2019 Season

The Blues of Knowing Why

On Stage

Jul 11–Jul 14, 2019

The Union for Contemporary Art is proud to present Christopher Maly’s original play, The Blues of Knowing Why. Opening on July 11th, this gripping historical drama, directed by Denise Chapman and set in North Omaha, commemorates the 50th anniversary of a tragic moment, which has impacted our community for decades.

On June 24, 1969, 14-year-old Vivian Strong was killed by an Omaha Police officer. Her death divided our city and created a fracture that has never been resolved. In The Blues of Knowing Why, Maly conducted interviews with friends and family of Vivian Strong, members of the media, and members of social resistance organizations to provide a community’s account of Vivian’s short life and the timeless magnitude of her death.

This production of The Blues of Knowing Why has been made possible through our partnership with the Great Plains Theatre Conference.


David - Devel Crisp

Mary - Olivia Johnson

Rudy Smith - Eric Jordan

Ed Poindexter - Malik Kelly

Carol - Felicia Webster

Vivian - Nadia Williams

Ensemble #1 - Vernon Wheeler

Ensemble #2 - Matthew Pyle

Ensemble #3 - TammyRá

Ensemble #4 - Haley Haas


Director - Denise Chapman

Production Manager - Brendan Greene-Walsh

Scenic Designer - Bill VanDeest

Lighting Designer - Carol Wisner

Costume Designer - Valerie St. Pierre Smith

Sound Designer - Mark Bruckner

Props Master - Savannah Savick

Stage Manager - Rachael Cramer

Assistant Stage Manager - Mana Hayasaka

Site Coordinator - Mark Krejci

Set Construction - Brad Howard, Lance Glenn

Scenic Artist - Craig Lee

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