Spotlight Blog Go behind the scenes with Omaha Performing Arts

A New Season of Learning with O-pa Education and Engagement

Posted On Sep 30, 2021, 14:21 PM by Sarah Kosch
Students participated in a digital CATS choreography master class led by swing and dance captain Gracie Anderson.

It's a new season of Broadway and shows at O-pa and also a new season of learning and engagement! Our Education and Engagement team members have been busy sharing their expertise at the Broadway League's national (and first ever virtual) Education and Engagement forum and presenting the first Education programming of the season. 

Broadway League Education and Engagement Forum 

The two-day forum was planned by a national committee that included Kathleen Lawler Hustead, Associate Director of Education. Among the sessions was one that featured EDI-driven arts engagement programs with Aaron Gregory, O-pa Community Engagement Specialist, and Ray Mercer, Omaha native and Broadway teaching artist. Another session with Bill Grennan, O-pa Education & Engagement Manager, featured innovative arts education and engagement programs and highlighted O-pa’s Disney Musicals in Schools Take Home Activity Kits as a model program used by other centers. The forum was spearheaded by the Broadway League’s Audience Engagement Committee which O-pa President Joan Squires co-chairs.

Madeleine Peyroux Q&A and Curtain Warmer

On Sept. 29, UNO jazz students had the opportunity for a Q&A with acclaimed jazz artist Madeleine Peyroux. It was an intimate, direct conversation in the Kiewit Concert Hall at the Holland Center. The group gathered, socially distanced, to discuss topics from Madeleine’s career to the technical aspects of jazz singing and more. Afterwards the students were invited to stay and observe her sound check. A number of UNO Jazz students were also offered free tickets to the show and had a great time.

All concert goers had the chance to engage with a pre-show curtain warmer before the concert, consisting of a performance and conversation about women in music with Mary O'Keefe and guests Cynthia Taylor and Jennifer Novak-Haar.

Curtain warmers are a way for patrons to feed their curiosity and learn something new before select O-pa shows. They include demonstrations, interactive performances and hands on learning in the lobby and other spaces before showtime.

The next curtain warmer will be UNL's all treble a cappella group Boots & Cats performing at the Orpheum before Straight No Chaser takes the stage!

Fun and Learning with CATS!

The first Nebraska High School Theater Academy (NHSTA) master class of the year took place on Sept. 30 at the Holland Center. Nearly 100 students attended the digital choreography class led by Dance Captain and Swing of CATS, Gracie Anderson.

Gracie Anderson leads digital CATS master class.                    Gracie Anderson leads digital CATS master class.

All students are invited to take advantage of Student Rush tickets to CATS and experience the magic and amazing choreography live! Students can get up to two tickets for 50% off when they bring a student ID to the box office at the Orpheum 90 minutes before the remaining CATS performances this week (through Sunday, Oct. 3). 

Student Rush and Teacher Rush are programs that get students and their educators discounted tickets to learn outside the classroom and engage with the performing arts.

These are just the first of many programs and activities for learners of all ages this season. Explore all our Education and Engagement programs here.