Jack-In-The-Box Players, the Warren Players youth performing troupe, brings Margery Williams' cherished children's classic, "The Velveteen Rabbit," to the historic Struthers Library Theatre stage March 4, 5, 10, and 11 at 7 p.m. with matinees on March 6 and 12, at 2 p.m.
A Christmas gift to the Boy, the Velveteen Rabbit is soon forgotten. He is tossed in the toy box where he is quickly surrounded by toys singing; "Tell us little rabbit little rabbit what use are you?" The Skin Horse befriends the Velveteen Rabbit and assures him, "Good isn't what you do, kid. It's what you are." The Skin Horse sings "When a child loves you for a long, long timethen you become real." One evening the Boy's china dog cannot be found. Nana offers the Boy the Velveteen Rabbit as a replacement and the pair quickly become steady companions. Tragically, the Boy falls ill with scarlet fever. For days, the Boy is too ill to play. The Velveteen Rabbit snuggles close singing "Can you feel me here beside you, hoping you'll get well?" Finally waking, the Boy is excited about his trip to the beach and plans to take the Velveteen Rabbit. The doctor has other plans and orders everything, including the Velveteen Rabbit, taken to the trash and burned. Lonely and cold, the Velveteen Rabbit sits with the trash. He cries a real tear. That tear brings the Nursery Magic Fairy who grants the Velveteen Rabbit's greatest wish.
The cast of the musical "The Velveteen Rabbit" includes Leah McCluskey (Velveteen Rabbit), Cole Brocklehurst (Boy), Lilya Renner (Nana), Hunter Goldthwaite (Skin Horse), Taylor John (Narrator). The cast of toys includes Emmi Beuger, Ailsa Boger, Olivia Brocklehurst, Rachel Cecco, Brionna Childs, Mayan Cook, Lydia Giannini, Logan Johnson, Abby Koebley, Emily Koebley, Megan McGuinness, Ryan McGuinness, Maribeth Miller, Haley Nelson, Grant Nystrom, Brooke Olson, Carmen Pearce, Jarod Peterson, Sarah Roney, Hannah Shattuck, Sophia Spisak, Samara Steber, Haley Tuller, Chris White, and Winnie Wolf.
The Velveteen Rabbit and Boy (Cole Brocklehurst) enjoy a garden tea party.
Finding the Velveteen Rabbit left in the garden, Nana (Lily Renner) asks audience members ‘Would you want to have this wet, old, stinky thing in bed with you? Yuck!’
The gardener (Chris White) reviews his list, ‘What next? Burn the trash.’
The Velveteen Rabbit (Leah McCluskey) sings ‘Can you feel me here beside you, hoping you?ll get well?’
Denny Mattison rehearses for the special reading of The Velveteen Rabbit at Warren Public Library with cast members.
The blocks tell the Velveteen Rabbit ‘Here’s what we have to say to you!’
Leah Lyons demonstrates the Velveteen Rabbit’s make-up. Photos by Jeremy Jeziorski
"The Velveteen Rabbit" is directed by Deborah Murphy. The production team includes student director, Lexi Gee; assistant director, Bethany Chapman; vocal director, C.J. Lyons; production manager, Dan Wolboldt; choreographer, Leah Lyons; stage manager, Scott Schriner; costume mistress, Heidi Catalino; lighting design Barb Crowley; and sound technician and photos, Jeremy Jeziorski.
"What a wonderful experience to share my love for this story with this amazing cast and production team" states director, Deborah Murphy. "Our team is actively working to share 'The Velveteen Rabbit' outside the walls of the theater.
According to Trina Massa, Warren Players member and kindergarten teacher at South Street, the school district's Early Learning Center provided the school's 6 kindergarten, 7 first grade, and life skills classrooms with a copy of The Velveteen Rabbit and unit activities. Working with Susan Slater at the Warren Public Library, a special reading of the Velveteen Rabbit will be held in the Children's Department Saturday, Feb. 26, at 11 a.m. Denny Mattison will be the guest reader. "We are also teaming up with Leah Lyon's Drama II students at Warren Area High School. Andrew Stalder, Abbey Streich, Jessy Snyder, Diedre Barnett, Dakota Gardiner, and Tyler Dziendziel will be designing the makeup for the toys in the show. They will be instructing helpers how to apply stage makeup and assisting with the application of the makeup on show nights."
Tickets and reservations for handicapped seating and infrared assisted listening devices are available at the Struthers Library Theatre office from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., by calling 723-7231, and at the box office 30 minutes prior to show. Tickets are $12 adult, $10 student and senior, and younger than 5, free.
"The Velveteen Rabbit" is produced by special arrangement with Eldridge Plays and Musicals. Adaptation and Lyrics by George Gray. Music by Chris Talbert. Based on the classic story by Margery Williams.
Mark your calendars now. The Velveteen Rabbit is truly a timeless story for all ages. www.warrenplayers.com.