3.18.16 Issue

by Annette van de Kamp-Wright, Editor, Jewish Press

When we truly enjoy what we are doing, we often want to share that experience. Whether it is our career, going to a favorite restaurant, watching a movie or playing sports, there can be an added benefit if we do it with family members. Together, we create memories. This series highlights couples, siblings, parents, cousins and children who found a common passion and ran with it.

Lisa and Howard Marcus love performing on stage. What’s more: they are good at it and fun to watch. What’s even better than performing, according to the couple? Doing it together, which is something they are quite experienced with.

The first show Lisa and Howard did together was Fiddler on the Roof at the JCC in December of 2013. They signed up for the JCC Musical Theater Community Acting Group, because, Lisa said:

“At that time we were dating and thought being in a musical would be a great activity to do together.”

Lisa was right; they have since done Crazy for You, also at the JCC, were in the Jewish Federation of Omaha’s Campaign Cabaret together and performed in two Omaha Press Club shows at the Holland Center. Their third is coming up on April 1 of this year. Howard has been involved with the OPC show for many years and asked Lisa to join the fun in 2014.

“Lisa and I initially met when I joined Beth El in 2012,” said Howard. “We both enjoy music and were in Beth El’s High Holy Days choir together. We also were both on the marketing committee, through which an informal karaoke group formed. Our relationship began through our mutual love of singing.”

Being in Fiddler was a lot of fun, Lisa said: “The cast was talented and friendly, and the staff was amazing. When we weren’t onstage, you could often spot us dancing backstage.”

“A great thing about the program is that it gives you an opportunity to strengthen the performance skills you already have, and learn new ones,” Howard added.

Many JCC CMTAG cast members would agree; the theater is a place where friendships are made and cemented, and people keep coming back, year after year, often with family members in tow. Lisa and Howard’s story is extra special, though:

“On the morning of the Saturday performance of Fiddler,” Lisa said, “Howard celebrated the 40th anniversary of his Bar Mitzvah by participating in services at Beth El. He had a Torah portion and gave the D’var Torah. Right after services, he proposed; and our engagement was announced at the end of the Fiddler performance that night. What an incredible day!”

Lisa and Howard are currently hard at work learning their lines for the performance of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat, which is scheduled for early summer.

“We are really excited about it,” Lisa said. “It’s such an incredible show. Howard plays the baker, who has an unfortunate dream that Joseph interprets, and I am one of the narrators. Even after the very first rehearsal, I already knew how much fun this will be. I can’t wait to see how it all comes together.”

Neither can the rest of us. Don’t miss out on seeing Lisa and Howard, together with all the other amazing actors, on the stage this summer. Joseph will perform June 2 at 7 p.m. and June 5 at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.; tickets will go on sale May 10 at 9 a.m. To purchase tickets, call Laura Wine at 402.334.6419 or visit the Cultural Arts office during regular business hours. Advanced ticket purchase is strongly recommended. Tickets will be sold at the door only when remaining seats are still available the day of the show.

“One of the most unique things about the JCC musical theater is to see so many family members come together — brothers, sisters, parents with their kids, husbands and wives,” Lisa said. “I think it adds a great energy to the performances, and it definitely creates some wonderful memories.”