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Giraffes Can’t Dance: The Musical

Book & Lyrics by Gloria Bond ClunieMusic by Elton Bradman & Lila Oleszkiewicz
Based on the book by Giles Andreae & Guy Parker-Rees

TM and logo © Purple Enterprises Ltd and the Watts Publishing Group Ltd.Text © Purple Enterprises Ltd, a Coolabi companyIllustrations © Guy Parker-Rees

Gerald the giraffe has a problem. All the other animals seem to know how to dance.
The warthogs can waltz, the rhinos can rock ‘n’ roll, even the chimps can do the
cha-cha! Gerald, with his long neck and skinny legs, thinks he cannot dance. That is,
until he discovers that “sometimes when you’re different, you just need a different song.”

Based on the bestselling picture book, this brand new musical with original songs will transport you and your family to Africa where you will meet a cast of characters guaranteed to make you laugh and think. Most of all, Gerald’s story will remind you that we all can dance when we find music that we love.

  • Run Dates April 8 - May 1, 2022
  • Appropriate Ages All Audiences
  • Duration 60 minutes

Giraffes Can’t Dance: The Musical Photo

Show Program


  • Gerald – Carina DuMarce
  • Cricket – Jay Hayden
  • Elephant – Zoella Sneed
  • Lion – Candace Gould
  • Monkey – Karl Houser
  • Zebra – Natalie Hanson
  • Musician – Tonya Ward

Artistic/Production Credits

  • Director – Denise Chapman
  • Playwright – Gloria Bond Clunie
  • Music Composers – Everett Elton Bradman & Lila Oleszkiewicz 
  • Choreographer – LaTryce Anderson
  • Assistant to the Director – Asia Nared
  • Stage Manager – Lisa Krabbenhoft
  • Music Director – Justin Payne
  • Scenic Designer – Mejah Balams
  • Resident Lighting Designer, Co-Lighting Designer – Matt Benes
  • Co-Lighting Designer – Audrey Wardian
  • Projections Designer – Brittany Powell-Merenda
  • Sound Designer & Engineer – Christy Hernandez
  • Asst. Sound Designer – Angel Hernandez
  • Costume Designer – Sherri Geerdes
  • Hair & Makeup Designer – Zach Kloppenborg
  • Director of Production – Sarah Buck
  • Technical Director – Jackson Curtright
  • Props Mistress – Devon Denn-Young
  • Scenic Charge Artist – Trent Grooms
  • Swing Technicians – Jesse Groff, Jeff Ludwig
  • Lighting & Production Apprentice – Angel Hernandez
  • Run Crew – Meghan Boucher, Angel Hernandez, Scout Hughes
  • Spot Operators – Derek Copenhaver, Seth Lindsey
  • Stitchers – Sherri Geerdes, Zach Kloppenborg, Audio Helkuik
Carina DuMarce

Carina DuMarce

Gerald –

Carina DuMarce (they/them) Hau, mitakuyapi! Carina is an Indigenous Theater Creator and Teaching Artist from South Dakota. Currently based in Omaha, Carina is the Associate Director of CommUNITY Connections and continues to work as a freelance theater artist directing, choreographing, prop designing, stage managing, teaching, and acting.
As part of their work, Carina continues to make space for Native youth to share their culture and explore storytelling in a theatrical setting.
Some of their favorite theatrical endeavors include Winnie the Pooh (as Winnie the Pooh), Darkness Like A Dream (as Hermia),The Jungle Book (as Baloo), Eurydice (Director), Cinderella: If the Shoe Fits(Director/Choreographer), A Year with Frog and Toad(Stage Manager) and Disney’s The Little Mermaid (Stage Manager/Prop Designer).
To everyone in the cast and creative team, pidamaye!

"We all can dance- when we find music we love!"

#MMIW #BLM #EveryChildMatters

Jay Hayden

Jay Hayden

Cricket –

Jay Hayden (they/them) is a genderqueer activist, educator, playwright, performer, and brussels sprouts enthusiast.They are the Director of Teen Programming at The Rose! At The Rose, Jay supervises the High School Internship, oversees all classes for students aged 12-18, and manages the annual Teens ’n’ Theater season. They are the director of The Rose’s Teen IDEA Coalition, where students explore anti-oppressive politic to engage in meaningful community change. Jay serves on the Advisory Board of the Pride Youth Theater Alliance, is a Theater of the Oppressed practitioner, and has recently been on stage at The Rose in THE CAT IN THE HAT, BACK IN THE DAY, and DON'T LET THE PIGEON DRIVE THE BUS. Jay has worked as an Educator and Artist with Vermont Stage, Lake Dillon Theatre Company, the American Alliance of Theater & Education (AATE), Upward Bound, Nebraska Thespians, and Vermont Fairy Tale. They have a B.S.E in Secondary Education from the University of Vermont.

