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The Little Engine That Could

Adapted by Matthew Gutschick.
Based on the Book by Watty Piper.
Published by Penguin Group, Inc.

“All aboard!!!” for a First Stage adaptation of the all-time classic children’s book The Little Engine That Could! This production for our youngest theatergoers brings Watty Piper’s timeless tale of perseverance and positivity to fresh new life for contemporary children! Screen-centered Watty and stuff-collecting Piper aren’t exactly on the same track. But when the train is delayed leaving them stranded in the station, they must learn to work together—with lots of help from children in the station—to pass the time and use the objects around them to tell a creative tale. With its universal themes of finding your own confidence, believing in yourself and helping others, you and your little ones will relish this ride on the rails of doing the right thing!

  • Run Dates Feb 15 - Mar 8, 2020
  • Appropriate Ages 2+
  • Duration 30 minutes
  • Ticket Price Single Tickets on sale August 1, 2017

First Stage: A small stage for big imaginations

The Rose is proud to offer young theater-goers a unique opportunity to experience the theater arts. Our FIRST STAGE productions are perfect for preschoolers, children with special needs or sensory needs or others who desire a gentler, more interactive and personal performance.


Our FIRST STAGE productions feature:

  • Interactions with performers
  • A smaller theater space where kids are part of the action
  • Flexible seating in chairs, on the floor, on benches, etc.
  • A “shush-free” environment
  • Minimal periods of darkness or loud sounds
  • A whole lot of imagination and fun!

The Rose’s Hitchcock Stage (a smaller theater space located on our 4th floor), allows children to become completely absorbed in the theatrical experience. We encourage their interaction with the performers and invite your family to tear down the fourth wall and become a part of the performance.

FIRST STAGE provides a way to nurture creative thinking and imagination
while inspiring both children and their parents.

Introduce your child to the magic of theater through FIRST STAGE!


NEW in 2019-20!

Purchase a FIRST STAGE+ PACKAGE for $75 and receive 4 tickets to A Bucket of Blessings, The Little Engine That Could AND the mainstage production of Corduroy! Plus, receive 2 sample dance and drama classes to give your preschooler a jump start into the arts!

Click here for more information.

Carina DuMarce

Carina DuMarce

Piper -
All aboard! Carina is from South Dakota but studied Theater Arts at Minnesota State University Moorhead, in Moorhead, MN. While living in the Fargo/Moorhead area, Carina worked as a freelance theater artist directing, choreographing, prop designing, stage managing, teaching, and acting. Some of their favorite projects include 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). In Fall of 2018, Carina made their way to The Rose Theater to start as a Teaching Artist Fellow. Now as a Teaching Artist Contract, Carina has been seen on stage in Winnie the Pooh (as Winnie the Pooh), Ella Enchanted (as Olive), and now back for a second time in The Little Engine That Could! (reprising the role of Piper). Carina would love to thank Hayley and Michael for being an absolute dream to work with, Stephanie for her fearless guidance and storytelling, Meghan and Kira for their brilliant leadership, and the entire production team for bringing this story to life.

Hayley Greenstreet

Hayley Greenstreet

Watty -
Hayley Greenstreet comes from Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She earned her BA in Theatre from Wake Forest University in 2015. Since graduating she has worked as an Education Intern at Lexington Children’s Theater in Kentucky and is returning for her fourth year as a Rose Teaching Artist! She has most recently directed A Bucket of Blessings for the First Stage Series here at The Rose, as well as assistant directed Elf the Musical. This past year she had the thrilling opportunity to work with TVY production as the Assistant Director to Kerfuffle’s Nested - a devised theater experience for the very young at The Union for Contemporary Art. This upcoming spring she looks forward to working as an AD on The Rose’s Corduroy, and Nebraska Shakespeare’s Shakespeare in Love. She hopes to continue her work with Theater for Young Audiences by attending grad school in the upcoming years! She is so very happy to be working at The Rose Theater where she and the rest of the wonderful education staff continue to engage, inspire, and empower students every day. Thank you for joining us, and we hope that you enjoy our production of The Little Engine That Could!

Michael Miller

Michael Miller

Conductor -
Michael is an actor and teaching artist at The Rose Theater. He has worked as an Arts Education Specialist with various Omaha cultural arts programs. As a registered Nebraska Arts Council artist, Michael has designed and delivered educational theater programs in the schools for the past ten years. He has also worked with young people at the Omaha Theater Company for nearly 15 years. Michael also serves as Literary Manager for The Rose Theater. He worked as development dramaturge for the award winning scripts The Adventures of Nutrition Man and Dr. Exercise among others. Michael was recently in The Rose Theater’s James and the Giant Peach and Huck Finn. Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Michael holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in American Studies with a concentration on educational issues from Yale University and a Master’s degree in Public Administration with a concentration in Nonprofit Management from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Stephanie Jacobson

Stephanie Jacobson

Director -
Stephanie is a full time Teaching Artist and the Director of Youth Productions at The Rose Theater. She previously directed The Little Engine That Could, George and Martha, Charlotte’s Web, A Child’s Garden of Verses, Curious George and The Golden Meatball and The Rose’s world premiere of The Grocer’s Goblin and The Little Mermaid as well as The Misfits, and Thumbelina: A New Friend’s Journey (which she wrote and directed). She appeared on The Rose stage as Arrietty in The Borrowers, Frog in A Year with Frog and Toad, Nancy in Ivy & Bean, Ida in Honk, and Kaa in The Jungle Book. Stephanie has her MFA in Acting from the University of Iowa, is a certified Yoga instructor, participated in the Diavolo Project: Nebraska, is a Dance Company Member of The UNO Moving Company and is a trained puppeteer specializing in shadow puppetry and Bunraku. She has presented and led workshops for Opera Omaha, UNO College of Education/ Celebration of The Young Child, The Nebraska State Education Continuing Education Department, Creighton University and the National LGBTQA Mid-West College Conference. Before moving to Omaha, she lived in NYC where she worked with Liz Swados, Lee Bruer’s Mabou Mines, Taylor Mac and The Jim Henson Company. She would like to thank her Rose family, her husband Chad, son Finn, and Blue. Thank you, Rose Theater goers, for supporting this theater and arts for children in the Omaha area!