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Mars and romance combine in Omaha Playhouse's online pizza production

Mars and romance combine in Omaha Playhouse's online pizza production

Pizza and a show

You can order pizza or a gourmet meal to eat while you watch "One Way to Mars," a new production by Tim and Mallory Vallier, on the Omaha Community Playhouse website. 

Omahan Tim Vallier wrote “One Way to Mars,” a musical that’s like a radio show, as his dissertation for a doctorate in composition.

It’s a modern retelling of “The Daemon Lover,” an old Scottish ballad about a couple who make a marriage pact that takes a twist.

The piece will have its streaming premiere at 7:30 p.m. Friday on the Omaha Communty Playhouse website as part of its “Dinner and Some Musical Theatre at Home” series.

Pitch Pizzeria will offer two takeout meal options to accompany the show: a gourmet meal including Lobster Rigatoni and a bottle of wine for $110, and pizza, wine and salad for $55.

Vallier’s wife, Mallory, wrote the book and the lyrics for the 75-minute musical.

It’s the story of Natalie, a neuroscientist, wife and mother, who is invited by her former lover to join him on a trip to Mars. They would be the first two humans to visit the planet. There’s no coming back, so she would have to leave her family behind.

The Valliers started on it while living in New York, where Tim was studying for his Ph.D. at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

“We figured out the main beats of the story and figured out the songs over several years until we thought we had a good chunk of material,” he said.

They moved back to Omaha, and about a year ago, he got people together to perform it for the recording that was required for his dissertation.

He defended the dissertation successfully last fall.

When he approached Playhouse artistic director Kimberly Faith Hickman about streaming it online this spring, she was enthusiastic. It fits perfectly with other online offerings being rolled out while the theater is closed during the coronavirus pandemic.

Vallier has written music for several Playhouse productions, including “Sweat,” “Native Gardens” and “A Raisin in the Sun.”

He also has worked on show visuals for musician Billy McGuigan.

Vallier created a background for the lines and lyrics that are projected as "One Way to Mars" streams.

The music is a marriage of several genres.

“It’s a mix between classical, electronic music and modern musical theater,” he said.

The cast includes Leanne Hill Carlson, Steve Krambeck, Tom Gjere, Christi Leupold and Dustin Smith. Daena Schweiger directs.

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Betsie covers a little bit of everything for The World-Herald's Living section, including theater, religion and anything else that might need attention. Phone: 402-444-1267.

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