If anyone tells you that they don't love Maurice Sendak's wild rumpuses chock-full of monsters and nighttime escapades in oversized kitchens, they're probably lying. As a childhood staple of many in our generation, Sendak's well-worn tales are often found on bookshelves at home, a throwback to times when playing dress-up was customary.

This weekend, Tiffany Maltos '11 takes a whole new approach to Sendak's work. In the culmination of her independent study, she will direct and present "Really Rosie," a children's theater musical based on a number of Sendak's books, including "Chicken Soup with Rice," "Pierre," "One Was Johnny," "Alligators All Around," and "The Sign on Rosie's Door." The music for the show was written by well-known singer, songwriter and pianist Carole King.

"I heard about 'Really Rosie' when I was seven years old," Maltos said. "It was one of the first shows I ever saw live, although I don't remember much of it."

She does, however, remember the redheaded actress who played the role of Rosie.

"I wanted to be her!" Maltos exclaimed.

Her love for Sendak's work has continued to grow ever since, and last year she directed her own interpretation of "Where the Wild Things Are" at Bowdoin.

"It was a 20 to 25 minute piece that was very fun to direct," she said. "It solidified my love for children's theater and helped me realize that this is something I want to continue for the rest of my life."

"Really Rosie" is the story of Rosie, the bossiest kid on the block, who tries to persuade the other kids to be in a movie about her life. Initially they refuse to play pretend with her, but eventually, she convinces them, and they end up enjoying themselves.

Maltos confessed that it was challenging to direct a musical.

"At times I wondered if maybe I bit off more than I can chew," she said. "Learning how to direct a musical is completely different from directing a drama, a comedy or a children's show. You have to think which are going to be big dance numbers and which are going to be smaller ones. I liked giving the actors freedom and seeing what they could do."

"It has been extremely rewarding," Maltos added. "This experience has pushed me harder as a student."

For reinterpreting a show geared toward children, she emphasized the importance of keeping it fun.

"I asked the actors to think like children, to think back to how they were as kids," Maltos said. "We also spoke to Roger's [Bechtel, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Theater and Dance] daughter just to see how a seven year-old talks and thinks."

Instead of performing in Wish or Pickard Theater, "Really Rosie" will open at The Theater Project, a community-based theater in downtown Brunswick.

"Davis [Robinson, associate professor of theater] put me in touch with Al Miller, the Artistic Director at The Theater Project," Maltos said. "I wanted to cater to my target audiences, namely families and children, and The Theater Project does a lot of children's theater."

Maltos said it was important to present the show in this day and age, even with it dovetailing the release of the movie "Where the Wild Things Are."

"It's wonderful to have technology in the home, but I feel as though kids are playing make-believe less and instead setting up e-mail accounts," said Maltos. "I hope that if parents and kids see the show, they'll realize that make-believe is cool. You don't have to play video games, watch TV or go on the computer. You can wear mom's old dress and be a princess."

"There's funny stuff in the show that ties together all the generations," Maltos added. "To be clichéd, it brings out the little kid in all of us."

"Really Rosie" will be performed tonight, Saturday and Sunday at 7 p.m. at The Theater Project on 14 School Street. Matinee performances will also be staged on Saturday at 11 a.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Suggested admission is $8, and $4 for children under 16 and seniors. Tickets must be reserved in advance by visiting www.theaterproject.com.