The Marriott Theatre

Lincolnshire, Illinois| (847) 634-0200| website

Photo Courtesy of Liz Lauren.

Cast of Velveteen Rabbit. Photo Courtesy of Liz Lauren.

The Velveteen Rabbit is being performed at The Marriott Theatre and runs until August 14, 2016. This lively, action packed musical is not only entertaining for kids, but adults as well! It is a wonderful way to spend quality time with a child and the hour in the theatre seems only to be minutes, you will want to see more!

The character “Boat” played by Sharriese Hamilton opens the show and catches the attention of even the most distracted child, the singing and dancing displayed by “Boat” was incredible. The children sat wide-eyed staring and adults were smiling with eyes affixed!

Dara Cameron as Velveteen Rabbit. Photo courtesy of Liz Lauren.

Dara Cameron as Velveteen Rabbit. Photo courtesy of Liz Lauren.

“Steve” played by Devin DeSantis and older brother “Ben” played by Jonathan Butler-Duplessis start out as adults but go back to theirs days an young children ages 6 and 12.  The typical brotherly fighting takes place between Steve and Ben while Steve’s toy, “Velveteen Rabbit” played by Dara Cameron and Ben’s toy, “Rocking Horse” played by Mark David Kaplan sit quietly on stage hoping they will get noticed. Boat is the newest toy and has temporarily caught the attention of Steve.

Although the affection does not last long as Steve decides to run away because he and Ben had an argument. Steve chooses Velveteen Rabbit to take with him and in this time of crisis, Steve can finally hear Velveteen Rabbit speaking to him.

Dara Cameron and Devin DeSantis. Photo courtesy of Liz Lauren.

Dara Cameron and Devin DeSantis. Photo courtesy of Liz Lauren.

Excitement ensues and Steve and Velveteen Rabbit go off to play. Their pretend adventures include emulating a Queen, a visit to outer space and acting as super spies.

Steve does goes in his house, but forgets Velveteen Rabbit outside. “Wild Rabbit” played by Zoe Nadal comes along and reminds Velveteen Rabbit that she is not real at all, she is in fact a stuffed toy. Velveteen Rabbit is saddened by this because she feels real.

Steve eventually finds Velveteen Rabbit, but Steve’s sneezing has already begun. Steve gets very sick with high fever and goes to the hospital; he is diagnosed with Scarlet Fever.

In time, Steve recovers from his illness, but all toys were confined to the garage in a box so to prevent the spread of germs.  Boat’s battery accidently starts a fire in the garage and there is an emotional uprising between boat, Velveteen Rabbit and Rocking Horse. During the panic, Velveteen Rabbit miraculously becomes real and is able to move and put out the fire.

As adults again, Steve and Ben find their toys in the garage and take the toys to their own children.

Jonathan Butler-Duplessis as Ben. Photo courtesy of Liz Lauren.

Jonathan Butler-Duplessis as Ben. Photo courtesy of Liz Lauren.

Velveteen Rabbit is a feel good musical with a range of emotions from happiness to despair but throughout the play, the message is clear that when you love someone, anything is possible!

The question and answer session at the end of the musical was a treat for the kids and adults. Children were encouraged to ask the actors questions in regards to anything having to do with the play. The show of hands was significant and the questions the children asked were thought-provoking and on target. It was obvious the children were highly engaged with the play.

For those looking for something educational and entertaining to do with the kids this summer, seeing The Velveteen Rabbit at Marriott Theatre is the answer! It is one of my top choices for a children’s musical and I cannot think of a better way to spend an hour of entertainment with a child!

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