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Drive-in style concert features music from rock musicals
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Drive-in style concert features music from rock musicals

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In order to welcome audience members back to see its shows, the Omaha Community Playhouse had to get creative.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in mid-March, stages went dark on Broadway and at entertainment venues across the country, including the Omaha Community Playhouse.

In order to keep performing arts alive, new ways of presenting shows had to be invented. Some productions have streamed online while others have moved outdoors.

Instead of hosting shows inside its building, the Omaha Community Playhouse is taking advantage of its parking lot.

“Don’t Stop Me Now! A Celebration of Rock Musicals” is being presented outdoors in the Storz Parking Lot at the Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St. Performances will run Wednesdays through Sundays through Sept. 20.

Previously in August, the playhouse hosted “Billy McGuigan’s Pop Rock Orchestra” in its parking lot.

“We have really tried to stay active and innovate new ways to keep our community engaged throughout the COVID-19 shutdown,” Allyson Wagner, director of marketing and public relations for OCP, said in a press release. “We are in a unique position compared to other performing arts organizations in the city because we have a big parking lot.”

The outdoor parking lot venue allows for social distancing and other safety precautions to be followed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Audience members are invited to bid farewell to summer with one final outdoor show at OCP. The drive-in style concert features songs from several acclaimed rock ‘n’ roll musicals, including “Jersey Boys,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Rock of Ages,” “Mamma Mia!,” “Dreamgirls” and more.

Those attending are encouraged to sing and dance along with their favorite musical hits from their private socially-distanced parking area, or tune in to hear the show from OCP’s radio station inside their car.

The concert features Billy McGuigan’s Rave On Productions band and six powerhouse vocalists: Jonathan Berger, Evelyn Hill, Ejanae Hume, Eric Perlstein, Brittney Thompson and Jesse White.

“This is one of the fruits of our labor, and we hope that it is well received,” Wagner said. “These drive-in shows have really become quite the event, with patrons going so far as setting up tents, bringing in catering, and making a big night of it.”

The show times are 7 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and 6 p.m. on Sundays. The concert is a cashless event requiring a reservation.

Cars will be parked in a checkerboard pattern for social distancing. Audience members can choose to bring portable lawn chairs and sit outdoors on the driver’s side of the vehicle they came in. They are asked to only mingle with those who came in their vehicle.

No concessions will be sold. No smoking or alcoholic beverages will be permitted.

Bathrooms in the playhouse’s main lobby will be available, with COVID-19 sanitation and social distancing observed.

Early arrival is recommended to allow extra time for parking. Parking spaces will be assigned as cars arrive. Audience members are asked not to line up to park until 60 minutes before showtime.

Tickets start at $35. Prices vary be performance. Tickets may be purchased at the OCP Box Office, 6915 Cass St., by phone at 402-553-0800 or online at www.omahaplayhouse.com.

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