Rebecca Robinson and Allyriane Huq star in the ABC Players production of “The Velveteen Rabbit,” Dec. 4-6 at Stuart’s Opera House (photo provided)

ABC Players Bring Classic Children’s Story To The Stage

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When you were little, did you have a favorite toy that meant so much to you, it seemed real?

That’s the theme explored by The Velveteen Rabbit, being presented by the ABC Players at Stuart’s Opera House, Dec. 4-6.

The play centers on a stuffed rabbit with velveteen plush fur, which quickly becomes a little boy’s favorite Christmas gift. The boy’s other toys scorn the rabbit because he has no mechanical moving parts that make him look real.

However, the Skin Horse, a toy that belonged to the boy’s father, tells the Velveteen Rabbit that a toy can become real only through being loved by a child. The Velveteen Rabbit dreams about this, but then the boy becomes very ill…

The show is based on the beloved children’s book by Margery Williams. The Athenian Berean Community players have chosen a musical version of the story, adapted by William S. Kilborne, Jr. (who wrote the lyrics) and Albert T. Viola (composer). The Ohio University Credit Union is sponsoring the show.

This ABC Players production is directed by Jodi MacNeal with assistance from Jenn Fritchley, the same team that produced last year’s The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.

The principal actors in the large cast are Orion Carter as the boy, Lee Carter as his mother, Chris MacNeal as the boy’s father, Allyriane Huq as the Velveteen Rabbit, Becca Robinson as the Skin Horse, Sylvia Abbott as the doctor, Teagan Hughes as Girl Rabbit, and Riley Maffin as the Nursery Magic Fairy.

Those actors are ably supported by a singing and dancing chorus that includes: Avery Brooks, Micaiah Clouse, Brianna Combs, Ethan Cooper, Emily Davis, Sydney Dicken, Alexis Fritchley, Teagan Hughes, Tatum L’Heureux, Sydney Lewis, Riley Maffin, Abigail Mulligan, Corey Mulligan, Celeste Parsons, Sydni Roell, Alley Snyder, Becca Swanson, and Fox Thompson. Members of the chorus play multiple roles as toys, animals, or fairies.

Running time will be around 50 minutes. As in previous years, caroling and refreshments will follow downstairs in the Stuart’s Opera House lobby after every performance.

Dec. 4 and 5 show times are at 7: 30 p.m. Saturday’s matinee performance begins at 2 p.m. Tickets are $7, with all proceeds benefiting Stuart’s Opera House.

Tickets may be reserved in advance by calling 740-753-1924 during normal business hours or by visiting before 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 5. Tickets will also be available at the door.