Sunday, April 20, 2014

Boeing, Boeing

"Fiancees are much more pleasant than wives," according to Bernard who has a great bachelor life.
Yes, currently he has three fiancĂ©es but he doesn't plan to marry any of them.  His career is successful.  He has an elegant apartment in Paris complete with a maid.  
Dealing with three women who each belief that they are the only one in Bernard's life takes coordination, organization, and a maid who although she is frequently perturbed by the demands of her playboy employer, continues to meet the special preferences of each girl.
Fortunately for Bernard, all three work as airline stewardesses with a different airline, Bernard has it all worked out according to the schedule book listing the routes and overall schedules.  However change is happening with a new, faster Boeing jet.  What could be better now that each girl can spend more time with Bernard?
"Boeing, Boeing" is currently being performed at the Omaha Community Playhouse. Berthe portrayed by Mary Beth Adams is perfect in the role of the harried maid attempting to keep his employer's secrets/   Monty Eich  as the old friend of Bernard, admiring and envious of Bernard's life, but after observing his life for a short while found himself confused, awkward, and desperate to be in love excelled in this role.  As the smooth-talking Bernard, Anthony Clark-Kaczmarek.  The three stewardesses portrayed by Courtney Stein, Jennifer Gilg, and Teri Fender are flirtatious and devoted to their love, Bernard.
This is a stage production of the Jerry Lewis and Tony Curtis movie, "Boeing, Boeing," shown in 1965.   I really felt that Monty Eich was outstanding in the slapstick Jerry Lewis part who was chair challenged and masterful  handler of the stewardess' personal bags.
This is a humorous and fun adult farce turning a love triangle into a variety of geometric shapes. "Boeing, Boeing" is a top-notch production with perfect timing by the cast and a wonderful supporting crew.   The sound, lighting, costumes, hair, sets were all are well-matched and appropriate.   The pacing is excellent with the activity on stage always upbeat and busy completely engaging the audience. The first part runs 70 minutes with a 15 minute intermission and concluding in another 50 minutes.
"Boeing, Boeing" continues at the Omaha Community Playhouse located at 6915 Cass in Omaha with show times at 7:30 on Wednesdays through Saturdays and at 2 p.m. on Sundays.  Tickets can be purchased at the Playhouse box office, by calling (402) 553-0800, online at OmahaPlayhouse.org, or at TicketOmaha.com.  The price of one adult ticket is $35 and $ 21 for students.   
"Boeing, Boeing" is a night of complete entertainment.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Secret of the Red Cane - The BOOK Girls V


The Secret of the Red Cane
The BOOB Girls V
The Burned Out Old Broads at Table 12
Joy Johnson
Grief Illustrated Press
Omaha, Nebraska
ISBN: 1-56123-243-7
Trade Paperback
2013
232 pages
$ 14.95
Those of us who have grown-up in the past eighty years remember Nancy Drew as one of the first fictional and female heroines who was a role model with STDs: strength, tenderness, determination and smarts.   
What does someone who has been solving mysteries for eighty years do when she physically can't quite hang on the edge of a roof, but mentally still possesses the smarts along with years of experience and education?    Being this is a fictional world, she becomes a BOOB Girl,  one of The Burned-Out Old Broads who reside at Table 12 of the Meadow Lake Retirement Community in Omaha, Nebraska.
The current members of the BOOB are Hadley Joy Morris-Whitfield, Robinson Leary, Marge Aaron, and Mary Rose McGill.   Three of the four bonded five books ago with an unusual friendship combining their STDs into adventure and like Nancy Drew, solving mysteries for the good of everyone.
As change is a part of life, their home at the Meadow Lake Retirement Community has been bought by the Busch family, without the knowledge of the residents.   Like most takeovers, changes are occurring with the new ownership.  While these changes do not appear to be beneficial to the residents, the foursome wonder about the real vision of the family.  What is their reason for buying this facility?
A retirement community always has its own challenges but an elderly couple happens to create an unusual twist.   Mr. and Mrs. Hosemoffs have been married for years and are the perfect example of soulmates.  They cannot image life without each other.  So realizing that one of them will probably pass away in the near future, they want to die together.  How?   Could they find someone just to murder them?

