The Lied Center for Performing Arts is offering an escape from the struggle of everyday life with its first mainstage season showing of “NEWSical The Musical” on Sept. 26 at 3 and 7:30 p.m.
“NEWSical The Musical” is an off-Broadway comedy musical that tackles current events such as politics, the coronavirus pandemic and pop culture trends like Tiger King. Think of Saturday Night Live or The Daily Show but in musical form.
Co-producer and Nebraska native Michael D’Angora said what makes the show so great is that each show will never be the same. The crew changes the show as events happen.
“We change it up as need be,” D’Angora said. “So on Saturday when we’re at the Lied Center at 5 o’clock, Trump is apparently announcing who his pick for the Supreme Court is, so by the 7:30 performance we better have a joke about that person in that show.”
Though writing comedy for subjects such as the pandemic was challenging, D’Angora said the writers are hoping to bring a balance between making light of somber topics and taking them so seriously that it throws the audience members’ attitudes and prevents an enjoyable experience.
“Obviously, people don’t wanna go into a theater and be constantly reminded of a pandemic, something that they’re already nervous about, so we’ll mention it, but we won’t harp on it,” D’Angora said.
D’Angora also said the Lied has gone above and beyond in ensuring both the audience and the performers are safe and feel cared for.
Bill Stephan, executive director and chief artistic officer for the Lied Center, said that beyond the basic mask-wearing and sanitizing, the Lied has suspended intermissions during shows, making programs a little shorter.
“We are committed to providing the safest possible environment at the Lied Center for patrons, for our artists and for our presenters and for our staff,” Stephan said. “We’re really thankful for all the medical professionals who helped us create our guidelines and procedures, and it is our No. 1 priority in operating the Lied Center and these events during this time.”
Stephan also said he’s happy the Lied was able to provide D’Angora with the space to bring his show to his home state.
“We’re thrilled that he is bringing his show to his hometown of Lincoln, Nebraska, and so it’s really special for us to have a New York City producer create a show and then bring it back to Nebraska,” Stephan said.
D’Angora said he hopes the show will bring a more humorous perspective to people and relieve them of their stress.
“I think a lot of us right now are stressed out and nervous and anxious, and laughter really is the best medicine,” D’Angora said. “I hope people come and we can put a smile on your face and make you laugh at the ridiculousness of all this for 80 minutes.”