Nebraska Repertory Theatre Opens 47th Season

Nebraska Repertory Theatre Opens 47th Season

calendar icon25 Jun 2014    

The Nebraska Repertory Theatre, the professional theatre of the Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film in the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, opens its 47th season, July 10, 2014 with the Christopher Durang comedy Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. It plays in rotation with Annie Baker’s Circle Mirror Transformation (opening July 17) and Paul Slade Smith’s Unnecessary Farce (opening July 23). The season also includes two one-night only performances: a staged reading of Other Desert Cities by Jon Robin Baitz on July 29 and the premiere performance of Lincoln’s newest modern dance company SloDance entitled "P(l)aying Due(t)s" on August 5. The season closes on August 10, 2014.

Season passes, which allow holders unlimited attendance to all three NRT 2014 productions and free admission to the one-night only “Destinations” performances, are on sale at the Lied Center Ticket Office, 301 North 12th Street Monday through Friday 11:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and one hour prior to performances in the Temple Building lobby. Season passes are $60, $55 for faculty, staff, senior citizens, and active military members, and $35 for students and members of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. Individual tickets are available at $25, $22, and $12. Tickets may also be obtained with Visa or MasterCard by calling the Ticket Office at 402-472-4747 or 800-432-3231 or purchasing on line at

Seating in Howell Theatre is reserved. Please contact the Ticket Office in advance to select the best available seat. All seating in the Studio Theatre is general admission.

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike by Christopher Durang was the most produced play in the United States last year, and was named the Best Play of 2013 by the Tonys, Drama Desk, and the New York Drama Critics Circle, to name a few. At the top of the play wediscover aging siblings, Vanya and Sonia, idle and bored, bemoaning how their lives have slipped away. Here they sit drinking their morning coffee, in their country manse, paid for by Masha, their sister, the famous actress. But wait a minute, this isn’t Mother Russia in the late 1800’s, this is 2014 in swanky Bucks County, Pennsylvania. These siblings aren’t Chekhovian characters in a dusty revival, but children named by their professor parents who adored Chekhov’s plays. This self-absorbed Masha is a paparazzi-chased movie star. She and Spike, her beefcake boy toy, are about to pop in unannounced and turn everything upside down. Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike opens July 10 at 7:30 p.m. (with a post show reception) and plays July 11, 12, 19, August 1 and 8 at 7:30 pm. and July 27 at 2:00 p.m. Howell Memorial Theatre, first floor Temple Building.

Circle Mirror Transformation

Circle Mirror Transformation by Annie Baker won an Obie for Best Play in 2010 and last month wecelebrated her play Flick winning the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Circle Mirror Transformation is one of the plays in her Shirley, Vermont Trilogy exploring the characters of that fictional town. Head of the local art center, Marty, has taught numerous creative dramatics classes for children, but until now has never gathered an adult class. As she leads the class of four, using theatre games to help them build trust, get in touch with their emotions, and open to vulnerability, each participant in the class uncovers barriers that surprise them, and also find the seeds of change. That growing pains have no “sell by date” is reassuring in this warm and funny play. Circle Mirror Transformation opens July 17 at 7:30 p.m. (with a post show reception) and plays July 18, 25, 30, 31, August 9 at 7:30 p.m. and August 3 at 2:00 p.m. in the Studio Theatre, first floor Temple Building.

Unnecessary Farce

Unnecessary Farce by Paul Slade Smith has won nine regional theatre awards and has been called the funniest farce since Noises Off. Set in two identical rooms of a cheap motel, the cop room and the sting room (with a video camera hidden behind a ficus plant) we see eight doors that open unexpectedly and slap shut resoundingly. Enter two recent graduates of the police academy, one mayor with a lot of explaining to do, and a very attractive accountant sure the mayor is “cooking” the city’s books. Now add several Mafia types who will stop at nothing to avoid detection, and you have what one critic called, “a terminally silly and howlingly funny” evening in the theatre. Unnecessary Farce opens July 23 at 7:30 p.m. (with a post show reception) and plays July 24, 26, August 2, 6, 7 at 7:30 p.m. and August 10 at 2:00 p.m. in Howell Memorial Theatre.


The Destinations series consists of two one-night only performances showcasing new and emerging works. Tickets are $7 at the door (no seat reservations or advanced sales) or are free for season pass holders. Both performances begin at 7:30 p.m. and are staged in Howell Theatre.

July 29 – Staged Reading – Other Desert Cities by Jon Robin Baitz

This staged reading of Jon Robin Baitz’s Other Desert Cities will feature the 2014 Actors’ Equity Association actors Kristie Berger, Lawrence MacGowan, Carolyn Popp and NRT’s Artistic Director Virginia Smith. NRT’s Director of Audience Development, Joshua Waterstone, will direct it. Other Desert Cities is the story of a family with a secret about a son’s death that his much younger sister wants to disclose in a new memoir. A recent success in London, this 2011 Broadway hit garnered a 2012 Pulitzer Prize nomination for Baitz.

August 5 – Premiere Performance – "P(l)aying Due(t)s" by SloDance

On August 5, Susan Levine Ourada’s new modern dance company, SloDance, will premiere with "P(l)aying Due(t)s." It features choreography by Ourada, Alexander Beller, Paul Besaw, Clare Byrne and Jenna Riegel, and will be danced by Ourada, Besaw, Noelle Bohaty, Ekida Lourie, and Joie Meador.

