The show must go on – but safely.
Omaha Community Playhouse’s production of “A Christmas Carol” is a staple for many area families. The Christmas season would seem incomplete without it.
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic requiring social distancing and a limit on crowd sizes, the staff of the Omaha Community Playhouse had to get creative to allow “A Christmas Carol” to be performed for area residents.
“A Christmas Carol” has been performed at the community playhouse for over 40 years.
“I couldn’t imagine Omaha without ‘A Christmas Carol,’ Kimberly Faith Hickman, director/artistic director said in the production’s playbill. “Pandemic or not, we had to find a way to bring this story to our community, even if it looked and sounded different than what we are used to.”
Much deliberation led to an eight-person adaptation.
“Geoffrey Jones and I worked tirelessly on this new version of a favorite story,” Hickman said. “How do we give our audiences the comforts of a show they are used to seeing while keeping actors and crew members safe? We discussed a few options: a one-person cast, a three-person cast, a five-person cast, and eventually, an eight-person cast. For social distancing purposes, our backstage crew and orchestra also needed to become smaller. With a smaller crew, we couldn’t keep our entire set.
“What design elements and songs were absolutely essential? What could we reimagine scenically and musically this year? The OCP staff and I collaborated to bring the traditional beauty of ‘A Christmas Carol’ to life, while also observing the compromises we needed to make due to the pandemic.”
“A Christmas Story” will be performed Nov. 20 through Dec. 23 in Omaha Community Playhouse’s Hawks Mainstage Theatre. Twenty-nine performances are currently scheduled.
Tickets can be purchased by phone at 402-553-0800 or online at www.omahaplayhouse.com.
In this beloved production, Ebenezer Scrooge takes audience members on a life-changing journey to discover the true meaning of Christmas. It is filled with elaborate Victorian costumes, festive music and crisp, wintry sets.
Jerry Longe will take the stage for his 16th year of playing Ebenezer Scrooge in the Omaha Community Playhouse’s production of “A Christmas Carol.” Prior to his Omaha performances, he toured with the Nebraska Theatre Caravan production of “A Christmas Carol,” playing Marley, Ghost of Christmas Present, and Jake.
Longe’s voice also can be heard of numerous local and regional radio and television commercials as well as on multiple syndicated cartoon series. When he’s not writing, voicing, teaching or performing, Longe tours across the nation as the emcee for the BravO! National Dance and Talent Competition.
The other cast members – Jonathan Berger, Brandon Fisher, Serena Johnson, Megan Kelly, Josh Peyton, Brinlee Roeder and Dominic Torres – will all be playing multiple characters.
Hickman said it’s been a labor of love to still be able to bring the Christmas production to the stage.
“Our directing/choreography team, designers, cast, crew and orchestra are giving you all of their hearts to bring you this story,” Hickman said. “It has been a unique adventure – one for the OCP history books. I am so proud of their work, and honored to know and create with them.
“Much like Scrooge, we have all been reminded the past year that human connection is more important than ever. It is because of this that we honor the past, acknowledge the present and salute the future, by coming together to bring you this classic story. I hope that it will bring you some comfort and peace during the holiday season.”