The show must go on

By

September 13th, 2011

Omaha, NE – Radio Golf should hit the main stage at the John Beasley Theatre at the end of September. But the play might be put on hold. KVNO News checked out a rehearsal this week, and spoke with John Beasley about the financial future of the theatre.

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At a recent evening rehearsal at the John Beasley Theatre in South Omaha, actress Tammie Ray Jackson is taking direction from director John Beasley…

Actress Tammie Ray Jackson takes direction from Director John Beasley. (Photo by Angel Martin)

“He wants to move to the Hill,” Jackson said.
“I don’t believe you,” Beasley replied.
“He wants to move to the Hill”
“Do you believe that?” Beasley asked.

“He wants to move to the Hill,” Jackson repeated, with a little more force. “He wants to move back to the house that he grew up in… I don’t want to move backwards and I wasn’t born backwards.”

The five-member cast is getting ready for the upcoming production of August Wilson’s Radio Golf – a play from Wilson’s ten-part series about African Americans’ journey through the decades of the twentieth century.

Beasley says the theatre came to a crossroads this season. A successful television and film actor, Beasley says he has been underwriting the theatre and using the space at the South Omaha YMCA. And now, he says it’s time for the theater to stand on its own. He says he has received some “key donations” that should keep the South Omaha theater open for a few more months. But he’ll also be pursuing the possibility of moving it to north Omaha, with the help of a grant he received recently.

John Beasley directs August Wilson's Radio Golf. (Photo by Angel Martin)

“I think it would be huge,” Beasley said. “We’re looking at the new theater to be a destination. It would also be an anchor, a cultural anchor in north Omaha, on the 24th and Lake Street area… an anchor for the redevelopment of north Omaha.”

Beasley said his theater plays an important role in the Omaha community, and is the only one that specifically tells stories about African Americans.

“We’re trying to present our culture through our eyes,” he said. “Our patrons can take a look at black culture, and maybe learn to understand us a little bit more. When you understand something, you can’t hate it. You can disagree with it, but you can’t hate it,” he said. “That’s one of the purposes that we serve here.”

Beasley said if all goes well, Radio Golf will open in the south Omaha theater at the end of this month. It’s the twelfth season at the John Beasley Theater, and the final play of the August Wilson series.

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