The Nebraska Repertory Theatre Employs Actors, Directors and Designers From Across the Country

Kristie Berger - Masha, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike - Marty, Circle Mirror Transformation

Berger returns to Nebraska Repertory Theatre where she previously appeared as Grace in BusStop and Priscilla in Resident Alien. Other regional credits include Barbara Fordham in August: Osage County and Frankie in Frankie & Johnny in the Clair de Lune at The Human Race Theatre in Dayton and the long-running national tour of The Odd Couple: Female Version starring Barbara Eden. Chicago credits include Jeanette in Last of the Red Hot Lovers at Illinois Theatre Center; The Vagina Monologues, Always…Patsy Cline, and The Odd Couple: Female Version at the Apollo Theater. Other theaters she has worked with include The Goodman, Steppenwolf, Victory Gardens, Equity Library Theater, City Lit, Lifeline, Strawdog, Mary-Arrchie, Touchstone, Center Theater, and Absolute.

Doug Finlayson - Director, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

Finlayson’s last project for Nebraska Repertory Theatre was Jeeves Intervenes. Other NRT productions include Act a Lady and Resident Alien. He has been the Head of Directing at Webster University since 1998. In 2013, Doug’s production of Maple and Vine at HotCity Theatre was nominated for a St. Louis Theatre Circle Award for Outstanding Production. Doug was also nominated for the 2010 Kevin Kline Award for Best Director of a Play for Equus at HotCity. He won the 2008 Kevin Kline Award for Best Director of a Play for Kindertransport at New Jewish Theatre, A Gnome for Christmas for The Imaginary Theatre Company, and Romeo and Juliet at the Illinois Shakespeare Festival.

Darin Himmerich - Scenic Designer, Unnecessary Farce

Himmerich is both Scenic Designer and Technical Director at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. There he has designed scenery for Don’t Dress for Dinner, The Birthday Party, Rabbit Hole, and The Tutor. His recent professional design credits include Mauritius (Nebraska Repertory Theatre) and All Shook Up (Black Hills Playhouse). He has worked as Assistant Designer at the Omaha Community Playhouse where he designed Member of the Wedding and Black Comedy. As Technical Director for the Lincoln Community Playhouse he built over 27 productions and designed scenery for six productions including Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Amadeus. He spent time in Los Angeles working in scene shops where he got to build scenery for CNN, TBS, Lifetime, the State of California, and Disneyland.

Katherine Nora LeRoyCassandra, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike – Billie Dwyer, Unnecessary Farce

LeRoy currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia. Theatre credits include Good People, In the Next Room, YouCan’t Take It With You, The 13th of Paris, Amazing Grace, The Ladies Man, Speech & Debate, For Colored Girls, A Raisin in the Sun, The Colored Museum, and for the Nebraska RepertoryTheatre Omnium Gatherum, Leading Ladies, and Pretty Fire. LeRoy received her Master of Fine Arts in Acting from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

Lawrence MacGowanVanya, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike James, Circle Mirror Transformation

MacGowan is making his first appearance with the NRT this summer. Recent acting credits include the independent film Animals (Schiffli 2013), Chicago Fire (NBC), and roles in Blithe Spirit and Bus Stop with the Summer Studio Theatre at the University of Illinois. Other acting credits include Steppenwolf Theatre, Northlight Theatre, A Red Orchid Theatre, Goodman Theatre, and Victory Gardens. Regional credits include American Conservatory Theatre, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Phoenix Theatre in Indianapolis, Pennsylvania Center Stage, Peninsula Players, and Arkansas Repertory Theatre. MacGowan teaches acting at the Bilingual Acting Workshop in Paris, and was in the English language premiere of The Glory of Living at B.A.W. This fall, he begins as an assistant professor with the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Jessica Parr– Costume Designer, Circle Mirror Transformation

Parr is a Nebraska native and UNL alum. She began her professional career at the Nebraska Repertory Theatre twenty years ago. She holds an MFA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and currently teaches Costume Design at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. She has designed for the Dorset Theatre Festival in Vermont, the Struthers Library Theatre in Pennsylvania, and the Cane River Repertory Theatre in Louisiana.

Carolyn PoppSonia, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and SpikeMary Meekly, Unnecessary Farce

This is Popp’s first season with the NRT. Recently she played Aunt Kate in The Cripple of Inishmaan at Centenary Stage, and the evil Queen in Cymbeline with Shakespeare in the Parking Lot. Other New York City credits include The Hired Man, Escape from Happiness, Fifth of July, Natural Affection, A Tale of Two Cities, The Seagull, and The Comedy of Errors. Popp was Stephen Colbert’s unsuspecting wife Claire Noblet in Comedy Central’s Strangers with Candy.

Mike Smith– Sound Designer for all three productions

Smith serves as Coordinator of the Design and Production Program and Assistant Professor of Sound Design for the Department of Performing Arts at Elon University in North Carolina. This is Smith’s sixth season with the Nebraska Repertory Theatre. Smith has been a designer in theatre for over 19 years. His credits cover professional, academic and regional theatre and extend to television, video multimedia, scenery and lighting.

Hayden SpaethSpike, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

Spaeth just finished his fourth year at North Dakota State University where he will receive a B. S. in Theatre and a B. S. in Business Management. This is his first season with Nebraska Repertory Theatre. Last summer he performed with Theatre West Virginia. He has been involved in numerous productions at North Dakota State University.