Theater Essentials Online is a library of video lessons for grades 7-12 led by local theater professionals. Designed to be completely flexible for in-person, hybrid or fully remote models of learning, each video lesson connects with state standards and includes study guides, student worksheets and other resources. 

Theater Essentials Online videos are designed to support select Nebraska state standards for the fine arts. Connections to standards vary according to the grade level and how teachers incorporate videos and accompanying worksheets into their existing curriculum goals. Please visit education.ne.gov/finearts for a full listing of Nebraska state standards for the fine and performing arts and glossary terms.

Available lessons

Best Practices for Auditioning with Raydell Cordell III

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Best Techniques and Practices for Auditioning | Register Here

Join Raydell Cordell III, local actor and freelance teaching artist, as he discusses the best techniques and practices when it comes to auditioning for a production or scholarship. From the types of auditions, to how to prepare for them to how to best demonstrate your skill-set – students will not want to miss this lesson! 

Nebraska Standards for Education, Theatre:

FA 8.5.2, FA 8.5.3
FA 12.5.2, FA 12.5.3

About 
Raydell Cordell III

Raydell is a freelance teaching artist and professional actor in Omaha, NE. Raydell has been in numerous productions throughout the community and some of his favorite and recent shows would include: The Diary of Anne Frank at the Rose Theater, A Very Die Hard Christmas, and Red Summer at Blue Barn Theater,  A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Nebraska Shakespeare Fall 2018 Education Tour, Stupid F’in Bird and To Kill a Mockingbird (both productions he received an Omaha Entertainment Award for Best Supporting Actor) at the Omaha Community Playhouse. In addition, Raydell had the privilege to travel to London and participated in workshops with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Raydell currently works for Westside Community Schools at Westgate Elementary. He would like to thank everyone who has supported him: family, friends, and the theatre/education community in Omaha! 

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Creating Stage Pictures with Marya Lucca-Thyberg

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Directing and Creating Stage Pictures | Register Here

Join Marya Lucca-Thyberg, Freelance Director and Teaching Artist at Omaha Performing Arts, as she shares tools from her Directing Tool Box.  From creating stage pictures, using levels and learning directing tools – this is a lesson you won’t want to miss!  

Nebraska Standards for Education, Theater:

FA 8.5.1, 8.5.2, 8.5.3, 8.5.4
FA 12.5.1, 12.5.3, 12.5.4   

About 
Marya Lucca-Thyberg

Marya Lucca-Thyberg, a freelance, director, designer and teaching artist received her MFA in directing from University of Nebraska Lincoln and her BFAs in Theatre and Music Education from the University of South Dakota. Lucca-Thyberg has directed and designed for community, University, summer stock and professional theatres throughout Nebraska. In addition, she worked with the Nebraska Theatre Caravan as Education Coordinator and Director of the Caravan.  Lucca taught with the University of Nebraska/Lincoln Arts Are Basic Aesthetic Education program, at Bellevue West High School for 16 years and is currently a teaching artist with OPA’s DISNEY MUSICALS in SCHOOLS program. She was honored to receive Nebraska High School Theatre Academy’s Lifetime Achievement in Education award and the Omaha Theatre Arts Guild Educator award in 2017. Her most recent directing credits include “Perfect Wedding”, She Loves Me” and “Our Town” at Bellevue Little Theatre where she will be directing “The Outsider” in May.   

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Do's and Don'ts in Musical Theater Performance with Kathy Tyree

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Do's and Don'ts in Musical Theater Performance | Register Here

Join Kathy Tyree, professional actor, singer, director and producer as she shares with us the key do’s and don’ts in musical theater performance.  From the audition to the final bow and everything in-between – you’ll want to tune in for this lesson! 

Nebraska Standards for Education, Theatre:

FA 8.5.2, FA 8.5.3
FA 12.5.2, FA 12.5.3

About 
Kathy Tyree

Kathy Tyree has been performing for 40plus years. She has been afforded the opportunity to work with some of the best performers, directors, choirs, choreographers and tech crews that Omaha has to offer. She has won several awards and has experienced a career of glowing reviews of each of her performances. Kathy believes that it is her life purpose to share her gift with as many people as possible and does not take lightly the opportunities being afforded to her as the owner and operator of Kathy Tyree Productions. It is her goal to pour into as many lives as possible by continuing to perform and produce live stage performances as well as developing programming designed to work with promising visual and performing artist ages 13 years and up. It is her hope that her efforts will better prepare young artists to be disciplined, artistically competitive and confident as they take the steps necessary to launch their careers in the performing arts industry on any and all levels. Kathy’s mission in life is to ensure that anyone who encounters her, always leaves better than they came....

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How to Choreograph a Show with Sue Gillespie Booton

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How to Choreograph a Show | Register Here

Join Sue Gillespie Booton, BROADWAY at The Rose Director & Resident Choreographer/Company Actor at The Rose Theater, as she discusses tools and steps to choreographing a musical.  From the beginning idea, all the way to the final step – this is a lesson you don’t want to miss! 