The Secret of the Red Cane, Book Five of the BOOB Girls is a delightful romp into the misadventures of this retired quartet.   The story is well-developed, evenly paced, with realistic characters and even large print for easy reading.  

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this well-written, Nancy Drew-like story.  Although this novel is easy to understand without having read the previous four, I would highly recommend to at least read the first book to better understand their relationships.

Joy Johnson, along with her husband, Dr. Marvin Johnson are the founders of Ted E. Bear Hollow and the Centering Corporation which is North America's largest and oldest bereavement resource center.  Besides spending time with her family, writing and continuing work with the bereaved  she also enjoys life with her Bernese Mountain dog.

The Secret of the Red Cane is reminiscent of the Nancy Drew novels and just fun reading.   

What can possibly happen in the BOOB Girls, Book VI next installment?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

War Horse

Puppet horses operated by a three man team to create the main character of a Tony Award winning Broadway Play, who could imagine?
Just ask the 1972 audience members at the Orpheum Theater last Tuesday night when War Horse opened.
War Horse is a stage production about a thoroughbred horse. Joey, who eventually was part of the cavalry unit for the British forces in France during World War I and the special relationship he had with his teenaged owner, Albert Narracott.
The story takes you back to 1914 when the war began in a small English village where people are bidding on a young horse, a thoroughbred, hunter, and the lead character in this play.
War Horse far exceeded my expectations.   I have never seen sound or lighting as such an integral and creative part of any stage production while also being magical in this realistic story. The set itself is simple but outstanding with lighting and film extending the actual stage along with sound throughout the theater. The costumes were true to the time period and the use of music truly complemented the storyline.
The three puppeteers Danny Yoreges, Adam Cunningham, and Dayna Tietzen were outstanding in creating Joey, the lead horse with an obstinate personality and love for Albert.   For all three to move and act as a single unit in the body of a finicky horse is phenomenal not to mention the strength and balance needed to handle the puppet when someone is riding the horse.  It is amazing to visually see each horse as a puppet but at the same time, you view Joey as a real horse.   You could even see Joey as a young foal breathing.  The puppeteers are alternated from show to show due to the physical demands of this part.
War Horse focuses on many of the horrors of WWI such as the mustard gas and tear gas as well as the change in how a war is fought with the common usage of machine guns and the introduction of tanks in battle. Because of this, it is recommended that the audience members be at least nine-years-old.  You need to see the unique way a handling a tank on stage with horses and troops.
As Albert Narracott, Michael Wyatt Cox was excellent.   I loved the singing of John Milosich along with the accordion accompaniment whose brilliant tenor voice beautifully rang through the show reminiscent of a bard.
Also, this show is adult because of its length.  The first part lasted about 75 minutes with a little over an hour after the intermission.
Performances will continue at the Orpheum Theater in Omaha through April 13th with shows on Thursday night at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m., and Sunday at 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Tickets prices begin at $ 35 through TicketOmaha.com or calling (402) 345-0606, or at the Holland Performing Arts Center Box Office located at 1200 Douglas Street in Omaha.
For a different show, that educates, entertains, enlightens, and unquestionably memorable, go see War Horse.  

Monday, March 31, 2014

The Cold Nowhere

The Cold Nowhere
Brian Freeman
Quercus
New York, New York
ISBN: 978-1-62365-131-2
Hardcover
April 2014
$ 24.95
432 pages

