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This month’s cover features (from left) Bill Stephan, executive director of the Lied Center for Performing Arts; Barbara Bartle, who was part-time volunteer coordinator of tour guides for the Lied Center before it opened; and Dan Stratman, who has served as the Lied Center’s technical director for all 30 years.

The curtain rose for the first time on March 21, 1990, for a production of “Madama Butterfly” presented by Opera Omaha to a packed house in the brand new Lied Center performing arts venue. But the “beginning” came much earlier. The Lied Center exists because of the cumulative effort and deep commitment of a group of visionaries and those who stood with them to champion the cause.

After an initial $10 million gift was secured from the Lied Foundation Trust – the first given by trustee Christina Hixson in the Lied name after the passing of Ernst Lied – fundraising for the new venture extended across the state.

Bartle recalls early conversations on the topic, such as Woody Varner wanting the Lied Center to be for everyone, whether they wanted to come in a tuxedo or blue jeans.

From the outset, the Lied has hosted the top performing artists in the world. Learn more about the Lied Center’s history and Stephan’s goals and dreams for its future in Lauren Silverman Durban’s cover story posted on this website. We thank John F. Keller for shooting this month’s cover photo.

Speaking of entertainment …

If you enjoy food and drink (and who doesn’t?), you will love this issue. Longtime restaurant reviewer Jeff Korbelik returns to tell the story about two millennials – Beau Ballard and Amanda Fuchser – who left Lincoln to get their college degrees but returned to begin their careers. They own and operate the Rabbit Hole Bakery at Eighth and Q streets in Lincoln’s Haymarket. See Jeff’s story and photos on this website.

Also on this website, Larry Kubert tells the story of Chef Tim LeCorgne, who rediscovered his passion for cooking by preparing recipes for the “expansion of family” that he discovered when he was hired at Savannah Pines Retirement Community. “It is like my kids have 150 grandparents,” he says.

And let’s not forget beverages. John Mabry took a road trip to Stone Hollow Brewing Co. in Beatrice and detailed everything it offers – in a 140-year-old building. Plus you’ll find Mark Feit’s whisky column -- all on this website. Cheers!

I appreciate your ideas

I’d like to know what kinds of stories you want to see and any other suggestions you have for L Magazine. Please email those to mschwaninger@journalstar.com or call me at 402-473-2644. As always, I appreciate your “Likes” and comments on the L Magazine Facebook page as well.

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