Rosie is the sassiest kid in her Brooklyn neighborhood and proud of it.
She's also the star of Maurice Sendak's musical Really Rosie, presented by the Hanford High drama department starting Nov. 4 in the school's auditorium.
The musical story is a collection of mini melodramas where Sendak's stories are all addressed in one play. And all the stories have a bit of a gruesome angle.
There is a boy who is left alone by his parents and is then devoured by a rampaging lion. A nasty vampire is unleashed to drink the blood of innocents, and a little boy suffers an agonizing death when he chokes on a chicken bone.
What makes those dreadful acts humorous is how they're portrayed on stage. All the stories are acted out by ornery 10-year-olds. Or rather, teenagers pretending to be 10-year-olds.
"I love these characters," said Peggy Painter, who is co-directing with Deb Donahoe. "In their brattiness and innocence they bring back that time when we said what we thought before we learned tact and manners.
"They want to be exactly who they are already and they're tough. They bounce back from disappointment like overinflated balls."
Rosie is played by Delaney Shields, 16. Her cohorts are Kathy played by Jillian Roller, 15; Pierre played by Luke Price, 16; and Johnny played by Caleb Steinmeyer, 16.
Amy Aiello, 15, plays the alligator; Jake Freeman, 14, plays Chicken Soup; Kelsey Wenrich, 15, plays Rosie's mom; Eliza Anderson, 14, plays Kathy's mom; and Emily Carlson, 15, plays Johnny's mom. The other neighborhood kids are Elise Later, 14, and Robyn Ruddell, 14.
Shields said it really wasn't too much of a stretch for her to remember being 10 years old again.
"I got 100 percent into the mindset of someone too much younger than me," she said. "I think Rosie is wonderful. She loves being the center of attention."
Roller, on the other hand, found it a bit more of a struggle to act like a 10-year-old.
"It was challenging to portray a child that had specific qualities but also in a way that was my own as an actress," she said. "(Her character) is really good at acting, singing and squishing bugs."
Sendak, who also wrote Where the Wild Things Are, wrote the book and lyrics for Really Rosie and Carole King wrote the music in the mid-1970s.
Curtain time is 7:30 p.m. Nov. 4-5 and 10-11, with a 2 p.m. matinee Nov. 12 in the auditorium at Hanford High, 450 Hanford Ave., Richland.
Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for students and seniors. Tickets are available at the door. For more information, go to www.hanforddrama.org.
*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; email@example.com