Knicely Done: Omaha’s Show Wagon rolls again with new look & name

The Omaha Show Wagon is back with a new look and a new name: the Omaha Mobile Stage.
Published: Apr. 25, 2023 at 8:35 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The long tradition of the Show Wagon in Omaha dates back to 1951 when it was first introduced to the Metro area.

The traveling stage was designed to give young singers, dancers and other performers a chance to showcase their talent in their own neighborhoods.

The former Omaha Show Wagon in Pipal Park, 1966
The former Omaha Show Wagon in Pipal Park, 1966(WOWT/The Durham Collection)

59 years later the Show Wagon faded away with a lack of sponsors -- and young people lost the venue that had been such a popular outlet for family fun.

“I did it as a child, then I started teaching dance and my kids did it,” said Diane Hansen, who operates Kitty Lee Studio. “It really inspires the kids to get better at their craft, whatever it might be. It might be dance, singing, it might be baton twirling, playing an instrument, everything. Each summer we would compete against kids and then we got to come back and see them every summer and renew those friendships. Just a great community showcase.”

The good news for young performers is the return of the Show Wagon but under a different name -- the Omaha Mobile Stage.

Jessica Scheuerman is the executive director of Partners for Liveable Omaha, the nonprofit that is behind Omaha Mobile Stage.

“Individuals who engage in the arts have higher grades in high schools and they often are more likely to go to college,” she said. “They’re more likely to hold higher-income positions when they enter their careers, so for us, it’s opportunities to expose people to something that will have a life-long benefit for them.”

Andee Scioli is also involved with the efforts to bring back a traveling stage to Metro neighborhoods. She performed as a dancer on the Show Wagon stage in her younger years.

“The first show this year is May 27 in La Vista,” she said. “We have ten different shows throughout Omaha including South Omaha, North Omaha, Millard, Elkhorn, and several at Gene Leahy Mall.”

One of the highlights of the summer series will be dance night featuring XOMG Pop, the high-energy popular performers assembled by Omahan JoJo Siwa, who performed on the Show Wagon stage herself as a youngster.

“It’s really kind of her and her mom to bring XOMG Pop so people in Omaha can see talent at a really high level,” said Scioli. “I can’t wait to see the talent we have in Omaha coming together and performing for their families and their friends and their neighbors and I think it’s going to be fabulous.”

Knicely Done!

The Omaha Mobile Stage shows are free of charge for ages 3 to 19. Sign-ups are available on its website.