Three-year-old Emma is already a theater veteran, thanks to her experience as a member of The Rose Theater.
“That place is fun,” she says when learning she'll be seeing new plays at The Rose.
Linda Meyers, Lucy’s grandmother, says a Rose membership was something she always knew she wanted to do for – and with – her grandchild.
“I am passionate about her learning to enjoy the arts,” Meyers says. “But best of all, we truly bond over these shows. We read the children’s book in advance and several times afterward and talk about how the book and the play compare. It is a special time together.”
Meyers has fond memories of the theater from her son’s early years. “We always made a point to see shows when my son was little, so now it is a special experience for me to be able to take my granddaughter Emma to The Rose," she says. "It’s like our own special date together.”
During the 2019-20 season, The Rose celebrates 70 years of children’s theater in Omaha. The season is designed to inspire young people to find their own voice through stories like "The Cat in the Hat," "Ella Enchanted," "The Diary of Anne Frank" and more.
From the tunnels of mole rats to the antics of dogs on the go, a ticket to The Rose takes families on journeys of discovery, entertainment and exploration.
Rose artistic director Matthew Gutschick says the shared experience of live theater can bring families closer and build lasting memories.
“I remember being 7 years old. My first memory of seeing a play includes seeing my grandmother and mother laughing so hard that tears spilled from their eyes,” he says. “Years after my grandmother’s passing, that image is one of my most cherished – seeing people I love happy spending time together. This is the unique gift you share with your loved ones when you bring them to The Rose.”
This season offers shows and activities that will engage children of all ages and open the lines of conversation for the entire family. Children will recognize many of the characters on stage from their favorite storybooks. Whether inspiring children to think creatively, to stretch their horizons or to face the world bravely, Gutschick hopes the topics addressed will encourage families to engage in thoughtful – and fun – discussions.
This is the spirit which Emmy Gifford envisioned from the early days of the theater. Gifford founded the Omaha Junior Theater in 1949. The theater was later renamed as the Emmy Gifford Children’s Theater until it moved to its downtown location, the Rose Blumkin Performing Arts Center (affectionately known as The Rose).
“You know, in the beginning, the concept of children’s theater was considered a little odd,” Gifford told The World-Herald in 1990. “We were pioneers in that area. Looking back over it all, it just gradually happened. ... I’ve seen all the changes over the years, and I’m quite proud of it all.”
The season will consist of 11 shows, offering something for kids from preschool to high school.
A membership includes four tickets to six main-stage shows for $105. This season’s offerings are:
- "Go, Dog. Go!" (Aug. 30-Sept. 15)
- "The Cat in the Hat" (Sept. 27-Oct. 13)
- "Ella Enchanted" (Oct. 25-Nov. 10)
- "The Diary of Anne Frank" (Feb. 28-March 15, 2020)
- "Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed: The Rock Experience" (March 27_April 11, 2020)
- "Corduroy" (April 24-May 10, 2020)
In addition, three shows will be presented on the main stage as special or premium events at prices from $22 to $27. These are:
- "Elf the Musical" (Nov. 29-Dec. 22)
- "The Sound of Music" (June 5-21, 2020)
- "Howie D: Back in the Day" (Jan. 31-Feb. 16, 2020)
For the first time, a package is available for families with very young children. This First Stage+ Package allows families to see two shows in the smaller Hitchcock Stage, specifically designed with preschoolers in mind. After experiencing these shows, First Stage+ package-holders graduate to the main stage with four tickets to "Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed: The Rock Experience." The 2019-20 First Stage productions are:
- "A Bucket of Blessings" (Oct. 12-Nov. 3)
- "The Little Engine That Could" (Feb. 15-March 8, 2020)
For Emma and her grandmother, the season promises to be another positive and memorable experience that both will cherish. “I have yet to see a presentation at The Rose that I would call less than wonderful!" Meyers says. "The kids love them all."