What reader hasn't fantasized about the characters from a particular book coming to life? What if those characters from your favorite childhood novels actually moved into your house? With "Recommended Reading for Girls", that is what has happened. Or is it?
As families evolve through the transitions of life, the Saunders family finds itself at a difficult transition. The mother, Maureen Saunders, has just chosen not to be a part of a cancer trial program and is again entering chemo treatment. With her husband away at a conference, their adult daughter, Amy, returns to her childhood home to help out.
As Amy enters the house she sees a young girl on the steps to her old bedroom eating an apple. When she calls out, the girl runs away. Not knowing if this incident is a hallucination or a criminal event, she investigates without being certain of reality.
This worldwide debut of "Recommended Reading for Girls" is the creation of Omaha resident, Ellen Struve, and was chosen to be produced by the Omaha Playhouse. The show is based on the preteen literature of most females with heroines such as Heidi, Sarah Crewe, Anne of Green Gables, and Penny Parker, girl detective.
The set for this play was both creative and functional. In the limited space, it was amazing how spacious the stage was for the rooms within the house and including a delightful attic entry. Costuming and hair design were outstanding in making these fictional characters come to life. All the staff with the sound, lighting, and stage were outstanding. The acting was superb in all parts.
What is outstanding in "Recommended Reading for Girls" was the realistic interactions between the sisters about their mother. Christina Rohling as Amy and Laura Leininger as the pregnant sister, Jackie both excelled in these challenging parts. As sisters can so easily do, they seemed to know how to play on each others insecurities. Also, I couldn't help but admire the sunny outlook of Olivia Sather as Anne of Green Gables and the German speaking by Mika Caplan as Heidi.
This play is not for young girls as you really need to have some background of the four literary characters. Yes, I even had to explain to a husband about why Sarah Crewe changed since he was not acquainted with the character.
With a memorable moral for this story, "Recommended Reading for Girls" is delightful for the intended literate female audience.
“Recommended Reading for Girls” will continue through June 2nd with Wednesday through Saturday performances at 7:30 pm and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets are available by calling the Box Office at (402) 553-0800 or online at omahaplayhouse.org or ticketomaha.com. Ticket costs are $40 for adults and $24 for students with special group rates available.