CW15 (media sponsor)
Location: Howard Drew Theatre | Omaha Community Playhouse 6915 Cass Street | Omaha, NE 68132
©Copyright. October 2016. Linda Leier Thomason
All Rights Reserved.