Rose’s New Season and Struve’s New Play Bring Excitement

Children’s theatre, regrettably, often doesn’t receive the press that other productions around town get. Sometimes its the limited appeal, sometimes its the daytime performances, sometimes the plays performed are simply nothing to write home about. But special attention needs to be paid toward The Rose Theater and new Artistic Director Matt Gutschick.

One look at the new season announced at The Rose for 2013/14 gives you the sense of new life injected into the company. The productions range from inventive interpretations of classics by staff artists (The Grocer’s Goblin & The Little Mermaid) to interactive and faced-paced reimaginings (Robin Hood) to premium shows like Narnia and Tarzan all directed by talented artists from home and abroad. For the first time in a long time, I thought about the opportunity of taking my little cousins to go see a quality show that not only fits their age group, but that could also act as a great introduction to magic of theatre for a new generation.

Theatre patrons get plenty of option these next few weeks. The receptions for both Shelterbelt’s Psycho Ex Girlfriend and Playhouse’s A Night with the Family have been wildly positive and with good reason. Each show has a talented ensembles performing quality scripts. If haven’t seen these shows yet, do so. Also continuing is Romance and the Greengrocer: Four Short Romantic Satires by George Bernard Shaw at Brigit Saint Brigit Theatre.

This weekend, local playwright Ellen Struve’s Recommended Reading for Girls gets its long-awaited premiere at the Omaha Playhouse’s Howard Drew Theatre. I got to see one of the first public readings of the script back in March of 2010 when the Omaha Playwrights Group hosted the play on the set of Death of a Salesman in the Howard Drew. Even in its earlier drafts, those in attendance could sense that Struve was onto something special.

Some familiar faces remain from that first reading (the talented trio of Christina Rohling as Amy, Amy Schweid as Sara Crewe, and Mary Kelly as Marilynn) while Amy Lane has switched from ensemble reader to director (Sonia Keffer directed the first reading). Add in theatre veterans Laura Campbell, Shannon Jackson and Olivia Sather along with newcomer Mika Caplan and you’ve got one can’t miss world premiere.

The progress from rough draft to fully realized production of new work from Omaha writers is a welcome sight, one that this writer hopes to see more of in the years to come.

Cold Cream looks at theater in the metro area. Email information to coldcream@thereader.com

posted at 09:36 pm
on Monday, April 29th, 2013

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