A New York Christmas is Coming to Omaha

Heather is the blogger behind The Home Alien Blog where she documents her journey through life as a wife and mother.  Heather is a stay-at-home Mom to three (almost four!) children and currently lives in West Omaha.  In her spare time she enjoys baking treats with her kiddos, crafting, taking naps and reading.

Blog:  homealienblog.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HomeAlien|
Instagram: @hlongnecker

A New York Christmas is Coming to Omaha

Stepping onto the bustling streets of New York City is a rush of excitement.  And, no season in New York City is more exciting than Christmas. There are bells ringing, horns blaring and brilliant holiday decorations everywhere you look. My family would make the short trip from New Jersey to New York each and every Christmas season. There was Rockefeller Center with its iconic ice sheet and glittering Christmas Tree to see. Then, a trip to Macy’s was in order, to take in its dazzling window displays and decorations. Next, we would hop into St. Patrick’s Cathedral, lighting candles and staring up into the breathtaking heights of the ceiling until we got dizzy.  But, the main purpose of our trip was always to see The Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall.  There isn’t another stage production that captures the magic of New York City at Christmas quite like The Christmas Spectacular.

blogJust a couple of crazy siblings enjoying Rockefeller Center! (Heather, Jenn and Ryan circa 2000)

It was my family’s tradition to make our yearly pilgrimage on Christmas Eve.  I believe traditions hold such an important place in our hearts because of the feelings they stir up.  For me, nothing captures the magical feelings of Christmas quite like this show. From the opening chords of the overture to the final moments of the Nativity Scene, I was always mesmerized.   I am beyond thrilled at the chance to share this tradition with my own children when Omaha Performing Arts presents The Christmas Spectacular Starring The Rockettes at the Orpheum Theater in November.  I know it will be the perfect way to begin our Christmas season and yours too!

Heather’s Don’t Miss Moments:

  • The Parade of the Wooden Soldiers.  This beloved number has been captivating audiences since its conception in 1933.  You won’t want to miss The Rockettes taking their famous tumble across the stage.
  • The Ragdolls. Reinvented for the 2014 Season, this classic number will be sure to captivate your little ones with a playful dose of magic by giving them a sneak peek into Santa’s Workshop.
  • The Santa Number. Nothing captures the magic of Christmas more than Santa himself explaining how he manages to deliver all those presents, all over the world.  Be prepared to be amazed as the magic of Christmas, literally, multiplies before your eyes.
  • New York at Christmas. This number perfectly depicts the glitz and glamor of the holiday season by taking you to some of New York City’s most iconic landmarks.

rockettesMiss Hannah meeting The Rockettes! Christmas here we come!

The Radio City Christmas Spectacular will be at the Orpheum Theater November 13-30th, 2014. Tickets are on sale now at TicketOmaha.com.

For more information about performances coming to the Orpheum Theater or Holland Center, follow Omaha Performing Arts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


Secrets Behind The Rockette’s Signature Look

Written by Ashley Rich
Twitter : @mrsbrich26
Instagram : @mrsbrich26

Ashley writes at If You Give A Girl A Ring, a lifestyle blog that documents her travels, beauty and fashion favorites, running race recaps and life as a newlywed. She is a graphic designer and marketing professional and lives with her husband and 2 dogs in Omaha.

The Secrets Behind The Rockettes Signature Look
When you’re a Rockette, you rehearse for 6 hours a day, 6 days a week for 6 weeks before you finally get that moment to kick your heels onstage. Once the holiday season kicks off, the Rockettes perform in up to 4 shows a day, 6 days a week and they do it all while looking fabulous. So what does it take to look so glamorous while dancing under those bright stage lights? Recently, I was able to meet 2 of the Rockettes that perform in this famous holiday show and they shared some of the behind-the-scene secrets of what it takes to really look like a Rockette.


Each Rockette does their own hair and makeup
All of the Rockettes must look the same onstage and each girl is required to do their hair in the signature French twist. This might not be an easy task for a new rookie, but the girls say they form a sisterhood and each one helps out the other to learn how to do their hair. The Rockettes are split into smaller dressing rooms and veteran Rockettes request to have a rookie in their room to help them out and learn the ropes.

