“The Velveteen Rabbit” Gets A Musical Makeover

I don't know quite why, but there's just something about rabbits!

Sharon Ammen is the Director of Theatre and Drama at Saint-Mary-of-the-Woods College. She’s also an actor, director and the author of a new musical adaptation of the classic children’s story “The Velveteen Rabbit” at the Crossroads Repertory Theatre‘s 2009 Season.

George Walker talked with her about the evolution of the project. “Well, they asked me to do a children’s piece. My first concern, of course, had to be that the piece needed to be in the public domain. But, really the story that came immediately to mind was Margery Williams Bianco’s The Velveteen Rabbit. It was a good story with memorable characters and it was short enough that I could add things to it.”

Although Ammen is musical, she sought help with the actual settings and scoring. “Our composer and the company’s summer music director John Berst has been wonderful to work with. He’s very creative, brings great talent and skill to the settings and we’ve got some great variety. There are nicely lyrical and moving pieces about the show’s themes, a neat little march for the snooty mechanical toys and some delightful little dances for other characters.”

When asked what she hopes her audience will take from the show, Ammen was a bit thoughtful “I do hope that they’ll identify with the characters and that they’ll be involved with their story. And the message that our value as individuals has more to do with love given and shared is a lovely one.”

George Walker

George Walker was born in Winchester, Virginia, and raised in Owl’s Head, Maine, and Valhalla, New York. After graduating from the University of Michigan, he came to Bloomington in 1966 and completed an M.A.T. degree in English at Indiana University. George began announcing for WFIU in 1967. Currently, along with regularly hosting classical music shows, he interviews artists in a wide variety of areas and reviews plays and operas. He’s the proud father of grown sons Ben Walker (and his wife Elise Katzif Walker) and Aaron Walker. In his time away from WFIU, George enjoys an active life with wife Carolyn Lipson-Walker, singing, reading, exercising and playing guitar.

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