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Penguin Problems

Adapted by Matthew Gutschick with Songs by Trudy Yeatts
From the book by Jory John, Illustrated by Lane Smith.
Published by Random House Books For Young Readers.

People might pretend that penguins don’t have problems, but mopey Mortimer certainly begs to differ. Frankly he finds the frozen life to be free of fun and far from festive. Despite the calm, cool and collected attitudes of the other penguins of his pack, Mortimer has no chill. He constantly complains that he’s got serious penguin problems. Join Mortimer for a hilarious journey through his long list of worries and woes that just might help YOU to find the sunny side of a cold, cold world!

  • Run Dates Sept 11 - Oct 18, 2020
  • Appropriate Ages All Audiences
  • Duration 60 minutes

Show Program

Cast & Credits


  • Mortimer – Malik Fortner
  • Louise – Jessica Burrill Logue
  • Bob – Ben Adams
  • Ensemble – Elizabeth Avery
  • Walrus/Ensemble – LaDareon “LD” Copeland
  • Octopus/Ensemble – Sue Gillespie Booton
  • Morgan Freeman – DJ Tyree


  • Conductor & Keyboard – Jerry Brabec
  • Percussion – Michael Pollack
  • Bass – Tom Miller
  • Bass Sub – Mark Haar
  • Guitar – Ben Eisenberger
  • Keyboard – Jared Kmiecik
  • Keyboard Sub – Jennifer Novak-Har

Artistic/Production Credits

  • Director – Kathy Tyree
  • Music Director – Jerry Brabec
  • Choreographer – Sue Gillespie Booton
  • Michael Chekhov Technique Coach – Denise Chapman
  • Stage Manager – Lisa Krabbenhoft
  • Scenic Designer – Kathy Voecks
  • Lighting Designer – Matt Benes
  • Sound Designer/Engineer – Christy Hernandez
  • Costume Designer – Sherri Geerdes
  • Hair & Makeup Designer -Zach Kloppenborg
  • Director of Production – Erin M. Solemsaas
  • Technical Director – Hunter Andrews
  • Props Mistress – Devon Denn-Young
  • Scenic Charge Artist – Savannah Savick
  • Master Carpenter – Jackson Curtright
  • Stitchers – Sherri Geerdes, Zach Kloppenborg, Audio Helkuik
Malik Fortner

Malik Fortner

Mortimer -
Malik Fortner is originally from Michigan. He moved to Omaha in 2010 where he found his love for acting in a high school production of Gift of the Magi. He has been involved in professional theater and filmmaking since 2016. This is Malik’s first show with The Rose and his first musical ever. Malik has been seen in Walk the night (Blue Barn), Love and Information (Apollon), Tamurrud (Film), and Chit (Film). He is also an ensemble member of Kerfuffle and has been featured in a few local commercials. When he is not prepping for a show, Malik enjoys crafting cosplays, playing board games with his roommates, watching anime and playing video games. Always believe in the me that believes in you.

Jessica Burrill Logue

Jessica Burrill Logue

Louise -
Jessica is excited to be back at The Rose in her fifth consecutive season opener and to share this “hygge” show with all of you.  She is originally from Maine and has been involved in professional theater since the age of 3. You may have seen her on stage or assistant directing shows here at The Rose, such as Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed the Rock Experience, Elf the Musical, Bucket Of Blessings, The Cat In The Hat, Go Dog Go, 
Thumbelina, Judy Moody & Stink: The Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Treasure Hunt, Curious George and The Golden Meatball, Wynken, Blynken and Nod, Babe The Sheep Pig, Huck Finn and Good Night Moon! She is an ensemble member in Kerfuffle TVY, has been the voice for commercials and videos in the Omaha Metro area as well as worked on shows for CBS and the Discovery Channel. She is a fiber artist and educator and when not directing, designing, writing or on stage, Jessica enjoys spending time with her two amazing artistic daughters Jules and Jocey, her fluffle farm of adorable dwarf angora bunnies, and knitting or spinning away every other free moment while finding joy always in the journey! She’d love to thank her family and friends for believing in her & allowing her to dance amongst the stars. 

Ben Adams

Ben Adams

Bob -
Ben Adams is excited to be returning to The Rose Theater after graduating with a BFA in Theatrical Performance and Direction from Creighton University. They have been seen previously onstage at The Rose in Matilda (Maternity Doctor), Newsies (Oscar Delancey), Peter and the Starcatcher (Tubby Ted), A Christmas Story (Skut Farkus). While at Creighton, Ben appeared in Company (Bobby), She Kills Monsters (Chuck), Legally Blonde (Warner Huntington III), War of the Roses: A Fire Within (Harry). They also set designed and acted in Riot Repeat (Blue Suffragette). They have been seen in Catherland (Ricky Lee; Shelterbelt), Carrie (Freddie; SNAP!), Wizard of Oz (Scarecrow, PLVCT), and has worked as a production assistant for Opera Omaha for three years. In their final year at Creighton, they began to focus their work on digitizing live theatre and streaming it for educational purposes. Their hope is to fully update and integrate live theatre with 21st century technology while also working with public entities to ensure adequate and free internet connection for all students.

