Rose Colored Glass (Bigelow/Goldberg)

by  Sue Bigelow, Janice Goldberg

Full Length Play, Drama  /  3f

"Tragic and humorous...touching...resonates with challenges we face in the world in which we live today. – The Times Standard

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Rose Colored Glass (Bigelow/Goldberg)

by  Sue Bigelow Janice Goldberg

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

  • Duration


    105 Minutes
  • SubGenre


  • Accolades


    NEA Big Read Selection
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult
    • Senior
    • Pre-Teen (Age 11 - 13)
    • Teen (Age 14 - 18)

Additional Info

Set in 1938 Chicago, Rose Colored Glass, takes place in the back rooms of Lady O'Riley's and Rose Fleishman's delicatessen. Their disparate worlds, separated by much more than the alley between their kitchens, are about to collide. Peg O'Riley,the 13-year-old granddaughter of Lady, has grown determined that these two mistrustful widows will become friends, but it is not until they become involved in the same cause that their friendship has a chance to bloom.

In a series of stunning flashbacks, Peg now older, remembers the moving story of how lady and Rose formed a united front to fight American apathy in an attempt to bring Rose's nephew out of Europe before the war. Rose Colored Glassis a unique work - it shows the beginning of the holocaust from our side of the ocean and how two remarkable women struggle not only with American apathy, but also with immigration laws and bureaucracy, in addition to their own prejudices...all in the name of one boy's safe passage from Europe to America.

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“…highly dramatic tale of friendship and salvation.Rose Colored Glass operates on a high level of dramatic tension throughout.” - Backstage New York

"The play becomes a joyful demonstration of the timeless ability of women to set all else aside when a child is at stake. Nothing else much matters once you simply ask yourself, "What if it were you?" And while you might think the outcome is telegraphed from the start, it's not...the play builds to a surprisingly complex emotional end." - Denver Post

"This show is a gift! It shows us what can happen when we set our aspirations above anger and prejudice...Two misunderstood women come together to find an ultimate bond of love. This is one of the most beautiful stories I have ever read..." - Rick Bernstein, Producer

"Refreshing, eye opening experience…has done what few playwrights have been able to do with respect to the Holocaust: bring it home, literally…tragic and humorous...touching...resonates with challenges we face in the world in which we live today." – The Times Standard


Performing Groups

  • High School/Secondary
  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Dinner Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Senior Theatre
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups
  • Church / Religious Groups


  • No Special Cautions

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $90 per performance



  • Time Period: 1940s / WWII, 1930s
  • Duration: 105 Minutes
  • Setting:

    The action takes place in the back rooms of LADY O'RILEY'S Pub and ROSE'S FLEISHMAN'S Delicatessen and the alley that separates them.

    ROSE'S kitchen contains a work table and chairs as well as a small table with a music box on it.

    LADY'S contains a bar, telephone, table, stools.

  • Additional Features: Not Applicable
  • Features / Contains: Period Costumes


  • Musical Style: N/A (Not a musical)



LADY O'RILEY - 60's; Irish Catholic immigrant; owner of Lady O'Riley's; church going; God fearing; has a natural warmth to her although she is often irritable; feisty; raising her granddaughter; has spent her life working hard; stubborn; set in her ways; has a sense of humor. She is an idealist, believing that things will happen if you just have enough faith.

ROSE FLEISHMAN - late 40's; Austrian Jewish immigrant; widow; no children,owner of Fleishman's Delicatessen across the alley from the Pub; stoic; reserved; proud; doesn't let her guard down until the end; stubborn; set in her ways; has a sense of humor. She is more of a realist than Lady; believes everything is a result of hard work - and even that sometimes is not enough.

PEG O'RILEY - 13 at the start of the play; Lady's granddaughter; intrigued by Rose; can be a little conniver and a bit of a smart aleck but there is a sweetness there; is moving from childhood to awakening adolescence; attracted by things and people who are different; stubborn; has a mission to get these women to become friends. She is fresh faced with an all-American look circa 1938. As the narrator, she is a bit older, and a bit wiser.

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Cast Attributes

  • All Female
  • Ensemble cast
  • Roles for Teens
  • Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)

Casting Notes

PEG'S monologues should be spoken from the viewpoint of the somewhat older narrator PEG. The role is to be played by one actress.

There is humor in this play that should not be shied away from.




Sue Bigelow

Sue Bigelow

Janice Goldberg

Janice L. Goldberg co-wrote Rose Colored Glass with Susan Bigelow. This play, published by Samuel French, received its Off-Broadway premiere at Theatre 54 and was named as a 2009 and 2010 selection for the NEA’s Big Read Program in California and Maryland. Ms. Goldberg has directed seven other plays that were co-writte ...

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Rose Colored Glass premiered in Eureka, CA at Plays-in-Progress.  It was followed by its Off Broadway Premiere in New York City in 2007 at Theatre 54 in Times Square and was produced by GalGo Productions in conjuction with Shetler Studios. It received its European premiere in Prague, Czech Republic in 2013 where it is still running.

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