Community Songwriting Competition!!

I am tickled pink to announce the release of Omaha Performing Arts’ Community Songwriting Competition!!!!

This competition is inspired by the Broadway touring musical  ONCE, winner of eight 2012 Tony Awards® including Best Musical and winner of the 2013 Grammy Award® for Best Musical Theater Album!  This competition will be on the Orpheum stage in May.  It invites aspiring musicians to enter for a chance to win a free demo recording, be featured in a local songwriters’ showcase and more.

 ONCE tells the story of an Irish musician and a Czech immigrant drawn together by their shared love of music. Over the course of one fateful week, their unexpected friendship and collaboration evolves into a powerful but complicated romance, heightened by the raw emotion of the songs they create together. As the chemistry between them grows, his music soars to powerful new heights. 
ONCE is a perfect opportunity to invite aspiring musicians and songwriters to follow their dreams, showcase their talent and have their songs heard by professionals in the music industry,” Kendra Whitlock Ingram, Omaha Performing Arts vice president of programming and education said. “We’ve put together a series of events over several days that are designed to encourage the local singer/songwriter and composer as well as celebrate the unique beauty and music of ONCE the musical stage production.” 

Applicants will have the chance to win a free demo recording of their song at ARC (recording studio), produced by nationally renowned musician, producer and sound engineer, Mike Mogis. The competition will have two divisions, ages 13-18 and ages 19-29. Entries will be judged by local professionals from the music industry including: Orenda Fink, Joshua Hoyer, Matt Whipkey, professional musicians/recording artists; Kevin Coffey, music reporter for the Omaha World Herald; Tim McMahan, indie music journalist and blogger; Mogis; Ingram; Joanie Mathis, Omaha Performing Arts assistant manager of programming and education; Andrew Norman, executive director of Hear Nebraska; C.J. Olson, key staff member at Saddle Creek records, Kate Williams, Omaha Performing Arts production manager and local musician and Melissa Wurth from Omaha Girls Rock. 

The top seven to ten songs will be featured in a local showcase, Monday, May 11, at 7:30 p.m. at The Waiting Room in Benson. Admission to the showcase will be free and open to the public. Preceding the performance, a music industry pro panel discussion will feature: Fink, Hoyer, Mogis, Olson and Whipkey and will be moderated by McMahan. The panel will discuss best practices for developing a successful music career. Following the discussion, audience members can engage with panelists in a Q&A discussion. 

Winners of the Top 50 songs will receive one complimentary ticket to ONCE the musical at the Orpheum Theater on Tuesday, May 12. Applications must be received no later than 5 p.m., Friday, April 17, 2015. These songwriters will also have the opportunity to participate in a post-show talk-back discussion with cast members from ONCE. Full contest rules and more information are available a at

Brought to the stage by an award-winning team of visionary artists and featuring an ensemble cast of gifted actor/musicians, ONCE features the Academy Award®-winning music and lyrics of Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová; a book by award-winning Irish playwright & screenwriter, Enda Walsh (Penelope, Hunger, The New Electric Ballroom); direction by the acclaimed Scottish director of Black Watch, John Tiffany; movement by Steven Hoggett (Black Watch, American Idiot) and music supervision and orchestrations by Martin Lowe (Mamma Mia!). 

The 2007 Academy Award-winning film, ONCE, was written and directed by John Carney, with original music and lyrics by Hansard and Irglová. The independent Irish film, ONCE was made for $150,000. Shot in 17 days, it went on to gross $20 million worldwide becoming a critically acclaimed international smash. It stars Hansard, from the popular Irish Rock band The Frames, and Irglová. Hansard and Irglová won the 2007 Academy Award® for Best Original song for “Falling Slowly,” the Los Angeles Film Critics Award for Best Music, and the soundtrack was nominated for two Grammy Awards®. 

ONCE will play Omaha’s Orpheum Theater for a limited engagement Tuesday, May 12, through Sunday, May 17. ONCE will run Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, May 12, 13 and 14, at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, May 15 at 8:00 p.m.; Saturday, May 16 at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, May 17 at 1:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. 

Tickets for ONCE are available through Ticket Omaha.* The tickets, starting at $30 each, are available by going online at; by phone at 402.345.0606; or by going to the Ticket Omaha box office inside the Holland Performing Arts Center, 12th and Douglas. Groups of 10 or more may purchase tickets by calling 402.661.8516 or toll-free at 866.434.8587. The show is part of Omaha Performing Arts’ Broadway Series. 

For more information on ONCE the stage musical, please visit, or the official ONCE website: Follow Omaha Performing Arts on Facebook: OmahaPerformingArtsorg; Twitter: @OPerformingArts or You Tube:


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