The Media Theatre presents a Philadelphia premiere with the holiday children's musical "A Velveteen Rabbit Christmas" Saturday mornings in December at 11 a.m. Perfect for ages 4 and up, the hour long presentation is based on the classic tale of the stuffed toy that comes to life.
The show is written by Matt & Tina Jo Wallace, with music by Scott Bradley (the same team who created "Jack Frost" which was presented by The Media Theatre last year). A very special toy learns what is real in the musical.
Siblings Dan and Beada Briglia portray the principle roles of the young boy and the rabbit who becomes real. This is the first time at The Media Theatre in which a brother and sister have had lead roles together in the same production. Both Dan and Beada have been participants in "Delco Idol Junior," making it into the top five this past summer. They are students of the theatre's New School, a conservatory-style approach to music theatre education.
"The fact that they are actually brother and sister adds a deeper heartfelt dimension to the show," said Artistic Director Jesse Cline. "The story is already touching, and with the Briglias in the lead it becomes even more memorable."
They are joined by several adults in the cast, including Shiron Denise O' Neal who makes her Media Theatre debut in the production. A popular jazz vocalist and Media resident, she is joined in the show by her husband Anthony Womack who music directs. Songs in the show range from upbeat fun numbers such as "Prove It" to memorable ballads like "Christmas Memories."
The show includes humor provided by a somewhat bewildered Toy Soldier (Doug Cashell) and an energetic Clown (Roger Ricker).
Kristen Arbutina returns to the stage as The Magic Fairy. Several New School students appear in the production aside from The Briglias including Natalie Geriot, Madison Law, Maddi Mulder, and Marie Sminkey.
In the musical, Oliver receives several gifts for Christmas but pays most attention to his stuffed rabbit. The Old Skin Horse explains to the rabbit that as the boy grows, toys are placed in the attic where they are forgotten. But as time passes, the love between the boy and the Velveteen Rabbit grows stronger, allowing the two to understand the true meaning of friendship.