Dear friends of Omaha Performing Arts,

We are in the midst of one of our busiest periods at the Orpheum Theater and Holland Performing Arts Center with a full slate of performances and education offerings that keep the venues bustling day and night.

The Nebraska High School Theatre Awards kicked off in March with the adjudication of 11 high school musical theatre productions and two master classes for participating students. One class was taught by Tory Trowbridge, who appeared as one of The Players in the recent Broadway touring production of PIPPIN, and a second class was led by members of the experimental dance troupe BANDALOOP. We’re in the middle of the second year of this incredible program which culminates in a Tony Awards®-style awards ceremony on June 11 at the Holland Center.

The UNO Jazz Festival was held at the Holland Center February 28 and March 1, and one of its featured events was the Student Jazz Combo Competition. The level of talent at the performances was just terrific. The high school division winner was Omaha Central High School’s CHS Jazz Quintet, under the direction of Pete Wilger, and the college division winner was UNO Jazz Combo, under the direction of Darren Pettit. A special recognition for excellence was given to Phillips/Frederickson Duo, under the direction of Jack Philips and Pete Madsen. The two division winners will perform at a master class led by Terence Blanchard on May 7.

Dozens of local and out-of-state songwriters entered our ONCE the Musical-inspired Songwriting Competition recently. The top 10 songwriters in two age groups will perform at a showcase concert on May 11 at The Waiting Room. The event is open to the public, and will include a panel discussion with music industry professionals, including musicians, producers and journalists. The winners with the top song in each age group were awarded a demo recording of their song at ARC (recording studio), produced by nationally renowned musician, producer and sound engineer, Mike Mogis. It’s been an incredible opportunity for aspiring songwriters and composers to be heard and celebrated, and we were delighted with the wonderful response and the amazing talent of these artists.

It’s hard to believe that we will be celebrating our 10th Anniversary next season! Festivities begin October 16 with our Celebrate 10 Gala featuring Kristin Chenoweth. On October 17, we’ll hold an all-day free community event at the Holland Performing Arts Center called Holland Stages. There will be many performances throughout the building, as well as an incredible aerial dance on the outside of the Holland Center by BANDALOOP!

There's a lot to look forward to year, and we can’t wait to share these performances and events with you!
Best regards,

Joan H. Squires
President, Omaha Performing Arts