Little Engine

“The Little Engine That Could” will be part of the Rose’s First Stage series, which is designed for very young audiences.

For a 70-year-old, The Rose Theater feels awfully young at heart.

From chaotic canines and cats in hats, seeing favorite characters burst to life from the pages of a beloved storybook at The Rose has become a rite of passage for children in the Omaha area. Ask anyone who grew up here, and you are likely to hear a story about the historic theater. A field trip staple and a must-do for young families, The Rose Theater has evolved into one of the leading children’s theaters in the country.

From its early days in 1949 as Omaha’s Junior Theatre, to its time as the Emmy Gifford Children’s Theater, to its current home at The Rose, the Omaha Theater Company has been dedicated to enriching the lives of children and families through live theater and arts education. This continues as the theater launches its 2019-20 season with plays and musicals that will inspire young people to find their voice and the strength and courage within themselves to change the world.

Audiences will enjoy a mix of old and new in the coming season, allowing parents to reminisce about their own childhood experiences under the theater’s copper domes.

Among the shows returning to The Rose stage is “Elf the Musical,” which will again feature Dan Chevalier as Buddy the Elf. Other revivals in the 2019-20 season include “Go, Dog. Go!,” “The Cat in the Hat,” “The Diary of Anne Frank,” “The Little Engine That Could” and “The Sound of Music.”

The Rose also will introduce families to new productions, including “Ella Enchanted,” “Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed: The Rock Experience,” “Corduroy” and “A Bucket of Blessings.”

In a highlight of the new season, The Rose will host a special appearance by Backstreet Boy Howie Dorough (or Howie D, as he is known to his fans). Dorough will debut a script that gives a semi-biographical account of his middle school years, his first forays into music and finding his voice. Dorough will star in the world-premiere production, with never-before-heard music written specifically for “Howie D: Back in the Day.”

The Rose’s First Stage series is back with a twist. Designed specifically for very young audiences, the 2019-20 season will feature the regional debut of “A Bucket of Blessings” and the return of “The Little Engine That Could.” For the first time, families will be able to purchase a ticket package that includes the First Stage series. This option gives families four tickets to each of the two First Stage shows and four tickets to the mainstage production of “Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed: The Rock Experience.” In addition, families have the opportunity to participate in two dance and drama classes, highlighting the educational offerings available at The Rose.

These nine shows are part of the main stage season:

• “Go, Dog. Go!”

• “The Cat in the Hat”

• “Ella Enchanted”

• “Elf: The Musical”

• “Howie D: Back in the Day”

• “The Diary of Anne Frank”

• “Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed: The Rock Experience”

• “Corduroy”

• “The Sound of Music”

Six shows (24 tickets total) are included with a Rose membership; prices start at $105 for a family of four. Non-members may purchase tickets for $20 each. The Rose’s two premium event shows, “Elf the Musical” and “The Sound of Music” are $22 to $27. Tickets to the special event, “Howie D: Back in the Day,” are $25. Members receive priority booking for all non-member events. See The Rose website,, for more information.

Rose memberships are on sale now. They may be purchased online or by calling The Rose Box Office at 402-345-4849.

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