‘Belt Gets Creepy Again, Beasley Does Wilson

The Shelterbelt promises that Shelterskelter 16 opens Oct. 6 with “a great mix of creepy, spooky and darkly humorous” plays, including one by Omahan Jeremy Johnson, the other eight by playwrights from New York to California.

            They run right through Oct. 31 with the “definitely not for little kids” caveat. While tickets generally cost $15 and $12, opening weekend and some other occasions offer a $10 ticket.

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The Reader review of Blue Barn’s Bug mentions it was one of four shows seen in less than a week after my return from four months in Colorado. That string started with the final Sunday matinee of Jersey Boys, which gave me a look at two men I’d enjoyed interviewing: Joseph Leo Bwarie as Frankie Valli and Preston Truman Boyd as Bob Gaudio of the Four Seasons.

            Boyd had been hidden here in green face as the Monster in Young Frankenstein with his singing confined to a guttural “Puttin’ on the Ritz.” So it was new to see the big light-haired kid from Minnesota and hear his vocals as the song writer behind Valli’s hits.

            And Bwarie’s soaring falsetto on “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” made it obvious why Omaha couldn’t take its ears off of his 27 songs. Next up for Omaha Performing Arts: Spamalot in November.

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Nothing’s a safer bet for the price of a ticket than the John Beasley Theater doing an August Wilson play. Radio Golf, the final 1990s piece of his 10-play cycle, features a lovable portrayal of Elder Joseph Barlow by Beasley himself and a laidback lead role for Tyrone Beasley as Harmond Wilks, the developer faced with a moral crisis as he tries to redevelop Pittsburgh’s Hill District while running for mayor.

            Raydell Cordell III as his hard-driving partner and TammyRa’ as his ambitious wife set the early tone of Wilson’s final play, but John as “you can call me Ol’ Joe” Barlow brings the humanity that always makes the great playwright’s work as endearing as it is revealing.

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Finally, if you want pure farcical fun on stage, rush to catch The Government Inspector at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Ben Beck is hilarious in the title role, with D. Scott Glasser as the corrupt mayor and Katlynn Yost as his seductive wife.

            Director Doug Paterson sports a cast featuring such standouts as Josh Ryan and Nathan McCarty as twins named Seamus, Noah Diaz as Beck’s snotty servant and Cathy Hirsch as a postmistress who seldom delivers an unopened letter.

           

                                                            --Warren Francke

 

Cold Cream looks at theater in the metro area. Email information to coldcream@thereader.com.

 

 

posted at 05:03 pm
on Sunday, October 02nd, 2011

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