Noises Off, Vertical Hour and Looking Ahead to Jersey Boys

* You may have seen the cast of Noises Off perform the play Nothing On, but the University of Nebraska at Omaha version is the first time in my many viewings that it’s worth watching the action at intermission. That’s when the crew turns the two-story set by student Charles V. Fisher completely around. The bedroom farce features nine doors for nine actors. Prop master Darin Kuehler equips it with plates of sardines, bouquets of flowers, bottles of booze and one big red ax to go with the fallen trousers and lacy undies. Director D. Scott Glasser and company take this weekend off, then return Dec. 1-4. The three-act comedy includes two intermissions, each with the massive transformation. * Don’t be surprised if you’re passing through the lobby of UNO’s Weber Fine Arts Building and hear someone whisper, “Psst,” and beckon you to follow him to the elevator. That would be Andrew McGreevy luring you up to the third floor where his SkullDuggery Theatre performs The Vertical Hour. It’s easy: go to the elevator, push “M” (don’t ask why the third floor is the mezzanine), walk the long, bright corridor to the far end, enter Room 333 and find a chair in the classroom converted to theater. Director Cindy Melby Phaneuf used her faculty status to provide space for the homeless theater. Whatever else the play has to recommend it, the chance to see the talented Paul Boesing play a womanizing elder arguing about the Iraq war is well worth an elevator ride. * I didn’t think Omaha Performing Arts could get me excited about a musical 10 months before its arrival. Sure, I’d looked forward to seeing Jersey Boys since watching former Omahan John Lloyd Young win a Tony for playing Frankie Valli of the Four Seasons. But I can usually keep my distance from reviews and wait to see for myself. What happened last week, when the show was promoted at the Holland Center, was that three cast members rekindled the fire felt when first reading about reaction to “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You.” Intellectually, it doesn’t make much sense to get that excited about the four blue collar boys making it big. Emotionally, however, you can understand why grown men get tears in their eyes, so we’re waiting to well up next September. Meanwhile, we’ve got the greatest heart-warming gift in local theater history, A Christmas Carol, back for its 35th year at the Omaha Community Playhouse, where Young got his start. Cold Cream looks at theater in the metro area. Email information to coldcream@thereader.com.

posted at 11:22 am
on Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

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