Rockette Tip for doing your hair: Don’t wash your hair every day when styling it. Dirty hair that is day-old will hold better than clean hair.

They can do their hair and makeup…fast!
The girls come in early before a show starts not only to stretch but to begin their hair and makeup routine too. It takes about 15 minutes to do their makeup before the show and have fast touch-ups in between scenes during the show.

Want to know the best pose to do when taking a photo?
If you notice when the Rockettes pose, they always have their hands on their hips. Their secret? Place your thumb in front instead of the back when placing your hand on your hip for a pose. This makes your biceps look more toned.


Finding makeup that is sweat-proof is necessary
Kicking under those hot lights certainly makes the Rockettes work up a sweat. Oil blotting sheets are essentials for each of the girls to use while they touch up between each dance. While each Rockette has her own favorite makeup products, some of the staples that can be found in their makeup bag include a moisturizer to calm irritated skin, foundation primer, liquid eyeliner, and fake eyelashes.

Red lipstick is essential to the Rockette look
Rockettes always sport a trendy red lip. A brand favorite for them is MAC lipstick in either Red or Russian Red.


Do your hair before you start your makeup
Prior to starting your makeup, the Rockettes do their hair first. The reasoning behind this? If you reverse this part of the routine, your forehead will get shiny from the hairspray.

Now it’s your turn, what makeup essentials or tips could you not live without?

The Radio City Christmas Spectacular will be at the Orpheum Theater November 13-30th, 2014. Tickets are on sale now at TicketOmaha.com.

For more information about performances coming to the Orpheum Theater or Holland Center, follow Omaha Performing Arts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Beyond Skin Deep – Rockette Beauty

Written by Mardra Sikora
Twitter: @mardrasikora

By day Mardra balances a patchwork of community, advocacy, work and family. Also by day she writes, using fiction and nonfiction to advocate for and with her adult son, Marcus. Join them on Facebook at Grown Ups & Downs.

Rockettes in OmahaThe Radio City Rockettes’ Real Beauty Tip is No Secret

Rachel Borgman and Karilyn Surrat both graciously
shared Rockettes’ beauty and fitness tips with Omaha readers, and also the wisdom “Class and grace are always on point,” which is the epitome of the Rockettes’ timeless effect.  Today let’s look at the Rockettes’ beauty that is beyond “skin deep” – the commitment of this sisterhood to the community.

I understand about commitment to the community, in fact I catch a little grief for the habit of spreading myself too thin. My son and I involve ourselves with a variety of causes from disability rights and education to literacy within the community and, of course, the arts. (Marcus is Omaha’s biggest Broadway Fan, but that’s for another day.) Recently while chatting with one friend from out of state about the variety of our commitments, she waved her hand and said, “That’s a Nebraska mentality.”

It’s true. The folks around here give generously with their time or money or both on a regular basis in an effort to assist the well-being of our community.  In fact, philanthropy is a point of pride for many Omahans and throughout the state. For example Omaha Gives, in only its second year, raised over six million dollars for local not-for-profit groups and for many Nebraskans volunteerism is a way of life.

So, it came as no surprise to me to learn that Rachel Borgman, a native of Norfolk, Neb., and one of the Rockettes scheduled to perform in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular here in Omaha this November, volunteers in several different capacities in her new home of New York City.  “I volunteer at a lot of events with New York Cares (lots of senior citizen events), Gala Gear (organization that gives high school girls prom dresses), and a church soup kitchen.” I’m sure she represents that Nebraska mentality with pride at each event.

Already the Rockettes donated time to the Omaha community earlier this fall by sharing their expertise in dance with local students and also reading with families at a Bellevue Public Library event.

IMG_1863 IMG_1858However, those are just the teasers that show their enthusiasm for contributing to the metro Omaha community while they are in town this Christmas Season.

