Cold Cream

Andy on Broadway

* My first awareness that Andy Rannels was starring in the hit Broadway musical Book of Mormon, by the “South Park” creators, came when a unidentified photo looked familiar. You couldn’t miss that gleaming smile of the fuzzy-cheeked kid who always looked like he’d just been hatched. Now, of course, everybody knows it’s the young man we saw in such Omaha shows as On Golden Pond and 110 in the Shade. Raised a Catholic, he’s now Elder Price, the Mormon missionary often described as a Ken doll, and shown in short-sleeved white shirt with necktie. In case you haven’t heard, everyone from Jon Stewart, who raved about it on "The Daily Show" to the Salt Lake City Tribune, and even a Mormon blogger came to the same conclusion: It’s as profanely satirical about beliefs as you’d expect from the “South Park” pair, but overall celebrates faith and religion. His mother, Charlotte Rannels, saw the actor she calls Andrew both on opening night and the next one. She’s also seen him as Bob Gaudio in The Jersey Boys and as Link in Hairspray. Andy grew up near the old Emmy Gifford Theatre on Center Street, took his first acting class there at age 8, and debuted in its The Snow Queen. He was befriended by legends of the metro stage, the late Pam Carter and his co-stars in On Golden Pond, when he played the grandson of Norm and Lou Filbert. As soon as he graduated from Creighton Prep in 1997, Andy headed for New York City where he attended college and performed in summer stock. He soon found voice work, ranging from Fried Ricer in Fighting Foodons to Archie Andrews. He’s the only theatrical member of a family, including four siblings who attended Prep or Mercy High. The Omaha Community Playhouse, which boasts many former cast members who’ve gone on to other acting triumphs, can’t claim him. He auditioned for Playhouse shows, and was told he’d make it several times, but never quite landed a role. * It makes sense that it costs only $5 or $3 for seniors to see that hard times classic, Grapes of Wrath, adapted from the John Steinbeck novel. It plays in the Iowa Western Community College black box on the far side of Council Bluffs, 7 p.m. April 7-9, 15-16, and 2 p.m. Sundays, April 10 and 17. Cold Cream looks at theater in the metro area. Email information to coldcream@thereader.com.

posted at 11:42 pm
on Friday, April 08th, 2011

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