President's Message

Joan_Portrait_150x200Dear friends,

Something beautiful is underway at Omaha Performing Arts!  

In January, we announced our BEAUTIFUL Songwriting Competition presented in conjunction with Broadway’s BEAUTIFUL – The Carole King Musical. The Tony Award®-winning show tells the inspiring story of King’s rise to stardom as a songwriter and performer.

We’re excited to shine a spotlight on the aspiring songwriters in our own community during the competition. More than 40 people ages 13 to 71 are registered to participate. A cast member from the touring production of BEAUTIFUL – The Carole King Musical will record the winning songs, and the Top 10 songwriters will perform in a special showcase at The Waiting Room on March 27. Please join us in celebrating their talent! 

Beyond prizes, the project offers invaluable hands-on learning experiences with professional artists. All who registered for the contest are invited to a Songwriting Workshop. With sessions on lyric writing, music composition and self-promotion, they’ll have the tools to foster their talent. 

We’re also looking forward to our next Jazz Series performance, Jelly & George. In March, Grammy®-winning vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant joins Aaron Diehl and Adam Birnbaum to celebrate the music of two jazz titans: Jelly Roll Morton and George Gershwin. 

Although performing worlds apart in the 1920s, both pianists had a profound influence on early 20th century American music. Morton started his career in New Orleans and is most notable as jazz’s first arranger. His ragtime tune “Jelly Roll Blues” was the first published jazz composition. Meanwhile, in New York City, Gershwin worked on the outskirts of jazz, focusing on classical and popular music. He composed songs for several musicals including “Funny Face” starring Fred Astaire.

Today’s modern jazz masters – Salvant, Diehl and Birnbaum – will breathe new life into the timeless sounds of Morton and Gershwin in what will certainly be an incredible evening of jazz! 



Joan H. Squires 
President, Omaha Performing Arts