‘Velveteen Rabbit’ charms kids, adults

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Kyra Weinberger stars in the TYA children's play.

[/media-credit] Kyra Weinberger stars in the TYA children’s play.

By Bob Evans

Take a beloved children’s classic, allow Gene Mackey some poetic license to adapt the book to a stage play, add some talented actors to carry the show, and the result transforms the book to a play for all ages to enjoy.

“The Velveteen Rabbit” opened recently at Theatre for Young America on City Stage of Kansas City’s historic Union Station, providing children and their adult chaperones a chance to see the story come to life as a play. Set in a library where countless characters can emerge after the library closes to the public, “The Velveteen Rabbit” appears through the magic of Uncle Max, a magician, and the story unfolds.

The play lasts an hour so that children’s attention span is not lost. A beautiful set, great projection, colorful characters, and a good story unite into this production, aimed at younger audiences.

“The Velveteen Rabbit” learn what love feels like and that through love he becomes real. The story is heart-warming and leaves children with a good theatre experience. This is the show all parents and grand parents need to introduce theatre at a young age. The story is about love, loss, and friendships. Even though there is loss, the loss is not tragic or scary for the younger audiences. The story is tender and one that children” can relate to.

For this production, the set design is strong; the lighting is subtle; and the projection gives the impression of different scenes and backgrounds. Uncle Max’s magic will keep the young eyes focused on him in anticipation of another magic trick.

The production is magical and a wonderful vehicle for the cast. One can tell that the actors are professional and work well as an ensemble. Their characters are vivid, powerful, and guaranteed to hold the focus of the younger audiences.

Adult actors bring the youthful story to life with a strong cast of Lucas Perry as Johnny, Sarah Nickerson as Katherine Adair, Steven Eubank as Uncle Max, and Kyra Weinberger as The Velveteen Rabbit. The Production Team is led by Gene Mackey, director; Alexandra Pilley, stage manager; Eric Van Horn, technical director; Valerie Mackey, costume designer; Sheryl Bryant, education director; and Kylor Greene, lighting designer.

“The Velveteen Rabbit” runs through May 13 on the lower level of Union Station on the H&R Block City Stage. For more information, ticketing, dates, times, prices, etc, go to Theatre for Young America’s website.

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