The Rockettes are a staple at the Rockefeller Christmas Tree lighting in NYC, an event to see, however a few of the touring Rockettes may help kick off the giving season right here at The Omaha Salvation Army Tree of Lights ceremony, November 7. Also, don’t be surprised if you see a long legged beauty ringing bells to raise funds for the Red Kettle campaign around town between performances. (Of course, I expect those legs will be well hidden when the Nebraska winter begins.)

The Rockettes’ with their fabulous red, white and blue image combined with a long patriotic history that  began back in WWII including several USO tours continues their support of our troops right here by hosting a Heroes’ Night in cooperation with the Omaha World Herald. November 18’s Radio City Spectacular event will be all the more spectacular with a color guard present, activities and recognition to and for the military and their families. In cooperation with Blue Star Families, 200 members of military families will be guests of the Rockettes, The Omaha World-Herald and Omaha Performing Arts. Also a military discount is available for that night’s performance.


Ms. Borgman is particularly excited about being performing at the Orpheum, her No. 1 reason? Being close to home and family during the holiday season. In this, her 10th year as a Rockette, she has spent many holidays far from home. Perhaps this is part of why she also often makes time for stops at the Ronald McDonald House Charities & hospital visits.

Marcus kissing handAs I witness the values demonstrated by this 80+ year sisterhood, I’ve learned this: The next time I begin to worry or complain about my time commitments, I’ll remind myself that at least I don’t have to squeeze philanthropy in between high kicking performance eight times each week!

I think it’s easy to see that all of the smiles, hugs and time shared by these ladies proves that the secret to their beautiful glow is simply this: It comes from within.

The Radio City Christmas Spectacular will be at the Orpheum Theater November 13-30th, 2014. Tickets are on sale now at TicketOmaha.com.

For more information about performances coming to the Orpheum Theater or Holland Center, follow Omaha Performing Arts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Food & Fitness with the Rockettes

Written by Erin Fairchild
Twitter: @herheartland
Instagram: @herheartlandsoul

Erin is the blogger behind Her Heartland Soul, a lifestyle blog focused on the joys of putting down roots in Omaha. Erin is a Marketing professional that lives with her husband and cat in Downtown Omaha. She loves to travel, eat good food, wear pretty dresses, and document it all on her blog.

7 food and fitness secrets – straight from the Rockettes!


Have you ever wondered how the Rockettes are able to dance so well? How they look so good in their costumes? How they are able to smile through hours of workouts on stage?  I was recently invited by Omaha Performing Arts to meet two Rockettes that will be performing in this year’s Radio City Christmas Spectacular. I asked them these and many more questions. There they dished on their fitness and food routines and shared seven secrets we all can apply to our own lives.

Rag doll upclose

1. ABD (Always be dancing)

Rockettes not only love to dance, they’ve likely been dancing since they were toddlers. Dancing is an incredible way to lean out, get strong, and stay in shape. Rockettes dance all year round, from onstage during the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, to dance classes they teach off-season, to barre, tap, and ballet classes they take for fun and fitness purposes. You don’t have to be a professional dancer to reap the benefits of dance. Find a form that interests you and sign up for a class at your local gym and/or studio.

rockette workout

2. Train hard

Rockettes know that practice makes perfect and hard work is the key to success. Before they hit the stage for the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, they train 6 hours a day, 6 days a week, for 6 weeks. Imagine how much you could improve at something by doing it even one hour a day, six days a week, for six weeks.


3. Pucker up!

The Rockettes know how important it is to stay hydrated and replenish their electrolytes in between dance routines. One of the ways they do this is with pickles and pickle juice! A pickle only has about 16 calories, but it has electrolytes your body needs after a strenuous workout.

rockette stretching

4. Take care of your body

A Rockette does 300 kicks a show, 4 shows a day, 6 days a week. That’s 7,200 kicks a week! To help their bodies recover, they stretch all the time, take ice baths at the end of each day, and visit with the Rockette’s athletic trainer if they have any aches or pains. This allows their body to recover for the next day of work. They know warm ups and cool downs are just as important as the actual workout. And that it’s always important to see a professional if there is the possibility of injury.


