Yesterday and Today
What: Beatles tribute show by Billy McGuigan and company
Where: Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St., Howard Drew Theatre
When: Friday through Dec. 31. Showtimes: 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, 6:30 p.m. Sundays. Exceptions: Added 2 p.m. matinee Dec. 8 only; New Year’s Eve performances 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. with champagne punch and cake.
Tickets: $38 all seats, except Dec. 31: $50 at 7 p.m., $75 at 10 p.m., including champagne punch, cake
Information: 402-553-0800 or omahaplayhouse.com
STUDENT GUEST CHORUSES
Dec. 6: Saddlebrook Elementary
Dec. 12: Dundee Elementary
Dec. 13: Crestridge Magnet Center
Dec. 14, 15: Russell Middle School
Dec. 19: Montclair Elementary
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Billy McGuigan has added a youthful twist to his Beatles tribute show, “Yesterday & Today.”
For the show's sixth annual run at the Omaha Community Playhouse, opening Friday, McGuigan invited children's choruses from five area elementary and middle schools to open several performances with the show's six-piece band. They'll sing John Lennon's “Happy Xmas” and Paul McCartney's “Wonderful Christmas Time.”
The idea came from McGuigan, who remembers growing up poor in Columbus, Ga., before his family moved to Bellevue in 1990.
Asked what he wanted for his 10th birthday, he said acting lessons from the Springer Opera House. The check bounced. Billy was dashed.
McGuigan went on to a performing career anyway, thanks to the launch he got from playing rocker Buddy Holly in the Omaha Community Playhouse musical “Buddy” in 2002.
Now he and his brothers, Ryan and Matthew, tour with three shows he created: the 1950s rock tribute “Rave On”; an evening of “Rock Legends”; and the Beatles salute “Yesterday & Today.” Last year they played more than 150 dates coast to coast, including in Columbus, Ga.
“To be able to go back to this place where my desire to do theater started, it was remarkable,” he said. “I remember as a kid getting an opportunity to work with a professional musician or actor.”
The experience made his own dream of performing seem attainable, he said. He hopes the student choruses might do the same for some youngster singing with the McGuigans this month.
An added bonus is that Billy McGuigan's daughter, Cartney (named for Paul McCartney), is part of the Saddlebrook Elementary chorus. It will be the first time father and daughter have sung onstage together.
Added video, new scenery and revamped arrangements for some of the 200-plus songs in the Beatles repertoire will freshen the show this year, McGuigan said. Yes, audience requests are still the heart of “Yesterday & Today.”