Zoella Sneed

Zoella Sneed

Elephant –

Zoella Sneed (she/her) recently graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with degrees in Theatre Performance and Theatre for Youth. In both her fields of study, she has dedicated herself to discovering opportunities surrounding equity/anti racism work and theatre for social change. She uses this focus to help create spaces for marginalized theatre artists to take up space and and use theatre as a platform to share their voices. Zoella also has a passion for musical theatre, and aims to bring her social justice work to the art in order to make musical theatre more representative and accessible for all people. Overall, her primary goal is to uplift and enrich the theatrical and emotional learning of young people and the theatre industry as a whole through multicultural, social justice, and empathy based theatre practices.

Candace Gould

Candace Gould

Lion –

Candace Gould is a Omaha based Private Vocal Coach, Actress, and Performer. Over the past almost 10 years she has devoted most of her time serving in the Music Ministry at a local church and teaching students of all ages how to find their voice, through classes and private voice lessons. Even though she’s been very busy with her career in music she has never lost her love for theater. She is excited to make a debut in this awesome musical.

Karl Houser

Karl Houser

Monkey –

Karl Houser Is excited to be back at The Rose in his second primate roll (Fourth if you include people) A graduate of the IO Chicago, Karl teaches, preforms and coaches improv at the Backline theatre. Karl is a founding member of the Nebraska Improvised Shakespeare Enterprise, which can be seen preforming regularly at the Backline as well. Karl also co-hosts "River Heights Radio" a Nancy Drew podcast. Karl would like to thank his fiance Hope Busby for packing snacks, Robert Busby for taking care of the dogs, and Sprocket and Toblerone for being good good puppies.

Natalie Hanson

Natalie Hanson

Zebra –

Natalie Hanson (she/her/hers) is a multidisciplinary theatre, music, and dance artist from Tacoma, Washington residing in Omaha. Natalie’s choreographic, and sound design work was last featured in a collaborative performance art piece entitled "Dollhouse" funded by Amplify Arts through their Generator Grant series. Natalie is also an actor and teaching artist with the Rose Theater. Recent Theatre credits include It’s a Wonderful Life, (Actor 7) Howie D: Back in the Day (Pollyanna) and Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus (Ensemble) with the Rose Theater. Natalie has worked with Teatro Vista, Comedy Dance Chicago, and Matter Dance company in Chicago where she previously resided. Recently, Natalie was also nominated for “Outstanding New Artist” for the OEAA awards. You can find Natalie’s self produced music under her artist name Facade Queen, and her sister duo group Court the Muse on all streaming platforms.

Denise Chapman

Denise Chapman

Director –

Denise Chapman is excited to return to The Rose for Giraffes Can’t Dance. She is an Omaha based Theatre practitioner. Currently she is the Producing Artistic Director of Theatre at The Union for Contemporary Art and an adjunct professor at Creighton University and UNL. She holds a BA in Theatre from Creighton University and a MFA from the Theatre Conservatory at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. Most recently she was awarded the 2020 Individual Artist Fellowship Award from the Nebraska Arts Council, she is an alumni of the fellowship program at the Union for Contemporary Art. She was an Artist in Residence at the Carver Bank project, a collaboration between Bemis and Theaster Gates and “Liveness is Critical” at the Bemis Center.

Gloria Bond Clunie

Gloria Bond Clunie

Playwright –

Gloria Bond Clunie is an award-winning playwright, director, and educator. She is a founding member of the Playwriting Ensemble at Chicago’s Regional Tony Award-winning Victory Gardens Theater where her plays North Star, Living Green and Shoes premiered and the founding Artistic Director of Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre in Evanston, Illinois. Other works by this Northwestern University graduate (B.A. Theater, MFA-Directing) include Sweet Water Taste, Smoke, Blu-The Musical, Quark, Last Stop On Market Street, My Wonderful Birthday Suit and A Shot#LoveStories inspired by Black Lives Matter. Awards include a Chicago Jeff, Dramatist Guild, NEA, and Illinois Arts Council Fellowships, and the Evanston Mayor’s Award for the Arts. She is thrilled Tall Enough will premiere this April at Chicago’s DePaul University, Last Stop On Market Street will be at First Stage in Milwaukee, and her adaptation of The Hula Hoopin’ Queen at Childsplay and Imagination Stage will be produced in 2023.

