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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
  • Ticket Price Single Tickets on sale August 1, 2017

Show Sponsors

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