Have you ever been drawn to a particular person?   Have you wondered why someone gets and holds your attention but you don't completely understand why? That is the problem Detective Jonathan Stride has with Catalina Mateo, a sixteen-year-old runaway who happens to be pregnant.  However, there is a history between these two.
About ten years ago, Detective Stride met Catalina's mother, Michaela.   The two had a special relationship.  Both were married but not to each other.
The nightmare for Cat began the night when her mother was brutally stabbed to death by her father who then shot himself.   She was only six-years-old and fortunately was not in the house when the murder happened but hid under the porch, hearing the entire nightmare. How does anyone stop this from haunting them?
Orphaned, Cat lived with her aunt who worked as a prostitute to pay for her personal drug usage and then went into the foster care system.  This was not much bettered and Cat became a runaway.  She wants a better life so she is selective about men, but also turns to prostitution in order to live.   What chance does Cat have of ever having a normal life?
Catalina appears at Detective Stride's home one night, soaking wet and terrified, believing that someone is chasing her, wanting to kill her.   Stride wants to believe her but his partner, Maggie, is very suspicious.
The Cold Nowhere is a riveting tale where you feel that you are discovering the details along side of Detective Stride.  However, you don't know about his past relationship with Michaela or Cat that is unveiled by Maggie and his former wife. It seems that the more that is found out, the more dangerous the situations become with people dying around them.
The story is well-organized and intense with well-developed characters. This psychological thriller keeps the reader engaged past the last page.
Author Brian Freeman has written many novels featuring Detective Jonathan Stride and Serena Dials winning a Macavity Award for his Best First Novel, Immoral and nominated for the Edgar Award.
The Cold Nowhere is a masterful tale written by a phenomenal storyteller.
 
 
 
 
    
 

Soweto Gospel Choir


Mixing African spirituals with American gospel songs is what makes the Soweto Gospel Choir special..  It is also what has earned this group an Emmy Award, two Grammy Awards, three South African Music Association Awards and even an Oscar nomination.
Last Thursday, the Soweto Gospel Choir proved that the deserve all these awards.  Their unusual musical approach delighted the audience for ninety minutes with an assortment of selections from both South Africa and America.  Much of the music was not in English but the melodies and rhythms transcended any language barriers.  
What also surprised me with the Soweto Gospel Choir was the amount of dance integrated into the songs.   The dances were not conventional in what I usually think of us African or American dance but perfectly matched the selections with enthusiasm and a fresh perspective of original choreography as an added expression of the song.  
With about a 25 member choir who also were members of the band, no two were dressed the same.  For the females, all of them wore a white skirt with a pattern in the front near the bottom and a black shirt covered with a lined-colorful shawl that covered one shoulder and had a matching scarf used in a variety of ways in the hair.   In the second half, the black and white remained with each one wearing a different robe and a decorative trim on the top section.   The men wore black pants with two different shirts also in different colors but the same style.
Unquestionably the acapella singing with only a djimba, a native drum, is where this group excels.   This allowed the audience to better hear the wonderful four-part harmonies in their songs along with solo parts which seemed to feature every member of the group at some time.
For the songs with accompaniment, members of the choir also played the keyboard, guitar, bass guitar, and drum. Unfortunately, many times the band overwhelmed the choir in volume.  As the show progressed, this seemed to improve.
For the audience, the favored songs were unquestionably the ones well-known.  "Bridge Over Troubled Waters" began with the choir singing their back-up music for the entire refrain while soloists joining in this expressive rendition which was beautiful and inspiring.  Also well received was when Mandla Modawa demonstrated how a true bass voice should sound in "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot". This was one of those times where the audience wondered about how low could he sing musically without rumbling.
Two particular selections were show stoppers with the audience immediately rising to standing ovations.   "This Little Light of Mine" combined American gospel music with the African enunciation delighted the audience with dancing, singing, and toe-tapping.   Unquestionably "Arms of an Angel" was a wonderful experience and the balance with the instruments was much improved from earlier. This is one song that could have been repeated for hours.

Unfortunately, the Soweto Gospel Choir only performed for ninety minutes on stage.   The first half lasted a little over 45 minutes and then had almost a 30 minute intermission.  The ninety minutes included the encores.  Members of the audience did complain about the shortness of the program.

Soweto Gospel Choir is an energetic group of talented performers who sing and dance of variety of music that is African and American creating a wonderful experience that is both visual and auditory.