5. Prep your food ahead of time

Food is fuel for the Rockettes. They need a lot of it, but they need it to be clean and healthy to keep their bodies strong. They have a full size refrigerator backstage at all shows so that they can bring snacks and meals. They plan ahead and pack foods full of proteins and healthy fats so that when hunger strikes they aren’t reaching for a candy bar. Some of their favorite snacks include: fruit, protein shakes, bananas, almond milk, peanut butter, and tuna packs.


6. Have a support team

While the Rockettes are always striving to be the best dancers, performers, and athletes that they can be, they still sometimes struggle and have off days just like the rest of us. When that happens, they call on their sisterhood and know they can lean on each other for advice, encouragement, and support. We’re all bound to get burned out on our health and fitness goals. When that happens, it’s important to have friends we can turn to that will help and support us.

NYAC compressed

7. Never settle

The Rockettes are the best at what they do and that’s because they never settle. A personal motto of theirs is, “Make today’s best tomorrow’s worst.” Always be striving to improve, learn, and grow. That’s how good turns into great.

Your turn: Do you like to dance? What is a health and fitness goal you’re working on? Do you have a secret to success?

The Radio City Christmas Spectacular will be at the Orpheum Theater November 13-30th, 2014. Tickets are on sale now at TicketOmaha.com.

 For more information about performances coming to the Orpheum Theater or Holland Center, follow Omaha Performing Arts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Life On The Road As A Rockette

Written by Dana Zucker


I am Dana Zucker, contributor and Food Editor of TravelingMom.com.  I focus on luxury travel and travel for families and triathletes around the world on my personal websites, TriWivesClub and MomsGoodEats.  When not on the road, I can be found cooking, eating, and adventuring around Omaha!


The Rockettes have 120 dancers divided into four casts and two of them spend their time on the road.  This year, one of the two traveling casts will be in Nashville and the other will split their time between Omaha and Houston.  They are on the road September through January; right smack in the middle of all the holiday gatherings.

As a travel writer, people often say to me that I have the best life traveling all the time and get to just have fun, while playing on the road.  While it is a great life, it is also work for me, some of the time.

Rockettes Meet & Greet 011

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Rockettes, Rachel and Karilyn, as a guest blogger for Omaha Preforming Arts!  I am so fortunate to work with an amazing group of travel writers that are moms at TravelingMom.com so I asked what they wanted to know.  Here are their questions and the Rockettes’ answers…

Kim Orlando is the TMOM Founder, who sends us moms all over the world for articles. Are any of the Rockettes moms?

Karilyn, who first took a deep breath, stepped back and said, “Yes and I have so much respect for them, to do what I do and have a family to take care of”.

TMOM Desiree Miller, who had the opportunity to dance with the Rockettes in Atlanta. Last year, when I was dancing with the Rockettes, one told me that you spend all summer in Myrtle Beach. Do you?

Karilyn and Rachel both replied that the Rockettes are all over the place during their off season.  Many work at other jobs or preform in summer groups and teach.  But, there are some Rockettes who work year-round, traveling for the company.  The Rockettes that are cast in the traveling production, however, spend a good portion of the Fall in Myrtle Beach where rehearsals take place.

TMOM Sue Rodman and TMOM Kim- Marie Evans wanted to know what all TMOMs struggle with when traveling. What do you eat?

Karilyn and Rachel were similar with their answers.  Both, during rehearsal and during shows, are very active.  During show season, they are doing 300 kicks a show for 4 shows a day, plus all the dancing and costume changes.  So, they eat a lot.  When on the road, they always have a refrigerator backstage and in their rooms, but foods easy to eat and carry are always best.  The biggest struggles are proteins and electrolytes.  Favorites are pickles (due to the sodium content which is can be lost while performing), cups and squeeze packs of peanut butter, and those tuna fish packs.  When flying, these are easy to carry on the plane.  But, the real favorites are always care packages from home.  

TMOM Scotty Reiss. Do you ever get time to break away and explore the city and what has been your favorite city?

One of Karilyn’s favorite cities is San Diego, because it’s so beautiful in the winter. Rachel’s was easy; It’s Omaha this year, since Nebraska is her home state.