Nebraska Standards for Education, Dance:

FA 8.3.1
FA 12.3.1

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How to Create a Self Tape with Nik Whitcomb

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How to Create a Self Tape | Register Here

Join Nik Whitcomb as he teaches us how to successfully create a self-tape!  From the tips, tricks, do’s and don’ts of acting with the camera, students will learn the necessary information on what directors want to see during a taped audition.  This is a lesson you do not want to miss! 

Nebraska Standards for Education, Theater:

FA 8.5.2
FA 12.5.2     

About Nik Whitcomb

Nik Whitcomb is as an actor, director, producer, and casting director that has worked in television, film, and theatre across the Midwest. Born and raised in Omaha, Nik received his bachelor’s degree from Creighton University in Theatre Performance & Directing and is the Broadway at The Rose Manager at the Rose Theater. Nik has worked at a number of major theatrical institutions across the country including Actors Theatre of Louisville, Guthrie Theater, Goodman Theatre, The Stillwell Institute for Contemporary Black Art, Northlight Theatre, Old Log Theatre, and Ordway Center for Performing Arts and in April 2020 he was named a “Theatre Worker You Should Know” by American Theatre Magazine. Film/TV casting credits include: Fargo - Season 4 (FX), Utopia (Amazon Prime), Work In Progress (Showtime), Station Eleven (HBO Max), 61st Street (AMC), Holiday Heist & Friend Request (BET/Marvista Films). Theater credits include: Ella Enchanted (Rose Theater; OEAA Nomination for Best Musical & Choreography), Little Nelly’s Naughty Noel (Bluebarn Theatre), Smart People & The Divine Order of Becoming (Union For Contemporary Art), Caroline or Change (OEAA, TAG, & Elaine Jabenis Awards for Best Supporting Actor in a Musical). As a teaching artist outside of the Rose, Nik was on the inaugural team for Disney’s Musicals in Schools with Omaha Performing Arts, worked with Ashland Productions in Minneapolis, MN, and served as an Artist in Residence for a summer at Quincy Community Theatre in Quincy, IL. Nik is also an equity and inclusion thought leader and currently serves as a mentor in the American Alliance for Theatre and Education Leaders of Color Institute. You can often find Nik speaking on panels, offering workshops, and providing consultation to arts leaders, nonprofits, and college/university programs across the country. 

Nik Whitcomb

How to Properly Warm Up with Aaron Derell

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How to Properly Warm-Up | Register Here

Join Aaron Derell, Teaching Artist with Omaha Performing Arts, as he discusses how to properly warm-up and how to get the most from it.  From elevating the heart rate to static stretching and isolations – you won’t want to miss this lesson! 

 

Nebraska Standards for Education, Dance:

FA 8.3.2, 8.3.3
FA 12.3.2, 12.3.3  

About Aaron Derell

Native of Omaha, NE, Aaron Derell began dancing at 16. He taught himself Hip Hop and developed a love for Hip Hop Dance. He began his technical training in Ballet, West African Dance, and Modern at Spelman College via Morehouse College. After graduation, He went on to earn his Masters in Dance Education from NYU. Aaron has taught Hip Hop dance Nationwide for the Alvin Ailey Arts in Education Program, 92nd Street Y, the YMCA, Dance 411, and Dozens of Inner City schools. Adding Dance Fitness to his belt, He recently started his own dance business, Love to Groove Movement School, LLC! Aaron believes his purpose is simply to Love people through Dance! 

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Lighting Design with Steven Williams

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Lighting Design | Register Here

Join Steven Williams, Theater Department Chair and Head of Design & Production at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, as he discusses the fundamentals of lighting design. From the Psychology of Color to best practices for lighting angles, and adding color and depth for separation and visual interest – this is a lesson you won’t want to miss! 

Nebraska Standards for Education, Theater:

FA 8.5.3, 8.5.4
FA 12.5.2, 12.5.4     

About Steven Williams

Theater department Chair and Head of Design and Production at the University of Nebraska Omaha. He is a freelance scenic, lighting, and graphic designer who has designed over one hundred and fifty productions throughout the United States. He has been recognized on numerous occasions by the Omaha Theatre Arts Guild and Omaha Arts and Entertainment Awards committee for his scenic and lighting designs. His most rewarding design work has been for a police investigation/training facility for Project Harmony in Omaha, NE.

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Scenic Painting with Jimmy Nguyen

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Fundamental Techniques of Scenic Painting | Register Here

Join Jimmy Nguyen, professional actor and scenic artist, as he discusses the fundamental techniques of scenic painting – focusing on brick.  From what materials to use to how the various techniques work – this is a lesson you do not want to miss! 

