Tears, learning opportunities both plentiful in 'Velveteen Rabbit'

Last Updated by Chip Chandler - Digital Content Producer on
The Velveteen Rabbit (Elisha Miller) and Little Boy (Peyton Preston)

By Chip Chandler — Digital Content Producer

Typically, when Amarillo actors begin preparing a musical for the stage, they have some help beyond the notes on the page in knowing what the tunes are actually supposed to sound like.

Not so with Amarillo College Conservatory Theatre's upcoming production of The Velveteen Rabbit, a 1974 adaptation by Barnes Boffey, Paul Pilcher and Bob Love of the classic children's book by Margery Williams.

"It's not a real well-known musical," director Rebecca Smithee Bulla said. "You can't YouTube it. There's no cast recording. So, educationally, they have to learn it fresh. They have to put their own spin on it."

That fits right in with the Conservatory Theatre's mission. The program, founded by Linda C. Hughes as an acting school for children, has evolved into a program that offers classes for youth and adults, who give public performances several times a year.

"It develops experience," said Elisha Miller, who plays the title character. "Nowadays, we rely a lot on technology. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but I'm able to step back and say I can do this myself. That gives me confidence."

Velveteen Rabbit will be staged at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday in Ordway Auditorium on the AC Washington Street campus.

A cast of 35 young thespians ages 7 to 17 will stage the musical drama, which tells of the love of a stuffed toy rabbit for its owner (Payton Preston). The rabbit is told by the Skin Horse (Spencer Stribling) that if the rabbit and the boy love each other enough, the toy will become real. Tragedy strikes, though we'll leave out any spoilers for those few who've never read the book. 

Bring your tissues, though.

"We get teary eyed in rehearsal," Bulla said. 

"When I'm in bed (with a serious illness) and she sings 'Toy Love, Boy Love,'" Preston said, "if I don't cry, it will be amazing."



The Velveteen Rabbit will be staged at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday in Amarillo College's Ordway Auditorium on the Washington Street campus. Tickets are $12; get $2 off with donation of a new toy. Call 806-584-985.


* Chip Chandler is a digital content producer for Panhandle PBS. He can be contacted at Chip.Chandler@actx.edu, at @chipchandler1 on Twitter and at www.facebook.com/chipchandlerwriter on Facebook.



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