Elizabeth Avery

Elizabeth Avery

Ensemble -
Elizabeth is beyond excited to be back at The Rose for Penguin Problems! She joined The Rose family at the age of 9 and was a BROADWAY at The Rose student until she graduated high school. Some of her favorite appearances include Madeline's Christmas, The Wizard of Oz, Annie, Suessical the Musical, Tarzan, Peter Pan, and The Little Mermaid. She enjoys returning over the summers and working with us! Elizabeth has recently graduated from Nebraska Wesleyan University with a BFA in Musical Theatre and a minor in Gender Studies. While in college, she loved the opportunities she was given to pursue an arts degree that allowed her to train in a wide variety of specialties. In the last four years in Lincoln, Elizabeth was blessed to work on over 35 productions as a performing artist, director, dance captain, choreographer, and production team member. She wholeheartedly wants to thank her family, friends, and professors for their constant support, and hopes that everyone enjoys the show! 


LaDareon "LD" Copeland

Walrus/ensemble -
LD is one of The Rose’s Teaching Artist Fellows and is so excited to be appearing in “Penguin Problems.” This Georgia peach graduated from Young Harris College in 2016. While there, he performed in multiple productions such as "Rent" (Tom Collins), "The Producers" (Carmen Ghia), and "Fences" (Jim Bono) where his school had the first fully African American cast production and was nominated for an Irene Ryan scholarship. He also was blessed to make his directorial debut at his college with "Songs for a New World.” After graduation, LD worked for multiple children’s theaters such as First Stage Children’s Theater, Missoula Children’s Theatre, CLIMB Theatre in Minnesota, and Bay Area Children’s Theater where he originated the role of Ramone in "Peg + Cat Live.” When he is not performing on The Rose stage, he also performs as Rustina Roze promoting equality, body positivity and love. He is so thankful for this opportunity to work with such an amazing cast. He would like to thank his cast and crew for being such a supportive team.

Sue Gillespie Booton

Sue Gillespie Booton

Choreographer/Octopus/Ensemble -
Sue Gillespie Booton’s national tour credits include "Annie Get Your Gun", "Beehive", and
"Grease". Most recent credits include "Elf" (Sam/Mrs. Santa), World Premiere of "The Dollmaker’s Gift", (Pola/Rebecca), "Rocky Horror" (Columbia), "Ring of Fire" (Ensemble) and "Always,
Patsy Cline" (Louise). She was an original cast member in Omaha’s longest running musical, "Beehive" (Brenda Lee, Petula Clark, Janis Joplin), and appeared in shows on Royal Carribean, Carnival, Royal Viking and Europe’s Sally Cruise Lines. Other Rose stage appearances include "Madagascar" (Gloria), "Cinderella" (Fairy Godmother) and "Cat in the Hat", (Thing #1). Choreographic credits include "Elf The Musical", "Matilda", Disney’s "Newsies", "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever", "Madagascar", "Mary Poppins", "A Christmas Story", "Tarzan", "Narnia", "Peter Pan", "HONK!" and "Annie - The Musical". She won the 2019 Omaha Entertainment Award for “Outstanding Choreography” for "Newsies" and is the 2020 nominee for both "Elf" and "Matilda". She was inducted into the Nebraska Music Hall of Fame summer, 2019 and is the 2014 recipient of the National Freddy G Award given to outstanding musical theater educators as well as the 2014 Theater Arts Guild Education Award winner. Sue is The Rose Theater’s Resident Choreographer and Director of BROADWAY at The Rose, which includes The Rose Brigade and Dance Lab at The Rose. She is thankful to return to Omaha and continue her professional
career at The Rose Theater near friends and family.

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.

Fewer audience members

Our auditorium seating will be limited in capacity. Families will be seated together with empty seats between family groups.

Directed Seating

In order to maintain social distance between groups, audiences will enter through the center aisle and be directed to specific seats on a first come, first served basis. Seating groups will be spaced at least six feet apart. Audience members will exit using the side aisles only.

Social Distancing

Families are asked to stay six feet from other family groupings. It may be necessary to form a line outside of the building to maintain this distance in line.

Masks Required

A mask should be worn by adults and children ages 5+ when in line or in the lobby area, or at any time when social distancing cannot be maintained. Masks may be removed when seated in the auditorium.

Touchless Ticketing

Tickets must be purchased in advance, either online or by phone. When you arrive at the theater, we will check your name off a list; no need to present a ticket.

Digital programs & online activities

Show programs will be available on The Rose website. There will be no lobby activities, but activities will be available online.

Concessions and Sales Items

For your family’s safety, concessions and sales items will not be sold during the 2020-21 season. No outside snack items allowed.

One-way entry and exit

Families are asked to enter The Rose using the doors on 20th Street and exit onto Farnam Street.

No Booster Loans

Booster seats will not be available for loan from The Rose. You are welcome to bring your own seat for your child to use.

Limited Access to Restrooms

Access to restrooms will be limited due to social distancing requirements.

Drinking Fountains

Drinking fountains will not be available.

Additional Time for Seating

We realize these precautions may mean that it will take additional time to be seated. We will be opening the auditorium doors 40 minutes before showtime.

Digital streaming of shows

During the 2020-21 season, if circumstances require The Rose to cancel a performance, we have made arrangements with a professional videographer to record a high-quality video of most member shows. This video, featuring engaging, high-definition images, dynamic film-quality editing of close-ups and wide angles, will be made available to members in the event that we cannot physically welcome you into our building.

In addition, we are also offering a digital-only ticket package, giving your family a front-row seat to The Rose — right from the comfort and safety of your living room! This option is perfect for families who want to maintain social distancing, who live outside the Omaha metro area or others who cannot physically attend shows at the theater.

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.