If you were absent from Omaha all summer, the daily gave you a measure of the rising Missouri River in a series of photos that showed the flood water climbing ever higher on the Salute to Labor statue of workmen, a site seen from Rick’s Boatyard Café.

            So it was good to hear that you won’t need a canoe or even hip waders to catch Manya and Randy Nogg’s new interactive mystery at their River Front Theater at the now high and nearly dry restaurant. Instead, Theater-to-Go invites you to wear prohibition era attire as long as you leave your gat at the door.

            Murder at the Calumet Social Club plays at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 2 only. Call 402.345.4545 for information.

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The plays scheduled this season by theaters in Omaha, Bellevue, Council Bluffs and our other neighbors are the usual promising mix of mainstream and offbeat, of comedy and drama plus familiar and new musicals. You’ll read all about these offerings in a longer article.

            But it was probably too much to expect that Required Reading for Girls, the fascinating script by Omahan Ellen Struve, would land in a local lineup so soon after wowing a packed room at the Great Plains Theatre Conference play labs. I reported at the time that a highly respected member of the theater community commented that it would be great for the Omaha Community Playhouse, which suggests its appeal to a broad audience.

            Her plays have been produced by the Shelterbelt Theatre and on the main stage at the Great Plains event, and by other theaters in the East and Midwest. To summarize Required Reading for Girls risks making it sound a little silly, but ask anyone who saw its staged reading by a talented cast and you’re likely to hear how well it works to have Heidi, Anne of Green Gables, the Little Princess and Nancy Drew show up in the home of a mother afflicted with cancer as she’s visited by two adult daughters.

            It isn’t kid stuff. It’s the play that left one of the critics almost unable to offer the usual critique as she coped with powerful emotions inspired by Struve’s script.

                                                            —Warren Francke

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


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