With rehearsals and shows, it can get really hard to breakaway and see the city or region they are in, but many times they push themselves to get up early and get out and explore. TMOM Founder Cindy Richards. Do you have roadies, because we as TMOMs would love roadies? Oh yea, we are our own roadies…

 The Rockettes travel with a team that helps a lot, but they are each responsible for their own stuff.  The production team is a huge part of what they do.

Photo courtesy of Radio City Christmas Spectacular Facebook

TMOM Mary Dixon Lebeau. How do you keep yourselves so stage worthy on the road?

One of the things the Rockettes are grateful for is the wardrobe department that hits the road with them.  But, each Rockette is responsible for getting their own make up and hair done themselves for each show and appearance.

And me, well I want to know what’s in your carry on besides your dance shoes?

The most important item the Rockettes carry are their phone chargers, to stay connected with family and friends.  But, more special are pictures of friends and family.  Karilyn shared with us that her friends even make her special photo albums to take with her, which makes it even more valuable.  


As with everything else, the Rockettes travel with such class and grace.  We TMOMs strive to do that and write about it at the same time.  With the kids in tow and no wardrobe department, we have a lot to learn from the Rockettes.

The Radio City Christmas Spectacular will be at the Orpheum Theater November 13-30th, 2014. Tickets are on sale now at TicketOmaha.com.

 For more information about performances coming to the Orpheum Theater or Holland Center, follow Omaha Performing Arts on Facebook, Twitter, andInstagram.

Interns Aid NHSTA 2014

By Michelle Bazis & Gretchen Pille

The Internship Experience

Omaha Performing Arts’ education initiatives connect to the community through a range of enriching arts and educational experiences, including internship programs within the following departments: Development and Special Events, Marketing, Programming and Education.

The Organization’s summer event calendar holds fantastic opportunities for interns to gain hands-on experience; the first of which was the Nebraska High School Theatre Awards on June 12th. From preparation to follow-up, the three interns proved to be a tremendous aid. For the Marketing Intern, support continued with content collaboration for this blog post.

Despite the stereotype, filing is an important part of the internship experience. Business operations rely on diligent record keeping. As an intern for Omaha Performing Arts, University of Nebraska Lincoln student, Gretchen, spent time getting acquainted with the Organization’s process. “Some days it’s a trip downstairs to the marketing closet to archive posters and banners. Most of the time, I am filing promotional materials. My favorite part of the archival process is seeing how marketing styles have progressed over the seasons; like some pretty nifty programs for a roller-skating show in the 50s. My goal as a marketing intern here is to get a better picture of how the arts are promoted.”

Nebraska High School Theatre Awards Preparation

Omaha Performing Arts is dedicated to arts education in the community, exercised through hands-on internships and a variety of other programs. In addition to administrative responsibilities, interns are submerged in the development, organization and collaboration within an industry career. “On top of my day-to-day projects, I get to sit-in on meetings and learn about ad planning. Last week, I helped prepare for first ever Nebraska High School Theater Awards! In the few days preceding the event, I wore the hat of ‘people-wrangler’ for rehearsals, showing high school students around the maze that is the Holland Center and gathering performers before their acts. I enjoyed running around backstage just as much as running around onstage. The Development Intern and I were Vanna Whites for the event, trading in our snappy business attire for gowns and heels to present trophies to the winners. It was incredibly glamorous, and I only tripped once. I was even featured on the news!  Now that the red carpet is rolled up, I recall fondly the glitz and glamor of the night and look forward to helping the next big event here at Omaha Performing Arts, Jazz on the Green. Wish me luck!

For more information about Omaha Performing Arts’ internship opportunities, click the PDF links below, or visit our website.

Intern Job Description | Intern Application

The Nebraska High School Theatre Awards is year-long program that recognizes outstanding musical theatre productions and students in Omaha and surrounding communities.


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  What’s next?
Jazz on the Green: Thursdays, July 10th – August 14th
Cox Music & Movies: Fridays, July 11th – 25th