Nebraska Standards for Education, Visual Arts:

FA 8.2.1, FA 8.2.2
FA 12.2.1, FA 12.2.2


About 
Jimmy Nguyen

Jimmy Nguyen is a freelance actor and scenic painter from Omaha, NE. He earned his B.A in Theatre Arts at Doane University. Jimmy was most recently awarded the Irene Ryan Regional Acting Scholarship as part of the Kennedy Center for American Theatre Festival (KCACTF), in which he competed against over 300 college candidates from across the Midwest and won. He would have gone to the Kennedy Center in Washington DC to perform for the national awards ceremony last March. During those summers away from the university, he kept busy with theatre by being in summer theatre companies such as the Black Hills Playhouse in the beautiful Black Hills, South Dakota where he was part of the acting company as well as a scenic painter. Jimmy has also traveled to Holland, Michigan one summer at Hope Summer Repertory Theatre and was contracted to return back this past summer before COVID-19. At Hope Summer Repertory Theatre, Jimmy was an acting intern and learned how to hone his skills in Shakespeare, audition technique, voice, and Suzuki from directors, professors, and other industry professionals from across the country. During his time at Hope, he also acted in shows, one being the world premiere of the children's musical "Dragon Pack Snack Attack". It was also during this time that he found his voice and passion to tell his story as a minority and an Asian American, as the acting company there primarily highlighted and spotlighted the voices of actors of color. It was the first time he has ever seen a company take those active steps and he wants to take the time to appreciate and thank Hope Summer Repertory theatre for igniting that passion. During this time, with the world as we know it today, Jimmy has taken this time to listen and support other voices, as well as write for his own voice and story. "Being an actor is a job, but being a storyteller is a life-long journey." 

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10 Strategies to Make Your Theater Program More Inclusive with Fran Sillau

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10 Strategies to make your theater program more inclusive | Register Here

Join Fran Sillau, Director of Accessibility at Omaha’s Rose Theater and Executive Artists Director of Circle Theatre, as he discusses 10 strategies to make your theater program more inclusive.  From authentic inclusion, to collaboration, fundraising and more – you will not want to miss this lesson! 

Nebraska Standards for Education, Theatre:

FA 8.5.1, FA 8.5.3
FA 12.5.1, FA 12.5.3   

About 
Fran Sillau

Fran Sillau, Omaha, NE Fran Sillau serves as the Accessibility Coordinator at The Rose Theater, where he organizes educational opportunities for students with disabilities. He also directs mainstage productions at the Rose including Shrek: The Musical, Go,Dog.Go! and Hanna’s Suitcase. He also co-wrote and directed the world premiere production of The Doll Maker’s Gift. Fran serves as Executive Artistic Director of Circle Theatre, a company dedicated to creating theater that includes artists with disabilities. Under Fran’s leadership, the Circle co-commissioned My Broken Doll, a play based on the life of holocaust survivor Beatrice Karp, adapted by Ernie Nolan, and Over the River, a play about friendship by Ellen Struve. Fran is a frequent contractor with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.  

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10 Things Your Music Director Wants You To Know with Dr. Barron Breland

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Ten Things Your Music Director Wants You To Know | Register Here

Join Dr. Barron Breland, Chair of the Department of Fine & Performing Arts at Creighton University, and Director of the Creighton University Chamber Choir, as he discusses ten things every Music Director wants student performers to know ahead of the first rehearsal.  From preparation to professionalism and everything in-between – this is a lesson you do not want to miss!  

Nebraska Standards for Education, Music:

FA 8.4.2
FA 12.4.2    

About Dr. Barron Breland

A. Barron Breland is Chair of the Department of Fine & Performing Arts at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, conducting the Chamber Choir and teaching courses in music theory, diction, and conducting. Breland completed his doctorate in choral conducting at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music in 2009, where he has been a member of the choral conducting faculty, preparing the University Singers for a performance with Dale Warland in 2008, and giving over 12 performances as guest conductor of the 120-member Grammy-nominated Singing Hoosiers. 

In his tenure at Creighton, the Chamber Choir under his direction has performed at NMEA and ACDA conferences, and they are performing the core repertoire of the virtuoso chamber ensemble. The Chamber Choir also performs regularly with the Omaha Symphony, including solo engagements in March 2014 and April 2015 performing the Duruflé Requiem and Haydn’s Creation, respectively. Breland has also served as Chorusmaster and prepared numerous works for the Symphony, including leading their Festival Chorus for Beethoven’s 9th in 2018. Breland is the Music Director of Résonance, a semi-professional chamber vocal ensemble that also performs regularly with the Omaha Symphony, and he is the Artistic Director of the River City Mixed Chorus. Breland is in demand as a clinician and adjudicator and was named Nebraska Choral Directors Association’s Outstanding Young Choral Director of 2012. 

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New lessons available this fall!

 

For questions or more information, please contact the Education Team at Education@O-pa.org

Sponsored by the Nebraska Arts Council, Nebraska Cultural Endowment, Sunny Durham Foundation and the  Producers of Moulin Rouge! The Musical.