Feb. 5, 2004

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Contact: Charla Jenkins, University Theatre, (785) 864-2684.

KU Theatre for Young People to stage Sendak's 'Really Rosie' in February

LAWRENCE -- The University of Kansas Theatre for Young People will present the popular musical "Really Rosie" for the public at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 21, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 22. Performances for students in the Lawrence and Douglas County schools will be at 1 p.m. Feb. 17 through 20 and 23. All performances are in the Crafton-Preyer Theatre in Murphy Hall at KU.

Maurice Sendak, the author of such children's classics as "Where the Wild Things Are," "Chicken Soup with Rice: A Book of Months," "Higglety Pigglety Pop! or There Must Be More to Life" and "In the Night Kitchen," created "Really Rosie" by combining two of his books, "The Sign on Rosie's Door," written in 1960, and "The Nutshell Library," written in 1962. He invited well-known pop performer and writer Carole King to put his lyrics to music for a 27-minute animated film, which aired on CBS-TV in 1975. In 1980, he adapted the work for the off-Broadway stage. Sendak revived the one-hour musical in 1993 for his new children's theatre company, the Night Kitchen, co-founded with Arthur Yorinks in New York.

Jeanne Klein, associate professor of theatre and film and director of the KU-TYP program, is directing the musical play with choreography by Leslie Bennett, assistant professor of theatre and film and resident movement coach for the University Theatre. Musical director and pianist is Michael D. Johnson, Marion, Iowa, doctoral student. Scenic and lighting designer for the production is Mark Reaney, professor of theatre and film; costume designer is Anna Wieczorek, Lawrence graduate student in scenography.

Set in an urban neighborhood on a hot summer day, "Really Rosie" is about a group of bored children who are looking for something to do. Rosie imagines herself as an incredibly talented star and decides to stage a musical movie about her life. She gets her friends, the Nutshell Kids, to act out her stories, but fighting breaks out over casting. She tries to calm them down, but a thunderstorm forces a move into the cellar. To stop everyone from going home too quickly, Rosie says they still need to show the producer the movie's big finale number. With their eyes closed, she gets everyone to imagine the producer inviting them to make her movie. When everyone goes home, Rosie is left all alone to dream of stardom in her big number.

A free reading of Sendak's works, with special guest readers, will be from noon to 2 p.m. Feb. 21 at Borders Books and Music, 7th and New Hampshire. Among the guest readers are Greg Herd, host of "River City Weekly" on Sunflower Broadband Channel 6; Sandy Praeger, Kansas insurance commissioner; Sue Hack, Lawrence city commissioner; Cathy Hamilton, host of Channel 6's "Home and Away"; Lawrence Mayor David Dunfield; KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway; Kim Wilcox, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; Rose Marino, KU associate general counsel; Sarah Randolph of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Douglas County; and Ronald A. Willis, professor emeritus of theatre and film.

The University Theatre is hosting "Big" and "Little" members of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Douglas County for the two public performances of the musical.

Klein said "Really Rosie" is best appreciated by families with children ages 5 and older.

General admission tickets are on sale at: University Theatre, 864-3982; Lied Center, 864-ARTS; SUA, 864 7469; and kutheatre.com. Tickets are $10 for the public, $5 for all students, $8 for KU faculty and staff and $9 for senior citizens. Members of the cast for the KU production of "Really Rose," listed by name, class, parents' names, high school alma mater and role, are:

DOUGLAS COUNTY
From Lawrence
Ariel Dowdle, freshman, daughter of Greg and Jerry Dowdle; Tonganoxie High School graduate; Chicken Soup.

JOHNSON COUNTY
From Overland Park
Katherine McRobbie, senior, daughter of Elaine McRobbie; Shawnee Mission East High School graduate; Kathy.

MORTON COUNTY
From Elkhart
James Horton, junior, son of Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Horton; Elkhart High School graduate; Johnny.

PAWNEE COUNTY
From Larned
Kate Giessel, sophomore, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Tom Giesssel; Larned High School graduate; voice of Rosie's mother.

SHERMAN COUNTY
From Goodland
Joshua W. Vignery, senior, son of Ron and Judi Vignery; Goodland High School graduate; Pierre.

ILLINOIS
From Wheaton
Larissa Ejzak, sophomore, daughter of Richard and Karen Ejzak; Wheaton Warrenville South High School graduate; voice of Kathy's mother.

MISSOURI
From Kansas City
Erin Evangeline Burns, junior, daughter of Thomas and Victoria Burns; North Kansas City High School graduate; Rosie.

NORTH DAKOTA
From Bismarck
Caitlin McDonald, junior, daughter of Jack and Connie McDonald; St. Mary's Central High School graduate; Alligator.

OKLAHOMA
From Okmulgee
Leslie Long, junior, daughter of Robin Miller and Robert L. Miller, Broken Arrow; Morris High School graduate; voice of Johnny's mother.

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