Billy McGuigan has another hit on his hands with “Rock Twist” at the Omaha Community Playhouse. What a great way to start the month of August. This is a music lover’s delight.
McGuigan has created a musical masterpiece that runs two hours with a 15-minute intermission separating the two acts of the production. His supporting musicians and singers hit the mark perfectly.
The show opened with “Evil Woman” then Tara Vaughn sang Nancy Sinatra’s 1966 hit “These Boots are Made for Walking.” The show then went with a 1968 song by Blood Sweat and Tears called “Spinning Wheel.” The talented group of singers and musicians also performed the 1965 Beatles song “Yesterday” that featured the string section of the orchestra. Musicians included: Azelle Berboon on viola; Mindy Zimmerman on cello; and Melissa Holtmeyer on violin. The full orchestra put the “twist” into “Rock Twist.” The musical director and bass player for the show is Steve Gomez, who also sings “Tequila” in the show.
Others in the orchestra included: Patrick Peters on trombone; Doyle Tipler on trumpet; Willie Karpf on saxophone; Tomm Roland on drums; Max Meyer on lead guitar; and Stan Harper on saxophone. They all sounded great. McGuigan also plays a mean guitar. The video displays during the performance were very artistic.
Vocalists included Natalie Thomas, Tara Vaughn, Matthew McGuigan and Ryan McGuigan. Matthew also plays keyboard and Ryan played guitar. Vaughn performed a song from the 1966 movie “To Sir With Love.”
The show concentrated on early rock. Thomas sang “Rolling on the River” which was a hit by Ike and Tina Turner in 1971. The women teamed up on “Stop in the Name of Love” by the Supremes from 1965. There was a point in the second act that got really hot with a medley of what Billy called the “Skateland Medley.” He sang a huge number of songs and his vocalists kept pace with him. If you love classic rock, this show is for you. You will hear songs from The Doors, Elvis Presley, Sonny and Cher, the Bee Gees and more. This is a great show performed by professional musicians and singers.
Curtain times for “Rock Twist” are 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. The show runs through Aug. 18. Ticket prices start at $32 for Omaha Playhouse subscribers and $42 for non-subscribers. Tickets can be purchased by calling the box office at 402-553-0800, or at the box office inside the Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St. Box office hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday; 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday; and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are also available at omahaplayhouse.com.