Everett Elton Bradman

Everett Elton Bradman

Music Composer –

Everett Elton Bradman’s 2021 composer/sound designer credits include audio dramas (Aurora Theater’s The Bluest Eye), student productions (ACT’s The House of Yes), Zoom theater (Actors Theaters’ Romeo & Juliet: Louisville 2020), podcasts (Z Space/Word for Word’s Retablos trilogy), filmed theater (San Francisco Playhouse’s Hieroglyph), hybrid visual/audio (New Conservatory Theater Company’s Interlude), and outdoor performances (Oakland Theater Project’s The Waste Land). Other recent adventures include Shotgun Players’ The Light and The Niceties; Aurora Theater’s The Flats; ACT’s Ironbound; and Snowflakes, or Rare White People for UC Berkeley. He is currently co-writing a musical for Bay Area Children’s Theater and the Rose Theater in Omaha, Nebraska. Stop by and say hello at!

Lila Oleszkiewicz

Lila Oleszkiewicz

Music Composer –

Composer, songwriter, and vocalist Lila Oleszkiewicz has been a performer since the age of five. Her work as a vocalist has ranged from classical art songs and pop music to ’70s singer-songwriter jams. She is half of synth-pop duo Basetla (, who released their debut album Woman on The Run in 2021.

Lila first began absorbing Eastern European folk and classical idioms while growing up in Poland. After years of traveling the world and working as a singer, dancer, lighting designer, and emcee, Lila earned a degree in composition at Mills College, where she studied with Roscoe Mitchell, Fred Frith, Maggie Payne, and Zeena Parkins. Her composition “On Water” earned her the Elizabeth Mills Crothers Award.

Now based in Los Angeles, she makes her living as a songwriter, vocal coach, vocal editor, a choir soloist, and producer. Visit her at

Show Photos

Know Before You Go


Everyone deserves a chance to experience the magic of theater. Performances are open to children and family members of all abilities. Click here to learn more about accessibility at The Rose.

Social Stories

A social story is a tool that helps individuals better understand the world around them so they can plan for a positive experience, even if they are going into an place that is unknown to them. Social stories help individuals know what to expect and what to do in unfamiliar situations by walking them through the experience. They are often used by individuals on the autism spectrum, children with sensory needs or those with other special needs. They can be very helpful for very young children anticipating their first theatrical experience. The Rose’s social stories feature photos of all areas of the theater to help children of all abilities with a step-by-step explanation of what it is like to visit The Rose, as well as answering questions they may have. Click here to access The Rose’s show-specific social stories.



Theater Location

The Rose is located in downtown Omaha at 2001 Farnam Street on the southwest corner of 20th & Farnam Streets.


From west Omaha, take I-80 East to 1-480 North and exit onto 20th Street. The Rose is located on Farnam Street, approximately three blocks south of the 20th Street exit.

Convenient Parking

The closest and most convenient parking is available for $2 in the garage at 19th & Harney, courtesy of the Omaha Douglas Public Building Commission (1910 Harney St., Omaha, NE 68102).

Parking meters surrounding the theater are active from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Saturday, with free parking available on Sundays and holidays. A variety of parking lots are available around the theater, as well, ranging in cost from $2-$5.

Safety at The Rose

For generations, The Rose has been a trusted friend for children and families. We may be doing things a little differently this season, but our commitment to you is still the same.

Throughout this pandemic and in the days that follow, we promise that we will continue to be the place where families can be inspired by the magic of theater.

As our community begins to re-open, we re-commit to being a place where your family can enjoy the performing arts safely and securely.

From onstage performances to classroom experiences, we are dedicated to the health and well-being of every individual — young people, parents, grandparents, educators, artists and staff. This may mean that you encounter some changes during your Rose experience, and we ask for your cooperation and partnership with us to ensure the safety of everyone involved.

Here are just a few examples of our commitment to your safety:

Enhanced cleaning procedures

The auditorium and lobby will be thoroughly cleaned before and after each performance for your family’s safety.

Masking Policy

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Rose has been committed to creating a safe space for our students, audiences, families, staff and volunteers. As we move into the latest phase of COVID-19, we recognize the need to re-evaluate our policies and procedures.

The use of masks for performances is OPTIONAL. Should conditions change, The Rose reserves the right to change this policy.

Thank you for your support of The Rose! We appreciate your help in making The Rose a safe place for all.

While the world around us changes, you can be assured that The Rose remains committed to you and your family, and that we continue to be a place where you and your children can experience the joy and spectacle of the performing arts together.