A New Play’s Path to Production: Struve’s ‘Recommended Reading for Girls’

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May 2nd, 2013

Omaha, NE — The Omaha Community Playhouse presents the world premiere of Recommended Reading for Girls by local playwright Ellen Struve.

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The development and production of new work in theatre is no easy task, just ask local playwright Ellen Struve.
“When I was writing this I really thought that it would never get done. It has seven female characters, it has a stairway (which is kind of a jerk move for a playwright to put in a play), it has a ten year old who only speaks German. There are many, many barriers to production for this play but it has turned out to be the play that people have responded to the most warmly. I’ve been really thrilled by that.”
The process of developing new work often entails several workshops and revisions that can last for months, sometimes years. But when the curtain rises on the finished product, the end result is a wholly unique contribution to an art form that can last for generations.

Cast Members of 'Recommended Reading for Girls'

Cast Members of ‘Recommended Reading for Girls’

The development process for Recommended Reading for Girls took over 3 years. The first reading of the play took place in 2010 on the set of the Omaha Playhouse’s production of Death of a Salesman. After receiving the Stage Right Award for emerging female playwright at Great Plains Theatre Conference in 2011, the Playhouse play reading committee unanimously voted to add the play to the 2013 season. The show’s director, Amy Lane, has been working with the show since the first initial reading.
“What is unique and cool about this play is that it’s come full circle back to the Playhouse. We’ve kind of grown up with the play. To know it so intimately and know all of its many iterations and reincarnations has been such a great process. To get a script like this and to have Ellen be present at all of the rehearsals was such a fabulous process.”
The story revolves around the main character Amy as she returns home to help her ailing mother. When she gets home, Amy discovers uninvited guests from her favorite childhood novels. The beloved crew of heroines (including Sarah Crewe, Anne of Green Gables, Heidi, and Penny Parker) turn the household topsy-turvy as Amy struggles to reconcile with the stories she loves, the people she loves and the stories she has told herself. Director Lane said the plays heart lies in the stories we leave with each other.
“It’s about the importance of stories to family and creating a family mythology, a family identity. I think every family gathering includes a section of ‘Remember that one Christmas?’ or ‘Remember that one time we went camping?’ or whatever those stories are. Those stories and shared memories bond families together. That’s definitely at the heart of this play.”
Recommended Reading for Girls by Ellen Stuve premieres Friday May 3rd and runs through June 2nd at the Omaha Community Playhouse’s Howard Drew Theatre located at 6915 Cass Street. The show is suitable for all ages. For ticket information call the Playhouse Box Office at 402-553-0800 or visit omahaplayhouse.org

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